Mass Media and the postmodern urban experience. From Metropolis to Blade Runner; from cinema to virtual reality
Keywords:Videogames, Cyberpunk, Science Fiction, Alien, Simulation, Schizophrenia
Since their inception in the XIX Century, mass media have been crucial in shaping the image of the urban environment on our collective subconscious. In the early 20th Century, newspapers and magazines bustled with exacerbated but fascinating images of the city of the future, which appeared as hyperbolic portrayals of the perception that the contemporary citizen had of his own effervescing modern environment. Cinema soon joined this process, as a privileged, mechanical eye that could record, analyse and reinvent the accelerated modern city and its evolution. Fritz Lang’s Metropolis (1926) epitomized the powers of the new medium, providing the viewers with a window that allowed them to see this Lacanian Other come alive, somehow encapsulating their own experience of the new urban reality. Over half a century later films such as Alien (1979) and Blade Runner (1982) took the torch as fictional future representations of postmodern space that provided the postmodern citizen with a suitably hyper-real substitute of reality. Three decades after that, the videogames and virtual reality experiences based on those very films promise to break the final barrier, allowing us to cross to the other side of the membrane, and freely move through that which is, literally, an augmented reality.
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