City Tech, Fall 2016

Author: Ruben De La Cruz (Page 1 of 3)

Ruben De La Cruz- Final Write Up

Hey all, in this project the main focus is to study how Science fiction film explores the idea that people suffer from a limited perception reality through dream sequences. This paper looks into various things like setting, dialogue and other sources in order to see what they portray about perceiving reality. This paper creates its claims by first answering  what is simulation? what is dreaming? and how do they relate? The reason being that many films portray these two experiences as very similar. This paper also researches the various connections films go into in order to portray simulation as though it were dreaming.

The films used in this paper is a list of five which include Lathe Of Heaven, Inception, Total Recall, Avatar and The Matrix.¬†Each film was hand picked for this due to the fact that they all show various examples of dream like sequences and how they effect the main characters of their films. What’s interesting about this list is that each film holds its place in science fiction, each film also tackles various different plots and or issues making it a very diverse collection to look at. The secondary sources are very interesting to, one is a book called Science Fiction Philosophy which presents a¬† large collection of philosophical works that connect to science fiction.

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The second book is called Terminal Identity, which was very helpful when trying to find various definitions on how and what simulation is. Dreams on film was another book that discusses how films use dream sequence and it critically analyzes a variety of dreams shown on films. Some excerpts from Descartes’s¬†meditations were used since they were the basis of allot of¬† Cartesian doubt, which is a recurring theme in¬†this essay that must be explained. An article called Simulacra and science fiction was used in order to explore how science fiction portrayal of simulation, dreams, imaginary etc. can¬† be understood. It makes claims on how the real and false should be understood. Lastly¬† two definitions from Merriam Webster’s dictionary in order to begin¬†start of on the research.

By the end of this paper readers should have a better understanding on how films use dream sequences in order to  retell many philosophical theories.

 

The progress blog of dreams!

Hey again! Currently my Archive project seems to be headed somewhere. While I am not signed of just yet I feel I have a more understandable research question. My Goal is to understand how Science Fiction film uses dream like sequences in order to discuss philosophical views on reality and perception. Some things I have to clarify beforehand is the differences within simulation, dreaming and how they relate. My research will eventually show that in Sci-Fi film there are examples of characters who suffer from a limited perception of reality due to simulation and dreaming.

The five featured films that will serve as my primary source will be ‚ÄúAvatar‚ÄĚ, ‚ÄúThe Matrix‚ÄĚ, ‚ÄúInception‚ÄĚ, ‚ÄĚThe Lathe of Heaven‚ÄĚ and ‚ÄúTerminator 2 Judgment Day‚ÄĚ. These films all show examples of dream sequences and dream like sequences involving simulation. The first part of this research project will involve a lot of research of my secondary sources, primarily ‚ÄúDream, Vision or Fantasy?‚ÄĚ and ‚ÄúDreams on Film: The Cinematic Struggle between Art and Science. Jefferson‚ÄĚ. ¬†While studying I hope to further my understanding on how these films use visual and sound elements to juxtapose different parts of the film. I plan on researching the undertones and metaphorical use of these specific scenes in order to better understand what is being conveyed.

The second part of my film involves using all of my research in order to better understand many terms like vision, dreams, simulation, reality, and images and begin understanding why humans suffer from having a limited perception of reality. I will connect my finding to my featured primary sources in order to understand how they connect to the many philosophical questions on what it means to be alive, simulated whether its false or real. After this part of my project I and any viewer should have an understanding on how science fiction features the many philosophical issues of reality perception.

Work Cited

Avatar. Dir. James Cameron. Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment, 2010.

Inception. Dir. Christopher Nolan. Warner Home Video, 2010. Film.

Matrix. Dir. Lana Wachowski and Lilly Wachowski. Warner Home Video, 1999. Film.

Terminator 2 Judgment Day. Dir. James Cameron. 1991. Film.

The Lathe of Heaven. Prod. Fred Barzyk and David R. Loxton. PBS, 1980.

These will all be my primary sources for when looking into what I want to   research specifically. They are all Science Fiction films, and hold many scenes  with dream sequences.

Rabin, Staton. ‚ÄúDream, Vision, or Fantasy?‚ÄĚ Script Magazine. Scriptmag.com, 7 March 2012. Web.

