Creation Myths in Ex Machina

Myth Reading Group

Thursday 2 March

12.00-1.30pm in Room NTC.2.06

We are very pleased to announce that Dr Pietra Palazzolo, convener of the Myth Reading Group, will continue our discussion of mythical journeys with a session on Alex Garland’s Ex Machina and the links between myth and science fiction.

hephaestus-supported-by-robots

Johann Heinrich Fussli (1741-1825), Hephaestus supported by his mechanical, human-like attendants meeting Thetis (1803)

In this session, we will use Ex Machina (dir. Alex Garland, 2015) to explore the way creation myths—from Hephaestus’s human-like attendants to Pygmalion’s Galatea—are re-imagined in science fiction. Caleb, a nerd programmer, is selected by his boss Nathan to work on his latest project on artificial intelligence in his high security underground home/laboratory. His task is to administer the Turing test to Nathan’s latest AI creation, Ava, an advanced android, to test its capacity for intelligence and true consciousness. In discussing the film’s focus on artificial life—with some reference also to Blade Runner (dir. Ridley Scott, 1982) and Her (dir. Spike Jonze, 2013)—and the borderline between artifice and nature (in the making of Ava as well as in her interaction with Caleb and Nathan, and in the setting), we will address this term’s theme of journeys in its wider meaning of ‘translating myth’ across periods and media.

Selected clips from Ex Machina will be shown in the session, though it would be great if you have time to watch the full film.

ALL WELCOME

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