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BLADE RUNNER

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Title: BLADE RUNNER


1
BLADE RUNNER
  • HUMANITY, PERCEPTION, AND CREATION

2
  • THE APEX OF CREATION
  • Blade Runner initiates with words, a view of the
    city, and an eye in a state of perceiving. We are
    told of the present condition of our societys.
    There now exists two distinct beings. Humanity
    and a genetically engineered species
    birthed-forth from our human mind,
  • a being virtually identical to a human - known
    as a Replicant.
  • The film Blade Runner is an ancient myth brought
    forth into modernity by Ridley Scotts vision it
    is the myth of Zeus and his child Athena
    conceived of and birthed from his own mind.
    Unlike Zeus, a god, we are human. Humanity
    tolerates and takes pride in our achievements
    only as far as we are not replaced by them.
  • These Replicants are perfect. Refined perfection
    guided by humanitys perceived emotional,
    intellectual, and physical inadequacies. Similar
    to modernist principles a Replicants physical
    and mental capacities are governed by their
    projected function.  

3
  • All Replicants are slaves to humanity and their
    individual functions are specific to them
    combat, labour, or pleasure. Humanity has the
    luxury of time to develop their position about
    where they stand in the world - our life is about
    process Perceiving and processing with our mind
    the accumulation of knowledge and experiences.
  • Replicants are innately embedded with their
    function and their pasts . Their memories are
    given to them by their creator.
  • Whereas Zeus nurtures his warrior daughter
    Athena, human society severs the cord and
    abandons our creations/children to the off-worlds
    to serve our own good.
  •  
  • Police Chief
  • They were designed to copy human beings in every
    way except their emotions, and the designers
    reckon that after a few years they might develop
    their own emotional responses- hate, love, fear,
    anger, envy- so they built in a fail safe device
  •  
  • Deckard
  • Which is what?
  •  
  • Police Chief
  • A four year life-span.

  A basic pleasure model.. The standard item for
military clubs in the off colony. -Police Chief
  REPLICANT DESIGNATION BATTY (ROY) NEXUS 6
N6MAA10816 INCEPT DATE 8 JAN., 2016 FUNC
COMBAT, COLONIZATION DEFENSE PROGRAM PHYS LEV A
MENT LEVEL A
4
  • Ridley Scott explores several universal
    philosophical questions regarding humanity. He
    concentrates on the specific act of perceiving
    and the relationship of perceiving and memory.
    Memory is defined in the film as a quality that
    is distinctly human, truly human. The film plays
    with the us, plays with the notions of perception
    and what is truthful perception or merely
    aesthetic. The Replicants are also in possession
    of imbedded memories or what is perceived to be
    memories by them. Life experiences are absorbed
    and a memory is generated whereby the Replicants
    begin to display emotions based on life
    experiences- similar to humans. What is left to
    distinguish us from them? Nothing. Humanity
    tempers the Replicants perfection by condemning
    them to a four year life-span. The Replicants
    remain a transient being/memory in the human
    world. Ridley Scott poses/reveals/explores what
    it means to be human and how do we stand as
    humans in the face of rapidly developing
    technologies?
  •  
  • Commerce is our goal here at Tyrell. More human
    than human is our motto.
  • -Tyrell

5
  • EAST MEETS WEST GLOBALIZATION AND THE COLLECTIVE
    MEMORY
  •  
  • Ridley Scott seamlessly collects and layers
    diverse and divergent forms of communication
    Art, architecture, music, photography, poetry. He
    generates through film a visual pastiche of our
    western collective memory. Like all societies our
    historical, cultural, and economic development is
    documented in these various forms of
    communication.
  •  
  • Our experience of architecture has become habit,
    a subconscious part of everyday life. Film has
    likewise become part of our subconscious memory,
    shading our impression of places we have never
    experienced and in many cases never will
    influencing to the point of dictating how we
    should feel, think and operate in a particular
    space.
  •  
  • When films are set in New York the background is
    so dominant, and so instantly recognizable, that
    it cannot help but become almost an honorary
    member acting to validate the plot. If this is
    true then how do audience members make the
    cognitive leap between what they see and what
    they understand?
  • -Natasha Higham

6
  •  
  • Cinematically Ridley Scott assembles these
    seemingly disparate forms of communication that
    act as signifiers and he asks the viewer to
    engage in thoughtful/truthful perception - active
    perception. He links the items together as
    collective signifiers. Their meanings unfold and
    surface relative to our knowledge and perception.
    Our individual knowledge regarding our collective
    societys history acts as a variable to which we
    as a viewer enter into the life of the movie.

