How difficult is it to situate yourself at a global dimension? Is this a cultural, aesthetic, corporeal or visual exercise? Interconnectedness is a means of expanding the self inside the pretenses of the universal or is it a way of crossing differences by falsely formulating them as personal borders from inside which we reach towards the others? Differences are a celebration of diversity as long as they are not just geographically specified aesthetics. Sense8, Wachowskis’ TV series, was filmed in 8 different countries, 9 different cities across continents, and it brings together emotion as the universal language that links territories and cultures. It is about collective human experience developed as multiple-body sensoriality. Evolution has shaped a species of humans (sensates) that can access each other both physically and mentally in order to gain each others abilities that complement them as limited entities. The 12 episodes are extremely fulfilling towards the audience’s dreams and desires of interconnectedness. To feel through the body of somebody else is not telepathy, biometric deciphering, brain activity connections or teleportation, but inter-narrative overlapping visual montage according to Sense8. An image stepping out into another image is the visual expression of that kind of connection that squeezes the spatiotemporal world. A dissolved surrounding that turns into something else while our body sticks to its posture makes us realize we are an interchangeable presence. The narrative pretext of the 8 interconnected characters creates broad cinematographic and technical possibilities as a world can always open up inside another and a body can always be two distinct instances inside the same image/frame. We can continue praising the accelerated, superimposed visualities that give different moments to their own trans-individual accidents, but we would lose some other ethereal aspects of the TV series that need special attention.
For instance, the way in which Sense8 blends and mixes differences resembles an Indian cuisine more than a post-colonial multicultural attempt to re-define universality. Why do all the characters emerging from different cultural backgrounds speak English, from Kenya to San Francisco and, more surprisingly, why do they seem to have the same justification for gestures, behaviors and decisions? Is emotion any different in intensity, discourse or representation in Korea compared to India? Is the world seen through the height of the eyes of Ganesha at an Indian festival any different from the world seen from the motorcycle running at a gay parade in America? Well, for the Wachowskis this perceptual disproportion seems to be just an aesthetic one, because as these visual variations disappear human experience looks just the same and we all happily surrender to the inner force that transgresses the regionally shaped world. Except this universal interiority is American and it does not only understand a single language, but it also claims universality is a language that transcribes something like trans-individuality, essences, human nature, etc. I don’t believe universality is a language that can be used to encapsulate meaning, because meaning is usually marked by a certain horizon. Universality is beyond all this, and although the Wachowskis tried to turn it into a visual language it refused itself to the overarching visual statement of the intro. I loved and passionately followed the journey of collective awareness of the series and I appreciated the original way it engages with the philosophy stating that the human being is a multitude, but afterward I had to think it over, because I had unresistingly given it political and sentimental value as I do in general with the Wachovskis’cinematic work. I still believe Sense8 is marvelous and universality feels like the echoed beat of a resonant carnival, but inter-connectedness has to be formulated not just in terms of body-crossing or the awareness that we are ALL sentient beings. Inter-connectedness has to be the one to realize the almost impossible dialog between privilege and disadvantage. There is no such concern in Sense8, although the previous epic dealing with the “everything is connected” subject (Cloud Atlas) found it’s way towards the larger scale at which conditionality looks different. I believe Sense8 managed to compensate for the empty spectacle in Jupiter Ascending, because it beautifully tried to take back the echoes David Mitchell left inside their works: Sonmi-451: Our lives are not our own. From womb to tomb, we are bound to others. Past and present