Future

This first work in the HalfLifers' Action Series plunges into a world of frantic heroes trapped in a continual crisis of dissolution and reification. An ordinary domestic setting is recast as a psychoactive landscape in which the concept of function becomes situational and fluid. Only through the strategic application of organic and inorganic “devices” can this zone be successfully navigated and the mission be saved.

Alphabetically Sorted is a scrolling list of 644 keywords downloaded from CompuServe and spoken by “Victoria: High Quality,” a speech synthesis program.

This title is only available on e-(d)entity.

 

San Francisco is a city where the virtual and the real co-exist. It is both a center of multi-media and Internet activity, and a city with a vibrant street life and commitment to public space. Awakening From the 20th Century explores these issues by asking the questions: Is life becoming virtual? Are we witnessing the end of the city? Will the computer replace the automobile?

This title is also available on Chip Lord Videoworks: Volume 2.

Because of the War things were changing. Very few toys or games were left and music was almost over. Tap water was tasting female and television only came in nasty spasms…

A surreal and sometimes comic meditation on how war affects the hopes and dreams of ordinary people.

"A film about the time of the blast furnaces — 1917-1933 — about the development of an industry, about a perfect machinery which had to run itself to the point of its own destruction. This essay... on heavy industry and the gas of the blast furnace, convinces through the author's cool abstraction and manic obsession, and through the utilization of a single example of the self-destructive character of capitalistic production: 'The image of the blast furnace gas is real and metaphoric; an energy blows away uselessly into the air. Guided through a system of pipes, the pressure increases.

BIT Plane, 1999

BIT Plane is a highly compact spy plane, wingspan 20 inches, radio-controlled, video-instrumented and deployed over areas of scenic interest. Due to its refined dimensions, BIT plane is able to enter territory inaccessible to other aircraft. Pioneering flight: in an aerial reconnaissance over the Silicon Valley, California 1997, BIT plane flew solo and undetected into the glittering heartland of the Information Age.

(chatlandia) uses the public bathroom stall as format and metaphor for Internet relay chat lines (IRCs). The video's soundtrack is composed from transcripts of actual IRC sessions; the conversations emerging from this institutional facade speak of lust, intimacy, spunky women, and "what Desiree wants," calling into question the division between humans and machines. In (chatlandia) the larger theme of how the 'net functions as social space is explored and encourages the viewer to ask: Is the Information Age actually bringing us closer together or pushing us farther apart?

Taiwanese artist Shu Lea Cheang (b. 1954) tackles conceptions of racial assimilation in American culture, examining the political underbelly of everyday situations that affect the relationship between individuals and society. Using video in formally innovative installations, her works include the Airwaves Project, which focused on the one-way flow of global information and industrial waste, and Those Fluttering Objects of Desire, an installation presenting the work of women artists negotiating interracial sexual politics.

China Town traces copper mining and production from an open pit mine in Nevada to a smelter in China, where the semi-processed ore is sent to be smelted and refined. Considering what it actually means to "be wired" and in turn, to be connected, in today's global economic system, the video follows the detailed production process that transforms raw ore into copper wire--in this case, the literal digging of a hole to China--and the generation of waste and of power that grows in both countries as byproduct.

"code switching began as a contemporary reaction to Adrian Piper's Cornered (1988). It goes on to explore the fracturing of contemporary identity within modern culture, and the mechanisms by which individuals assign and create the cultural, racial, personal, and social identities around us. We all have codes by which we interact with and interpret others. Depending on what situation we are in, we adopt the appropriate persona to fit the occasion, constantly creating representations for others to read appropriately.

By accident, the content of a computer encyclopedia is transferred into the brain of an animated parrot resulting in the emotional breakdown of a fine peach.

"I would never have known how to do anything on my computer if it wasn't for Computer Smarts."

—Mark Roth

This title is also available on Animal Charm Videoworks: Volume 3, Computer Smarts.

Constituting an Outside (Utopian Plagiarism) is part one of Zach Blas's Contra-Internet Inversion Practice series. Contra-Internet Inversion Practice confronts the transformation of the internet into an instrument for state oppression and accelerated capitalism.

Social Media Exodus (Call and Response) is part two of Zach Blas's Contra-Internet Inversion Practice series. Contra-Internet Inversion Practice confronts the transformation of the internet into an instrument for state oppression and accelerated capitalism. Invoking a practice of utopian plagiarism, Contra-Internet Inversion Practice experiments with queer and feminist methods to speculate on internet futures and network alternatives.

