INSPIRATION | Movies & Theatre
The Matrix | 1999

Lana & Lilly Wachowski

For a movie from 1999 the ideas and graphics are really well executed.

Throughout the movie I kept thinking: since the real world is harsh and fighting the aliens seems like an impossible task, would it be so bad to live blissfully ignorant in the fake world? In some weird way, isn’t the current situation a great symbiosis? The aliens harvest humans for energy and the humans get to live in a realistic VR world. The only thing I have against it, is that many haven’t been given the choice - red or blue pill. The aliens made that decision for them and hunt down individuals who decide they want to be aware and live in the real world.

image from: https://media1.fdncms.com/ntslo/imager/u/original/8561031/musicartsculture_movies2-1-37ddba853913ba6f.jpg

Parasite | 2019

Bong Joon Ho

Interestingly the greediness of the 'poor' amongst themselves led them to a really bad ending. Rather than combining their strengths to fight against the ‘rich’ they selfishly fight for short-term gain without willing to share any of the riches with their peers. I couldn’t help think that if they were to team up, they could probably all life off this rich family without any issues, but none of them think that way. Or they could have been happy with two of the four members of their household being employed.

Only when everything has gone completely south the son starts to consider actually working hard to become rich - that could have been his motivation from the beginning. I wonder whether this movie correctly displays the difference in mindsets?

The second thing I noticed is how differently bad weather (climate change?) effects rich and poor. The movie displays quite a macabre difference of how the poor have to scramble possessions together and get dislodged. Whereas the rich have to return from their trip early and decide to party in their backyard instead.

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Fed Up! | 2002

Angelo Sacerdote

I don't think eating of GMO vegetables is much of a problem. Eating fish DNA for example doesn't slowly turn you into a fish. Likewise eating modified DNA also shouldn't harm our health. So, I was content to say bioengineered crops are not so bad.

However when you start looking at the bigger picture and take social and political implications into account. One starts to see a different picture of one company selling expensive, one-year, mono-crop seeds to poor farmers convincing them that that will be more efficient then their small scale farming that enriches the soil and sustains biodiversity. When crops are modified to withstand crazy pesticides that destroys all life around the farm including unintended insects like bees and butterflies, just so that we can eat the efficient chemical surplus. Then there is a problem with GMO.

My conclusion is that we, consumers, have a lot of power: each time we buy something we cast a vote for the world we want to support.

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An Inconvinient Sequel | 2017

Al Gore, Bonni Cohen and Jon Shenk

It's a scary movie, in the sense that there is already so much undeniable proof that we are heading for a climate catastrophe and yet we are still continuing as usual! How is that even possible? Why don’t we change our ways?!

I feel compassion for him when watching his frustration in trying to convince various people that we collectively need to change. And I’m impressed that although there is so much denial and refusal keeps coming his way, he keeps going. Spreading the message.

What I think he misses and Naomi puts really well, is that even if we find a miracle material to suck CO2 from the sky or switch to all renewables we won’t solve the root cause. And what I think is very good about the sequel is that he is seems to be starting to realise as well that waiting for the rich and powerful to do something is just not going to cut it. They just have too much to loose from changing their ways, and they are not the ones that will be hit hardest from the consequences of climate change.

image from: https://filmsfortheearth.org/storage/app/media/filmsdb/covers/cover-an-inconvenient-sequel_en.jpg

This Changes Everything | 2015

Naomi Klein and Avi Lewis

“Our economy is at war with many forms of life on Earth, including human life. What the climate needs to avoid collapse is a contraction in humanity’s use of resources; what our economic model demands to avoid collapse is unfettered expansion.

 Only one of these sets of rules can be changed, and it’s not the laws of nature.”

This book changed my perspective quite a bit, me too, I stopped looking away. There is so much inspiration in "a story we can change, human nature we cannot." Capitalism is just a narrative we have been telling ourselves, which means we can adopt a new strategy/ideology if we choose to.

So, rather than designing a new (magic and sustainable) material for my graduation project I want to create a tangible alternative to our capitalist system. I have a vague idea already for an alternative, so maybe this would be the best way for me to contribute to the grassroots movement for a better future.

image from: https://nosubject.com/images/9/9f/This-changes-everything.jpg

An Inconvientient truth | 2006

Al Gore and Davis Guggenheim

It's amazing that I'm only wathing this now, in 2020. Why is this not something we watched in the classroom when it came out? It's hard to believe.

image from: https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/51-CWpEJCOL._AC_SY445_.jpg

