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Futurism: 2057 (the future according to someone from the past)

23 Sep

2057! Oh my godfather! I will be 67 by then. I think. I did drop maths in Year 10, so I can’t be sure unless I use a calculator.Although, it’s only 2012 and already calculators have been pushed aside by the gleaming glory of the smartphone. (In fact, didn’t the old brick nokias have calculators as well as Snake anyway?).

The fact of the matter is:

if by 2012 we’re already accessing most of our needed information on a touch screen the size of our palms , I don’t see why in 2057 our computer network systems have to be so jolly big and clunky. Of course, this is a doco/drama amalgamation thing. So we can excuse scientific flaws in the name of drama, and excuse flawed drama, in the name of science. A clever safety net for the producers of this somewhat dated , and therefore rather nostalgic program .

sorta reminds one of the multitude of ‘serious’ science-fiction films made in the 80s and 90s which have now been rendered comical due to outdated filmic quality.

The plot is missing a lot. The acting is extremely cheesy. The future seems a little old, oddly enough. Everything is either a bit retro, a bit tacky, a bit vintage, a bit dorky…or just plain…outdated.

Guess it really highlights how fast the world is moving considering this was only made five years ago! To be quite honest, considering this documentary had such support from leading institutions and scientists for its content research, I was expecting something a little more WOWing. If you get what I mean? The tyranny of data was interesting I suppose, but I couldn’t help but feel it was merely the whole…technology will eventually turn on us and ruin our lives! CCTV, always being watched, networks, grids, beeping computer sounds, panicky actor voices, rising tense music, slow camera pans and melodramatic dialogue over phone conversations…

I fear there is nothing really that original about the predictions this program makes.

Funnily enough, despite our technological advancements George Orwell’s written word in the novel, ‘1984’ seems a hell of a lot more convincing and poignant than this jam-packed audio/visual mishmash of documentary, drama and lameness. (Sorry to be so harsh.)

However, even from an intellectual standpoint, Orwell’s 1984 seems somehow more relevant and challenging today in terms of political, philosophical, linguistic, cultural and technological concerns as well as posing interesting questions regarding technology and the advancement of science. ‘Interesting’ questions that I fear aren’t really that interesting in 2007 (or 2012 for the matter), when they’ve already been posed and pondered for the last billion years since the Industrial Revolution in the late 18th Century. I mean even Mary Shelley had sort of jumped on the bandwagon of our technological or scientific creations turning against us with Frankenstein by the early 1800s! By 2007 you’d think we may’ve identified something new to be fearful of…

(watch it – dare I say – here: topdocumentaryfilms.com/2057-the-city-of-the-future/)

Six Degrees of Separation

17 Sep

This fascinating BBC documentary manages to cohesively explore the notion of ‘networks’ in essentially every facet of existence.

From the origin of disease…


to every actors’ connection with Kevin Bacon…

to the intriguing unity of firefly signals;

the ‘6 degrees of Separation’ theory is revealed in all its complexity.

The documentary itself is very well structured, woven beneath the typical interviews and to-camera-pieces of professionals and researches directly involved in the study of the theory, is a narrative hook – strangers must try to get a package across the world by only using 6 ‘moves’. Like some kind of intricate game of chess, the players move across the chessboard of life, utilising every piece that lies in their path – hoping this will link to another. Tense music that builds occasionally to triumphant and climactic points helps punctuate the greatness of the 6 degrees concept, typical use of computer/sciency sound effects are used to create a sense of genuine methodicalness and reliability of the theory. The narrator’s voice is present when need be, but allows the researchers to do the majority of the talking – which allows the audience to be fully engaged in their eager search to validate the theory.

Ultimately the findings are quite astounding and carry great possibilities for understanding diseases, the animal kingdom and human connection itself. Personally, I find the closeness of the relational world very encouraging. If you play your cards right, perhaps it isn’t so hard to grab an interview with that incredible company you’d like an internship at…or perhaps – though tricky business requiring a lot of clever communication work – it’s not that impossible to acquire a meeting with such-and-such a famous person, who could prove your break into a very competitive industry.

