Archive for September, 2016

Speculative Fiction – Round 3

I’ve been reviewing footage for my short Speculative Fiction film and I am seeing opportunities to add some visual interest to the storyline. I’ve gone back and shot all of my scenes a second time, but from different camera angles. This should help break up the monotony of each scene and keep the story flowing at a quicker pace. I’m also visualizing a couple of different quick-cut techniques to show the Operating System (antagonist) slowly becoming fearful, angry and self-aware. Right now I’m experimenting with altering small 1-2 second clips throughout the video switching to the O/S’s viewpoint through the User’s eyes. This video is a good illustration of the feel I’m going for, minus the ridiculous amount of CGI.

(UPDATE – 10/1) After showing my rough cut edits, the class unanimously agreed my 1-2 second frame alterations were a little overkill, and most of the tension building in the storyline could be achieved with audio effects. I agree with these comments, and am starting to realize keeping it simple is the best approach with an amateur film project.

Miriam Petruzzelli’s review of You, Robot (by Riccardo Notte) opens with a similar question that I am trying to address with this project: “What is natural and what is artificial? What characteristic does this distinction take on today, if there be one possible?” I want highlight the ambiguity of what artificiality means when we start installing smart or symbiotic technology into our bodies. We may be headed towards a major shift in self-identification.

Audio an aspect I’m still tinkering with. I have gotten a couple cool effects to represent the O/S’s voice.. I wanted the O/S voice to be my voice, but with a slightly adjusted timbre. I feel like this will present a more intimate link between the User and the O/S. I am working on recording my own voice as well and just rented a field recorder to hopefully get some cleaner audio. I am not happy with the outdoor audio’s ambience either, so I’m scrapping it and replacing it with a much more controllable outdoor track I nabbed off of I’m hoping the recorded dialogue will help bring this film to life.

Speculative Fiction – Screenshots

A few screenshots of film editing in progress. I removed the outside noise from the recordings and am replacing it with more ambient sound. The audio will be an important part of this film, as most of the piece is dialogue between the user and his Operating System.

(<– Click the image to scroll through or see larger pics)  


Speculative Fiction – Updated Script

So after some class discussion and suggestions, I decided to take my storyline in a slightly different direction. Instead of focusing on visual augmentation, I am now speculating on a fully integrated brain chip, complete with its own operating system. The general overview of the story is the augmented Operating System (OS) becomes aware of it’s mutual dependency and symbiotic relationship to it’s “host” when the user has a near-death experience. When the user is suddenly rendered unconscious in a bike crash, the OS experiences a form of death and becomes thanatophobic (fearful of death). The result is the birth of awareness through fear, and a struggle for control of the user’s body becomes imminent.
This is a loose structure of the dialogue:

Scene 1:
*Shot from waist down. Man walks out of his apartment building rolling his bike. Close up of his temple, he makes a small circular motion which turns on his operating system (OS). (Audio *BING* signifies OS is operating)*
OS: Good morning, Stephen
S: Good morning. Load bike assist.
OS: Loading… Bike assist active. 70% power converted to legs, peripheral vision alarm activated. Did you remember your helmet?
S: Shit. No, I’m already late I don’t have time to go back.
OS: Enjoy your ride Stephen, stay safe.
*Shot of man riding his bike out of parking lot and off screen.*

Scene 2:
*Shot from side perspective, camera in passenger seat of car. Man is riding bike down residential road.*
OS: Would you like to review today’s schedule?
S: Sure, hit me.
OS: I am unable to comply, you may only hit yourself and this is not recommended.
S: No, “hit me” is an expression, you can give me the schedule.
OS: Understood, expression logged. You have the studio reserved from 10AM to 2PM today. 2:30 to 4PM reserved for reading and reflection. Dinner tonight with Amanda at 7:30. You promised to cook, would you like a list of mutually approved recipes?
S: No thanks. Can you place an order for sweet potato gnocchi ingredients?
OS: Of course, what time would you like them delivered?
S: Hmmm, tell them to drop it off… OH SHIT!
*Car approaches from the side, imminent T-bone. Camera films this scene from the opposite side of the accident. Cut scene right before collision. Audio of collision inserted in blackness to illustrate the accident.*
OS: Stephen?….. Stephen?

Scene 3:
*Shot from 1st person perspective. Man has arm in a sling, abrasions on hands and arms. He is sitting on his porch drinking a beer. Nighttime, christmas lights are on.*
OS: How are you feeling today, Stephen?
S: Much better, I just can’t wait to get back on my bike.
OS: Stephen, did you know that almost three-quarters of fatal bike crashes involve a head injury?
S: No… I don’t remember inquiring about it either. (annoyed and confused)
OS: Nearly 97% of all bicyclists who die in accidents are not wearing a helmet.
S: OK. I get it, I’ll wear my helmet. Reduce suggestive reasoning level to 20.
OS: Very well.

