On Robots: Visual and Multimodal Metaphor in Science Fiction Film — Yvette Granata.

Yvette Granata. University of Amsterdam

On Robots: Visual and Multimodal Metaphor in Science Fiction Film

Science fiction is found across cultures, past and present. From indigenous mythologies to proto-science-fiction tropes in early Arabic literature, such as in the Epic of Gilgamesh or 1001 Arabian Nights, to numerous examples in classical and contemporary film and literature across the globe – sci-fi is a historical genre that uses imaginative worlds for conceptualizing complex issues facing societies. It is also a genre ripe with visually creative contraptions, devices, inventions, and beings.

In looking at a case study of one such creative trope in science fiction film – that of the robot and cyborg – I turn to conceptual metaphor theory as a framework for analysis. While CMT has been the basis of many cognitive linguistic studies, recent research has turned toward the study of visual and multimodal analysis of conceptual metaphor. I thus ask: how does science fiction film use visual and multi-modal metaphor for conceptualizing the issues at its core? And can we trace a conceptual metaphor trend via the visual and multimodal entities, in this case, robots, of science fiction? I present a case study of twenty science fiction films from the 1920s to now to demonstrate and analyze the mechanism of visual and multimodal metaphor of robots in science fiction film.

Yvette Granata researches film and cultural analysis at University of Amsterdam

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