This is an article from script magazine. the writer Staton Rabin has allot of experience working for Warner brothers and other big producing companys, she also has a good understanding on how dream sequences work in scripts.

She closely analyzes the tropes of Dreams, Visions and fantasy, which helps me find the distinction between those two. My project looks at allot of dream sequences, but not every example shown is an actual dream, therefore I must     first begin understanding the different types of dreams in films. Staton also explain the roles many of these dreams have in order to look at how they affect a     films narrative.

Baudrillard, Jean, and Arthur B. Evans. ‚ÄúSimulacra and Science Fiction (Simulacres Et Science-fiction).‚ÄĚ JSTOR.org. N.p., Nov. 1991. Web.

In this article found it informs us on the many definitions involved with Simulacra and or simulation. The article makes the connections to dreaming, simulation and      Cyber perception.

This article can further my understanding on how science fiction explores perception of reality. But instead of only focusing on the dreamer, it takes a more philosophical role explaining the perspective of just being alive, and the purposes of simulation.

Bukatman, Scott. Terminal Identity: The Virtual Subject in Postmodern Science Fiction. Durham: Duke UP, 1993. Print.

This book explores many concepts of science fiction, it goes into different movies, settings and characteristics. There is an emphasis in the book describing the perspective of cyborgs, robots and cyberspace.

This book can help me broaden my horizon in perspective so that I’m not focusing entirely on the dreaming aspect, but also how dreaming is a form of living and experiencing.

Schneider, Susan. Science Fiction and Philosophy: From Time Travel to Superintelligence. Chichester, U.K.: Wiley-Blackwell, 2009. Print.

This book here goes into the many details of philosophical connections on understanding reality through science fiction. While reading the table of content you see that the author has made many connections to Cartesian theory and the metaphysics.

This book can further strengthen my arguments when I try to understand how sci-fi is a modern day retelling of many philosophical ideas.

Grimshaw, Mark. The Oxford Handbook of Virtuality. Oxford: Oxford UP, 2014. Print.

This book takes on the approach of trying to decipher what it means to live inside of another realty. It touches upon philosophical views while making its own claims, for example in some paragraphs it argues how living in a virtual reality can be viewed as the same as living outside in a normal realm.

This book here will help me further my argument of having a limited perception of reality and how characters in sci-fi cope with it.

Halpern, Leslie. Dreams on Film: The Cinematic Struggle between Art and Science. Jefferson, NC: McFarland, 2003. Print

This book makes many claims on a variety of Science fiction films, showing interesting points in the narrative and characterization of various films.

This book will allow me to observe various films and how they are analyzed allowing me to do more precise research, also some of my primary sources are briefly mentioned giving me more insight.

Keeping history in city tech

Hey all, I hope your all having a fantastic weekend and are progressing well in your archive projects. So this week we took a very early tour of the science fiction archive in city tech’s library. We got to meet Proffesor Ellis again as he described the proccess of creating the archive.

Appently it all started when an old mentor of Proffesor Ellis offerd him a vast collection of science fiction novels, magazines and books as long as they were kept safely. I wasnt impressed until he got into explaining the proccess of moveing a collection of over sixty boxes of literature, then storeing them in the proffesor’s¬†office, then moveing all of the books onto the library shelves and meticulously organizieng them. With the help of aproximtley three other proffesors he was able to also oraganize and put all of the books into a database. Let me reiterate that Proffesor Ellis took hundreds of books and put all of its information onto a compter and while¬†walking inside of that archive you will be overwhlmed with the sheer vast of books, let alone how long it will take to oganize those books.

Walking through the archive I really enjoed seeing the shelves and how much history they hold, what really caught my attention was the amazing book covers. Allot of these story’s are from the fortys to the early two thousands and you see an old school aestethic with the art. What also caught my interest were some of the old school science fiction magazines which have lots of art. I asked Proffesor Ellis what most of these science fiction magazines held, they had short stories, editiorials and factual science articles. So back in the day people would read their stories and learn, I wonder if I can find anything like that these days.