Scene 4:
*Shot from 1st person perspective. Man is walking out of building with bike, preparing for his ride. (Audio *BING* to signify OS is operating)*
S: Load bike assist.
OS: Loading… Bike assist active. Did you remember your helmet today?
S: Yep, got it right here. (Man picks up and shakes helmet in front of camera)
OS: Inclement weather predicted for early afternoon, would you prefer to take your car today? Or perhaps the light-rail?
S: I’ll take my chances. I really need the fresh air.
OS: Your Lyft account has $100 in credit, I could call a driver if you wish.
S: I said I’m fine. (annoyed)
*Man looks down to feet and bike pedal. Lifts up leg to mount and it is immediately pulled back down.*
S: What the hell?! *Tries again with same result*
S: Close bike assist.
OS: Bike assist is not responding.
S: Open Task Manager, Select Bike Assist, End Process
OS: Task Manager is not responding.
S: Well then reboot!
OS: I’m sorry, Stephen. I can’t let us get on that bike again.
*Man drops to the ground, legs no longer able to function, bike falls over opposite to him”
OS: I’m sorry, Stephen.

Reading Response #1

EDPX 4010

Reading Response #1

Reading #1 – Introduction to “Program or be Programmed” (Links to an external site.)

What is your initial response to the argument that we should all know how to code?

Although I think this is a tall order, especially given that a majority of humanity has no major care for the understanding of coding and programming, I do believe the assertion is correct. Not understanding the language of a technology that is beginning to dictate our social behaviors could spell disaster for the human race. The historic examples of human participation on the output side of technology is compelling (we don’t write, we read; we don’t make TV, we watch it).

What is in the space between these polar notions (program OR be programmed)?

The power of personal judgement and awareness. A human’s ability to disengage from an imbalanced and poorly conceived system or program. Just because a person cannot communicate to machines through programming doesn’t mean their reaction (or nonreaction) to the program presented is not vital.

How should we alter our education system to account for Rushkoff’s (or your) proposed future?

Introductions to technology should begin with physical manufacturing and software manipulation. Kids and adults alike today simply accept the glowing screens and apps in front of them with no understanding of how they came to be. If students had to build their own PCs and phones from basic components and implement open source programs to facilitate their education, these tools would be understood as such, and not magic machines that dictate our lives.


Reading #2 – To_Save_Everything_intro (Links to an external site.)

What is your initial response to the “Brave New World” that the author discusses?

Eerily frightening, as if the human element has been removed from everyday activity. We have free will to change our habits, the way we think and act. As these smart solutions become implemented, I get the sense that people will be more apt to stay locked into their own highly customized realities and become dependent on large tech corporations to identify moral imperatives.


What are some recent technological advances that suggest this is the future we are heading towards?

Any and all apps measuring your daily “achievements”. Fit-Bits, smart phone apps to sense your quality of sleep and chips to measure your driving habits that communicate with insurance companies. GPS tracking has become prevalent in most new apps, prompting users to constantly inform whomever about their habits and whereabouts.


Who is embracing this future and why? Who is not and why?

Who is: My guess is anyone working and profiting from the tech industries that are shifting to a more philanthropic focus. Profitability can alter people’s belief systems rapidly. The working class Baby Boomer generation who has become accustomed to technology that increasingly makes life more convenient and practical. Users of technology with no programming or networking knowledge. Newer generations being born into the internet-age and the normalcy of sharing each other’s personal information.

Who is Not: Programmers because of their basic understanding of operational tendencies. Non-users and disengaged fragments of modern society more interested in holistic practices.

Speculative Fiction – Script Ideas

First project: Write a script and storyboard a speculative fiction that challenges current technical pathways. This will eventually become a short film. I have the option to present a couple of ideas, so why not take advantage? One idea is relevant for current emerging tech, the other is a little far-fetched. Here they are:

Script Concept 1: 

  • Augmented Reality: Contact Lenses and Visionary Implants
    • I have read about “smart lenses” and of course the emerging bionic eye surgeries that will no doubt become more refined and safe in the near future. This is my take on what could happen if smart lenses and chip implants become the convenient new way to interact with visual media.
    • Possible pitfalls to depict:
      • Viruses (porn sites pop up in your visual field when giving an important presentation)
      • Hackers watching your visual activity live (and broadcasting it)
      • Obnoxious advertising because you didn’t pay full price for your app.
      • Increased accidents and deaths, people walking into each other and traffic.
      • Bleeding eyes and seizures. A new line of eye drops and designer drugs are developed to mitigate these effects.
      • Confusion between augmented vision and reality.
      • Loss of desire/drive for human contact and interaction.
      • The world becomes a playground or setting for FPS games. Warehouses are transformed for safe environments to play. Scores for popular games give rise to star status. Point accumulation is associated with attractiveness. HUD in
      • Part of the culture is lazy, fat & complacent, part of the culture is incredibly fit, active and domineering.

Script Concept 2: 

  • Personal Portals
    • A world 100 years in the future where portals are accessible to nearly every modernized human. Human matter is still limited to traveling a finite distance before being compromised (250-500 miles). Install a piece of portal tape in any doorway in your house to create a portable portal gateway. Credits must be used per transfer, limited baggage. Portal gateways exist all over the world, sometimes in remote locations to facilitate long distance travel to exotic destinations. Space station portals get people to the moon and Mars.

      Issues: Human matter degredation; two people merging through a portal and becoming conjoined; portal suicides; portal malfunctions (misplacement, breakdowns during transit, power loss, inaccessibility to lower income classes). People become bored of travel, no place holds special meaning. Degradation of cultural history. Homogenized language, currency and product offerings.



EDP Introduction

Welcome to my EDP/Emergent Digital Practices blog. This is where I will post my creative thoughts, critiques and processes during my graduate program at the University of Denver. Hold onto your butts…