Mythical Pasts, Speculative Futures: The plasticity of the post/pre-human body

Ryan Porter

Abstract


This paper examines the plastic figure as it appears in both Ray Kurzweil's vision of the post-singularity human body and in Thomas King's retelling of North-American Indigenous myth. It proposes that the plastic figure, true to its name, serves very different symbolic purposes. While in Kurzweil's vision, the plastic figure is part of a vision of unfettered consumption, in King's vision, plasticity suggests a chaotic quality that must be 'fixed.' The paper ultimately suggests that Kurzweil's and King's futuristic and mythical narratives possess vastly different views on the human body as it exists in the present.


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