chapter  8
16 Pages

A Sound Semiotic Investigation of How Subjective Experiences Are Signified in Ex Machina (2014)

WithGilbert Gabriel

This chapter deploys Van Leeuwen's sound semiotic techniques to investigate how the soundtrack of the independent science thriller Ex Machina signifies characters' subjective experiences. It presents the research that uses sound semiotics together with film sound theory as a means to investigate how film characters' subjective experience of love, intoxication, memories, and terror are signified. The chapter discusses Van Leeuwen's premise that the boundary between music and noise has blurred with the advent of synchronised film sound in the early 20th century, and the ways in which science fiction films utilise new electronic instruments and recording techniques for soundtracks. It traces the evolution of artificial intelligence, which provides a contextual background for the narrative trajectory of Ex Machina. The chapter deploys sound semiotic practice to locate how the subjective experience of characters is signified by speech, music, and sound.