Blurred Lines in Replicant Love

Re-watching Blade Runner (1982) yesterday in the lovely, little cinema room of the KABK, was great fun! Besides the beautiful cinematography and entertaining script, the movie definitely provides some possibilities of the status of genetically manipulated beings in the future.  The Blade Runner is supposed to uncover so called Replicants of human beings using the Voight-Kampf test. If they fail the test, which means they are no real humans, the Blade Runner ‘puts them into retirement’. It is interesting that in this future world of 2019, human made artifacts have a lesser status than humans, just like in today’s world. The projection of old power-relations on a futuristic settings is also present in the omnipresence of  Orientalism in Blade Runner. It seems as if the whole world is reduced to an everlasting American hegemony, with a Tokio like city as its centre. This is definitely a gloomy world, a lesser world that is in the process of becoming uninhabitable (due to human’s disastrous relationship with Nature?). During the movie we see continuing advertisements selling ‘a new start’ at one of the colonized planets, only accessible to all the wealthy and healthy people. It is then even more striking to see that the people who apparently are not chosen to colonize the new worlds are the ‘Asian’ type-cast people who fill the streets of this future Tokio.
As for the insights that serve the purpose of our Latourism readings, we can certainly see that the relationship between humans and Replicants or nonhumans, is clearly a one way street. The Replicants are judged on their ‘humanness’ and in no way are they given any status other than a mere object or even a ‘slave’ of the real human will. Although the movie does put this relationship into question. This can be seen with the character development of Blade Runner Deckard, who falls in love with one of the Replicants and runs away with her in the end. However on the one hand it remains unclear whether Deckard is just using the Replicants learning abilities to ‘make’ her fall in love with him. On the other hand, Deckards behavior can also be interpreted as if he was a Replicant all along, making us aware of the fact that we can all be Replicants, blurring the boundaries between human and nonhuman even further.

Love to hear your thoughts!


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