7
  • THE OBVIOUS ABOUT FILM GENRE AND ITS CONSCIOUS
    SUBVERSION BY SIGNIFIERS-
  • CINEMATOGRAPHY
  •  
  • Film provides architecture with an outlet for
    realizing visions that can never exist and
    conjures up experience that in reality have not.
    As a two dimensional form, the freedom of
    expression is limitless because the economics,
    logistical, and legal constraints are no longer a
    burden. The creative process and hence cinema
    becomes an ideal medium created for utopian
    visions and different approaches to architectural
    design.
  • -Natasha Higham
  •  
  • The narratives physical landscape is set within
    the science fiction genre while the characters
    come alive within the genre of film noir. Ridley
    Scott vacillates between the two genres by his
    use of cinematography and the collection of
    signifiers. By juxtaposing the genres and
    signifiers he generates a tapestry of modern and
    post modern iconography. Our emotional
    attachments to/with the film and characters are
    heightened by these signifiers.
  •  
  • Cinematically each scene is presented as a series
    of focusing, similar to the operation of a human
    eye. Ridley Scott also plays between the
    collective i.e. the city- represented in the
    sci-fi landscapes to the relationship of the
    protagonist the individual within this
    collective and his mission that is set in the
    film noir genre.

8
  • AN EXAMPLE
  •  
  • INDIVIDUAL TO COLLECTIVE
  • Deckard is on his way to the Tyrell
    Co-corporation in the Spinner police car. We fly
    across this horizontal landscape of Los Angeles
    2019 towards the monolithic deconstructed Mayan
    temple that houses the Tyrell Corporation. The
    only aspect of Los Angeles that we understand
    from the present day city is the horizontality
    and the abstracted idea of the free way by the
    signified flying vehicles. Ridley Scott then
    focuses in and juxtaposes Deckards facial
    expressions- his perceiving of this
    science-fiction landscape we are not sure if he
    is in wonder or utter detachment, if he is
    hesitant about the landscape or about his
    mission. We do recognize that he is a man and we
    empathize with him as a viewer as we are aware
    that he is reluctant to be on this mission.
  •  

9
  • COLLECTIVE TO INDIVIDUAL
  • The viewer is focused closer.
  •  
  • We are now within the heavy walls of the Tyrell
    Corporation. Repetitious stamped concrete
    patterns which symbolize infinity are imbedded
    into the walls.The stamps are from a house
    designed by Frank Lloyd Wright for Ennis-Brown
    in southern California. The house adapted
    concrete to the surrounding rugged topography. He
    designed the house for a client who shared his
    affinity for Mayan art and architecture drawing
    upon the inspiration of the culture's highly
    ornamented and organized buildings. The
    iconography is there, but this certainly is not
    Los Angeles.
  • Rachael a Replicant a product of this highly
    organized and specialized company emerges from
    the cavernous womb of the room between several
    classically positioned signifiers. The
    signifiers all indicate power. Several of the
    signifiers relate to past conquests of nations
    against one another. Nations that had dabbled in
    genetic engineering experiments. The Tyrell
    Corporation is the apex of organic reproduction.
    Man as God. The power of man to control nature
    and so signifiers such as the bonsai located on
    the board room table and the owl are not
    coincidental.

10
  • Ridley Scott engages the viewer with the
    exquisite Replicant Rachael who wears 40s
    clothing of the film noir era. She is a woman of
    the time. Visually he makes us believe that she
    is the classic femme fatale.
  • She captivates and seduces the viewer along with
    Deckard. Unlike the typical film noir, she
    becomes the metaphor for his spiritual awakening.
    Deckard rediscovers his humanity through the
    other through a machine Eventually he realizes
    that regardless of their beginnings they both
    desire and possess the same needs in life.
  • Tyrell emerges with thick spectacles, he is the
    father of creation. Ridley Scott moves in
    further. We are a direct witness into the eyes
    of the Replicant. We watch as Rachael is examined
    by the Voight Kampff test and indirectly we too
    are subject to the same emotional test as the
    Replicant. By the end of the scene we are sitting
    at the table with the characters.
  • We empathize with Rachael who is unaware of her
    un-humanness and we empathize with Deckard who
    not only was reluctant to retire the Replicants
    but has now become visibly taken, emotionally
    taken, with Rachael. Deckard undergoes a
    spiritual crisis. He understands that she is
    unaware of not being truly human, biologically
    human. He struggles to remain detached from this
    finding. Disturbingly, she reacts very humanly
    she is visibly upset, confused, and ashamed
    particularly when she is asked to leave the
    table. Who is more human at this point? Deckard,
    Rachael, Tyrell?

