Abstracts translated by Urpo Kovala
Olli Löytty, Beyond stereotypies. Comics and
the politics of representation
Cartoonists have a number of "difference foregrounding strokes"
available to them, which help the reader e.g. to recognize the "race"
or social group in question. A stereotype is easy to draw. Storylines,
too, tend to follow familiar patterns. The Other of comics would seem
to be doomed to fall into one of the few roles available for him among
Western narratives: the threatening savage, the walk-on character
decorating an exotic scene, or the faithful sidekick. However, comics
also show instances of how reductive signifiers and conventionalised
storylines can be turned against themselves. The article ponders on
what happens when a stereotype is detached from its established meanings.
Sari Kuuva, Pig energy. Juba Tuomola's cartoon
Viivi and Wagner and the blurring of gender differences
Juba Tuomola's cartoon "Viivi and Wagner", which won him
the annual prize of the Finnish Comics Society in 2000, has gathered
a broad fandom in Finland. This article analyses the way the cartoon
blurs gender differences. The writer draws on Hélène
Cixous' ideas on gender hierarchies as defined and sustained by patriarchal
culture. The focus of the article is on the gender identity of the
pig figure Wagner. He rebels against the hero-centred manhood of patriarchal
culture in many ways. His masculinity is rather of the antiheroic
kind. Although Wagner is extremely manly in his own straightforward
hillbilly way, he shows many feminine features as well. His double
figure as a man-pig as well as his occasional slipping into the role
of henpecked husband also contribute to the blurring of gender hierarchies.
And a further addition to Wagner's image is brought in through the
association with the composer Richard Wagner.
Mikko Laaksonen, Virtual Subjects - Artificial
Intelligences and the Copies of the Human Mind in Cyberspace in William
Gibson's novel Neuromancer
The fast development of computers and computer networks raises the
question about computer intelligence. Is it possible to program an
artificial intelligence able to function in culture like a human being?
Could the human consciousness even be copied on a computer? Such artificial
intelligences do exist in the cyberspace presented in William Gibson's
novel Neuromancer (1984). Two dead friends of the novel's main character,
Case, have been recreated as computer simulations, his girlfriend
Linda Lee and his mentor, Dixie Flatline. The artificial intelligences
Wintermute and Neuromancer are also important characters in the novel.
Research on artificial intelligence has shown that it is difficult,
maybe impossible, to construct an artificial intelligence able to
function like a human being in the physical and cultural reality.
However, in Neuromancer the copies of the human mind and the artificial
intelligences are able to create an illusion of subjectivity through
acting in the mathematically organized cyberspace. Neuromancer leaves
open the question whether the virtual subjects are intentional and
experiencing subjects in the phenomenological sense, or just imitations
of subjectivity enabled by existing only in the cyberspace. (translated