Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Video Review Week 2 - So What's Different?"

A Day Made of Glass 2 and Productivity Future Vision
Beautiful work, but .... such a sanitised version of `modern life'!

These videos promotes seamless education, seamless integration between work and home, and a heavy reliance on internet technology. I love the technologies being depicted, but I feel it is `all too beautiful' (Itchycoo Park), http://youtu.be/VJzcF0v1eOE and as in Itchycoo park, they might all skip school and go and get stoned on some substance. They probably wouldn't be able to discern the difference between reality and being stoned anyway. The interactive holographic visions depicting communications between work colleagues, family & teaching leave me cold. Notice the way the father walks past his child who is asking a question about the school bake-sale and instead of engaging with her, heads straight for the visual screen on the fridge door?
Utopia or Dystopia?  I'm voting Dystopia on this one as I can't begin to imagine that this sterile living environment will provide the tactile, immersive experience that we all need as part of being human. 

Sight raises questions of internet security, privacy and power. Intentionally dark and thought provoking. At the most superficial level it asks the question of what happens when the net crashes. At a deeper level it raises the question of how much of our perception of reality is visual, and deeper still the issues of Identity theft or manipulation and mind control via internet technologies.
On the theme of reality vs virtual - I think that we (humans) will mature in our reactions to our experiences with internet tech in the same way that the generations of viewers of TV have matured in their reactions to film. Our children are able to distinguish TV virtual reality from real life, quite efficiently by their early primary school years and are able to discriminate in their responses to what is presented. Current generations are learning this with Social Media. In 20 years we will be adept at it from a very early age.
Once again a dystopian view of the digital revolution coated in utopian gee whiz technology.
*I have to say that as a female I don't like the connotations of the female as victim of someone else's fantasy. Story telling is so full of casting women into the role of victim. I'd like to see a sequel to it where she resists the mind control and has him arrested for assault.

Charlie 13
The human need to explore the world - once a  long time ago I heard a Psych talking about kids that get into graffitti and tagging, doing so because they need to create their own space - build their own world. I'm also thinking about the way in which people get into games such as the SIMS, Warcraft or get hooked on  book series such as Game of Crowns and Twilight. Charlie needs to create his own reality and interpret the world his way. He needs to construct his own reality. Is this a defining human trait? Where does that sit within Maslows hierarchy? Is it just part of the self-actualisation level or is it something we haven't otherwise catalogued. The need to explore. The need to explore arises not just when the other needs are fulfilled, but often as a response to lack of fulfilment of basic needs. It's instinctive.
What is the tagging project offering - safety? If it's offering safety, why is there still a need for police?

A story which asks the questions of "By whose definition does this represent the `Greater Good'?" As in Charlie 13 once again someone has decided that the only way to create safety is through total control.  Ghengis Khan, Chinese Emperors, Ancient & modern warlords,  Mao, Stalin, Hitler, Guevera, PolPot, all attempted to practice this.  In this futurist version of utopia, control is aided by digital and bio technology. This future view rehashes old storylines of behaviour control through identity control, group think, promotion of a fear culture through portrayal of the `other' as different and dangerous and big brother is watching/knows best.  Definitely dystopian.

So - "What's different?" It's the same human stories told with the aid of digital gadgetry, and as in story telling across the ages, these stories present a morality tale to spur us into taking up a cautionary position.
Finally each of these stories seems to be saying that Technology will determine our future, yet each of them ignores the fact that we are all reacting to the available technology in typically human ways.