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Star Wars Prequels Entertainment

Star Wars Exhibition Explores Human Identity 62

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the psych-ward-far-far-away dept.
Hugh Pickens writes "The Telegraph reports that a new exhibition has opened at the Montreal Science Center that explores human identity through the Star Wars saga and its quirky characters combining the latest scientific research in areas of psychology, neuropsychology, and genetics with some 200 costumes, props, models, and artwork from the Lucasfilm archives to ask the fundamental questions: who we are and how do we become who we are? Visitors to the exhibition will rediscover their favorite Star Wars characters 'in a whole new light' while also developing a better understanding of their own complex identity. 'Since Star Wars takes place in a fantasy world, the characters need to be identifiable so that the audience can connect to them,' says Star Wars creator George Lucas. 'These larger-than-life characters come complete with friends, enemies, values, and beliefs. This exhibition examines how the Star Wars characters are like us, what we may have in common, and what makes up our individual identities.' Each visitor is given a bracelet, which records the decisions they make during the tour and each visitor's decisions combine to create an avatar, which is revealed at the end of the tour. 'When I finally took the tour with the audio guide and bracelet, it was thrilling,' says LucasFilm exhibits manager Kyra Bowling. 'When I saw my hero (avatar) at the end, I felt like a kid again. After I was done I immediately went through a second time and made different decisions so I could end up with a different hero.'"
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Star Wars Exhibition Explores Human Identity

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  • I hope they left Ja Ja out the back
  • by StarTrekGirl (2629509) on Tuesday May 01, 2012 @05:12AM (#39855071)
    Oh, wait what?
  • by Chrisq (894406) on Tuesday May 01, 2012 @05:37AM (#39855127)

    This exhibition examines how the Star Wars characters are like us, what we may have in common, and what makes up our individual identities.

    The prime example is CowboyNeal and Jabba the Hutt.

  • not this crude matter!
    • Amen. Imagine a similar exposition, in which one would identify with heroes and characters from the Iliad or the Odyssey. Now that would be luminous, in contrast so such blunt figments of our own dark times.
    • Turns out that was just the inane mutterings of an old man. It was actually an internal form of the Venom suit, and there was a blood test for "the force" the whole time. No explanation was given for how we go from measurable, verifiable phenomena to crazy religion in the span of a generation in a galactic civilization....

      Please don't give George any more money. He won't spend on good things.

      • by Anonymous Coward

        Propaganda. Sort of how the Taliban went from being supported as freedom fighters to being removed as a repressive, terrorist-supporting regime in an even shorter span of time.

        Or how a young woman testifying in front of Congress about how 'birth control pills' are often used for non-contraceptive treatments and should be covered by health insurance because it can often be cost prohibitive to the people who need it most, became a 'slut' and a 'prostitute' in the course of an afternoon for the Republican tal

      • by ultranova (717540)

        Turns out that was just the inane mutterings of an old man. It was actually an internal form of the Venom suit, and there was a blood test for "the force" the whole time. No explanation was given for how we go from measurable, verifiable phenomena to crazy religion in the span of a generation in a galactic civilization....

        Who you're gonna believe? A 900-year old warrior monk who rises car-sized objects into air with the power of his mind, trains an apprentice in a few days well enough to actually survive a

  • Is it me... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Richard_at_work (517087) <richardprice.gmail@com> on Tuesday May 01, 2012 @06:24AM (#39855279)

    Or do "exhibitions" like this read more into the material than was ever originally there? I really don't think Lucas is deep enough to embed philosophical questions about psychology, neuropsychology, and genetics, or gave two hoots about our "individual identities"...

    Its a series of films, people. Not much else.

    • Actually it was cowboys and Indians all over again. I thought it was derivative shit when it came out and I still think it is derivative shit. Like most blockbuster movies it has to be the lowest common denominator tosh in order to attract the maximum number of punters over the doorstep into the theaters. Don't get me wrong, it makes entirely suitable entertainment for children and grown ups with insomnia.

      • by loufoque (1400831)

        I think the advantage of Star Wars is that it contains pretty much every stereotype and cliché, making it easier to demonstrate the psychology pseudo-science.

      • by mcgrew (92797) *

        I thought it was derivative shit when it came out and I still think it is derivative shit.

        Every new book, movie, song, painting, is "derivative shit". Art is like engeneering and science, in that everything new comes from what has come before.

        Romeo and Juliet has been rewritten thousands of times and will be rewritten thousands of more times..