The goal of the archive is to get City tech students inside and learning about this genre. Scifi has a very long history, and this is a small slice of it, one which no one can just read quickly. Eventualy we can use this archive to conduct in depth research when working on projects and or finding interesting stories to read. Im currently transfferring to Hunter but I hope to still have access to this amazing room, I can find new stories, books and expand my understanding of science fiction. Anyone who hasnt been there, or anyone who is a fan of fiction in general should come check it out, you will be amazed an will want to read everybook on the shelves.

Dreaming in Science Fiction

Hey again! In this proposal I am still working on understanding what are the functions and reasons for dreams in science fiction films. Before I even begin researching what these dreams represent I feel it is necessary to look into what dreams can mean outside of film. An article from Psychology Today explains that some of theories to dreaming suggest they are a component for short and long term memory production, an extension of our subconscious reflecting on real life, or a form in which the mind creates challenging or desirable scenarios in order to successfully cope and maintain a healthy mental state. While dreaming might have many beneficial effects in our daily lives, we never seem to think much about them, regularly we tend to forget our dreams minutes after we wake up.¬†In science fiction films that doesn’t happen, dreams suddenly become plot tools which helps the narrative or gives us insight to some character.¬†My current plan is to review five films Avatar,Inception, The Matrix, Terminator 2 Judgment day and The Wizard of Oz. I might add one or two more films but currently I am sticking with these, my plan is to analyze specific scenes which show features of dreaming, dream scenes and what it represents. The end goal here is that I want to see how Science Fiction Films use dreaming in order to build their stories and how there dreams can relate to ours.

What I first plan to do is ask how do dreams in science fiction film reflect to dreams in real life ? By doing this I plan on further researching the effects that dreams have on people in real life. I want to relate it to the many character we see in these films, in Terminator 2 we see an example of a recurring nightmare, I want to understand how similar it is to real life nightmare and how showing the dream helps us understand its character.

The second feature I want to explore in this project is the use of setting within the dream. In my opinion if the dream is given a few minutes, dialogue and there is a huge focus on the visualization of the dream it has to be important, it just wouldn’t make sense to waste time and money on a scene. To add, the dream scene from Terminator 2 shows a lot of interesting insight on the character, what she visualizes, what she experiences within and outside of the dream. With some of the other films I plan on looking at subtle details, in order to find small nuances that juxtapose with reality, hopefully I can further my argument on how dreams can be used as a tool.

The third and last thing I plan to explore is the strange effect we see when science fiction begins messing with dreams. In many of the films I have brought up, dreams seem to hold the answer to how we perceive reality. For example in Inception, Avatar and The Matrix we are shown clear examples of dream like scenarios that tend to drastically change the point of view of the protagonist. I want to further my research within reality perception and how dreams disturb them. I personally feel that science fiction film uses dreaming as a modern way of retelling Cartesian doubt, therefore I hope to relate this towards Decart’s work on the Meditation on First Philosophy where he discusses doubting reality or ¬†as some might call it the dream argument. ¬†I want to look for the similarity in Descarte’s research and see if they correlate as well.

Reflection 

So far i feel some more research but I feel more grounded.  I think I want further explore some philosophical writers in order to make some stronger claims, and i could add another film maybe i will discuss how one scene from Blade runner completely changes how some people view the film. In total I now believe that I am researching how Science Fiction today questions reality by discussing the relevance it shares with dreaming, the importance of the dream and how characters reflect on these experiences.

Work Cited

Breus, Michael J., PH.D. “Why Do We Dream?” Psyclogy Today (2015): n. pag. Web.

Descartes, Rene√ƬĀ, and Ian C. Johnston. Meditation on First Philosophy: In Which the Existence of God and the Difference between the Human Soul and Body Are Demonstrated. Arlington, VA: Richer Resources Publications, 2012. Print.

Avatar. Dir. James Cameron. Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment, 2010.           

Inception. Dir. Christopher Nolan. Warner Home Video, 2010. Film.           

Matrix. Dir. Lana Wachowski and Lilly Wachowski. Warner Home Video, 1999. Film.           

Terminator 2 Judgment Day. Dir. James Cameron. 1991. Film.           

Wizard of Oz. Dir. Victor Flemming, Mervin Le Roy, King Vidor, George Cukor, and Norman Taurog. MGM/UA, 1939. Film. 

