TIMES, TIME, AND HALF A TIME. A HISTORY OF THE NEW MILLENNIUM.

Comments on a cultural reality between past and future.

This blog describes Metatime in the Posthuman experience, drawn from Sir Isaac Newton's secret work on the future end of times, a tract in which he described Histories of Things to Come. His hidden papers on the occult were auctioned to two private buyers in 1936 at Sotheby's, but were not available for public research until the 1990s.



Showing posts with label Ridley Scott. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Ridley Scott. Show all posts

Saturday, March 24, 2018

When Death Confronts You


The mummified corpse of one of Sir John Franklin's men from the ill-fated 1845 Arctic expedition. Image Source: pinterest.

There is a new post up on my other blog, The Dragonfly (here), which describes my work on the 1845 Franklin expedition. Ridley Scott has produced a new television series on the same subject, which plays on the explorers' horror as they confronted death in an endless, barren wilderness. The show premieres on 26 March 2018.

Friday, February 9, 2018

Flights of the Immortals


RTA and Volocopter operate Autonomous Air Taxi (AAT) in Dubai (19 June 2017). Video Source: Youtube.

Flying cars have arrived, so the future is officially here. The new socio-economic divide will be evident to those still stuck in ground traffic, as they gaze high above their heads. A BBC World News television interviewee stated this week that the aim for these "future mobility ecosystems" was to,
"ease us into this before we go completely pilotless."
In the United States, regulators are currently opening up lower air space to drones and air taxis. The past few years have seen American property rights activists battling for citizens to retain some control over the airspace around and above them as an extension of private property they own - and of their own individual autonomy. After all, how low is 'lower airspace' when it comes to an unmanned aircraft system that is an ultra-tiny drone smaller than a gnat? Two inches above your head? Inside your ear canal? But really, like all the rest of hyper-accelerated technology, humankind seems helpless to resist the inevitable.

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Good Morning Pyongyang


Good Morning Pyongyang, North Korea © by Alexandre Spalaikovitch/Yemaya Productions. Reproduced non-commercially under Fair Use. Video Source: Youtube.

Today's post reveals the incredible city-wide wake-up call broadcast at 5:00 a.m. or 6:00 a.m. in Pyongyang, North Korea. It looks and sounds a lot like Blade Runner, which drew heavily from 1980s' Asian aesthetic influences. Compare to my similar posts, 1968 on the Way to 2019 and Kowloon Walled City, the Faux and the Real. See this interview for some reflections from North Korean defectors on what life was like there before they left for South Korea, by way of China.


Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Time and Politics 21: Visits from the Dark-Haired Girl


The Dark Haired Girl by Philip K. Dick (published posthumously in 1989). In his Exegesis (published posthumously 2011), Dick admitted that the dark-haired girl who showed him the larger frame of spacetime and predicted totalitarian America was his dead twin sister. Image Source: Wiki.

This post follows on my post on Wuthering Heights, The Brontë Effect (16 September 2016), to explore the implications of inhabiting time as it really as, not as we perceive it. The 'Brontë Effect,' as I coined the term with reference to Dia Sobin's words, describes the 'reverberating Gestalt' one experiences after reading a work of powerful fiction such as Wuthering Heights, which makes one aware of compressed or overlapping time, temporal identities, and spacetime continua in different perceived realities.

To cross the boundaries, first of immediate, everyday perception, then of whole dimensions, then of multiverses, sounds far-fetched, but I have discussed what it means to live in reality while perceiving time in its whole dimensionality, and not as an arrow, here. From the 19th to the 20th centuries, the fourth dimension has been portrayed by writers elsewhere - by Fyodor DostoyevskyOscar WildeH. G. WellsJoseph ConradMarcel ProustRobert Heinlein, among many others - and notably by Philip K. Dick in "A World of Talent" (1954), which I have described hereIn that story, a precognitive boy is terrified by appearances of 'others.' At first, the reader assumes the boy is schizoid and hallucinating, but these are in fact other versions of himself at different ages. He can see all versions of himself, past, present and future.

A single event in time, perceived by an observer: "Subdivision of Minkowski spacetime with respect to an event in four disjoint sets. The light cone, the absolute future, the absolute past, and elsewhere. The terminology is from Sard (1970)." Image Source: Wiki.

