#edcmooc – Week 1

Film 1: Bendito Machine III

  • What is this film suggesting are the ecological and social implications of an obsession or fixation on technology?
    • Ecologically, old technology doesn’t go away, it just takes up space in land fill. The obsession with technology, and a must have attitude to the next new thing is an ecological disaster.
    • Socially, the association is made with religion and the Marxist adage of religion being the opium of the masses.
  • Do the film’s characters have any choice in relation to their technologies?
    • The people are passive receivers of the technology and of what the

    technology broadcasts, unquestioning when it harms them. When someone does question what is happening, he seeks out new and better technology, perpetuating the cycle.

  • What are the characteristics of various technologies as portrayed in this film?
    • The technology gets bigger and offers more and more of what pacifies the people. Like a drug, you want more and more just to feel normal. The people want bigger and more technology just to satiate their need for what they see as a normal life.

Film 2: Inbox

  • Is this a Utopian or a Dystopian account of technology?
    • The technology connected two people that would not otherwise have connected. The woman’s attitude to the men in the store made it clear she was not interested in being ‘picked-up’. The man, was clearly too shy to make a move in the face to face situation as she was clearly portrayed as ‘out of his league’.The technology allowed a relationship to develop based on the non-visual attributes of the characters, perhaps allowing a stronger connection to be made.

      The downside of this form of relationship building is when the technology breaks there is no means of re-establishing that connection, except by shear chance.

      On the down-side, this ‘safe’ means of communication is open to abuse. In the film the characters were honest with each other, but the potential for ‘grooming’ by a predator is clearly there..

Film 3: Thursday

  • What message is the film presenting about technology?
    • Technology seems to be portrayed as dehumanizing, making people conform to accommodate technology.
  • What losses and gains are described?
    • The reassurance of routine is nothing to be sneered at, and it is something that technology is good at providing. Technology offers predictability, conformity and reassurance. When something goes wrong – the bird pulling a wire – people don’t know what to do.Nature has not been accommodated in the technology city, but nature has accommodated technology and found a place anyway.

      The routine of the people leaves no room for impetuousness – even the sex seems predictable and expected – but and its chick offer a glimpse of nature as free spirit.

  • Who or what has ‘agency’ in this film?
    • The city, its inhabitants and all its components are portrayed as an entity, almost with its own consciousness. This seems to have agency – making decisions and controlling the lives of its inhabitants, even limiting the time of respite some of the inhabitants have outside the city, ironically, on the viewing platform to see the city from space.The bird is the only being to live outside the system and living in a state of nature, in contrast to its surroundings.

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?
    • Both film show technology having control over society. Who or what is controlling the technology is not revealed, but the ordinary people are the ones being controlled, being kept in a state of subjugation.Stylistically the films are obviously different. Bendito Machine III, an animation, mimics primitive motifs, suggesting human primal instinct to worship.

      New Media uses special effects to create the illusion of technology moving freely in the real world, showing technology as a hostile invader, taking over and controlling their creators. In this case the created have overcome the creators.

Finally

There are many Utopian and Dystopian stories about technology told in popular films from Metropolis to the Matrix. Can you think of an example and describe or share it in the discussion board, on your blog, or on Twitter?

The Time Machine

I’m more influenced by HG Wells’ novel (probable the first true science fiction novel), but there have been at least two films made of it, so I’m going with it.

It’s a heady mixture of technology, class politics and evolution that tell of how, in the distant future, the human race has evolved into two branches: the simple, gentle but useless Eloi and the fierce, nocturnal and technologically advanced Morlocks.

Humans are split along broadly class lines, the Eloi being the idle rich upper-class and the Morlock the industrious, hardworking working-class.

In a post-apocalypse world, the humans that became Morlocks retreated underground and used their technological know-how to survive and thrive, while the humans that became Eloi, while being attractive, regressed to become little more than cattle, literally farmed by the Morlocks.

There is a moral ambiguity at the heart of the story: industriousness and technological advancement allows people to survive and thrive but turns them into monsters; wealth and luxury turns people into attractive but useless simpletons.

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