On the Images of Dystopia and Heterotopia of “Future Shanghai” in Western Science Fiction Movies

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Zhuolun Jiang


“Future Shanghai” in Western science fiction movies presents two kinds of city images, which are dystopia and heterotopia. The image of dystopia is filled with violence and crisis, or being closed and restricted, or alienated and indifferent. Meanwhile, as the image of heterotopia, the city seems strange, isolating, or mixing. These kinds of city images are the blending of other space and future time, fiction and reality in “Future Shanghai”. Approaches from representation to simulacra are adopted to construct “Future Shanghai” in western science fiction movies. As a narrative space, “Future Shanghai” plays the role of story container as well as narrative momentum. In reality, Shanghai’s sense of the future and of place become the basis for “Future Shanghai” construction. The enlightenment from “Future Shanghai” in western science fiction movies is mainly human beings’ fear and anxiety of the hidden crisis of science and technology development behind the dystopia and the self-projection of the west to the east behind heterotopia. At the same time, the value of science fiction movies can be found as well on the city’s “Future Archaeology”, and the limitations of science fiction movies to the construction of city image.

Published: Nov 14, 2022

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Individual Sessions: Words and Images Crossing Literary and Critical Borders