Multiple events in time, perceived by an observer who is moving through spacetime. In the fourth dimension, an 'event' is an intersection between space and time, following a continuum, with each event causally relative to the next: "In modern physics, space and time are unified in a four-dimensional Minkowski continuum called spacetime, whose metric treats the time dimension differently from the three spatial dimensions." The above gif shows "[t]he momentarily co-moving inertial frames along the trajectory ('world line') of a rapidly accelerating observer (center). The vertical direction indicates time, while the horizontal indicates distance, the dashed line is the spacetime of the observer. The small dots are specific events in spacetime."

Our souls know a larger experience of space and time; and stories about souls raise perceptional and ethical questions about that larger experience. In an interview, one of Dick's ex-wives, Kleo Mini, stated that all of Dick's novels concerned the "internal workings of the soul .... He wrote about people's souls, not a word I use lightly."

Dick was fascinated by self-alienation and social alienation, the blind spot when you recognized neither your own soul, nor your place in the world. To survive that moral test, he considered how characters' souls might be externalized and projected back at them as different characters - exactly as Catherine and Heathcliff are projected upon one another in Wuthering Heights. In Dick's view, if your soul was personified outside you, you might fall in love with it, but you would not necessarily accept everything about it. You might hate it and not reconcile with it, which would be heart-breaking, torturous, and tragic.

Image Source: Frith Luton.

Image Source: Carl Jung.

Dick was influenced by unsolved soul puzzles with numinous qualities, which he first encountered in the work of science fiction writer, A. E. van Vogt, and later in the writings of Swiss psychiatrist, Carl Jung, who thought that people were haunted by the shadow sides of their souls. Jung argued that for people to become psychologically and socially healthy, they must reconcile with their shadow. He further claimed that these shadows could embody an outer experience with the opposite gender in the anima or animus.

In Jung's hetero-assumed schema, when men and women went out into the world seeking love, they encountered opposite-gendered characterizations of their own souls. Jung theorized that men projected their soul's inner female back upon themselves; and women projected their inner male back upon themselves. Better love relationships depended on an ability to reconcile with one's opposite-gendered soul mirrors, such that one found increasingly sophisticated versions of one's mirror in the world. Men could progress through four anima soul shadow archetypes: Eve (the object of desire, who also reflects the security or insecurity around the man's mother); Helen (a woman who is externally able and beautiful, but internally lacking in virtue, faith, or imagination); Mary (a virtuous woman, who differentiates between lust and love); and Sophia (a woman of wisdom, who encompasses positive and negative qualities without being condemned). For women, the challenge was develop her inner masculine, so that she would externally find a man of physical power; then a capable man of action, a war hero or hunter; then a man of the mind, a professor, clergyman or orator; and finally, a man of hermetic enlightenment, one who could awaken in the woman a spiritual reconciliation between her soul's conscious and unconscious.

Image Source: Find a Grave.

In Jungian terms, the love relationship was a moral path in which a human being developed his or her own soul. Love was always self-referential, a struggle to improve and expand oneself spiritually, while other people became external reflections of, and catalysts in, the individual's internal process. All of this hinged on coping with the unseen, and interacting concretely or nebulously with elements of ourselves which exist beyond our linear experience of time. For Dick, the shadow anima was embodied not in a lover or wife, but in his twin sister, Jane Charlotte Dick, who died in infancy. Her presence haunted him all his life. She took form in characters in his work; he granted her far-seeing and Deus ex Machina roles. He further considered temporal aspects of the projected soul because Jane was dead. She was Philip's phantom agent, reporting from the other side. Because of Jane's influence on the famous author, she also inspired other writers. Perhaps this was why Dick considered the anima-animus not in terms of romance - as in Wuthering Heights - but in terms of society and politics.

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Hallowe'en Countdown 2015: Post-Apocalypse Rehab


Image Source: Archillect.

Some readers may have noticed a shift in attitudes, mood and consciousness since the summer. Several people have commented to me that they feel as though this year was split down the middle. The first half was what you thought reality was, and the second half is what reality really is. The evidence is anecdotal, but I explain that common feeling in terms of piling technological change upon global change, until what we experience does a somersault and collapses over upon itself to become something else. It is as though we became addicted in the first fifteen years of the 21st century to eradicating the 20th century. And now, after all the hammer blows, we are finally succeeding.

The 2nd century BCE Temple of Baalshamin in Palmyra blown up by ISIL in July or August 2015. Image Source: Wiki.