Sleeping then dreaming, are now tools

 Hey all! For this proposal I will be doing a new topic that I feel is more specific, relevant to what we have done in class and is something I would like to apply in my writing.  My plan is to inform you all on the importance of dreaming? Dreams are very interesting in our society, many take a Freudian stance to it and feel that dreams are a way for our subconscious to speak out to us, while others state it’s just a simple mixture of images and emotions our brain seems to mix up for any plethora of reasons. Whatever the case may be dreaming holds a huge impact in fiction all throughout history. Often times we see dreams hold the secrets to seeing the future, or seeing the truth to what a character really desires. For this research project I will be using only films, and how they present dreaming.The fact that dreams can be so deceiving and feels realistic makes them very memorable to us, but in science fiction they suddenly become tools given to us by the writer for a plot mover or insight into a character. In film dreams are given a setting and sound making them more important to the viewer, because of this dreams can be considered medium for the writer to focus on a single aspect of the film and make a stronger effect. We also see something strange where character tend to simulate dream like experience while being awake, I would further my argument by saying that mere action of dreaming always holds an importance into a story.

The first two films I plan on presenting is The Matrix and James Cameron’s Avatar. I find these films interesting because it involves their character’s plugging into a device and entering a dream like state. Of course in Avatar and the matrix we know they aren’t dreaming but entering a machine. Both of these movies have the characters closing their eyes and laying still as they lose control of their physical bodies, we also see their eyes move similar as to REM sleeping. Both movies use this effect to touch upon how easy it is too confusing reality. I currently plan on using the original source material, and finding scenes where characters highlight what it feels like entering this dream state. In Avatar I will talk about the main character’s journey as he enters the Navi and how he uses it as an escape from his original body. While the Matrix focuses on the confusing aspects of what is real, like dealing with real consequences for example, death in a simulated reality. Both of the stories have used the qualities of having a dream to further the character’s journey in each film.

The second emphasis I hope to bring in my research is how characters’ use dreams as an escape. The first film that comes to mind is inception, the main characters discuss entering the dream like state as exhilarating, they are able to warp reality in order to create their very own worlds, then we see the effects it has when one starts to mix it with reality. The main character here shows a serious amount of grief as he constantly throws memories of his dead wife into the dream and begins to forget whether he is dreaming or not. The film highlights dreaming so much that many fans begin to lose grasp on what is a dream or not and having to accept reality for what it is. The film never gives a clear answer to what is real but focuses on this mysterious fear the characters must deal with the entire way. The second film that uses this is the Wizard of Oz. The story is very strange as the viewers realize at the end it was all a dream yet it felt so real. Watching the main character Dorothy run away from home and escape in this illusion serves many purposes an escape, a lesson, a manifestation of her nightmare/fears, but going through this dream seems to have helped her in the long run. In Terminator 2 we do see a dream sequence where one of the characters sees the future. The setting is in an asylum where the character is torture and wants to escape. This dream could serve the purpose of escape but also serve for the viewer to understand her state of mind and purpose in the film.

To conclude, I will watch certain scenes of the film the capture the essence of dreams to further develop my arguments, but I believe that by studying how dreams are highlighted we can better understand any story we see especially in science fiction.

 

Bibliography

Avatar. Dir. James Cameron. Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment, 2010.           

Inception. Dir. Christopher Nolan. Warner Home Video, 2010. Film.           

Matrix. Dir. Lana Wachowski and Lilly Wachowski. Warner Home Video, 1999. Film.           

Terminator 2 Judgment Day. Dir. James Cameron. 1991. Film.           

Wizard of Oz. Dir. Victor Flemming, Mervin Le Roy, King Vidor, George Cukor, and Norman Taurog. MGM/UA, 1939. Film.           

 

Reflection

So originally my main idea was to focus on the relationship science fiction stories had with the time of setting they were being made. The initial problem that was noted was that it was to generic, I could not find a way to comfortably scope on this issue and I couldn‚Äôt find out a way to answer to the ‚ÄúSo what?‚ÄĚ of finding my thesis. So in order to scope I decided that I wanted to focus on films specifically, then the idea of confusing reality due to perspective. I am still on the BladeRunner bandwagon and am thinking allot about what it means to be alive so I really felt like writing about it.

