Week 6: Blade Runner 2049
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
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
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
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
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.