By Thomas H Cullen (UK)
The story, and the art of Alien: Covenant forges a link which is a reverse to a usual paradigm. In normality, tension and fear are created by movement, yet it’s in Alien: Covenant in which stability is synonymous with movement. The motif of the movie, is for characters to encounter hostility and to meet their own demise as the result of being stationary.
Stationary is a state of action, but a contradictory type of action. The nature of the contradiction is that if all forces were stationary, presumably nothing could be stationary. So any force which is stationary is predicated on hierarchy. Hierarchy permits the force to be stationary, ergo censorship and violence permit the force to be stationary.
Hierarchy, in itself, is a force of difference. Difference is its own sub-division, however, the sub-division would seem redundant given the fact that the stationary force is already a sub-divided. So the sub-divided lets a sub-divided act stationary. An equal force is granted power by an equal force. Naturally, this is a type of paradigm which is outrageous, and so it feels right that he story of Alien: Covenant is about dealing in the stationary.
An equal force has no right to give power to an equal force, as it implies hierarchy between the two forces. The hierarchy isn’t real, yet the distribution is inevitable. Alien: Covenant attacks hierarchy relentlessly, whether if it’s showing David oppose Peter Weyland, the Covenant crew being tense with Oram, or whether it’s showing David treat the Neomorph as a human. Countless times throughout the movie, the hostility that gets generated happens around stationary behaviour. It’s when characters are standing still, and doing nothing that tension and the prospect of violence exists. The Engineer population that David wipes out gets wiped out because they were stationary, and Walter loses to David because Walter became stationary.
The equality between forces is real. However, it seems that the essence of Alien: Covenant is address the nature of the equality between forces. If stationary means peace, which feels logical, that insinuates that the equality between two stationary forces is forced to not mean peace. The equality is a terror, and can only be resolved by eliminating different forces until just one force exists which embodies the peace of stationary behaviour.
In Alien: Covenant, characters who project a sense of calm are the sources of terror. Oram mocks David for his sense of calm. The Covenant crew are rattled by Daniels, for her sense of calm. Walter shows apprehension toward David, for his sense of calm. The peace of Upworth and Ricks is part of a scenario of tension; for how long can the peace of Upworth and Ricks persist, until Tennessee finally breaks protocol and physically clashes with them?
The equality between forces is the terror, but, at the same it’s a symbolic state. The forces themselves are the only forces that can be attacked, which isn’t fair as none of the forces are the terror. The only force that should be attacked is a force which doesn’t exist. Therefore fairness is to attack the imaginary. Equality is to attack symbolism.
On its own, symbolism is just unreal, however when compounded with assault, the symbolic stops just being unreal and becomes connected to reality. The state of being connected to reality is synonymous with violence. Violence is the same as unification.
Is this an accurate way to judge Alien: Covenant? Is its ethos that violence is the literal embodiment of creating stability? Violence couldn’t ever be infinite, which lends to a very alarming situation: something which can’t be infinite creates something which is infinite. The creator destroys so as to create peace. The act of destruction is the act of creation. The creation is the value, making the creator the lack of value. The lack of value is therefore opposed to the creation, meaning that the creation can only happen if the creator isn’t aware of the effect of its behaviour. The lack of awareness of the creator has to mean that the creation possesses awareness, meaning that the creation is aware of its unintended state. The creator is the conundrum of being the only state which can be intended, meaning that violence is the only behaviour which can be intended.
The antithesis of violence, peace, is a state which could never be intended, yet the creation is expected to understand the worth of the paradigm. The convenience of no awareness and yet behaviour on the part of the creator would seem to be the balance: the creation can’t value itself, but it can value the sequence that encompasses itself. The creation can value violence on the condition that it’s part of an inevitable juxtaposition. The creator is the paradigm of no awareness yet behaviour, and the creation is the paradigm of awareness yet no behaviour.
Awareness is a state of no movement while being a reaction. The lack of awareness is a state of movement while lacking any intent. Humans are aware, yet possess movement. David is aware, yet possesses movement. The xenomorphs are aware, yet possess movement. The flawed link between awareness and movement is the key: with each subsequent creation, from David to the xenomorphs, the nature of the movement is more destructive. The instigator is the movement of humans, despite the fact that humans are a very pronounced awareness. The greater the awareness ought to mean the lesser the movement, yet it’s humans that colonise the universe. On the flip side, humans don’t know if they’re creations, making their subversion of awareness and no movement justified. However, it balances out the equation by having the xenomorphs be a force of aggressive movement that has intent. The perversity of the creator being the source of violence manifests by creations being a source of violence that’s intended.
The ultimate creation – humans – becomes the perversity of its attribute – awareness – becoming a pronounced source of tragedy. The ultimate double standard of pronounced movement and pronounced awareness being encompassed within the very same force is the ultimate reap of terror.
As for David himself: he is the balance against the double standard, the irony being that he is meant to serve as the reflection of the double standard. He possesses greater intellect than humans, and is capable of better movement, yet he is in the fascinating state of being the moral voice against the original double standard. The original double standard was inevitable though, and therefore David represents neither the problem or the solution. Humans were the synchronicity between choice and problem, making David the separation between choice and problem. Because choice has already embodied problem, defining problem as oneness, relative to David this means that choice has the freedom to render solution as the act of separation. Outside of separation, and outside of hostility, choice can now become a living being which can co-exist with hostility. The force of choice isn’t detached from anything, but is exempt from danger.
For David, freedom is a force which can betray itself without any consequence, meaning in effect that annihilation has an obligation to exist.
Throughout Alien: Covenant, the link between Upworth and Ricks and David feels like a type of bizarreness that’s excellent. For the whole movie, Upworth and Ricks stay on the ship, and are never a source of terror to anyone. David is based at an opposite end of the story, and is a consistent source of terror. David is a visual evolution, and Upworth and Ricks are a visual evolution. The symmetry is something which is surreal, despite the movie’s allusion to the terror of symmetry.
Symmetry is surreal, but the link between David, and Upworth and Ricks is a symmetry whose ultra-surreal nature is something which is vastly pleasing and inspiring. The terror between forces is replaced by a gravitational pull, but the pull is predicated on peculiarity. The terror is also a gravitational pull, meaning its replacement is a pseudo-pull, yet it’s the pseudo-pull that’s inspiring. The original pull was based on abnormality, the pseudo-pull is based on abnormality, and despite the symmetry between pseudo and pseudo state an experience of difference is possible. Experience can derive from pseudo, meaning that it can’t derive from a source.
A source and experience were always synonymous, and therefore Alien: Covenant is a force which is a literal embodiment of life’s source experiencing itself.
Alien: Covenant is God’s own state of being.