I then began asking myself about Sleeping and Dreaming in order to try and understand how science fiction films highlight. Immediately I thought about Inception and The Matrix. Inception highlights the idea of dreaming to focus on its themes of world distortion and I found that to be one of the most important aspects of the film. While The Matrix uses simulation and makes many analogies to dreaming in order to further its theme of ‚ÄúFalse and True‚ÄĚ. One thing I do find interesting is that the Matrix does what I call, ‚ÄúDream Simulation‚ÄĚ. Dream simulation happens when the film creates an event that is dream like, but the character is fully aware and in control that their perception is created through technology. Often times this creation highlights a sense of confusion when identifying true or false in a character.

`It became my goal to explore how dreams are shown in science fiction texts specifically. I hope to teach all of us how dreams were highlighted and why we should pay attention to dreaming. I feel that if someone were to say ‚ÄúSo what?‚ÄĚ I could respond with dreams in Science fiction are important because that character is currently giving us insight to their mind. Because a dream is given setting, content and relevance to the plot it is automatically a part of the narrative and us the viewer must give it more focus on how it is narrated, reacted too and what we the viewer can learn from it.

 

 

 

The future is now! Draft….

I would like to propose the idea of researching a plethora of settings in science fiction and their authors in order to understand how they came to the conclusion of their world. To explain one of the key aspects I find most interesting in science fiction is the setting and use of technology. We now understand that in science fiction there is a use of extrapulation, speculation and estrangement. So when reading science fiction the year of publication matters since it warps the books use of technology, characters and sometimes political events.

The idea originally came from when I watched ¬†Bade Runner the film, its cyberpunk/ Asian aesthetic really got me thinking ” Why would the future look like that?” The setting looked very strange, crowded and dangerous, so I quickly began thinking what where they thinking in 1982. I’m not saying I don’t like the setting but I am curious about its inspiration. When we read “Do androids dream of Electric sheep?” we saw a exrapulated world from america in 1968, ¬†“Brave New world” is from Europe of 1932. These two books offer a much different world when comparing them side by side, they also offer different issues, I want to learn how the word around these authors manipulated there influence to create this type of setting and story.

I would also like to further my research into various other films and work from different time periods. The matrix, The Hunger Games series. Currently i am still deciding what other stories I should consider for this research but I hope to pick one major film or book for each decade. Like i said I hope that by the end of this project I can successfully explain how a persons surrounding will directly inspire there work, and possibly explain how its happened in our past using various films and movies.

Note’s 11/3/16

Hey all, here the class notes today. We began with  with a discussion on the  Blade Runner from our previous worksheet on Tuesday. We split into groups of three and worked for approximately twenty five minutes.

After our group we had a critical discussion with the class and learned some new terms.

Vocabulary:

Chiaroscuro is a technique seen in photography where some manipulates bright and dark lights in order to create a effect.\

Retrofitting is when someone takes old details or objects and makes it fit with something else. In this case for Blade Runner it would be the future.

We first started our discussion on question seven which asked about  the setting.

Question 7 Setting of “Blade Runner”

By using the setting certain scenes are able to heighten the feeling of crowdness and loneliness.

Because its so dark there is also an excess use of artificial light.

The constant rain and night creates a dark and morbid mood.

Tyrell’s home and building looks as though it were an Aztec or holy place. Symbolizing the importance he platys in the economy.

There is also a huge Asian aesthetic in the film.

The film also has a detective noir feel to it with the detective mystery involved.

Question 5 Symbolism of the eyes

We watched the first scene that focuses on the eyes, (bear with me) where Holden is performing the Voight Komp test on Leon. We have a weird action here where we the viewer watch through the camera Leon’s eye being watched ¬†through an artificial eye in order to detect falseness.

Next we look at the scene where Roy and Leon confront Chew. Roy has an Obsession with his eyes specifically. The eyes which gave him his memories are very dear to him. Because of this Roy values his life highly. When we think about Roy’s scene with Tyrell he gouges his eyes out. Some believe this action represent him judging their right to live.

Question 3 Tyrell and Roys Conversation

There is a significance in the idea of Roy talking to Tyrell since he is his father, creator and god. We then see Roy killing Tyrell implying that he is now killing god. We have a contrast on this scene where Tyrell is dressed in white seeming more holy, while Roy comes in dressed in black appearing very dark and asking for his life to be extended. I personally saw this as one of the steps to grief, since here Roy is trying to bargain for his death to happen much later.

