Queer Consciousness and the Singularity in Science Fiction Film

Authors: Pullen, C.

Conference: Queer Cultures Research Seminar.

Dates: 24 February-24 October 2016


The mainframe computer programme forms a central narrative archetype within many science fiction films, appearing as a trans human subject, that references artificial intelligence, and the notion of artificial consciousness. Central within this is the notion of the singularity, a technological state where man seems redundant, yet through his or her efforts, progress is made regards understanding and the future of the human race based on a reliance on technology, seeming as a culmination in one state or form.

For example in Forbidden Planet (1956) a long lost alien civilisation called The Krull, develop a vast machine designed to create a world without instrumentality, at the same time tapping into the subliminal conscious, releasing real life monsters from the id. In 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968) the 9000 series computer HAL kills all the crew on a mission to discover an arcane symbol of alien life, at the same time offering a vision of death, and the potential of eternity. In Alien (1979) the on board computer Mother, puts human life at risk in order to preserve an alien species that may potentially be used in warfare. In Transcendence (2012) the consciousness of a scientist is uploaded to a mainframe computer called PINN, seeming to offer the potential for a benevolent hybrid form, but in fact establishes a subjugating dominance.

In this paper, I discuss these four films, establishing a theoretical model that frames the notion of a post human consciousness, relative to the disembodied computer mainframe, seeming like a queer singularity or queer consciousness.

Source: Manual