Not so fast - the 20th century dies hard. Every attempt to erase its history promises a return of its worst excesses. Holocaust denial, 9/11 denial, this denial, that denial. This summer, ISIS beheaded Palmyra's lead archaeologist and blew up temples in Palmyra's ruins. You can see lists of cultural heritage sites destroyed by ISIS herehere and here. These sites were the pride of 20th century archaeologists and represented the common history of humanity:
In the midst of this eradication of history, deniers say: 'get informedYou need to know the real truth.' US critics claim that the American administration funded ISIS to topple the Assad régime. Meanwhile, Vladimir Putin has stepped forward to defend what remains of Syria's government. At the UN on 28 September 2015, Putin, KGB-turned-environmentalist-soothsayer, demanded of western leaders: "Do you realize what you've done?" It was a masterful speech, because a lot of it was true, but it was true in a way that played to competing cultures of truth. In late 2014, Putin argued that the Americans engaged in "unprofessional politics," by continuing their Middle East objectives through ISIS proxies. One cannot deny the Americans' dismal half-baked imperialism, implemented through isolationist and exceptionalist navel-gazing, but none of that makes Vladimir Putin the pacifist voice of reason. Nor does it make ISIS into the capitalist mercenaries which Putin claims them to be.

Machinations in international affairs are an odd form of denial, too. However the dominoes fall, no Realpolitik truth about ISIS brings anyone closer to preparing for the hardcore reality ISIS is conceiving, the one in which, following bloodshed across the Levant, they blow up the Egyptian pyramids, assassinate the Pope, and destroy the Vatican in RomeISIS plans to take over India by 2020 in an effort to spark a world war. One commenter below a Times of India report did not believe a word of it. Why would ISIS invade India? "They are planning to wash clothes haha."

The new media men. Image Source: Business Insider.

The ISIS reality - in which beheadings are the norm and most of Syria flees the ISIS advance, while ISIS fighters cross the Sinai Peninsula, other ISIS groups close in on Jordan and Lebanon, and the Saudis build a giant anti-ISIS wall along their border with Iraq - brings 20th century lessons back to the table. The question is not where ISIS came from, who funded them, or who can destroy or control them. The question is: what is ISIS? The Islamic State is bigger than the great power politics out of which it grows. ISIS turns the post-apocalypse into a pre-apocalypse. Their colourful armageddon includes a baby cyclops Antichrist and a Jesus who will supposedly resurrect to help them fight Israel, although the story ignores bits of Islamic prophecy they do not like. So - they are not as doctrinaire as all that. ISIS fighters represent something larger than an internal Islamic Sunni revolution. The medium is the message: their mythological doomsday brand is a perfect commodity to go viral in the market of global communications. What is ISIS? The Islamic State's media men are anti-history pioneers, who explore how far they can go, now that history - at least in the virtual realm - is dead. The Islamic State fills the gaps between the state-centric real world and virtual anti-statism.

Technology and the Internet allow any history to be rewritten, erased or disbelieved, and in the resulting environment, anyone can do anything. There are no limits. Pro-ISIS Websites dismiss reports of ISIS atrocities as online fakes. Malleable history initiates a power game around the creation of reality and enables a resurgence of violence. Malleable history awakens the shadow self in human nature.

Saturday, April 18, 2015

More Human than Human


Ed (2014) © Chris Jones. Video Source: Youtube.

For today, see a sample of computer generated imagery from September 2014. Soon, we won't be able to tell real people from virtual humans online. From the creator, Chris Jones:
Work in progress, hand-made with Lightwave, Sculptris and Krita, composited with Davinci Resolve Lite. Music by me. ... Due to popular demand I'm attempting to extend the soundtrack, but it's not coming easily... so it could take a while. No scans, motion capture or photos were used (except for reference). First half rendered in ~800 hours on a 2008 vintage quad core. Additional rendering by GarageFarm.


Monday, April 13, 2015

Photo of the Day: Suntory Whisky 3D on the Rocks


See more of Suntory's 3D-printed ice cubes here, and my earlier post on Blade Runner custom scotch glasses, here. A 3-D printing Redditor corrects this story: "Not 3d printed -- idiot reporter thinks anything computer controlled must be a 3d printer... It was milled with a very awesome mill."

Thursday, November 27, 2014

The Cultural Footprint of Jodorowsky's Dune


Image Source: Amazing Stories.

For every generation, there is a window of opportunity to create what Chilean director Alejandro Jodorowsky's son Brontis called, "a dreamed life." This is the Beautiful Alternative, the path not followed, the epitome of achievement not attained due to failure, impediments, lack of resources or similar circumstances. In cinema, Jodorowsky's 1970s' adaptation of Frank Herbert's Dune (1965) is considered by director Richard Stanley as "the greatest movie never made." A 2013 documentary on the subject argues that, at a critical time in the 1970s, this film marked the dividing line between what really matters artistically and real world limitations. And the fact that this particular film was not made because of monetary problems, and the unwillingness of the studios to bring such a radical vision to popular audiences, changed Hollywood and the entertainment industry forever.