11
  •  COLLECTIVE TO INDIVIDUAL
  •  
  • The scene ends and we again travel across the
    city - over the horizontal landscape Ridley
    Scott recycles three diverse shots of the city
    throughout the film- The Coca-cola electronic
    board dominates an entire façade of a building.
    Architecture is replaced with commerce. The
    signage is similar to Times Square in New York
    except here there is no evidence of small
    businesses. The individual is no longer visible.
    Only large global corporations flourish
    coca-cola, pharmaceuticals. The city is
    familiar, we know coca-cola, but the scales and
    method of marketing are out of proportion to the
    signage we have today. The world of Blade Runner
    is accelerated signage finds the viewer and the
    city dwellers even when they are still.
  •   Ridley Scott maintains the series of signifiers
    at all cinematic scales and within each genre.
    What initially seems as a blurring is actually a
    method to clarify the narrative to the viewer.

12
  • Another example of signifiers that remain at a
    very small scale is illustrated within the
    collection of Lyons photographs that Deckard
    finds in the Yukon Hotel. One particular
    photographs pulls together several other
    signifiers to visually convey the Replicants
    emotional desire for domesticity.

13
  • Lyons photographs eventually get mixed in with
    Deckards own unclear history.
  • On a piano within his apartment Deckard pins up
    Lyons photos. Lyons photos lie across Deckards
    photographs of his own ancestry. Up until this
    point his apartment had no indication of domestic
    living. The piano humanizes Deckard. We are
    visually signified that he once had emotions. The
    film replaces the standard hearth with a piano.
    The piano metaphorically signifies the marriage
    of the individual and the collective within a
    finite
  • space A collective memory of family and
    gathering, A place of joy , A place of intimacy.
  • It is in this metaphoric space where Deckard
    intuitively observes the same level of
    domesticity within one of Lyons photographs. He
    places the photo into the Esper scientific eye
    viewing machine which makes a very particular
    sound similar to a camera shutter not the
    futuristic sound one might anticipate with new
    technology. The Esper has the ability to
    interpret vocal commands and to respond using
    emissions of high frequency sounds. The Esper
    provides tri-dimensional analysis of high
    resolution photographs. It has the capacity to
    detect hidden physical planes that are not
    visible on the photographic surface.
  • The overall photo is a mish-mash of paintings
    by Vermeer and Jacques Louis David. Vermeer is a
    Dutch painter re-known for his interior
    landscapes of the daily lives of Dutch people.
    Everyday scenes where the smallest tasks of
    everyday life are glorified and revered painted
    with softness and intimacy. They depict the
    absolute universal joy of life in the most
    mundane of moments. Vermeer also used a pin-hole
    camera to frame compositions to paint. Images
    recorded with the camera often showed
    discrepancies in scale similar to the ones found
    in his paintings. His fluid, painterly treatment
    can be compared to the unfocused appearance of an
    image seen through such an optical device. His
    method was unconventional, painters of the time
    relied on live models. What the viewer perceives
    to be direct representations are in fact indirect
    - Vermeer is a perceptual forge. The paintings
    are subtle and full of signifiers that people
    would readily relate to during the 17th and 18th
    centuries.
  • Ironically it is the Replicants who are found
    in these photos, they have posited themselves in
    historical depictions of humanity. To be caught
    on film in such intimate settings is indicative
    of the sophistication of their own emotions. The
    photo documents offer proof that the Replicants
    have tasted domesticity the mundane repetition
    of daily life.

14
  • As with any race that has lived under tyranny and
    slavery, eventually they rebel this is the
    human spirit.
  • Like any lost or abandoned child, they return to
    search for their roots, their beginnings, the
    meaning of their life.

