Film 1: Bendito Machine III
What is this film suggesting are the ecological and social implications of an obsession or fixation on technology? Do the film’s characters have any choice in relation to their technologies? What are the characteristics of various technologies as portrayed in this film?
The film’s characters here seem mesmerized by the technology, as if they don’t even realize it’s taken over their lives. It’s become such an integral part of their socializing and even their worship, which is interesting because it made me think of Christian and Catholic television channels and how people literally can “attend” virtual worship in front of their televisions. But back on point – I don’t know that I would say the people are obsessed or fixated on the technology (in this film) knowingly. All their friends are watching, so they are too. Humans, being social creatures, tend to do what others around them do, especially if they see others having fun doing it, or simply wanting to belong. The common characteristics of the technologies presented in the film begin as audio and become both audio and visual distraction.
Film 2: Inbox
Depending on how you interpret the relationship between the two main characters, and the ending, you might argue that this is a utopian account, or a dystopian one – what do you think, and why?
I guess I’m optimistic. I viewed this short film as utopian in that I think technology does have a way of bringing people together in positive ways. While nothing is perfect and everything has a downside, for those who are shy or who have really different views from the mainstream, technology (especially the Internet) has a way of bringing people together. I met my husband online, so in a way I can relate to this film. Magic bag – Internet — it’s the same concept. From a Utopian perspective, bringing people together who are either too far apart to meet, or who would have never met otherwise, is a wonderful thing. In a way it means everyone can have a social group to which they belong whether it be in the physical world or online. There are so many ways technology brings us together. The question becomes – does the positive outweigh the negative?
On the flipside, not meeting face to face or meeting through technology does have its downside. For example, people who don’t have to interact with others face to face may feel more at ease being rude and aggressive. After all – it’s easy to be an ass to a glowing monitor. This anonymity also allows for lies. People pretending to be someone they aren’t to prey on others. It does give the predatory their own stomping ground. Again the question is, does the positive outweigh the negative? I suppose this also depends on one’s perspective – predator or prey.
Film 3: Thursday
What message is the film presenting about technology? What losses and gains are described? Who or what has ‘agency’ in this film?
I think the message in this film is that people are entirely too caught up in technology and don’t stop to enjoy the beauty or the natural world around them. The gains may be being able to go to space or do things humans would normally never be able to do, but the downfall is we miss nature around us and if our technological world ever went dark, people would be clueless what to do. Nature has agency in this film because no matter what the technology is or isn’t doing – nature goes on doing what it does. It does make one wonder what people would do if suddenly something happened and people’s cell phones and computers no longer worked. Would they be able to function? Would they be able to survive? In the beginning of the film the mother bird went about her day simply thinking – feed and care for offspring. The humans, on the other hand, start their day without thoughts just taking for granted the technology will always be there, waiting for them. What an interesting contemplation this is. It makes one wonder if unplugging every now and again is a good thing, just to slow down and take notice of the natural world around us. Like when the sun was setting and the guy got upset at the glare from the window. He presses the button, the blind goes down halfway, he gets annoyed, throws the controller, but can’t be bothered to deal with it because he’s so engrossed in what he’s doing on the computer.
Film 4: New Media
There are definite visual echoes of “Bendito Machine III” here – what similarities and differences can you identify between the two films?
Similarly the people are being controlled by the technology, mesmerized by it. But this film differs in that it suggests that people, their thoughts and their want for the technology, drive the technology, wherein the first film suggests the technology is somehow autonomous. I think this is likely a more realistic interpretation of technology, though I don’t necessarily agree with such a grim outlook.