This week, Boing Boing is presenting a series of essays about movies that have had a profound effect on our invited essayists. See all the essays in the Mind Blowing Movies series here. -- Mark
Dunne and Raby, "Technological Dream Series No. 1: Robots," 2007, By Bruce Sterling
[Video Link] I first witnessed this strange Dunne and Raby video.... well, I feel sure that it was more than five years ago, but I don't see how that's possible.Some experiences squeeze the past into a different shape.
This video seems pretty opaque, at first encounter. It has no credits. The heroine is mute, nameless, rather elegant, very worried and dressed in black. The soundtrack is wordless electronic gabbling, warbling and scratching. The set is pure gallery white-space, devoid of doors, walls, sinks, beds, stoves or toilets. Odd, meaningless objects are strewn across the floor.
There are some jarring, horror-film jump-cuts, but they lack an apparent purpose. The nonexistent plot never advances. No conflict is settled. No problem is solved. No conclusion is reached. There's no moral to this story. There's no story.
"Technological Dream Series" is not even a "series," because there was only one of them. "Technological Dream Series" is a demo.
This demo looks something like science fiction -- that's why it captured my attention right away, and has held it for years now -- but "Technological Dream Series" is not science fiction. It's a different thing, because it's "design fiction."
"Technological Dream Series No. 1: Robots" is a demo, and the subject being demonstrated is interaction. These products on display, the objects, the "robots" --they're as abstract as chess-pieces. They're not like the designed products that star in commercial ads, they're not glossed-up, they don't have branding, they're not for sale. The heroine isn't the star, either. The star is the interaction.
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