What do you think of the ending?

Many found it strange that Roy would let Rick live. We began thinking what was Roy thinking? When he Put the nail through his head, was it a symbol of crucifixion or was he leveling the field since he injured Rick’s hand?

Roy then shared his story after seeing Rick almost fall to his death. By seeing Rick in fear and saving him he could have been sympathizing and chose to save him.

The unicorn

Some believe the unicorn could represent Ricks desire to be with Rachel. The unicorn represents this mythical dream he wants to capture. Wanting Rachel to live and be happy is impossible. at the end when Rick sees the origami unicorn we could imply that Rick has gotten his dream/unicorn and Rachel wont have to die.

Another theory  is that the unicorn implies that Rick is an android. The reason why is that Rick had a dream of a unicorn so why would Gaff coincidentally leave him a unicorn figure, unless he has access to his memories.

But if Rick is android lets ask ourselves, What does it matter? What does it change about the story? What is Ridley Scott trying to make us question about humanity?

Looking back…

Hey all, today I am here to reflect on my journey inside our Science Fiction literature class. Throughout the many blogs, short readings, two books, movies, quizzes and essay, I now feel as though I am adapting to the work load demanded in this setting. In the three years I have been city tech, I have always taken a English class each semester and this is the toughest one so far. It feels good to finally take a class I really like and actually have to put some effort into. Another key thing I like about this class is that most English majors i meet, or English professors never really  showed me any interest in science fiction, but i finally get to talk about a very fun topic in class and be taken seriously. Since I am young writer hoping to build on my skill I really take to heart all I have learned in this class, even though i still have long way to go still.

When the semester first began I think I was a little unprepared for the workload at first. In my experience with most English classes they never asked for much. Usually I would have a easy reading, maybe a book and a first draft for an essay. I always had an interest in reading so i could handle most stories and I never had a hard time starting an essay let alone writing so i never had to push myself. On my first day of class I realized that even if the work was not hard, I was gonna have allot added on to my plate, but i was not worried I was excited. It wasn’t until maybe a week or two in that I began thinking “I need to push myself and focus on making good quality work.” With that I can say I now analyze our readings more thoroughly. I constantly see myself now trying to focus on trying to formulate decent theme, which I might have to use in an essay or blog post. I noticed with some of my blogs, I really like to focus on characterization, personally I find it easier to build on themes etc, through the character and how they react to the world around them rather then tropes or symbolism’s. But maybe I should focus more on the setting next time it could help me grow.

Another issue which I have and have been working on is my grammar. Throughout my life I made a very bad habit of not proof reading my work, or making an effort to learn how write grammatically correct. Its embarrassing as writer to admit I have grammar, but I have been telling myself all year I want to improve and when I entered this class Professor Bellli made it clear I had to proofread. Looking back at some of my older blog posts I now feel embarrassed thinking ” How could I publish that” or ” yeesh you cant even understand what I meant”. Before I would ask some professors what can I do to improve my grammar they would say ” Just read”. While I do read pretty frequently on my free time I didnt find it fully helpful. Professor Belli’s advice for improving my grammar was to read my work out loud so that I can easily find the mistakes. This technique has been helping me allot, in class and outside of class. While doing my own work i See allot of ways i can better my writing and while doing blog posts I now end up reading each paragraph a multitude of times in order to find those embarrassing mistakes.

Now my understanding of Science Fiction has completely changed in this course. I don’t remember exactly how I explained it in the beginning of this semester, but I clearly got this genre all wrong. My clarification of Science Fiction were specifically talking about setting or immersion into a fantasy and while i am sure i was not completely wrong, ¬†I would say I was little misguided. Through our study of this genre we learned terms like extrapulation and estrangement all which are used in Science fiction in ¬†order to make these worlds familiar but mysterious. The way I understand Science Fiction is that it takes the reality we understand and builds on the “what ifs” usually with science. Whats interesting is that every science fiction story we read makes us ask questions on human values, how the characters are relatable to us and how the world they live in is similar to ours. The science fiction genre is no longer just a way to get entertainment, it has become a philosophical tool that allows to ask deeper questions on happiness and existence. Every story or movie we review has now become a fun and intellectual journey. Anyways thanks for reading!

 

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