City Tech, Fall 2016

Class Notes 9/8/16

Wrap up of The Machine Stops by E.M. Forster
Reminder: if you want to discuss ideas, questions, further details, office hours are available or you can add to existing class discussions or start new ones.
The mending apparatus was where we left off in the previous discussion on The Machine Stops.
The goal was to go over key points and notes under remaining sections of The Machine Stops.
The key points were man VS. machine, mediation, technological determination, what is authentic , what does it mean to be human, obsession with machine man, A.I., post-apocalyptic setting , religion, ersatz, uniformity, standardization, euphemism.
All of the above is important for the science fiction genre and can be seen in both in The Machine stops and Metropolis.

The Machine Stops, page 11.
Kuno’s prospective, he tells of his problem, face to face to his mother. This further shows that he doesn’t conform to the current system due to the reaction his mother had. Shows that he is a rebel. She asks how he got out and his response was that he found his own way. This conveyed no meaning to her because it was not part of the machine. Due to the loss of the idea of an individual and oneself, this shows uniformity within the world of the machine and to it as well. Kuno is shown as an individual due to his experimentation with what it means to be human.
Euthanasia means good death, sugar coating for the masses, more acceptable VS murder or suicide, in the world of the machine they kill the strong and keep the weak. Method of control and the way to remain in power. These particular themes can be seen in Brave New World. Justification of mercy killing of strong due to fact that they would not be happy living in a room all their lives because they would want to be active and athletic, which wouldn’t be possible. They would suffer in closed space. Allusion Mount Taygetus – The Taygetus, Taugetus, or Taygetos, is a mountain range in the Peloponnese peninsula in Southern Greece. In antiquity, male Spartan newborns were abandoned there if deemed unfit after examination for vitality. Irony
What is happiness? Freedom to/freedom from. Directly stated that machine controls everything in their daily life. The people kill in kindness for the progress of the machine as a sacrifice almost.
Kuno introduces new or bring back to life the idea that man is the measure, that everything is in relations to yourself, basic measurement based on if you can reach it or not. Anthropocene Anthropocentric – centered around man. Pushes for idea to be independent of the machine and the community that individuals are important, shows shift in his prospective VS. the majority of people.

Page 14.
Fountain of artificial air mixing with natural air, romanticized nature – gilded, an idealized, Kuno is between worlds and acts as a link between past and future. Mediator, link. Similar to airship, old world tech lost purpose of windows due to current views, lost meaning similar to light houses that are also not needed or serve less of a purpose, impossible to understand due to current circumstances, technology and ideas VS old ones. Another concept in Sci-Fi in the preservation of old ideas , history, ideology and views particularly post-apocalyptic to prevent the loss of information with the death of one person, if they were keeping it to themselves. Also arises question, how to explain it to someone else, who doesn’t known the concept of the ideas that you are trying to explain to them.

Metafiction – fiction in which the author self-consciously alludes to the artificiality or literariness of a work by parodying or departing from novelistic conventions (especially naturalism) and traditional narrative techniques.

Page 17.
Story teller is referencing own work and how the story is progressing, gives us access to internal thoughts, while still writing, allows us to see that Kuno left parts out of his story to his mother, reflects on himself, thinking about what is said and why.
Homelessness – punishment used by the people of the machine to punish other people by forcing them to the surface where they died without the machine. At this time, years after Kuno’s incident respirators are banned and official religion of the machine is created, such as Kuno’s mother book ritual can now be done without fear even though no one ever saw her doing it before anyway. All of this was not radical due to it all happening slowly before anyway. Kuno’s mother laughs at his wording that the machine will stop. She doesn’t want to believe it and ignores the signs of it being so.

Page 20.
Final destruction, trouble started before with all the smaller breakdowns in the machine but she doesn’t realize or doesn’t want to see it as the end of the machine. She doesn’t want to accept reality. She and others complain to the committees which ultimately archived nothing, especially as they sought instant gratification due to them being spoiled by the machine quick responses before. She, at one point, requests to die due to a fail of lecture that she gave what was not allowed, due to the birth /death ratio.
Other complained about machine as well but are told to tell another group which then tells to the other group. Ultimately, their complaints are lost in the beaurocracy and nothing gets fixed. However, she feels entitled, and complains anyway. She only cares about the problems that affect her
Page 24.

After chaos happens, she reconnects with Kuno, after praying to be saved, while outside the screams of the people, who are panicking, feels her room as the light deems and darkness takes hold. She holds the book but the air is bad and she starts to panic and act as people of old religions would, praying, sobbing desperately hitting the buttons that no longer do anything, with her bleeding hands.
She has lost everything at this point in time, her way of life, which was a gilded cage, seeming good on the outside, terrible within.

Page 25.
She reunites with Kuno for the last time, blood with blood, they hold hands, dying but Kuno says that in death they have recaptured life, restored humanity, hope, people left on surface will learn from the mistakes of this tragedy.


People’s thoughts – dramatic, facial expressions, stylized, on the nose, hammers in a message, head and hands must meet with the help of the heart. Reoccurring motif, visual styles made her headway in science fiction films, considered first full length Science Fiction movie. Luna was considered the first Science Fiction short film. Story, plot, biblical in nature, creepy, New York inspired, gain idea for city scape, people cramped in, Bronx style buildings, displacement of people, inequality, roads in the sky, cars on the sky highways, contrast of the top and bottom, futuristic esthetic, film references other science fiction works such as Frankenstein, Man Vs machine, watches and clocks, mechanical movement, conflict men VS. machine, merging man and machine into machine men, the heart machine, doubling of doubling, misrecognizing of things, fooled, fake marina was able to lead people and no one knew that she was fake, machine passed on look for human, working class VS upper class, two split cities, one underground one above, need each other, hierarchy, the title cards, the worker destroyed their own city, heaven in hell, religious theme.

Beginning of film. The worker wear dark uniform, look depressed, heads down, their movements are like machines, work underground, symbolism, automaton. The machines becomes like people and the people become like machines. The worker walk the same way, in groups and have no freedom, while the world above lives in light, is free , fun, alive.
We first meet Maria surrounded by children, visiting the gardens.

Reminder: starting Brave new World next week. Keep in mind what needs to be read and blogged and all the term we learned previously and how they apply.

Inequality – difference in size, degree, circumstances, etc.; lack of equality

Gentrification- s a process of renovation and revival of deteriorated urban neighborhoods by means of influx of more affluent residents, which results in increased property values and the displacing of lower-income families and small businesses. This is a common and controversial topic in urban planning.

Intertextuality – the relationship between texts, especially literary ones.

Doubling – (of a person or thing) be used in or play another, different role.

Synthetic – (of a substance) made by chemical synthesis, especially to imitate a natural product.

Simulation – the imitation of the operation of a real-world process or system over time. The act of simulating something first requires that a model be developed; this model represents the key characteristics or behaviors/functions of the selected physical or abstract system or process.

Recognition – the action or process of recognizing or being recognized, in particular.

Colonization – is an ongoing process of by which a central system of power dominates the surrounding land and its components

Imperialism – a policy of extending a country’s power and influence through diplomacy or military force.

1 Comment

  1. Jill Belli

    Thanks for these notes Alex. Could you put spaces (an extra line break) between paragraphs, so it is easier to take in all of your various points? That will make it easier for students (and me) to refer back to these comprehensive notes.

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