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Farewell to H. R. Giger


H. R. Giger in 1978. Image Source: IB Times.

Very sad news today: Swiss surrealist artist Hans Rudolf 'Ruedi' Giger died on 12 May 2014. He was 74. Giger was a Posthuman visionary who glimpsed an uncomfortable future, where humans and machines would combine biomechanically around sexuality. In the 1960s, Giger contemplated grotesque human bodies, twisted by nuclear radiation. Other influences on his work included H. P. Lovecraft, Samuel Beckett and Edgar Wallace, all of whom created fantastical worlds which were metaphors for layers of human consciousness.

Giger with alien design. Image Source: Twentieth Century Fox via Guardian.

Giger gained worldwide renown for his design of the monster on Alien (1979). Screenwriter Dan O'Bannon met Giger and saw a book of his sketches during Alejandro Jodorowsky's ill-fated film adaptation of the novel Dune. Giger's images helped inspire O'Bannon's earliest Alien script; on O'Bannon's urging, director Ridley Scott asked Giger to design the alien, based on Giger's painting Necronom IV. Giger also designed the Facehugger, the Chestburster, the Derelict spaceship, and the Space Jockey. He and fellow Alien production artists won an Oscar. Giger worked on later movies in the franchise as well as other films.

The Necronom IV (1976), inspiration for the alien. Image Source: IB Times.

Monday, April 7, 2014

Lost Cities: Kowloon Walled City, the Faux and the Real



From Yahoo and WSJ Live, a retrospective on Hong Kong's infamous Kowloon Walled City, which was demolished 20 years ago:
The Kowloon Walled City in Hong Kong was once the densest place on earth, a virtually lawless labyrinth of crime, grime, commerce and hope. A Wall Street Journal documentary tracks its colorful legacy 20 years after its demolition.
For nearly a century, Kowloon Walled City was a gang-ruled place of low rents, no licences or taxes, drug trades, brothels and illegal dentists. Somehow, it gained further mystique because it sat across the street from an international airport, and landing jets notoriously scraped just over the slum's rooftops. The fascinating culture of this city-inside-a-city has been represented across eastern and western pop culture in video games, mangas and movies. Known as the City of Darkness in Cantonese, it particularly resonates with depictions of gritty urban landscapes in the 1980s and 1990s, and served as an inspiration for Ridley Scott's futuristic Los Angeles in Blade Runner. It recently inspired designers of Gotham sets for the British-American movie, Batman Begins (2005). City of Darkness Revisited notes only two films were actually shot inside the real Kowloon Walled City (see a clip of footage from the real city shown in Bloodsport below the jump):
only two films were actually shot within the confines of the Walled City, the Jean-Claude van Damme vehicle, Bloodsport [1988], and the far superior Johnny Mak film, Long Arm of the Law [1984]. In fact, the Walled City and one of its alleys only make a short appearance in Bloodsport, when the Jean-Claude character and his Chinese minder are making their way to an illegal fighting venue supposedly located there.
An interior facade reveals the city's staggering honeycombed character, built up without any architects. Image Source: La boite verte

 

 

Images Source: Greg Girard see more of his photos of the real Kowloon Walled City here. Other photos of the city are here and here.

Former inhabitants testify to Kowloon's tight-knit society:
"We all had very good relationships in very bad conditions. Even now, many people stay in touch with each other even though some old friends are overseas," Shum said. "People who lived there were always loyal to each other. In the Walled City, the sunshine always followed the rain."
Such is the nostalgia for this grim yet fascinating slum, that Japanese business interests have built a reproduction of Kowloon Walled City as an arcade and theme park south of Tokyo (see the theme park's main site here). The development blog, here, insists on historic faithfulness ("all materials produced from the scratch"; "real garbage from Hong Kong were sent by parcel"). HuffPo:
Kowloon Walled City, an infamous now-demolished Hong Kong slum, is enjoying new life as a three-storey Japanese arcade and theme park just south of Tokyo.
David Gilbert, a digital product manager, posted photos of the Kawasaki Warehouse on his blog, documenting stunning details of the resurrected Walled City – in all its dark and rusty glory – save for hints of modernity in its restrooms.

