New Shorts: Ghosts in the Machines

Saturday, 22 January 2022

22-01-22 Ghosts in the Machines

Image: MyCelium Systems, GWENBA, 2021

Late twentieth-century machines have made thoroughly ambiguous the difference between natural and artificial, mind and body, self-developing and externally designed. ” – Donna Haraway, The Cyborg Manifesto 


Virtual worlds, viral memes, Google Maps, dial-up machines and computers are increasingly mere extensions of our IRL existence. These films investigate the contemporary age through documentary and animation; award-winning curator Marie Foulston and actor Sam Crane (or rather his online alter-ego Rustic Mascara) both enter the world of gaming to subvert from within via forays into Red Dead and Grand Theft Auto. Avatars meander across rendered landscapes and perform Shakespeare in these cinematic excursions into the digital space.


Curated by Philip Ilson


Saturday, 22 January 2022

8:45 pm

streets streets streets

streets streets streets

Sailor Radley

7'

2021

United States

a collection of spectral field notes, places and their memories, the ghost in the machine

People enjoy my company

People enjoy my company

Frank Sweeney

18'

2021

Ireland

A film exploring the privatisation of the state-owned telecommunications company Telecom Éireann from the viewpoint of shareholders communicating on early online forums. The event is contextualised within ideologies of technological emancipation in the pre-millennium period.

In Perpetuum

In Perpetuum

Max Mackay

6'

2021

United Kingdom

When Sam's brother passes away, she organises a virtual funeral for him inside their favourite childhood video game, In Perpetuum. Her closest friends log in and join her - but the server is old and unstable. As the world breaks down around them, Sam realises her brother might not be as far away as she thinks.
In Perpetuum's stunning visuals were created using Epic Games' Unreal Engine. 

MyCelium Systems

MyCelium Systems

GWENBA

4'

2021

United Kingdom

After liking a mushroom without reading the Terms and Conditions, Prototype •G embarks on a journey through MyCelium Systems in order to re:connect with her Lost Heart.

the grannies

the grannies

Marie Foulston

17'

2021

A documentary short film. A group of players venture beyond the boundaries of the videogame Red Dead Online (Rockstar Games, 2018). Peeking behind the curtain of the game’s virtual world they discover a captivating and ethereal space that reveals the humanity and materiality of digital creations

Wave 3 (Cancelled?)

Wave 3 (Cancelled?)

Edward Smyth

6'

2021

United Kingdom

'Wave 3 (Cancelled?)' follows someone who imagines everyone in their life as products in an action figure line.
Friends - family - lovers - acquaintances; all are transformed, as if extraordinary fictional characters, 3D-printed at home. Neurodiversity is reflected in a number of characters, who represent how people can simply exist a little differently; being as wonderful and peculiar as they wish.

It Feels Personal

It Feels Personal

Hugh Clegg

14'

2021

United Kingdom

A short desktop documentary about a stolen video, and the online search for the thief.
When Hugh finds out that his video, his ARTWORK has been stolen, re-contextualised, and turned into a viral meme by an anonymous TikTok user, he embarks on an internet odyssey, interviewing and interrogating the people that he finds, in an attempt to find the thief.

We are such stuff as dreams are made on

We are such stuff as dreams are made on

Sam Crane

10'

2021

United Kingdom

What happens when you try to perform Shakespeare inside a public lobby in GTA Online, a game space notorious for its aggression and gratuitous violence?
You might expect the other players in your server (randomly allocated from anywhere in the world) to respond with heavy weaponry, perhaps a mini SMG, or a compact grenade launcher. And indeed, this is often what happens.
Yet occasionally you may come across someone who responds in an entirely unexpected manner ...
This work radically appropriates the notoriously violent and misogynistic world of Grand Theft Auto, and reimagines it as a space for live performance of Shakespeare. It also interrogates what an audience can be and how it can interact with performance. 

Change, Reset

Change, Reset

Wei-Chia Wu

4'

2021

Taiwan

The pandemic-born “emo rave”-categorised “Change, Reset ft. PRINCI” portrays how distressed human beings lean on their desire for intimacy and connection on chat apps, without any physical interaction. The personality-training AI chatbot app “Replika” and dating app “Tinder” specifically, became the inspiration for this music video. The First-Person point of view coupled with a “Pokémon GO”-like AR interface fills this journey with sorrow and uncertainty. As the story starts with a user (Sonia Calico) who refuses to update her AI chatbot (PRINCI), she desperately ventures to find the AI partner’s crystal avatar in limited time as the obsolete-version of the world around them starts to fall apart.