The debate around robots focuses mainly on the nature of the machine/human relationship and in particular on the traits that allow the former to distinguish itself from the latter. The robotic body is the object of specific attention, in the examination of both the characteristics of machines empowering the human being (the cyborg) and the entities indistinguishable from the human due to a high level of anthropomorphism (the android). The anatomy of the robotic body occupies, in fact, a privileged place also in the cinematographic representation. Science fiction cinema has always wondered about the material from which machines are made, from the reproduction of human skin to the functioning of their internal processors. Within this wider debate on the bodily referent, however, not so far ahead has been the discussion on the robot's voice, its forms of language and expression, although these traits also pertain, in some way, to the aesthetics of the robot and contribute to define its identity and relationship with the human. In the light of these assumptions and with the help of the studies concerning the role of the voice in cinema and specifically the sound dimension in the science fiction genre, the essay has two aims. First, it intends to propose a classification (or modelling) of robots starting from the range of sounds, vocal expressions, inflections with which cinema has so far represented them: from synthetic sounds, not comparable to human language (as BB8 in Star Wars: The Last Jedy, Rian Johnson, 2017), to vocal expression without a bodily referent (as Samantha in Her, Spike Jonze, 2013). Secondly, the essay, by focusing on contemporary cinema (in addition to Her, other examples can be Terminator 2: Judgment Day, James Cameron, 1991; Wall-E, Andrew Staton, 2008; Trascendence, Wally Pfister, 2014; I am mother, Grant Sputore, 2019), will question the role that the vocal dimension occupies in the representation and genderification (the latter especially with respect to the feminisation of computer-generated voice) of robot’s bodily identity and in the central issue of the machine/living being relationship.

Piredda, M. F., Robot Speeches: Sounds, Voices and Inflections in Contemporary Science Fiction Cinema, in Locatelli M, L. M., Toniolo F, T. F. (ed.), Artificial lives. The humanoid robot in contemporary media culture, FrancoAngeli, Milano 2022: 98- 112

Robot Speeches: Sounds, Voices and Inflections in Contemporary Science Fiction Cinema

Piredda, Maria Francesca
Primo
2022

Abstract

The debate around robots focuses mainly on the nature of the machine/human relationship and in particular on the traits that allow the former to distinguish itself from the latter. The robotic body is the object of specific attention, in the examination of both the characteristics of machines empowering the human being (the cyborg) and the entities indistinguishable from the human due to a high level of anthropomorphism (the android). The anatomy of the robotic body occupies, in fact, a privileged place also in the cinematographic representation. Science fiction cinema has always wondered about the material from which machines are made, from the reproduction of human skin to the functioning of their internal processors. Within this wider debate on the bodily referent, however, not so far ahead has been the discussion on the robot's voice, its forms of language and expression, although these traits also pertain, in some way, to the aesthetics of the robot and contribute to define its identity and relationship with the human. In the light of these assumptions and with the help of the studies concerning the role of the voice in cinema and specifically the sound dimension in the science fiction genre, the essay has two aims. First, it intends to propose a classification (or modelling) of robots starting from the range of sounds, vocal expressions, inflections with which cinema has so far represented them: from synthetic sounds, not comparable to human language (as BB8 in Star Wars: The Last Jedy, Rian Johnson, 2017), to vocal expression without a bodily referent (as Samantha in Her, Spike Jonze, 2013). Secondly, the essay, by focusing on contemporary cinema (in addition to Her, other examples can be Terminator 2: Judgment Day, James Cameron, 1991; Wall-E, Andrew Staton, 2008; Trascendence, Wally Pfister, 2014; I am mother, Grant Sputore, 2019), will question the role that the vocal dimension occupies in the representation and genderification (the latter especially with respect to the feminisation of computer-generated voice) of robot’s bodily identity and in the central issue of the machine/living being relationship.
Inglese
Artificial lives. The humanoid robot in contemporary media culture
9788835142973
FrancoAngeli
https://eur03.safelinks.protection.outlook.com/?url=https://series.francoangeli.it/index.php/oa/catalog/book/851&data=05|01|francesca.piredda@unicatt.it|59bc9239533c48da5cdd08dab32de677|b94f7d7481ff44a9b5886682acc85779|0|0|638019306955535701|Unknown|TWFpbGZsb3d8eyJWIjoiMC4wLjAwMDAiLCJQIjoiV2luMzIiLCJBTiI6Ik1haWwiLCJXVCI6Mn0=|3000|||&sdata=G8nLtTgqOaZIviLypNPtpFHdFreBmHpa7xQ5w6aIncE=&reserved=0
Piredda, M. F., Robot Speeches: Sounds, Voices and Inflections in Contemporary Science Fiction Cinema, in Locatelli M, L. M., Toniolo F, T. F. (ed.), Artificial lives. The humanoid robot in contemporary media culture, FrancoAngeli, Milano 2022: 98- 112
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/10807/217564
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