For Westworld‘s ‘Hosts’, what is the difference between a ‘lived’ experience–say, an interaction with a guest–and an implanted memory? Is the situation analogous to our own experiences of the world versus our experiences of media? Though, unlike the Hosts, we might consciously remember a certain experience of media as an experience of media, the choice of ‘experience’ in the noun phrase is equally meaningful. For fully immersive media, such as we might consider Westworld to its guests (virtual reality, of a kind), all the sensory details are there, no matter how synthetic they may be. In a movie theater, sight and sound are the focus, while the rest of the environment is darkened for better effect. And we love that. Especially in 3-D. But, for less immersive media, the rest of the environment is remembered in the experience only insofar as we ourselves pay attention to it. I can listen to a particular radio play, for instance, over and over again in a thousand different locations. I’ll know that story back to front, but will I remember every experience of it, everywhere I experienced it? Should I even be able to in justifiably valuing that overall experience of that story?
So, as The Vision in the MCU, Paul Bettany has been thoroughly motion captured. Any other issues aside, his likeness could be used indefinitely, in a wide range of capacities. Meanwhile, there’s been talk that Wonder Man, another Marvel superhero, will eventually by introduced as played by Nathan Fillion.
In the comic plots, Vision possessed some portion of Wonder Man’s consciousness.
So, what if we were to eventually get a CGI rendering of Paul Bettany, but motion-controlled based on a performance by Nathan Fillion? Which performer would ‘own’ what part of that performance and how would it potentially impact our own impressions of those two actors and the characters they were portraying as independent/inter-related? How would the performers end up relating to one another? Would Fillion be playing Bettany just by looking like him, even if he were playing as Wonder Man?
Recently excised from the ‘What’s in a Name?’/’Identity Crisis’/??? subsection of Chapter 2. Clipped for being wordy, jargony, and too on-the-nose. The Derrida ref didn’t help, even though I’m a Derridean:
Superman is weird because he seems so cleanly iconic but has so many different names!
 Superman, in his mediated status as a current pop culture figure, is an example of psycho-socio-historical, imaginative, often explicitly narrativized discourse. But this is where naming becomes qualitatively distinct from categorization or even definition, for, despite all the complexity of that string of adjectives, what more contextualized material–such as feelings or prioritized memories that reinforce the trace of the character–do we call up for ourselves in the utterance of his name? ‘This looks like a job for Superman!’ Don’t you want to deepen your voice a bit as you say it?
“Some panels and pages [of some erotic comics, like the work of Molly Kiely and Colleen Coover] unfold like snapshots, gesturing at a larger hole that is unrepresented and perhaps unrepresentable.” -Lyndsay Brown, ‘Pornographic space-time and the potential of fantasy in comics and fan art’
My own question, then, isn’t whether unrepresentability is possible in the ways we communicate our narratives–especially our fictions–but how.
The real, in a Lacanian sense, is bigger than the sum total of human knowledge, if only by mass; we can at least know that what we don’t yet know is bigger than what we know, if only because we can see so many places, out in space, that we haven’t yet been able to visit. But language–human reality–gets the upper hand and becomes the predator, the master and quantifier of even the unknown, through that one little word, articulated whenever necessary: ‘yet’. Even if there is an infinitude that we don’t know, even that infinitude only ever gets smaller, since what we know generally only ever gets bigger.