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Abstract Art: Pair of Extra-Fancy Circles.

Abstract Art: Pair of Extra-Fancy Circles.

One benefit of being mid at art is that nobody could accuse me of using AI to make my images.

The thing I most enjoyed about the original Alien film (1979, by Ridley Scott) was the blue-collar spaceship setting. The monster was cool, the plot and story: also cool. But the ship and crew and that background idea was the best part. While there have been other non-military working-man’s scifi, I don’t think many of them have measured up to that take on it.

Some of that is a kind of fake-nostalgia, for that era of what blue-collar meant, which has kind of evaporated over time into whatever devalued counterpart exists today. It certainly doesn’t have that same meaning it did in the 1960s through the 1980s. We don’t get those kinds of film depictions anymore. And to the extent we do, it’s through the eyes of a cop visiting a processing plant, something like that.

You compare Alien with 2001: A Space Odyssey and the feeling is so different, partly because the latter depicts that kind of automated packaged future of technology. Need something in space? Ask your nanny (HAL) to help you. Need something in Alien? Go get it yourself. Even the whole monolith business was a kind of nanny. (And don’t get me wrong, it’s a great film!) Which is all ironic given the computer on the Nostromo is called Mother.

Some of it may be the idea of access as you watch these films. Somewhere down in your subcon, you’re saying, “This is somewhere I might be if I lived in that world.” Or you’re saying, “This isn’t somewhere I’d be.” Alien you might be in space as a working-class type. Not the Nostromo, that’s probably a bit rough for you, but it’s at least in the realm of possibilities. In 2001, you’re not astronaut-grade, you’re not space-diplomat, not business-class. At best, you could be a steward or stewardess.

Some of the working-class aesthetic also comes out in films like The Fifth Element, where you can imagine one of those millions of apartments that Korben Dallas flies past could be where you actually would live. And you could always win tickets for a star cruise to Fhloston Paradise.

In Star Wars, where do you fit? Down on Tatooine, or somewhere like it. In Star Trek? The Federation is advanced enough that you might be somewhere cool, but probably not on the Enterprise, probably not a member of Star Fleet at all.

It’s an interesting aspect of fiction, the question of where you would appear in a made-up world, if at all. Is that world accessible to you, or is it something you only see as an observer?


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