HER is the latest film of Spike Jonze, director of philosophically challenging films such as Being John Malkovich and Adaption. The story, set in a (near) future, deals with a professional writer of love letters who falls in love with an AI called Samantha - an artificial system represented only by a female voice (spoken by Scarlett Johansson).
This film talk will focus on several aspects in respect of the relation of film and anthropology as well as the interaction between film and media (computer communication, Artificial Intelligence). The film invokes different contrasts, i.e. between human being and AI, film and computer, image and sound, body and voice, leading to the question: what form of anthropologic knowledge does the film explore? Taking this a step further, we will discuss how Her locates itself in the intersection of anthropology and film. In doing so, Her gathers central ideas of media anthropology that put into question the distinction between technology and man and decenter human beings in their interaction with technologies and digital media. Her reveals its vision of media anthropology – what I would like to call „secondary anthropology“ – in which humanity continues to survive, but perhaps only under the condition that it leaves human beings behind.