Most of these dystopian scenarios are, after all, post-apocalyptic: the bad thing happened, the tension broke, and now so much less is at stake. The anxiety and ambivalence we feel toward late-stage capitalism, income inequality, political corruption, and environmental degradation—acute psychological pandemics in the here and now—are utterly dissolved. In a strange, wicked way, the aftermath feels fine.
A 1983 article from 73 Magazine on the surprisingly plausible Rube Goldberg/Heath Robinson device created by E.T. to call home.
As always with sci-fi interfaces, the important part is telling the story, not realism or accuracy. Personally, I liked the way that the World War II trappings of Rogue One extended to communications and networking technologies.
Ten years on from Afonso Cuarón’s masterpiece.
Matt Griffin’s thoughtful documentary is now available for free on Vimeo. It’s a lovely look at the past, present, and future of the web, marred only by the brief appearance of yours truly.
I love this project by Brendan—a kind of retroactive design fiction featuring boarding passes from airline travel referenced (but never seen) in films like Die Hard, The French Connection, and Pulp Fiction.
Compare and contrast Alien, Starship Troopers, and The Thing with 2001 and Roadside Picnic (and I would throw Solaris into the mix).
Plugging in a monster moves a plot right along, of course, but if that’s all it’s doing, the plot is neglecting to examine how a real biosphere would work. That would be a sensationally complex task, but given the amount of research now going on in astrobiology and exoplanetary science, the suspicion here is that experts could be summoned who could produce such a film. Even so, there is something to be said for not seeing aliens.
The 1978 short film Farewell, etaoin shrdlu documents the changeover from linotype to digital typesetting at The New York Times.
An evenhanded treatment of the unremitting march of technological progress, Weiss’s film about an outmoded craft is stylistically vintage yet also immediate in its investigation of modernity.
Moonscape is a free and freely shareable high-definition documentary about the first manned Moon landing. Funded and produced by space enthusiasts from all over the world, it shows the full Apollo 11 landing and moonwalk, using only the original audio, TV and film footage and the original photographs, rescanned and restored from the best available sources, with full English subtitles (other languages will follow).
I’ve seen letterforms you people wouldn’t believe…
The newest Kirby Ferguson video looks at remixing through the lens of the newest Star Wars film.
Absolutely brilliant stuff from Mandy (again). A long hard at today’s tech industry’s narrow approach to bots and artificial intelligence compared to some far more interesting and imaginative approaches in fiction:
- Ann Leckie’s superb Imperial Radch series,
- Kim Stanley Robinson’s Aurora, and
- Alex Garland’s Ex Machina.
So in addition to frightening ramifications for privacy and information discovery, they also reinforce gendered stereotypes about women as servants. The neutral politeness that infects them all furthers that convention: women should be utilitarian, performing their duties on command without fuss or flourish. This is a vile, harmful, and dreadfully boring fantasy; not the least because there is so much extraordinary art around AI that both deconstructs and subverts these stereotypes. It takes a massive failure of imagination to commit yourself to building an artificial intelligence and then name it “Amy.”
The thesis: any film is improved by playing Walk Of Life by Dire Straits over the ending.
The proof: this website.
(this is absorbing and brilliant)
A film about Tim Berners-Lee and the World Wide Web. Details are scarce right now but watch this space.
Everything you never knew you wanted to know about the Millennium Falcon, wrapped up in one unsurprisingly insanely detailed essay from Michael.
A terrific analysis of industrial design in film and games …featuring a scene-setting opening that delineates the difference between pleasure and happiness.
Gavin Rothery’s wonderfully grim and atmospheric short film.
The best description of Mad Max: Fury Road. Read.