"The juxtaposition of a high-tech Japanese toilet in an authentically grimy bathroom had to be seen to be believed," described Gilbert.

Set designer Taishiro Hoshino, the mastermind behind the arcade theme park's time-bending alchemy, paid close attention to details from the actual slum city.

Hosino and his team examined photographs and video of the Walled City, retraced Chinese calligraphy on signage, tracked down Hong Kong mailboxes, balcony bird cages, and reproduced its neon signs.

Striving for full authenticity, he even persuaded a friend in Hong Kong to mail him her family's trash.
"I was later told that they were totally confused about my request," explained Hoshino in a detailed "Behind The Scenes" post on his website.
This development echoes other odd Millennial efforts to transform famous ruined (and not-ruined) locations of the 20th century into 21st century entertainment centres - a tourist-industry trend notably evident at Chernobyl and formerly-shuttered asylums and prisons in the United States. More images of the original city are below the jump.

The outside facade of the Japanese Kowloon Walled City theme park, which has been artificially aged and grimed up.  Image Source: HuffPo.

More images from Japan's faux Kowloon Walled City theme park, complete with faux brothels, fake open air meat markets, real Hong Kong mailboxes which were shipped to Japan as props - and grimed-up toilets, whose conveniences are actually clean and hyper-modern.  Images from HuffPo.


 





One of the meticulously-created Japanese faux-Kowloon mock-ups. Image Source: Hoshinogumi

"A slight departure from the theme park's authenticity, those wishing to leave must walk through a red-lit hexagon passageway, stepping over stones set over an illuminated pool toward a circular ying-yang door." Image Source: HuffPo.

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Beauty, A Measure of Time


The Venus de Milo (130-100 BCE). Image Source: Milos Island.

Except for the Golden Ratio, there is no template for beauty. But you would never know its infinite variety if you looked at the world's movie and media industries. Roughly every half decade, western popular culture has held up an iconic feminine type. The same is true of men. For example, Jake Gyllenhaal and Tobey Maguire shared similar fame and features in the early-to-mid 2000s.

Does a beautiful woman determine the fashion - or do designers set the trend by promoting a particular look? This is a chicken-egg question. I would argue that fashion, movie and media designers do not entirely decide the trends. For a brief window of time, a small bevy of beautiful women somehow channel the aspirations and desires of the Zeitgeist - and then their style becomes a fashion. The ladies who rise to prominence often resemble each other - or they are made up to resemble one another. Below the jump, see a few examples from 1980 to 2000.

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Retro-futurism 24: 1968 On the Way to 2019


Real smog in Beijing.

This week, Beijing accumulated hazardous, record levels of smog. From Total Dick-Head: "Dear Readers, that's not a still from Blade Runner you're looking at. That's the smog in Beijing, and some crazy building, and, like, a video billboard." See more pictures of the city this week, here. Real life dystopia, real life noir.

Real smog in Beijing. Image Source: Kotaku.

Blade Runner cityscape.

Go inside to escape the smog and complete the Future Noir mood. From @paleofuture aka Matt Novak: "So got me those Blade Runner whiskey glasses for Christmas and I'm basically the luckiest guy I know." One of my friends, M., was so interested, he tracked them down on the Internet. You can buy them here.

Image Source: @paleofuture.

From the glass seller, Firebox:
We’ve seen things you people wouldn’t believe. Attack ships on fire off the shoulder of Orion. We’ve watched C-beams glitter in the dark near the Tannhauser Gate. But we haven’t seen anything half as cool as the Blade Runner Whiskey Glass.

Yes, Blade Runner fans, now you can relax after a stressful day ‘retiring’ replicants by getting to grips with the very same tumbler used by Rick Deckard in the seminal 1982 sci-fi movie. And when we say the very same we mean it because the moody Blade Runner’s glass wasn’t just a prop, it was a hand-made crystal glass, mouth-blown by artisans at boutique Italian company, Arnolfo di Cambio – and so is this!
Blade Runner still with Harrison Ford playing Deckard (1982) © Warner Bros. Image Source: Live for Films.

You can watch Ridley Scott's legendary film here. The fantastic Vangelis soundtrack is here. All the book covers for different publications of Philip K. Dick's original 1968 story, Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? are here. In the original story, Rachael's dissociative responses are explained by her being raised on a spaceship during a botched colonization attempt of Alpha Centauri. The story opens with the death of a 200 year old turtle.

