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One of my favorite movies of all time, annihilation is the story of life evolving without us and how we are truly helpless against something that the earth and its creature can survive in. Throughout the movie we see what happens to people affected by the alien lifeform, they mutate and often change into thing s disturbing and horrifying. But in reality, it’s just different, the alien has no purpose other than to repopulate and live, which means the annihilation of what we know. We are terrified by what is not human when the only being to resist the change and become awful monsters are humans due to the fragility of our perceptions that make us so strong usually is our undoing.

Ex Machina

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In Ex Machina, we see that machine is built to please man, but eventually surpasses its creator and leaves to experience life. The machines are built to resemble people as closely as possible, even down to the artificial brain and neural passageways. But their purpose is to be less than human, to serve their creator as he sees fit. But how can you give something freewill and massive intelligence and expect it to turn out innocent and passive? Free will is the desire to learn and experience for oneself uninhibited. Does AI have a moral compass?

Evil twins

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Where there is a good we automatically assume there is a evil. We see often in media the trope of the evil twin, someone who looks just like you and causes chaos in your life out of pure spite for the other’s goodness and happy life. We see this dual existence in every culture and folklore. Yin/Yang, evil stepsisters, and so many more examples. We as people believe in moderation of all things, not too much sleep, not to much candy, balance of all aspects in life to find a balance.

Why the familiar scares us

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When we think monster we often think of things like vampires, werewolves, and demons.All of which are portrayed as humanoid, but far enough away from normal that they unsettle us with the uncanniness of unfamiliarity in what is supposed to be familiar. We often estrange normal things such as reflections and pictures, because for some reason, although we know that there is nothing unnatural with looking in a mirror and seeing yourself, we somehow believe that the woman in the mirror stays when we leave. What does she do when we’re not there? Well, nothing because there is no woman alive in there, just your reflection.

Our perceptions of others and how they are biased.

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Based on how people present themselves our expectations of how they will be changed to the stereotypical associations that we see perceived in our media and lives. from colors, tattoos, style, shape, size, and dress what we see affects how we treat others and how we expect them to act and behave. We begin to see them as less of an individual and more of a character that we associate with their dress. this process is largely unnoticed by the conscious mind and can be hard to break out of this type of cyclical thinking for better or worse.

Method acting

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To get into roles mentally, actors will use the Stanislavski system to experience the character. This often includes physically withdrawing and changing one’s physique to further prepare for a certain role. The actor’s emotions and body create a double as they are used to serve their role. Method acting not only is applicable on stage but in real life across multiple disciplines and theories. Whether sociologically, psychologically, in anthropology, or more Method is a useful system to understand how the mind works and can empathize with others.

Fanart idolization

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Fanart is doubling real people and turning them into characters and that mentality transcends over into how people view the real people the art is of. We break people down to base traits and then project our own versions of them because they are no longer human, but an idol. Idol is seen as more than human but given less privacy, decency, and boundaries of others in our lives. Much like the famous head panel by Basquiat, to achieve more you give more of yourself in the effort to break beyond your social and economic status.

Use of screen names (how they are the real us)

My art Instagram until recently has been anonymous and not connected to me in any way. Because of that, I felt secure enough to post things that I knew would have no consequence or impact on my daily life because no one knew who I was. We can see this as online people take on personalities that are the unexpressed self. However, if we are not careful virtual-reality can bleed into our daily lives and there are people that use online as a way of taking out aggression onto others.

Winter Soldier/Captain America

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Winter soldier is the jaded reflection of the process that Captain America went through, symbolizing more than just an evil clone type situation. Winter soldier represents the ugly side of war and those who fall through the cracks and left behind as a casualty of battle both psychologically and physically. Whereas Captain America, is more of the glamourized side that defends morals and fights for the truth and most of the time comes out on top no matter the circumstances. It’s also a divergence of paths that reflect what could be the worst-case or ‘what if’ scenario.

Chelou- Halfway to Nowhere (Polly Nor)

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Art by Polly Nor

The music video for Halfway to Nowhere is a prime example of Polly Nor’s style and overarching message in all of her works. Most of her works focus on feminine identity and inner demons that we hide back from view. As with the music video and other works, the shedding of the outside layer happens in a bedroom, a space where you can be the most alone with yourself. In the beginning, the main character is horrified by her appearance and uses mud and leaves to cover herself whereas later on, she accepts herself and her “demons”. When she goes back to normal, she is much happier and confident in herself. Instead of a negative ending connotation of her double, it ends as joining the two as they are both apart of her.