Live tweeting is a practice of critical thinking on the fly – which is obviously a skill we should all cultivate in this media age. We need to be able to de-construct the media we observe and understand where it’s coming from, where it’s going and how it affects us along the way.
If you’re on BCM Twitter, your feed probably gets overrun by 325 live-tweets reacting to whichever film we’re watching that week. Earlier this semester, I made a blog post talking through some of my movie tweets in the first half of the semester. This post will cover the latter half. Three of the films we watched had a particular impact on me, so I’ve organised my thoughts under each of those movies.
‘Arrival’: Communication & The Limits of Imagination
The nature of communication has evolved as technology advances – I think of McLuhan’s “global village” and (as mentioned on Twitter), George Orwell’s work on the affects of language on thought “’Don’t you see that the whole aim of Newspeak is to narrow the range of thought? In the end we shall make thoughtcrime literally impossible, because there will be no words in which to express it. ‘”. In arrival, the scientists basically spend the movie performing semiotics, trying to communicate and understand the alien based on their mode of communication.
This idea is relevant to my Digital Artifact, in the sense that creative writing is itself a collection of words that allow one to imagine, conceptualise and explore ideas. In my case, I’m using language to communicate an imagined future, and there are definitely ideas that I cant conceptualise with the words I know, and futures I cannot imagine. A few years ago, I had no idea what the word “pandemic” meant. Now, it’s shaped almost every area of my life. How can I write a future knowing that things can happen that I can’t possibly plan for?
‘Don’t Look Up’ & Aversion to Self Awareness
Speculation of the future is powerful. Whilst a lot of the representations of the future we’ve seen in these movies have been somewhat inaccurate, they’ve also quite often included accurate predictions of the future we are currently living in. Don’t Look Up uses humour in a different way than Frank and Robot does.
As Alana points out here – We find our current situation confronting – we don’t want to look it in the eye. Thats why dont look up was so highly contended and it’s the reason for the success of Bo-Burnham’s ‘inside’. Media that forces us to become more aware of ourselves and our reality, instead of offering an escape or distraction – is not always well-recieved media.
When I was writing my creative pieces for my Digital Artifact, I found that it was uncomfortable to think about my current reality and speculate on possible and probable futures based on what I know. It deterred me from being excited about writing them. I think we live in an increasingly unpredictable world, so to speculate on my personal future without considering possible influences from external, unpredictable, world-altering events such as climate change, global conflict or disease, is a difficult and uncomfortable task.
There is undoubtedly a tension in modern Scifi between the fictional representation of the future and its reality. This tension is so poignant that it’s been difficult to write my creative writing piece for my DA. The line between reality and dystopia is so thin, almost every representation of the future we could imagine has already been imagined in media and created in some way or another IRL. In my opinion, Don’t Look Up pointed a finger at this tension, and the discomfort created from that divided critics on the film.
‘Frank & Robot’: Eutopic Views of Technology & Humour
Frank & Robot was pleasing for me as a scifi movie because it was funny, bright and presents a positive perspective on the technological advances that are so often criticised and catasrophised. It’s humourous without being satirical like Don’t Look Up.