Reality on the Screen: The Subject of the Dystopian Future/Present. Thoughts on episode “Fifteen Million Merits” of Black Mirror

Bojana Radovanović

Abstract


Currently one of the most controversial and intriguing science fiction series on television, Black Mirror (Channel 4, Zeppotron, 2011–present) gained worldwide popularity through dealing with the issues of technologically-driven society of the near future. The levels of similarity and dissimilarity with contemporary Western society are carefully balanced in order to make a significant cognitive and psychological impact on viewers.

This paper focuses on analyses of the second episode from the first season, titled “Fifteen Million Merits”. In it, people spend most of their days in an automated, high technology environment, surrounded by video screens. Their attention is focused mainly on performing one rather mundane task (cycling on stationary bicycles), and their sparse interpersonal relationships are also carried out through a particular kind of social network. The screens are also the source of fulfillment of individuals’ consumerist and diversionist leanings. Having in mind the theorization of the subject in cyber-space and screen as an interface, as well as questions that emerge from the field of contemporary media ecology, the primary objective of this article is to investigate the complex relations between human subjects and their virtual realities, the entertainment industry, and communication technologies.

 

Article received: March 30, 2018; Article accepted: May 10, 2018; Published online: October 15, 2018; Original scholarly paper

How to cite this article: Radovanović, Bojana. "Reality on the Screen: The Subject of the Dystopian Future/Present. Thoughts on episode “Fifteen Million Merits” of Black Mirror." AM Journal of Art and Media Studies 17 (2018): 103−112. doi: 10.25038/am.v0i17.275


Keywords


Black Mirror; “Fifteen Million Merits”; dystopia; screen; interface; cyberspace; avatar/doppel

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.25038/am.v0i17.275

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