Notes From Gattaca


[Aside] I rewatched Gattaca last night and wanted to post a few notes:

  • according to society, identity is less bound by personality, etc., than by one's genetic profile and the probabilities contained therein, which are established by a blood test at birth
  • the knowable body: Jude Law's character prepares the data samples that allow Ethan Hawke's character to assume the "Jerome Morrow" identity — urine, blood, hair samples, fingernail clippings, skin cells — while Hawke must scrub himself to the point where his own body literally disappears and he becomes a "de-gene-erate"
  • quote: "And that's the way it was. Each day I would dispose of as much loose skin, fingernails and hair as possible to limit how much of my 'in-valid' self I would leave in the valid world."
  • I missed this the first time around, but the title Gattaca is actually composed of letters that form a nucleotide chain: Guanine-Adenine-Thymine-Thymine-Adenine-Cytosine-Adenine

    (I came up with that one myself, but then found that it and other pieces of Gattaca trivia could be found at IMDB.)

    Courtesy of National Museum of American History

  • while late-19thC/early-20thC art such as Charlie Chaplin's Modern Times or the Animal Locomotion photography studies by Eadweard Muybridge (see "Lawn tennis" above) visions the human body and its cyborgian interaction with machines as strictly biomechanical, Gattaca — and pop culture forms such as sports videogames — vision the body in terms of code/information, a shift examined by Bruce Grenville's exhibition of cyborg culture, The Uncanny
  • resample:

    The reality of the cyborg body in the popular imagination is that it emerges during the post-industrial shift from a metallurgic society to a semiurgic society. In other words, the cyborg lives in a society of information, of pattern, of code. Thus, the "machine" half of the cyborg is also likely to be one of code: recombinant DNA sequences, organic chemistry chains, electrical positives and negatives, digital zeroes and ones, disciplinary technologies, and collective consciousness will all be leveraged in the realization of a cyborg body. This is not to suggest that the metallurgic will cease to be part of such a body, but rather that it will assume a subservient or relegated role.

  • the movie was written and directed by Andrew Niccol, who also wrote The Truman Show.
  • unlike The Truman Show, which was entirely about the theme of surveillance, I cannot recall one instance of a surveillance camera in Gattaca



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