The Utopian/Dystopian American Dream: Immigration and Labor in Latina/o Science Fiction

Getting Connected

Memo’s nodes job is one of the most powerful and graphic scenes of the entire film. This scene depicts the intensity of making the transformation and connection into the network. It signifies Memo’s entrance into what he believes to be the utopian promise and dream, but with rather dystopic undertones that foreshadow the suffering he will endure in the future. In this scene, the aesthetics accentuate Memo’s body being transformed both from the external perspective, as well from the internal and biological level. Memo’s transformation renders him a cyborg/robot figure whose humanity is compromised in order to become the “ideal” worker according to the transnational corporation’s utopian dream. During the procedure, the metal not only breaks the surface of his skin but also fuses with his nervous system and the network. Luz warns Memo about this new two-way connection, specifically that the connection is not always stable, and that the machine may end up controlling the individual connected to it. Thus, even these advanced and “clean” technologies are rather dystopic because they can have damaging effects on one’s well-being, essentially taking their freedom away in giving the control completely to the transnational corporations. Memo’s arms, forearms, and shoulders are injected with the metal spike nodes. As the metal breaks through the skin’s surface, Memo’s body becomes permanently marked with these nodes that look like metal holes in his body. On the other hand, Memo’s body also changes biologically and internally. As Memo is injected with the nodes gun, his physical transformation is juxtaposed with what is happening on the inside of his body. His nervous system is shown fusing with the technological network. As his nodes are installed, Memo’s red veins are shown turning blue. When the process is completed, Memo’s veins are shown pulsing like an electric current, to signify how the biotechnology has successfully fused his body to the network. Memo proudly explains that he is now connected to the “global economy” and considers his nodes to be a sign of empowerment and mobility, although he has actually engaged in a form of self-exploitation by sacrificing his body and altering it to get connected. He feels that his utopian dream to be a part of this larger world is fulfilled by this transformation. However, Memo later discovers the dystopic realities of what he has done once he begins working in the sleep dealer factories. 

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