Live Tweeting Summary Pt. 2

Week 6: Blade Runner 2049

Blade Runner 2049 (2017).

In week six, we watched Blade Runner 2049, the sequel to the 1982 original, where K discovers a long-buried secret and tries to track down former Blade Runner, Rick Deckard. Blade Runner 2049 builds upon the original films’ themes of dystopia and future relationships between robots and humans.

Having Blade Runner 2049 be a sequel to a film we’ve previously watched, it made it easier to understand how the film connects to the subject. Specifically, Blade Runner 2049 depicts the Singularity where human intelligence and machine intelligence become merged to create something bigger than itself. While the film shows the technological advancements in human intelligence, Blade Runner 2049 also warns viewers not to neglect the environmental issues in this process. This was something I hinted towards in my tweets as I shared articles that expanded upon this idea, however, I found that students were more engaged in my own thoughts and tweets rather than reading an article. This, and my lack of including additional media such as gifs and images, hindered my engagement throughout the screening. Focusing on the positives though, I felt as though my tweets covered many different areas including the movie’s soundtrack, future predictions and social commentary.

Week 7: The Matrix

The Matrix (1999).

Our screening for week seven was of arguably, the most renowned science fictions of all time, The Matrix. The 1999 film follows Neo as he discovers his world is a simulated reality and is drawn into a rebellion against the Machines.

In this week I examined the film with reference to real life allegories, other BCM325 screenings and the work of Wendell Bell. Bell’s idea of what a futurist should strive to be and the duality of future predictions is portrayed through the character of Morpheus, who offers Neo the chance to forget The Matrix and continue living in illusion (by taking the blue pill) or to enter the painful world of reality (by taking the red pill). I found my tweets received more consistent engagement which may have been due to the time of posting, as I tried to spread my posts throughout the screening, something I carried on doing in the next couple of weeks. Other things I picked up from this week that I continued to do was relate the film back to the subject materials and tweet about the references to Greek philosophy.

Week 8: No screening.

Week 9: Alita: Battle Angel

Alita: Battle Angel (2019).

After the short break in week eight, we started the following week with a screening of Alita: Battle Angel. The anime-based movie reveals Alita, a reactivated cyborg who has no memory of her past as she embarks on a quest to uncover her identity.

Though I did make a more assertive effort to interact with students’ posts through retweets and comments, I think the large Alita fanbase on Twitter was the reason for my engagement becoming an outlier in comparison to previous weeks. This week featured my most engaged tweet for the semester where I discussed the film’s colouring to the previous screenings. While at the time I didn’t think much of it, I’ve come to realise how important colour grading is in developing films’ thematic purpose and overall narrative. My biggest self-reflection from week nine is that I should have explored Donna J. Haraway’s paper on cyborgs, feminism and their depiction throughout science fiction. My favourite tweet thread from this week built upon the Greek philosophy references, where I discussed the Ship of Theseus and demonstrated my understanding of the weekly content outside of the recommended readings.

Week 10: Ready Player One

Ready Player One (2018).

For week ten, we explored the future of virtual reality and hyper-realities by watching the film adaption of Ernest Cline’s book, Ready Player One. The film is set in 2045 and finds humanity finding salvation in the expansive virtual reality universe known as the OASIS.

I tried using voting polls as a new form of engagement and though I didn’t receive an abundance of interactions, it did indicate the opinions of my peers which I could then use to shape my other tweets. In this screening, I made a lot of comments on the weekly materials of virtual reality, trans-humanism and humanities growing dependence on technology. Ready Player One builds upon William Gibson’s novel Neuromancer where cyberspace is described as a “consensual hallucination experienced daily by billions of legitimate operators, in every nation.” Despite the film being lighter in tone to some of the other films, there are still significant warnings from the text about the future of virtual reality and the shift from reality to cyberspace. I explored some of these in my tweets and discussed the interesting theory of trans-humanism. I asked if VR is a form of trans-humanism but I didn’t get any responses and although I usually give my opinion which then creates more engagement, I didn’t do that this time around and it impacted the traction of the tweet.

Week 11: Robot & Frank

Robot & Frank (2012).

Week eleven’s film, Robot and Frank, was quite different to the more dystopian and action-paced movies we were familiar with from past screenings. Robot and Frank is set in a near future, following the profound relationship between an elderly man, his robot and the quickly changing advancements in technology.

In the final week of BCM325 screenings, I felt as though I continued my stride by being able to take subject materials and mix it with other sources for my tweets. Furthermore, I was finally able to make a brief connection to my digital artefact by discussing the future of certain industries, in this case, libraries and the transition to the digital world. This is something I’ve wanted to do for a few weeks, but struggled to find a connection. Robot and Frank shows a man unwilling to adjust to the evolving technology, warning me that I should make a conscious effort to adapt to new advancements. By doing so, this will benefit my career and steer me away from being a senile burglar. Due to it being the final week, I also ranked the films we’ve watched which gained traction and encouraged other students to post their rankings of the film.

