Hope, with Teeth: On “Black Museum”

Document Type

Contribution to Book

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Source Publication

Through the Black Mirror: Deconstructing the Side Effects of the Digital Age

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“Black Museum,” the fourth season finale of Black Mirror (2011–), establishes for the first time that all the episodes of the series are in fact taking place in a single narrative storyworld. This chapter thus reads “Black Museum” as Black Mirror’s first articulation of its overall series mythology: the development and enslavement of artificially intelligent minds called “cookies,” digital copies of human minds whose rights and freedoms are incredibly precarious and a site of ongoing political struggle. “Black Museum” tells us the story of one of the main architects of this sociotechnological regime, as well as the story of the young black woman who seeks him out both for revenge and to liberate the enslaved cookie of her deceased father; the episode thus unites Black Mirror’s typical meditation on the emergence of transhuman technologies with new questions of anti-racist and anti-capitalist struggle. The episode is also singular in the context of Black Mirror for its complex but overall happy ending, exemplifying the strange notion of “hope with teeth” that China Miéville argues is necessary for utopian thinking in the present.


"Hope, with Teeth: On 'Black Museum'" in Through the Black Mirror: Deconstructing the Side Effects of the Digital Age. Eds. Terence McSweeney and Stuart Joy. Cham, Switzerland: 2019: 257-270. DOI.