Tuesday, June 4, 2013

The Politics of Pacific Rim Part 2: The End of the Killer Robot in Pop Culture

It is fitting that the giant, slavering kaiju of Pacific Rim are biological in nature.  The true enemy of any city, after all, is its inevitable reclamation not by radical forms and alien architecture, but by natural forces.  Be they modernized desert paradises like Las Vegas and Abu Dubai facing looming water crisis or the ancient ruins of once huge population centers like western Illinois' Cahokia Mound, every city is eventually faced with the reality of its resource needs.  Pacific Rim is hardly the first recent science fiction story to preach transhumanism as a solution to the threats of biology.  It is, in fact, part of a continuing trend in popular fiction that recasts the once ominously robotic as the means of humanity's salvation. 

Monday, June 3, 2013

The Politics of Pacific Rim: Giant Robots and the transformative architecture of Lebbeus Woods

July 12 marks the release of Pacific Rim, the highly anticipated monster mash from director Guillermo del Toro.  The film envisions a "near future" in which invading monsters from beneath the Pacific do battle with towering metal robots called Jeagers.  Trailers promise both a healthy dose of ruin porn and the concept of machines melded with human consciousness, "Two pilots mind melding through memories with the body of a machine."