“Ava’s body is a good one”: (Dis)Embodiment in Ex Machina

Jennifer Henke 1
  • 1 University of Bremen, Bibliothekstraße 1, 28359 , Bremen, Germany


This article discusses the role of the body in Alex Garland’s film Ex Machina (2015). It focuses on Ava’s female cyborg body against the backdrop of both classic post-humanist theories and current reflections from scholars in the field of body studies. I argue that Ex Machina addresses but also transcends questions of gender and feminism. It stresses the importance of the body for social interaction both in the virtual as well as the real world. Ava’s lack of humanity results from her mind that is derived from the digital network Blue Book in which disembodied communication dominates. Moreover, the particular construction of Nathan’s progeny demonstrates his longing for a docile sex toy since he created Ava with fully functional genitals but without morals. Ex Machina further exhibits various network metaphors both on the visual and the audio level that contribute to the (re)acknowledgement that we need a body in order to be human.

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