The Great Hack | 2019

Karim Amer, Jehane Noujaim on Netflix

This documentary raises worrying questions about democracy and the need for new legislations protecting our data, but maybe even more importantly protecting our democracy. After this movie I watch Carole Cadwalladr's TED Talk, and what she says really brilliantly is the need for bigger thinking. It's not about whether the UK leaves or not, the real question is much bigger: "it's not about privacy, it's about power". And she adds to it that this is so much bigger then one country. Yuval Noah Harari, author of Sapiens, gives a really interesting solution in a TED dialogue in 2017. His point is that to solve the biggest problems we face as humanity, like climate change, genetic engeneering and AI technology, we need global powers and rules. Something that really struck me was: "The underlying idea is that the current politics don't work anymore and the common human reaction is let's go back to when it was working, a retro grate vision. There are very few politician looking forward." This is very similar to what I have seen in bioplastics. Many designers 'reinvent the wheel' and present bois durci or galilith as new ways for the future, however I'm of the opinion that this is moving backwards and unstead I think we should be using new technology to think of a better way forward.

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Shoplifters | 2018

Joe Wakeman

Beautiful story. I love how the story slowly unfolds and leaves you wondering, what does mean to be a family?

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Clockwork Orange | 1971

Stanley Kubrick

So woman unfriendly! Was the first thing I thought and I kept that thought until the end of the movie. Whilst talking to a friend about how much I disliked the movie he started laughing; it was meant to be that way; for Kubrick this was an alternative future scenario. It was advocating change in woman’s rights by showing how bad it was and could become should nothing change. In essence it is what designers do with speculative design as well. Imagine a future, where people can either be for or against, which has the main aim to spark conversation.

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Kusama Infinity | 2018

Heather Lenz

I did not know her work was so famous; I recognised work that I never knew were hers. Actually, I went into one of her Infinity rooms in Louisiana Museum of Modern Art in Denmark. So, to be able to give that work a background story was really interesting. Towards the end of the movie they show the point when she finally gains recognition for her work and that the fight to get there made her lose her mental health. Even though it is quite a sad story, this movie manages to present it in such a poetic manner.

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Her | 2014

Spike Jonze 

I absolutely love this movie. It shows a future of AI. The question whether AI will help us or completely eradicates us, is fascinating and scary to think about at the same time. This movie takes quite a positive take on it, which is a nice change compared to most of the episodes of black mirror. Whatever the outcome, the consequences of AI seeping into our lives is something we need to design for in the not so far future.

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2001: A Space Odyssey | 1968

Stanley Kubrick, Peter Hyams

I still don’t quite get what the black object was about in the mist of these brilliant (for that time) scenes of spaceships. Some say it stands for AI, a tool we have created as humans but no longer understand, it stays a complete mystery to me. If it really is was supposed to be an AI, why would it fall out of the sky to the apes, rather then them creating the box at some point as well? Or a scene where the hammer they make turns into this mysterious object, that would make it more clear in my eyes.Another thing that kept me busy most of the movie was the speed of the scenes. After the movie I found out that the average shot length seems to be getting shorter and shorter over the years. Where some of the scenes here took about 60 seconds (I counted), my nephew was showing me youtube videos with maybe 2 seconds per scene…it was hard for my eyes to keep up. I wonder how this will be in another 10 years?

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Soylent Green | 1973

Richard Fleischer

This is everyone’s worst nightmare. Especially since before watching this movie I knew the company ‘Joylent’. I really hope their company name does nót take any inspiration from this movie; Joylent is a company that sells nutritious powders (a meal per shake). Which has after watching this movie a whole different ring to it.

https://cdn.cinematerial.com/p/500x/mjqknlrp/soylent-green-dvd-cover.jpg

Black Mirror | 2016

Netflix

Although some of the, actually almost all of the, episodes made me quite depressed, it is a great series that puts ‘not-so-far-futures’ in a different light with the routes we could take with our technology. Every episode sparks discussion about whether we would want such a future or not and whether we should design for or against it. 

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Maniac | 2019 

Netflix

The most interesting thing I noticed whilst watching this mini-series are the concepts ‘Add-buddy’ and a ‘service to hire a (best) friend’. These new technologies are set in a very humane setting instead of the alienating version of technology that is sometimes given. The best example of this is how their main computer (that was as big as a room) that got happy from poems being read to her by her lover (a human).

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Manufactured Landscapes | 2008

Edward Burtynsky

To be honest I found this quite a boring and slow movie. Yet, after a while you do start thinking about the meaning of how much influence we as humans have on landscapes. And not only the ones that we build, like the never ending amount of factories, but also the impact on landscapes that were once completely natural. At the end of the movie I could only have admiration for the person who took all these shots 10 years ago, because he was way ahead of the people’s mindset at that time I think. 

I have yet to hear the stories of Sean who sailed through the plastic island in the pasific ocean, which as I've been told is currently the size of Texas..

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