        • by El Torico (732160)
          Romeo and Juliet is also a derived work. One possible source is the Lovers of Teruel [wikipedia.org]
        • by tehcyder (746570)

          I thought it was derivative shit when it came out and I still think it is derivative shit.

          Every new book, movie, song, painting, is "derivative shit". Art is like engeneering and science, in that everything new comes from what has come before.

          Romeo and Juliet has been rewritten thousands of times and will be rewritten thousands of more times..

          Yes, but there are still great derivative works and absolutely shitty derivative works.

          Romeo and Juliet and the Star Wars series are not artistically equal just because they are both derivatives.

    • Star Wars is directly influenced by the work of Joseph Campbell [wikipedia.org], whose work I think is "deep enough" to analyze in this way. I hope they discuss this in the exhibition, but a quick Google search suggests that they may not.
      • Re:Is it me... (Score:4, Interesting)

        by crazyjj (2598719) * on Tuesday May 01, 2012 @09:45AM (#39856495)

        Star Wars is directly influenced by the work of Joseph Campbell

        That's just a bunch of horseshit Lucas made up years later (the man reedits his own history almost as much as he reedits his movies). The only mythology in Star Wars is cobbed from the Authurian legend (the boy king hidden away, the wizard Merlin, the Sword in the stone, etc.). And I suspect even that was taken third-hand from the Kurosawa films that Lucas studied at USC.

        • That's just a bunch of horseshit Lucas made up years later (the man reedits his own history almost as much as he reedits his movies).

          link?
          • by crazyjj (2598719) *

            We'll, I can't prove a negative, so why don't you give me a link to any interview before the mid-80's where Lucas even mentioned Joseph Campbell?

            • Hmm, interesting, haha. I searched a little and didn't come up with anything. It's a really interesting point, and I agree that Lucas could certainly be full of crap. I originally posted just because I'm a big Joseph Campbell fan, I don't know or care much about Lucas.
        • by tehcyder (746570)
          Anyway, the whole point of Joseph Campbell's work was that all hero-myths (for instance) share the same broad pattern. But that doesn't tell you anything about the quality of any particular piece of work using that myth

          In broad structuralist terms, you could say that the Odyssey, Great Expectations and Uwe Boll's Alone in the Dark are similar, but that tells you precisely nothing about how good they are.
      • by khipu (2511498)

        Ooooh, directly influenced. As in "if we stick his name on it, it gives our work more cache than its crappy quality deserves."

        And even if that were true, Campbell's own original ideas are clever soundbites without much substance. Most of his actual contribution has probably in getting people to look at the original myths again, where scores of Hollywood screenwriters, devoid of their own ideas, have copied plots and personalities from.

    • do "exhibitions" like this read more into the material than was ever originally there?

      Yes, and that's partly why Star Wars is still so popular. There's always more stuff because it's still growing, and that is because people are allowed to add to the universe (mostly through books, computer games and the Clone Wars series).

      I really don't think Lucas is deep enough to embed philosophical questions about psychology, neuropsychology, and genetics, or gave two hoots about

      Agreed, but he also doesn't mind people building on, making fun of, and in other ways keeping the Star Wars universe popular.

      I guess this is where we could start a discussion on the benefits(?)/limitations of copyright.

    • by flabordec (984984)
      The fact that the author did not intend to put it there does not mean it is not there. It could very well be that Lucas was going for space soap opera and he actually created believable, interesting characters who actually do tell us something about ourselves and answer some interesting philosophical questions. Also, many critics believe that, during the original trilogy filming, Lucas didn't have enough power to overturn any decision made by intelligent, creative assistants who actually know a lot about fi
  • by goodmanj (234846) on Tuesday May 01, 2012 @06:46AM (#39855371)

    I am so sick of "the exploration of human identity" being the only question worth pursuing when discussing works of art. It seems like the only thing we expect of art is that it help us answer the question of what it means to be human, and it's not like anyone can articulate a straight answer to that question, except in that the art itself is its own irreducible answer. It's a "tree falls in the forest" kind of question: its main purpose is to make the person asking it look smart; no answer is required.

    Sci-fi fandom is especially guilty of pushing this sort of treacle. But let's be honest here: human identity issues are not the most interesting aspect of Star Wars, and Star Wars is not a very interesting subject for the exploration of human identity. If you want to talk about what it means to be human, talk about District 9 and Source Code, just to pick two recent examples. And if you want to talk about Star Wars, let's talk about whether our own lives are all just sequels to our parents' stories.

    But I get it. You just want to capitalize on a mass-market intellectual property to drive attendance at your science museum. Well, you can do it without the pompous psychobabble.