15
  • FILM NOIR, LOVE AND LOVE
  •  
  • Ridley Scott skews an already known film typology
    in order to frame the known against the unknown.
    Philosophical problems are amplified when human
    emotions are involved. Emotions and passion are
    always generated with romance. He is aware that
    the viewer is familiar with this genre and so we
    are unconsciously guided to question what is
    love.
  • The narrative and host of characters within the
    film are typical of film noir with the
    hard-boiled gritty private eye, the wealthy
    ruler, the deviants of society, and the femme
    fatale.
  • Right and wrong, bad guy and good guy are
    typically clear in film noir The criminal
    deserves it for doing wrong and the protagonist
    has no problem in intervening as it serves the
    common good. Good and bad in Blade Runner is
    totally blurred. The introduction of ethics set
    against the continuous eternal question of What
    it means to be human complicates Deckards
    mission. As the Replicants continuously
    demonstrate their capacity for human emotion
    primarily because of Rachael his ability to
    retire the skin jobs is compromised.
  • Romance emotionally calls upon the viewer to
    perceive and believe that the Replicants are
    human despite the foreign world they inhabit.
    Ridley Scott is clever in seducing and appealing
    to the emotions of the viewer in this subversive
    way.

16
  • Ridley signifies the Marlows, the Bogarts, even
    the expressionism of Dr. Caligari as a means of
    mediation between the viewer and the
    protagonists inner world.

17
  • Deckard is quite cold and emotionless. He remains
    distant from life. His detachment is emphasized
    with his close affiliation with booze. His
    apartment is an inanimate extension of his
    spiritual psyche, specifically his dislike of
    society. In opposition to him stands Roy Batty, a
    Replicant, who is the emotional tenor throughout
    the film. Roy actively and persistently wills
    for life, a longer life.
  • As a result of Roys commitment to willing, his
    actions may not have always been good. He
    understands that his actions did not conform to
    human civil societies laws and customs.
  • Roy reveals a conscience by his spoken
    confession. A conscience understands what society
    considers to be right and wrong. He states that
    during his life he has done questionable things
    but he also understands that he has been treated
    inhumanely despite being created as more human
    than human. Philosophically, he is the authentic
    being and Nietzsches mad man His sense of
    self preservation, His love for Pris, His seeking
    out of Tyrell his father are all demonstrative
    of his humanity.
  •  
  •  

18
  • At the end of his life Roy displays the most
    enlightened and transcendent of all human
    emotions, compassion . He raises Deckard using
    the hand he had speared to prolong its use.
    Through this act of forgiveness Roy is
    transformed into a Christ-like figure. Roy
    professes his sadness regarding the temporality
    of his perceptions, experiences, memory, and
    life. His absolute love for life allows him to
    experience death so profoundly. His final words
    to Deckard are given in the highest form of human
    prose - poetry.

19
  • LOS ANGELES NOVEMBER 2019
  •  
  • The city of Los Angeles 2019 now supports a
    population of 90 million. The urban landscape is
    totally synthetic and has suffered urban decay
    through the economic pitfalls of globalization.
    The rich have moved completely out of the city or
    to off-worlds. Ridley Scott takes a familiar
    place, the city of Los Angeles, and
    hypothetically subjects it to the economic,
    social, and cultural implications of
    globalization. What ever we know of present day
    Los Angeles is buried under a global lens. The
    city of 2019 is a city of contradiction. Visual
    layering of architectural typologies and
    artifacts from various cultural histories create
    the contradictory future-memory of a globalized
    world.
  • During the 1980s the United States suffered
    considerable economic paranoia with the rise of
    the Japanese economy. The bill boards signify
    this paranoia and is doubly amplified with the
    futuristic Japanese models consuming
    pharmaceuticals with a smile.
  • The Los Angeles 2019 he depicts has no evidence
    of decaying bungalows, sandy beaches, or the
    green hills that we know it for today. The
    middle-class suburbs have been overtaken by the
    city. The ethnicity of the inhabitants generate
    a sub-commentary regarding the American dream.

