PJAS 11 Spring-14

Steffen Wöll
Exceptional Spaces: Pop-Cultural Debris and the Spatial (Re)Construction of American Exceptionalism in Alfonso Cuarón’s Gravity
Polish Journal for American Studies, vol. 11 (Spring 2017), pp. 203-222

Abstract: This paper discusses the cosmic setting of Alfonso Cuarón’s movie Gravity, taking into account its fictional population with the themes, tropes, myths, and symbols that have regularly been identified as exemplary for the composition of a uniquely American personal and national character. Making use of a deconstructive approach and a methodology that is informed by the theories of spatial turn scholarship in the humanities, the paper zooms in at the sociocultural dynamics, aesthetics, mise-en-scene, and key motifs of Cuarón’s representation of space in the movie, arguing that this representation in fact draws on, endorses, and positions itself firmly within the epistemological framework of American exceptionalism, which becomes visible mainly through the movie’s relationship to geography, technocracy, and popular culture.

Keywords: Alfonso Cuarón, Gravity, space, American exceptionalism, popular culture

DOI: 10.7311/PJAS.11/1/2017.14

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