[-empyre-] Podcasts and Culture Labs: Westworld

Sarah Mirk mirk.sarah at gmail.com
Thu May 18 20:49:39 AEST 2017

Hi all!

Why Westworld? Well, the reason I focus on pop culture on the podcast is
because pop culture is made of the stories we tell about ourselves and our
societies. Sometimes people are a dismissive of TV, but good shows and
terrible shows alike tell us about our cultural values. I think Westworld
in particular is interesting because it explores an extreme version of many
of the technological feelings we grapple with daily. How different are
humans from machines? What does consciousness entail? It also explores
larger sociological questions around labor and society. If there were no
laws, how would humans act? When we think of others as less real than
us—when they're dehumanized—how do we treat them?

I think Westworld also tells an interesting story about who makes our
technology and how their personal interests guide what gets created.
Westworld is a theme park made and run by men with money—and winds up being
a place built for recreational rape and murder. The show asks us to examine
who is in charge of both this microcosm of society and the larger world
beyond the walls.

Those are my initial thoughts!

On Thu, May 18, 2017 at 12:49 AM, Margaret J Rhee <mrhee at uoregon.edu> wrote:

> ----------empyre- soft-skinned space----------------------
> Hi All,
> To start us off, I'd love to discuss the larger points Betsy and Lawrence
> brought up in terms of Westworld and authorship, more significantly Charles
> Yu's contribution to the show, as a writer and story editor, and how that
> may shape our conversation. It reminded me of how Sarah and I discussed
> actor Leonardo Nam's role in the television show, while he is not a robot,
> the show has much more racial diversity than other (fembot/replicant)
> television or films, particularly with Black leading characters, and Asian
> leading characters. Im also wondering how much Yu's presence is within the
> storyline, and it is interesting that Betsy and Lawrence co-curated the
> CLT+ALT: A Culture Lab on Imagined Futures, that also included Charles Yu's
> work: http://smithsonianapa.org/alt/
> Sarah, as an artist, journalist, and a curator of feminist space, also
> facilitates discussions and creative visions through media activism, and
> her own comics on Oregon history: https://shop.knowyourcity.org/
> products/oregon-history-comics-box-set
> Her podcast with Bitch Magazine, Propaganda, is one exciting example, like
> the Culture Lab.
> I guess I'm wondering if we can begin with Why Westworld? and how might it
> connect to  the culture labs you've curated for the Smithsonian, and for
> Sarah, the podcast conversations for Bitch magazine?
> Is there any connection between our interests in the show, and what I see,
> and admire so much about your respective work, on how you also commit to
> cthe curation of dialogue?
> Margaret
> --
> Margaret Rhee, Ph.D.
> Visiting Assistant Professor
> Women's and Gender Studies
> University of Oregon
> --
> Margaret Rhee, Ph.D.
> Visiting Assistant Professor
> Women's and Gender Studies
> University of Oregon
> _______________________________________________
> empyre forum
> empyre at lists.artdesign.unsw.edu.au
> http://empyre.library.cornell.edu

writer • editor • good ideas
mirkwork.com • sexfromscratch.com • @sarahmirk
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