Four film programs curated by Manon Bovenkerk and Christoffer Olofsson
Short films on science and research, why not? Not unlike short film, science tries to be there at the cutting edge, at the forefront of research, on the very cusp of what we can imagine. But the tension or friction between what science holds to be true and our perceived images of ourselves and the world - be they real, virtual or imaginary - can not be understood by science alone. Just as film is based on science and technology, film and art can come to the aid of science. Art explores what it means to be human and - as these programmes show - machine. Art and science in collusion for a better understanding of ourselves.
Research and the Rifts of Reason
Scientists – mostly male, mostly white – have always been invested with the power and authority of knowledge and institutions. Yet the history of science – real and
imaginary – is rife with mad scientists, experiments gone wrong, fascination turned obsession. Science is a place of wonder and discovery as well as of politics,
oppression and conflict.
Guy Maddin (image: The Heart of the World), Semiconductor, Patrik Eklund, Luis Nieto, Christoph Girardet, Ainslie Henderson and Will Anderson, Till Nowak, Catti Brandeluis and Marina Lutz.
The Ghosts of Virtual Realities Past
Long before VR headgear provided us with immersive, three-dimensional environments, virtual realities existed in our imagination. This program traces the concept of virtual reality from the analogue to the digital age. The focus lies on the psychological bond between mind and machine, between what we can imagine and what we can make.
Alexandra Crouwers, Saskia Olde Wolbers, Omer Fast, Faith Holland, Eva Zornio, Sabrina Ratté, Don Herzfeldt (image: World of Tomorrow).
17th century philosopher René Descartes saw animals as automata, incapable of thought or feeling. It is only recently that we accept that animals are conscious beings with feelings and emotions. So if a chatbot can act conscious, does that mean it possesses consciousness? If a machine can think, does it have a personality? Can it form emotional bonds? Do we see artificial intelligence now they way we saw animals 400 years ago?
Henna-Riika Halonen, Milos Tomic, Yuri Ancanari, Neil Harvey, Jesse McLean, Aujik, Jillian Mayer and Lucas Leyva (image: Post Modem).
Frankenstein's Dilemma in the Shadow of the Uncanny Valley
We like to make things that look like us, sound like us, move like us: dolls, effigies, robots, monsters. But when the likeness becomes too much, it plunges us deep in the uncanny valley, this realm populated by creations that are dead yet move, that are unmoving, yet have life. We mightrightly fear that our creations may turn against us.
Roy Villevoy and Jan Dietvorst, Floris Kaayk, Kirsten Lepore, Chu-Li Shewring and Adam Gutch (image: Working to Beat the Devil), Oliver Schwartz, Persijn Broersen and Margit Lukács, Paul Wenninger.
Full program here including film decriptions here (http://www.shortfilmfestival.com/en/programme/2017/specialprogram-2017/)