Here are some of my favourite tweets from week six to week eleven:

Despite the challenges of scheduling tweets, tying back to the subject material and trying not to shit-post, I found that live tweeting enabled me to demonstrate my understanding of the subject and apply these through a variety of different examples. And the best part is, I got to watch science fiction movies for the whole semester.

Frank Tremain.

Advertisement

Live Tweeting Summary Pt. 1

Week 1: Metropolis

Metropolis (1927).

In week one, we watched the German silent film directed by Fritz Lang, Metropolis (1927). Metropolis depicts the use of future technologies as a way of dividing the classes of society and manipulating the lower class to abide to the upper class. As I progressed through the weeks, live tweeting for Metropolis was still one of the more challenging tasks. With a long run time and no dialogue, I found it hard to concentrate and come up with tweet ideas while simultaneously trying to enjoy the movie.

I didn’t prepare any tweets prior to the screening and though this did help me come up with one tweet, I often found myself at a disadvantage while engaging with the film. Luckily, I had my HSC assignments to help me out and I already understood the greater meaning behind Lang’s work, I just had to apply it to BCM325. For week one, I found that asking my peers for their opinion and focusing on aspects aside from the characters and the plot worked best for interactions.

With biblical references and imagery, Fritz Lang uses Metropolis to warn the danger of technology as an oppressive tool from the upper class. While depicted in a more obvious sense than the other movies, Metropolis sees part of society suffering at the hands of technology, while the upper class (representing corporations as we’ll see in later movies) reap its benefits.

Week 2: 2001: A Space Odyssey

2001: A Space Odyssey (1968).

In week two, we live tweeted to Stanley Kubrick’s classic 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968). This movie helped shape computational future and sparked a generation of space loving, science fiction fans. In this week’s live tweeting, I went from one extreme to another, by not having any planned tweets to now having all ten of my tweets planned out and drafted. I began to include more research into my tweets and these often help spark conversations with my peers.

Though I found myself connecting the dots between the films and the work we’ve been doing in lectures, I still felt that I wasn’t conveying this as effectively as possible. The tweet with the largest engagement for this week was a comedic tweet that played into people’s nostalgia. While I found that these types of tweets were useful in getting above the requirements, I do recognise that they’re completely unrelated to the subject readings.

Week 3: Westworld

Westworld (1973).

The science-fiction thriller Westworld was the assigned movie of week three. Westworld tells the tale of a future with an amusement park where visitors can indulge in their sexual and violent pleasures, however, the park’s robots start to turn, warning viewers of AI. This week I decided to draft seven tweets and have my remaining three be improvised during the screening. I found this method useful as it removed stress from me and allowed me to enjoy the movie while also meeting the requirements.

Additionally, I started to draw more comparisons from the lectures and readings such as Delo’s Laws of the Futures. This received more critical engagement with my tweets and because this was a goal of mine from the start, I was pleased to see it happening. In week three, I realised that the best approach to live tweeting is to have a balance of fun facts, questions, memes and critical thinking.

Westworld shows viewers how our use of technology for personal pleasure can quickly turn awry, and develops the idea of AI gone wrong from last week’s movie.

Week 4: Blade Runner

Blade Runner (1982).

Week four’s movie was Ridley Scott’s legendary, Blade Runner (1982). Blade Runner begins to blur the line between human and android, and has us guessing the morality of this division. In this week, I felt as though I found my stride as I was able to provide a commentary to the movie with reference to the readings and the lecture content.

Additionally, I began to retweet a lot more and continued to ask questions to involve my peers in an open discussion. I made the effort of trying to reply to everyone who would comment on my posts, to try and draw out a larger conversation regarding the topic.

Week 5: Ghost in the Shell

Ghost in the Shell (1995).

In week five of BCM325, we watched the anime movie Ghost in the Shell (1995). Ghost in the Shell forces us to question our own humanity as our lifestyle continues to adopt more and more technology into everyday use. Despite wanting to draft my tweets prior to the screening, I went into this class with only 3 drafted tweets, thankfully, I was able to use IMDb‘s trivia option to find some fun facts about the movie.

Another thing I have recently found, is that tweets with images, gifs or videos will often do better than a tweet without. As I completed this while reviewing my peer’s pitches, I have learnt how essential a multimedia element is.

Again, I decided to retweet and like more than usual to engage as much as possible, something that I want to continue to do. Here are a few of my favourite tweets from week five:

Ghost in the Shell and Blade Runner both see androids and humans living together, blurring the line between technology and humanity. Although we see benefits to future technologies in these movies, we’re left to contemplate if the reward is worth the risk. Even though there are certain elements of these films that aren’t yet reality, I found myself questioning my own humanity and the morality of technology within our society.

Moving into the second stage of our live tweeting, I am going to continue planning my tweets but I am determined to draw further comparisons and relate back to the lectures and readings. This was an area that I need to work on and it will be worthwhile to do so to help my understanding of the subject and add valuable insight that may be useful to my digital artefact. Additionally, I intend on engaging in more conversations and increasing my interactions through likes, comments and retweets.

Frank Tremain.