Monday, February 06, 2006

Manifesto for Posthumanist Digital Cinema

The human species sleeps, unaware.

A dangerous handful are watchful, awake, unrecognizably rearranging the chambers. They’ve taken samples of the sleeping. Hair, skin, blood. They’ve also installed many plugs in the room. We are all going to need them soon.

And a handful more are beginning to blearily recover, taking slow steps to realization of the immediate future:

Some of these are shocked, hazily doubting they’ve awaken. “Am I still dreaming? Is this a nightmare?” They may retreat comfortably back to social tensions so familiar in the back catalogue of the human experience. Or they might even begin counting their hairs, fighting for the ones that have been split from their heads to be returned. But time will move too fast for such scrutiny of petty individual comforts. For life will be reconstructed, whether or not those who pretend to hold the ability to resist evolution wildly reach out their arms, making motions that will soon be remembered as futility.

Still more of these stirring from slumber will wake with an enthusiastically scintillating notion of the very present. They will wonder what has kept them from waking earlier. They will rub the fog of dormancy from their eyes and feel swept up in the change they observe taking place before them. They look at their once-tired bodies and wonder. “How long has this ache been behind my eyes? It has been there long enough to distract me from progress. My hands are too weak to instill any significant change in today’s world. Maybe a few years ago, when hands were used for things like that. Some have been busy though while I was gone. And in that direction, I must refocus. And I might regain something as well. At least I feel I might.”

Yes. Life is soon to be reconstructed. Humans, through an extension of our very humanity – the tools, the technology – are simply beginning to lose what we once considered humanity. It’s all under the surface now. But it’s already changed the way we act around each other, the way we see and hear, our perception of time, and the manifestation of these changes is evident in an exponentially accelerating manner. The foundation of human knowledge is being renovated. And soon, the vessel of that knowledge will need to match.

The human brain, the source of human achievement, has remained significantly static throughout the history of our species. In this lifetime, that stasis will be interrupted. The massive network of electricity that we hold within our heads, powering our every motion and thought, will soon be matched by technology envisioned and engineered by patterns of that organic electricity. First matched. Then surpassed. Then integrated. Or so we are to understand.

The infinite bank of questions to counter speed-of-life progress will never be formulated in time to answer in traditional language to the species that will soon be transformed. Instead the answers will present themselves in a form that people will perceive in a stepwise evolution of technology. Change will come without warning or expectation.

To find the appropriate medium to document that change should come as no question. It should not be a matter of cost. As hard as it is to allow certain forms of beauty to age, all beauty, by nature, loses its freshness and is replaced by new fashion and method. Certain qualities are lost, but Always the new will offer modes of expression that more accurately encapsulates the attitudes and trends of the present. Cinematically, the Digital Era is as fresh now as the motion picture was in the silent picture era. However, embracing this new form of the cinematic medium, as the technology embraces the physical human, will become integral to expressing the human experience.


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