    • I am so sick of "the exploration of human identity" being the only question worth pursuing when discussing works of art. It seems like the only thing we expect of art is that it help us answer the question of what it means to be human, and it's not like anyone can articulate a straight answer to that question, except in that the art itself is its own irreducible answer.

      Isn't that the entire point of art, that we see into it what we want to see into it, and it reflects that vision back to us? Sometimes it's clear what the artist intended; other times, not so much. I don't think that "art is its own irreducible answer." More like it's an opportunity for us to peer more deeply into things we might normally take for granted, or only see one way. That's the true beauty of art, and what makes it more democratic than people might think. One family might buy a mass-market print o

    • by khipu (2511498)

      Sci-fi fandom is especially guilty of pushing this sort of treacle.

      Really? A lot of SciFi is about fun and adventure. A lot is about technological possibilities. Some of it may be about "identity", but not in the moronic philosophical sense in which most classical literature deals with the topic.

      If anybody is "especially guilty", it is pompous high literature and its academic devotees, the kind of people who traditionally are offended by SciFi.

      • by goodmanj (234846)

        My point is that sci-fi has so *many* different Big Ideas, it's annoying that its serious reviewers and fans tend to focus only on the human identity question. I think they do so to emulate and prove themselves to pompous high literature devotees, who don't ask about other big ideas because their own genre has so little else to offer.

  • by gsslay (807818) on Tuesday May 01, 2012 @07:00AM (#39855419)

    Seriously? Star Wars is an expensive Space Opera, stocked full of shallow stereotyped characters. I wouldn't be my first port of a call in an analysis of human identity,

    "ask the fundamental questions: who we are and how do we become who we are"

    We are what we do, and we become who we are by taking responsibility for what we do. We do not get to go back in time, re-write history and change events because we got them wrong the first time.

    What can we learn from Star Wards in this regard? Nothing. Hans shot first.

  • My Avatar was Jar Jar Binks so apparently I'm a pot smoking rastafarian. Not sure if it gets any worse. Most find that they are Jedi knights but I find I'm a stoner looser that everyone hates. There must be something lower in the Lucas universe like the trash monster. No, now that I think about it there isn't. Even the trash monster squid had some self respect.
  • by psnyder (1326089) on Tuesday May 01, 2012 @07:16AM (#39855467)

    'Since Star Wars takes place in a fantasy world, the characters need to be identifiable so that the audience can connect to them,' says Star Wars creator George Lucas.

    Dear Mr. Lucas,

    Please tell this to whomever wrote and directed episodes 1, 2, 3. A lack of identifiable characters the audience can connect with was one of the biggest problems. Please refer that guy to Plinkett's reviews [redlettermedia.com] and this guy [youtube.com], who point this out, quite clearly.

    In fact, you might consider firing that "director/writer" guy you've got, and finding talents like you did when you hired Lawrence Kasdan, Leigh Brackett and Irvin Kershner to write and direct Empire Strikes Back. Their story still holds up many years after the special effects have become dated. Lawrence Kasdan is still alive. Maybe he knows some good people. Maybe they could do a re-imagining of 1, 2, 3 that would actually be watchable.

    • They should seriously bring Plinkett in as a consultant if they ever do anything with the Star Wars franchise again. His reviews were about 100 times more entertaining than the prequel trilogy and extremely insightful to boot.

      His reviews of the TNG-cast Star Trek films were pretty good as well, but the Episode 1 review remains the best review of a film I've ever seen.

  • Keirsey's also Four Temperaments uses Star Wars Characters to illustrate for basic types of human behavior as well. Similar to Meyers briggs, it classifies people's personality types based on how the interact and make decisions.
  • Sometimes you have to sweeten science with some sugar to engage children / the general public. Perhaps the exhibition teaches some really good science about genetics, personalities, psychology, etc, I am not sure. But it looks like they are using Star Wars as a way to engage the public. Perhaps we have to critically analyse what is being purported to being taught: is this education or entertainment? Maybe next year they will teach the same subject but use The Simpsons / Hello Kitty / other popular cultural

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by happydan (948604)
      Wife and I were in Montreal last week so popped over to this. It's very well done and there are quite a lot of models and props from the movies. The exhibition explores the idea that although Anakin and Luke were raised in similar environments they became very different people. You get to create your own character as you go along based around each of the sections as they are explained. There were even some original Ralph McQuarrie (RIP) paintings to view. Some photos (we take Toad with us for photos on our
  • I've seen them try to make these connections before. Meh.

  • Most of art and literature deals with "exploring human identity". Star Wars has to be one of the crappiest examples of that and gives SciFi a bad name.

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