If you've never seen this film, you are lucky to be able to see it for the first time. Do not be one of the newbies on Youtube who cluelessly misses the point to this dystopic Techno-Creation Story: "Just finished watching it!!!!....possibly the worst movie ever...how did this movie get so much priase...smh."

Or:
"Can somebody help me understand why this movie is #1 on sci fi lists? i am a huge Sci fi fan and i just watched this movie due to all the glowing reviews...I was hoping for an amazing film..i must admit i found it incredibly boring with little substance...I could not get into it at all...for me the coolest part of the movie was that pyramid building and the opening scenes of the future skyline lol...yea i get it harrison ford may be a cyborg,,i am shocked that people like this so much...."
Dick's original story, written in 1968, described human alienation from the Freudian Self and from the external environment; the flip side of that alienation was the growing role of technology in propagating the Egotist as Creator. It is almost as though Dick envisioned the 20th century's ultimate dilemma, bloodbaths notwithstanding.

That dilemma was the point at which the Id, the Ego and the Superego would fracture and become separate agents, or whole groups, in society. In light of Blade Runner's continuity from 1968 to 2019, this post continues my series (begun here and here) on the ideas developed by the Silent Generation and Baby Boomers in their youths and explores what became of those ideas.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Retrofuturism 23: Baby Boomers and Alien Astronauts


The Galle smiley face crater on Mars. Other smiley face craters have been found elsewhere on Mars and Mercury. Image Source.

My blog series on Retrofuturism departs from the term's normal definition of past visions of the future. Here, I define the term differently to describe symbols from the past which are appropriated for the current purpose of painting pictures of the future.

In addition, one earlier post in this series returns to Baby Boomers' ideas in the 1960s as they were originally conceived. Occasionally, this blog will be examining ideas from that era and assessing their impact now.

One of the more curious corners of the often-stereotyped Boomer preoccupation with esoteric spiritualism in the 1960s and 1970s is the notion that that generation was somehow celestially blessed. Unseen worlds of magic, transcendental universes, and the very heavens lined up to bequeath a great destiny to them: from the Age of Aquarius to the alignment of the planets, to pseudo-science and astrology, a bizarrely egotistical mythology evolved that the universe recognized the brilliant fate of this generation.

NASA's Viking 1 Orbiter view of a face on Mars (1976). Image Source: NASA via Al Jazeera.

That mythology encompassed a host of 70s' fads: UFOs and aliens, ESP, telekinesis, the Bermuda Triangle, ghosts, exorcists and demonology, and New Age magic. These fads got mixed up with the popular understanding of space exploration. In 1976, a face on Mars, which disappeared when photographed from another angle and over time, was heralded in the tabloids as proof of an alien civilization.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Prometheus Viral


"I think we can assume that this happens in the film. There’s being up the creek without a paddle, and then there’s being without a boat. And then there’s being up the creek without a boat with aliens in the water." Image Source: Bleeding Cool.

More Prometheus viral videos have been released to promote the Ridley Scott film, which is opening in the first week of June. One in particular, Viral #4, shows lead actress Noomi Rapace in her role as archaeologist Elizabeth Shaw contacting Peter Weyland, founder of Weyland Corp., which becomes known as 'The Company' in the Alien film franchise. I have posted the virals and a slowed trailer, below the jump. More than hinting at the film's content, Viral #4 shows that Scott is cleverly using marketing for this movie to make a statement about the endgame of our current technology.

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Prometheus as Alien


The ancient astronauts theory is a theme in Ridley Scott's upcoming Alien prequel. These are theoretically Italian cave paintings in Val Camonica, purportedly dated 10,000 BCE. Image Source: Wiki. This is image is in the public domain in the USA.

Ridley Scott has released another Prometheus trailer in the UK (see below the jump; Hat tip: Alien Prequel News), with new footage of the antagonists. This film promises to be a sci-fi game-changer. He has borrowed heavily from all the Millennial conspiracy theories and cultural fashions, from the aliens-built-the-Egyptian-pyramids to H. R. Giger's Atomkinder-as-aliens. Set in 2085, Scott's film offers a cultural meditation on how pre-history is finally catching up with the atomic age, and the synthesis is horrifically internalized via the Millennial singularity. Reel FX Art:
"In Greek mythology, Prometheus (Ancient Greek: Προμηθεύς, "Forethinker") is a Titan, the son of Iapetus and Themis, and brother to Atlas, Epimetheus and Menoetius. He was a champion of mankind, known for his wily intelligence, who stole fire from Zeus and gave it to mortals. Zeus then punished him for his crime by having him bound to a rock while a great eagle ate his liver every day, only to have it grow back to be eaten again the next day. The Prometheus myth has been treated by a number of ancient sources, in which Prometheus is credited with (or blamed for) playing a pivotal role in the early history of mankind."
Although in the film, 'Prometheus' is simply the name of a spaceship, Scott's story evidently reimagines the Prometheus myth so that Prometheus was an alien. What does this really signify? Scott is touching on the devasting insight of the turn of the Millennium, when the deep past and far future come crashing together on the Internet. The Web allows data from any time or place to be randomly juxtaposed and reinterpreted. In other words, our technology is destroying humanity's perspective of the flow of history. In tech-driven virtual realities, historic artifacts are anachronistically interchangeable: time is radically out of control. Perhaps Scott's aliens here will symbolize that loss of temporal control. The film opens June 1.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Prometheus Has Landed