20
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21
  • The overall city presented has modern elements
    of Le Corbusiers radiant city. He then
    interjects the formality with the complexity of
    post modernist ideals, specifically, the ideas of
    Venturi. A particular idea is the understanding
    of the complexity of a city. That individual
    structures can remain autonomous within the
    complexity of an organic urban city scape. Ridley
    Scott interjects The Bradbury hotel, Union
    Station, and the Yukon hotel which are New York
    city icons into his vision of Los Angeles. The
    city blocks of living towers seem to be part of a
    functional and rigorous city plan, but as one
    descends into the streets we find that they are
    not the efficient channels for automobile traffic
    that Le Corbusier envisioned but a densely
    populated pedestrian core that seethes with
    post-capitalist vendors, restaurants, and ethnic
    markets. This street level is very similar to New
    York, not Los Angeles.
  • This future city has adopted to the transactions
    of a populus whose cultures extend beyond the
    bounds of architecture. The futurist city can not
    accommodate the rigidity of modernism, instead it
    folds and unfolds with the meeting of east and
    west.
  •   
  • I took the two world trade towers in New York
    City and the New York street proportions as a
    today model, and expanded everything vertically
    about two and a half times. This inspired me to
    make the bases of the buildings sloping to cover
    about six city blocks, on the premise that you
    needed more ground access to the building mass.
  • -Syd Mead

22
  • PHYSICAL AND META-PHYSICAL RECYCLING
  •  
  • Literature and economics inform the cyclical
    imagery, sound, and text.
  • Blade Runner is loosely affiliated with the novel
    Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep by Philip K.
    Dick. His theories regarding temporality and
    cyclical states are to be found in several other
    of his other writings. In this novel he speaks
    about the repetition of escaping the city for new
    land that this generates an endless cycle within
    the human psyche and city.
  • Economics is stated in the directors own words
  •  
  • Were in a city which is in a state of overkill,
    of snarled up energy, where you can no longer
    remove a building because it costs far more than
    constructing one in place. So the whole economic
    process is slowed down.
  • -Ridley Scott
  •  
  • The imagery, sound, and text recycle throughout
    the film. There are several ideas and associative
    theories that are derived from the film The idea
    of recurrence, Serendipity, Quantum physics, The
    cycling of time, Recycling.

23
  • The production of the movie adopted recycling to
    reduce cost. The director was forced to use the
    Bradbury buildings. The cost was lower to use an
    existing building that was to undergo renovation
    that constructing a set within a city. Ridley
    Scott recycled several elements from his and
    other films also. Recycling is a factor of
    economics. The film itself is recycled cinema.
    The futuristic buildings within the film which
    are actually existing are covered in external
    piping and systems as a means of re-use for the
    large futuristic city. The ironic return to the
    foundings of architecture, Mayan civilizations,
    in a futuristic society
  • Post-Ford industries and economics are foreseen
    and represented as production business. The
    farming out of Replicant industries to ethnic
    vendors as a means of reducing cost. Similar to
    after-market industries today, they recycle parts
    from the Tyrell corporation or generate parts for
    existing products.
  • Living amongst and creating out of the refuse we
    find characters who not only depend on the waste,
    they are as much a product of it such as J.F.
    Sebastian. His accelerated death is a result of
    the post-modern condition.
  • Cinematically Ridley re-hashes the scenes of the
    electronic blimp and electronic building façade
    as a means of retaining the viewer in a
    visual/temporal cyclical limbo, for it would
    seem impossible that after being presented with
    the enormous landscape in the first scene we
    would find ourselves repositioned in front of the
    same icons?

24
  • The themes of recycling also find themselves in
    the smaller scale ideas of serendipity or déjà
    vu that the viewer perceives yet does not fully
    comprehend
  • Deckards newspaper he reads prior to
    confronting Zhora is Lyons drawer liner at the
    Yukon hotel A 17th century camera oscura that
    captures the Replicants who are then divulged
    from a tri-dimensional lens. Pictures that are
    within pictures.
  • The film ends with the recycling and
    questioning of Deckards own authenticity. The
    police chiefs assistant recycles discarded items
    to into sculptural origami pieces, iconographic
    images of each scene. Initially, the chief of
    police validates Deckards position in the global
    hierarchy by referring to him as a little man.
    After Deckard completes his mission, we view the
    chiefs assistant who congratulates Deckard by
    telling him he has done a mans job.
  •  
  • Is this statement a conscious repetition or a
    distortion of the statement through a temporal
    cycle?
  •  
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