Blade Runner @40: Origins and Legacies
An academic conference hosted by The Centre for Film, Television and Screen Studies, Bangor University, UK
June 20-21, 2022
Blade Runner has left an indelible mark on popular culture. Adapted from Philip K. Dick’s novel Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? it anticipated with remarkable prescience the world in which we have lived for the past four decades. Scott’s breath-taking vision of a futuristic and cosmopolitan metropolis created an aesthetic and cognitive shock that continues to resonate to this day, not only in cinema but also in literature, art, design, gaming, fashion and even critical theory.
The film is often cited in debates related to robotics, biopolitics, posthumanism and urban planning. Denis Villeneuve's sequel, Blade Runner 2049, continues to explore these themes while introducing issues related to artificial intelligence, transhumanism and climate change. Ridley Scott himself does the same in other films, such as Prometheus and Alien: Covenant, as well as in the series Raised by Wolves.
Blade Runner is often credited with having spawned several aesthetic trends, such as retrofuturism, techno-noir or future-noir, and most significantly, cyberpunk. The latter has become a global cultural phenomenon that Fredric Jameson describes as “the expression, if not of postmodernism, then of late capitalism itself.”
In terms of style, cyberpunk à la Blade Runner continues to be very popular in all media. But, in terms of spirit, the real heirs to cyberpunk are to be found in the work of artists, writers, and thinkers around the world who blend creativity with critical theory; who subvert cutting-edge technologies toward non-consumerist ends; and who pioneer new lines of flight into the future, refusing to be trapped by stagnant or predefined categories of identity.
To explore the origins and legacies of this monumental work by Ridley Scott, this conference proposes to bring together specialists from fields as diverse as literary and cinematographic studies; the history of art, design, fashion and architecture; musicology; philosophy; political sciences; computer science and robotics; urban and ecological studies; and gender studies.
Hosted by the Centre for Film, Television and Screen Studies at Bangor University, this symposium proposes to bring together scholars from diverse disciplinary backgrounds to explore Blade Runner forty years since its release, debate its legacy and consider its position within visual culture.
We welcome contributions from any perspective such as (but not limited to) the following:
Blade Runner – origins, influences, production, aesthetics, publicity, reception, afterlife, sequels and directors’ cuts
Blade Runner and gender
Blade Runner and sexuality
Blade Runner and race, ethnicity and otherness
Blade Runner and psychoanalysis
Blade Runner and science fiction
Blade Runner, audiences, fandom and ‘cult’
Blade Runner and capitalism, neoliberalism, post-industrialism and the rise of multinational corporations
Blade Runner and robotics, artificial intelligence, cybernetic organisms, the transhuman and the post-human
Blade Runner and biopolitics, posthumanism and urban planning. Denis Villeneuve's sequel, Blade Runner and climate change
Blade Runner and tech noir, retrofuturism, future noir, and cyberpunk.
We are applying for funding to facilitate postgraduate and unwaged participation.
Please complete the following link by 1 February 2021.
For further information, please contact the organisers: Nathan Abrams (email@example.com), Elizabeth Miller (firstname.lastname@example.org) and Christopher Robinson (email@example.com).