I suppose it makes a lot of sense, this 6 Degrees thing, for the amount of people you are connected to, is raised exponentially as you go higher and higher up the chain. An article in the UK Guardian raises an interesting point [see full article here] which I actually interpret as having potentially grave consequences…

 “That may reduce a degree or two: Barack Obama already has well over a million Facebook friends.”

Yes, I suppose it’s incredibly comforting, and a multitude of possibilities open up when we realise that we’re only 6 connections away from J.K. Rowling, Bob Dylan, Obama, Wes Anderson…however the invention of Facebook and arguably, the trivialisation and falsification of real human connection, may in fact be distancing humanity – at least in the Western World – rather than bringing it closer together. For the 6 Degrees Theory to be of any benefit in a relational sense (i.e. such and such a person aims to get in contact with a stranger who can help them in this or that way, through following a series of connections) the original connections have to be relational! And for someone to be willing to aid or help out, or indeed, communicate in real life…they need to be better acquainted than one of Obama’s million facebook friends.

 

Image Sources:

Fireflies = http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-ouzsmdzStjI/Tf9iJTLaiPI/AAAAAAAAAZU/IEo6HdqcqJw/s1600/fireflies1.jpg

Kevin Bacon = http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/KevinBacon

Disease = www.biotechnology-genetic-humancells.blogspot.com

 

 

 

Montana

26 Jul

Yes, Youth Lagoon is one of those dudes. Drenched in reverb. EX-treme reverb. You know what I mean. Distortion and echoes and effortlessly heart-wrenching vocal whisper-like musings from the broken soul. With reverb. Think Antlers ‘Hospice’. With a little more…reverb. And a little less genocidal-ear-drum-massacre distortion.

Yes we can’t understand the words half the time. Think Bon Iver, bless ‘im. Yes he’s plagued with the crooning indie school boy whimper. Angus Stone, eat your heart out. (Anyone even remember that old chap? Oh that’s right, you went out and called yourself something worthy of a posthumously-titled, Romantic poet’s final semiautobiographical epic before he grew old and withered away into the oblivion of ‘artists-we-once-appreciated’. Lady of the Sunshine. Only joking. You’re still smokin’ in my eyes Mr. Stone. Still a gun. Still a smokin’ gun. See what I did there?)*

This is all endearingly teasing to be frank. I don’t give a damn about the reverb, weighty audio effects and inarticulate whines of the reigning postmodern Indie Kings. I say postmodern because their lyrics – not unlike the vague (and arguably, therefore worthless) and indefinite term imbued upon an era that can no longer be called ‘modernism’ – are inaudible and indefinable enough, to almost be themselves in a constant state of flux. Like the era itself, who’s to say that’s of any great worth or of no worth at all. Indeed, what is worth? What is the qualitative measure of ‘any’? What ‘is’?

What?

This is what happens when we have to use words. Humanity complicates everything.

SO. Montana. Review it. That’s your task. Get on it woman.

In short, this video clip is great. As is the song. Probably not much to it when you pull it apart from a technical music point of view. But it’s incredibly moving. And reverb does always help. Makes everything feel magical and nostalgic and just better. I think we must’ve been conditioned that way a long, long time ago. We can probably thank the Gregorian Chanting Monks and their high-ceilinged Medieval Churches for that. Tyler T Williams does a beautiful job on this music video. Out with the curly-haired white boy with mud on his cheeks running through open fields to jungle-inspired indie-folk rock with featuring the occasional glockenspiel and banjo! There just isn’t any narrative quality in that my friend. Especially when it’s been done for every second song out there. Occasionally they’ll include some sheep, or a tree with interesting roots. So thank you Tyler T for having your kid play baseball and for shooting at night. And for shooting in a lake. And for having legit-looking costumes. And for throwing a toy soldier with some baby blue smoke about the place. That was cool.

Williams, what a marvellous concoction. You’ve somehow produced a child born of Terrence Malick and Tony Hawk. The filmic beauty of The Tree of Life and grainy Polaroid photographs (in 2.35: 1 Anamorphic Scope YEHA) whilst cutting clips together in synch with the beat; like a mad dog skateboarding vid.

It’s pretty and artistic, whilst also being engaging. Don’t see that everyday. This is pretty special.

*Apologies. It would appear I’ve been living under a rock for the past few months. Angus Stone returns! And apparently it’s quite good. (Nevertheless, it was still worth the dig)