Modeling Paranodal Space is part three of Zach Blas's Contra-Internet Inversion Practice series. Contra-Internet Inversion Practice confronts the transformation of the internet into an instrument for state oppression and accelerated capitalism. Invoking a practice of utopian plagiarism, Contra-Internet Inversion Practice experiments with queer and feminist methods to speculate on internet futures and network alternatives.

Contra-Internet: Jubilee 2033 is a re-imagining of scenes from filmmaker Derek Jarman’s 1978 queer punk film Jubilee, starring Susanne Sachsse and Cassils. Contra-Internet: Jubilee 2033 follows author Ayn Rand (Susanne Sachsse) and members of her Collective, including economist Alan Greenspan, on an acid trip in 1955. Guided by an artificial intelligence named Azuma, they are transported to a dystopian future Silicon Valley.

During 1998 and 1999, Pelon participated in various Internet newsgroups and lists where suicide is the main subject. Stories unfolded as the film was made; some reached the point of no return. The subject of suicide is very candid on the Internet, due to its anonymity and the freedom it allows from the usual taboos around the subject. The newsgroups and lists have become a relatively safe place for the many people that find themselves isolated because of their interest in the idea of suicide.

This European flavored melodrama depicts a fictional country of refined manners and debased desires that explode into chaos, sending its prodigal son into the pit of 20th Century technology. That technology externalizes his hidden beauty just as he tries to hide the heritage of horror which was the curse of his lineage. That curse now threatens the already damned.

El Livahpla (Alphaville spelled backwards) is about the ways in which we "normals" are encapsulated in architecture and technology. Through the lens of Alphaville, we see into a past that exists in the present, while showing a future that looks old. It is a waking dream in which the objects of design that surround us fail to provide the answers or the escape that we seek.

This title has been remade as Une Ville de l'Avenir.

Interrupting the nightly news in an act of guerrilla television, Gómez-Peña returns to the persona of a Chicano-Aztec veejay—"The Mexican who talks back, the illegal Mexican performance artist with state of the art technology"—to elaborate the complications of American identity. This post-NAFTA Cyber Aztec pirate commandeers the television signal from his underground "Vato bunker", where virtual reality meets Aztec ritual. Gómez-Peña embodies the doubly radical Chicano performance artist, delivering radical ideas through a radical form of entertainment.

Emission, 1994

"The video Emission found its origin in three performances which I wrote between 1988 and 1991. In their original form, the performances dealt with sex, romance, and communication technologies. The video elaborates upon these themes to speak of how human beings exist in a margin between nature and technology, and works towards confounding any simplified analysis of this worn-out duality.

Etant Donné le Bleu (Given the Blue) is a visual narrative—images breaking in a parallel universe, the realm of science fiction and the fantastic. The repetition, multiplication, and mechanization are intended to form a radically artificial world. They are not characters as such, with a past and a future; not beings that would bear names. This is not a space as such, not even a circus. The dubious figures playing the roles of witnesses are of only one color.

The film centers on the images of the Gulf War, which caused worldwide outrage in 1991. In the shots taken from projectiles homing in on their targets, bomb and reporter were identical, according to a theory put forward by the philosopher Klaus Theweleit. At the same time it was impossible to distinguish between the photographed and the (computer) simulated images. The loss of the 'genuine picture' means the eye no longer has a role as historical witness. It has been said that what was brought into play in the Gulf War was not new weaponry, but rather a new policy on images.

"How can the distinction between "man" and "machine" still be made given today's technology? In modern weapons technology the categories are on the move: intelligence is no longer limited to humans. In Eye/Machine II, Farocki has brought together visual material from both military and civilian sectors, showing machines operating intelligently and what it is they see when working on the basis of image processing programs. The traditional man-machine distinction becomes reduced to "eye/machine", where cameras are implanted into the machines as eyes.

“The third part of the Eye/Machine cycle structures the material around the concept of the operational image. These are images which do not portray a process, but are themselves part of a process. As early as the Eighties, cruise missiles used a stored image of a real landscape, then took an actual image during flight; the software compared the two images, resulting in a comparison between idea and reality, a confrontation between pure war and the impurity of the actual. This confrontation is also a montage, and montage is always about similarity and difference.

FF, 2010

A short Flicker Film adulterated by some extra images shot in Malawi, Africa. FF was in answer to an assignment given by artists Melissa Dubbin and Aaron Davidson who created the soundtrack to which I was asked to make a “Future Film”.

-- Deborah Stratman