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Commentaries on this Media!

Gratuitous affect in supercomputer voices

by Critical Commons Manager

Prior to the near ubiquitous integration of personal computers into the lives of middle class Americans, the cinematic imaginary was free to project diverse personalities onto the supercomputers that appear in films. Decoding the specificity of these projections can prove challenging, however. Why is the computer voice of Alfie, the supercomputer that runs Barbarella's ship, for example, coded as gay?

Barbarella computer voice interface

The idiosyncratic computer voice on Barbarella's spaceship matches the shag carpet furnishings

from Barbarella (1968)
Creator: Roger Vadim
Posted by Critical Commons Manager