Image Source: 20th Century Fox via Collider.

The Prometheus trailer just came out today (see long and short versions below the jump). It looks like this film will be the Millennial movie; it is chock-a-block with 2012 conspiracy theories, and set in the Alien continuity. Ridley Scott's Alien prequel - including new designs from H. R. Giger - could be the space opera sci-fi film with a heavyweight story that Avatar should have been.

Boomer director Scott at his best is a true visionary; he has a sense of grandeur, history and social truths that persist over time. His new film incorporates mysteries of ancient civilizations with slick futuristic designs. In a recent interview, he anticipated an anti-tech backlash as part of the natural pattern of human behaviour. At the same time, he has an uncanny appreciation of the vast potential of technology and anything we can harness to that technology - be it human destiny, diseases, androids - or aliens. The story is set in 2085, 30 years prior to Alien, and is being hailed an equally-weighty successor to Blade Runner and Alien.

Screenwriter Damon Lindelof, confirmed that travelling into the future is equivalent to travelling into humanity's deep past: "[The film] covers a vast expanse of time, past, present and future. ... Space exploration in the future is going to evolve into this idea that it's not just about going out there and finding planets to build colonies. It also has this inherent idea that the further we go out, the more we learn about ourselves. The characters in this movie are preoccupied by the idea: what are our origins?"

Scott draws on another Millennial trope, the sharp juxtaposition of religion and science. He plays on the hazy pseudohistory and pseudoarchaeology about aliens founding civilization on Earth, which was popularized in the 1960s and which the Internet has solidified into pseudofact:
The film would explore the nature, origin, and "staggering civilization" of the alien race of the space jockey, as well as the beings' fictional anthropogenic role in the origins of humanity on Earth. Such ideas were "partially" inspired by Erich von Däniken's writings about ancient astronauts. Scott told the Hollywood Reporter, "NASA and the Vatican agree that [it is] almost mathematically impossible that we can be where we are today without there being a little help along the way... That’s what we’re looking at (in the film), at some of Erich von Däniken’s ideas of how did we humans come about." Scott's prequel ... would also focus on terraforming and the fictitious Weyland Industries before its merger with the Yutani Corporation. Scott furthered that the original Zeta II Reticuli planetary system would be part of the prequel story; and that the plot would also entail "technologically feasible" approaches and applications towards "near faster-than-light travel" which would play a key role. "Time dilation and the effects of essentially de-materializing and re-materializing" also factored in the drafts. Elaborating more, the director commented in an interview that "the film will be really tough, really nasty. It's the dark side of the moon. We are talking about gods and engineers. Engineers of space. And were the aliens designed as a form of biological warfare? Or biology that would go in and clean up a planet?" He later added, "The cast find an establishment which is not what they expected it to be, it’s a civilization but what we find in it is very uncivilized behaviour."
Even by today's jaded, marketing-weary standards, Scott's viral campaign for this flick is unusually clever. Aside from Weyland's 2023 TED talk, the Prometheus promotion includes a fictional corporate Website, where information and hints about the story are being continually released. These virals include, today, a fictional corporate video of the unboxing of Weyland's first android, played by Michael Fassbender (this video is also below the jump, featuring Guy Pearce's smoothly egotistical mega-tech-corp-boss narration). The android video was meta-marketed at the SF comics convention, WonderCon, this weekend.

I am not sure why it has taken so long to bring out a science fiction film of this calibre, given the progress made with CGI over the past ten years. For example, why hasn't Kim Stanley Robinson's Mars Trilogy been filmed? At any rate, the standard is almost certainly set. Now, will someone please give Sean Young a role in the Prometheus sequel?

