Becoming Posthuman in Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind: Exploring Cinematic Mediations of Memory and Technology

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Abstract

Utilising a critical posthumanist approach, this paper takes a renewed interest in the 2004 science fiction/romantic drama film Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind. To date, a posthumanist reading of the film has not yet been explored, despite a sizeable output of scholarship which discusses overlapping themes of human subjectivity and the embodiment of memory. Reframing these ideas through the lens of critical posthumanism provides new insight into Eternal Sunshine’s conflicted perspectives towards technology. This paper explores the tensions between the film’s humanist narrative, which suggests that the technological manipulation of memory is something to be deplored, and its cinematic operations, which recognise that technology is deeply embedded in the processes of understanding and constructing a sense of self. This paper reconsiders Eternal Sunshine’s ideas about what constitutes ‘human’ identity and seeks to show that they are more compatible with frameworks of critical posthumanism than they might initially seem.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)13-25
Number of pages13
JournalLimina: A Journal of Historial and Cultural Studies
Volume26
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 17 Dec 2020

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