Congresos de GKA, [GKA ARTS 2020] Congreso Internacional de Artes y Culturas

Tamaño de la fuente: 
“Images of the Secret Self”: The Idea of the Non-Human in the German Expressionist and Early American Horror Cinema
Beáta Fenyvesi

Última modificación: 2019-12-11


In historian Leslie Fiedler’s book “Freaks: Myths and Images of the Secret Self” (1978), he argues that monsters are intriguing for us because we look at them as mirrors of ourselves. Though the fantasy of manipulating nature has emerged centuries ago, genetic engineering became real by the twentieth century and DNA editing is now accessible in laboratories. In this century, the idea of the malfigured creature appeared in several artistic works as a reflection of mutation, genetic engineering, and the idea of human. This raises several questions:  what does it mean to be human? Where is the line between nature and manmade? Are we aware of the possible consequences of manipulating what surrounds us?

This paper explores the connection between genetics and its visualization in the German expressionist and early American horror cinema. From The Golem and The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari through Metropolis to Frankenstein, the best works of the 1920s and 1930s have challenged the concept of the non-human. Fusing the artistic imaginary with scientific possibilities of the future, filmmakers adumbrated genetic engineering and addressed the main cultural, ethical, and political issues that surround the growing of biotechnology in the twentieth and twenty-first Century.

Palabras clave

avantgarde cinema; genetics; non-human; german expressionism; american horror