21 Jul

The Healing Power of Randomness

The Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind is an ambivalent narrative.  The patterns of minds are mapped, but they are ultimately disrupted by an intentional randomness.  In fact, randomness is the method the characters use to "confuse" the computer as it erases their memories.   It is through the awareness of how patterns function and the creation of alternative non-narratives that technologies are altered. 

19 Jul

Surgical Solutions to Discontent

Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (Gondry, 2003) portrays a surgical solution to the problem of memory.  Seconds (Frankenheimer, 1966) is about a surgical solution to the problem of aging and identity.  Both depict a Frankenstein narrative, wherein human intervention in natural processes backfire and the discontented patient is left with even greater maladies of regret and terror.  But I wonder what these two films, back to back, say about the role of medicalization and scientific fixes in the 1960s and today.   I’m specifically interested in the representation of mind in Gondry’s film, and the representation of body in Frankenheimer’s.  In each case, one is separated from the other.  And in each case, serious consequences result.  What can be made of the differing views of science between these two periods and specifically the ability of human beings to interact and change the work of machines?