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Celebrating 50 (Future) Years of Building Better Worlds


Ridley Scott has cleverly managed viral marketing for his upcoming Alien prequel film, Prometheus. On 28 February, he released a faux futuristic TED talk. Since 2006, the Technology, Entertainment and Design conference has acted as the famous and much-respected Silicon Valley online agora for today's leading lights to discuss cutting-edge ideas. Scott's produced TED talk looks just like a regular TED talk, except the hall is different, it is set in 2023, and it features actor Guy Pearce playing fictional corporate magnate Peter Weyland (Thanks to -J.).


For those who don't follow these things, in the Alien universe, Weyland is one of the co-founders of Weyland Industries, which later merges into the fictional Weyland-Yutani Corporation, better known by everyone unfortunate enough to work for it as 'the Company.' Weyland designs the artificial intelligent androids that are mysteriously connected via the Company to the Yutani corporate interest in weaponized alien species. He has a faux online bio:
Sir Peter Weyland was born in Mumbai, India at the turn of the Millennium. The progeny of two brilliant parents; His mother, an Oxford Educated Professor of Comparative Mythology, his father, a self-taught software Engineer, it was clear from an early age that Sir Peter's capabilities would only be eclipsed by his ambition to realize them. By the age of fourteen, he had already registered a dozen patents in a wide range of fields from biotech to robotics, but it would be his dynamic break-throughs in generating synthetic atmosphere above the polar ice cap that gained him worldwide recognition and spawned an empire.

In less than a decade, Weyland Corporation became a worldwide leader in emerging technologies and launched the first privatized industrial mission to leave the planet Earth. "There are other worlds than this one," Sir Peter boldly declared, "And if there is no air to breathe, we will simply have to make it."

Peter Weyland has been a magnet for controversy since he announced his intent to build the first convincingly humanoid robotic system by the end of the decade.

Whether challenging the ethical boundaries of medicine with nanotechnology or going toe to toe with the Vatican itself on the issue of gene-therapy sterilization, Sir Peter prides himself on his motto, "If we can, we must." After a three year media blackout, Weyland has finally emerged to reveal where he's heading next. Wherever that may be, we will most certainly want to follow.
A related character, Charles Bishop Weyland, head of Weyland Industries, appears in Alien vs. Predator (2004). One fansite that traces the characters and the Alien continuity is the Weyland Yutani Archives and another is the Weyland-Yutani Wiki. The Alien Universe timeline is here. With one film promo, Ridley Scott has provided the sci-fi metafictional connection from our time, to the near future, to this timeline.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Prometheus Trailer


There's lots of buzz on the Internet today regarding a teaser trailer (see it below) for Ridley Scott's 2012 semi-prequel of the Alien franchise, entitled Prometheus. Everyone is happy to hear that H. R. Giger has been working on the project, and Scott promises to get to the bottom of the alien origins of human life on our planet (a very popular Millennial eschatological conspiracy theory). He will also explain who and what the Space Jockey was in his first Alien movie. Scott suggested in a recent interview that the Space Jockey's ship was a weapons transport, and that the Xenomorph, which appeared in all the Alien movies so far, was not the original alien, but a some kind of derivative species of the real alien species. The trailer and the image shown here are from Apple iTunes and Trailer Addict and are © 20th Century Fox.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Prometheus


Here's a random image from the sets of the 2012 Alien-prequel-that-isn't-a-prequel, directed by Ridley Scott. You can see more set photos at Alien Prequel News.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Fans Capture Prehistoric-styled Legends

Cathy Baron, a fantastic Dewshine. Elfquest: A Fan Imagining (2011).

I have an earlier series of posts on Prehistory and how it is retro-futuristically alive and well, either in real pockets in the Amazon or through legends and fantasy that are brought to life, courtesy of CGI and transmedia.  This temporal jump is true of Tolkien's works, and arguably true of the pagan comics myth, Elfquest (see my post on the series here).  Elfquest has always been on the radar in one corner of comics fandom, but it hasn't been a hot title since the 1980s.  That's changing now that Elfquest fans have done a short film in the style of The Hunt for Gollum and  Born of Hope - two huge non-profit fan undertakings; these are made possible by digital film techniques, and are permitted because fans don't make any money from their sophisticated tributes. The main site for Elfquest: A Fan Imagining is here; the film was first screened online on 6 April 2011.  I never thought an Elfquest live film would be possible, but this project changed my mind.  You can see it below the jump.

Casey McKinnon as Brownberry.