seekingferret: Photo of me with my 2012 Purim beard, with stripes shaven into it. (Default)
[personal profile] seekingferret
Title: Skynet: Life in the Balance
Recipient: [personal profile] ghost_lingering
Vidder:[personal profile] seekingferret
Music: "The Grid" by Philip Glass, from Koyaanisqatsi
Summary: "John Henry processes more information in a minute than we do in a lifetime. A millisecond for a supercomputer like this, it's almost like forever to us."

~Matt Murch, ZeiraCorp

A musical essay on Skynet

Skynet: Life in the Balance from ronarfelq on Vimeo.

password: tscc

Warning for effects that probably count as strobing, albeit fairly slowly.

Thanks for [personal profile] chaila for beta help.

Um... I made a Skynet vid to Philip Glass's "The Grid" from Koyaanisqatsi. Because I am a terrible human being.

It's really about three inside jokes smashing together. The first is Sanguinity and I teasing each other about how my favorite scene in TSCC is when Cameron jacks into the LA traffic system and controls it all, because it's this sublime moment of transhumanism, senses extended far beyond human in a comprehensible way. I told her that my fallback plan if I couldn't come up with anything better was a vid of Cameron controlling the traffic system to Monty Python's "I like Traffic Lights". And later when I told her she would guess that I made my other vid in the first ten seconds she asked if that was because there were traffic lights in the first ten seconds. So I set out to make a vid with traffic lights in the first ten seconds.

The second joke is from my feelings about Koyaanisqatsi post, where I claimed that the movie was all about clouds and explosions and cars. So I made a TSCC vid using the music from Koyaanisqatsi, and it's full of cars and explosions, literally. And Skynet is the cloud!!!

And the third joke is me biting back against the fact that whenever I talked about attempting vidding, I'd talk about how weird my music collection is and how if I tried to vid, I'd probably be doing it to unviddable songs, yet my first vid was this extremely conventional narrative set to an acoustic guitar ballad. So this is me doing a vid to a six minute long classical minimalist song. Nobody is surprised by this.

[personal profile] sanguinity Oh, looky! Here's a Skynet one! Shall I presume it's yours?
[personal profile] seekingferret if you like
[personal profile] sanguinity IT'S TO KOYAANISQATSI. Shall I ultra-presume it's yours?
[personal profile] seekingferret if you like
[personal profile] sanguinity Hahaha.
[personal profile] sanguinity IT OPENS WITH TRAFFIC LIGHTS.

Past the jokes, this is a story about Skynet growing up, from the Turk and the LA traffic system to John Henry and his cousin. I was pretty committed to this being about Skynet and not about Terminators, so I tried not to show any human or terminator faces at all, which got tricky when I got to the John Henry part of the vid. It became very clear that the show was trying to anthropomorphize the post-Cromartie John Henry- there are about three shots of John Henry that don't center Garret Dillahunt's face, after that. I'm not sure if that's because it wanted the audience to think of John Henry as a character, an independent actor in its own right or if it's because it wanted to show the way that other people on the show were starting to anthropomorphize John Henry, or if it's just because the showrunners didn't realize the effect it would have, but in all of the Turk's prior incarnations, I was able to find human-less shots of the hardware. The Turk was an object, eventually a McGuffin. It was a pawn in games played by humans and terminators, but it wasn't playing its own games. In the latter half of Season 2, John Henry is definitely making decisions to further its own agenda, but... I worried that showing the Cromartie face would compromise the visual purity of my imagery, the way the intrusions of human faces are in my opinion the least successful part of Koyaanisqatsi. So I cropped aggressively and made repeated use of the few shots without Cromartie.

Ah yes, repeated use. Most vids try not to reuse imagery, because it can look goofy. (Though I've seen some deliberately goofy vids that reuse imagery very well). But with limited traffic light/ traffic jam/ skynet imagery and six minutes to fill, I knew almost instantly that this was not going to be most vids. I tried to cycle the imagery so it wouldn't look too tired, but I also wanted consistency and callbacks to give the feeling of one continuous whole, the way Koyaanisqatsi uses cycles and repetitions to defy linearity. With luck, the repeated traffic lights flashing would serve as the constant reminder: Skynet is not human. Skynet does not have human senses. Skynet does not manipulate the physical world in the same way humans do. Skynet shares the world with us but has its own purposes. An object that has one function for us has a different function for Skynet. We think of the traffic control system as a way to make our cars move better. Skynet thinks of it as its future eyes and ears. And Skynet is always listening and always watching.

And though I did have explosions and I did show the post-Judgement Day wasteland, I wanted this to be a video where Skynet is not marked as evil. Skynet was just creating the ecosystem it would thrive best in, as all evolutionary creatures do. The post-Judgement Day wasteland I show is full of Skynet's tendrils, moving with purpose and meaning. It is not the apocalypse for Skynet. It is the dawn of a new day.

I'm honestly not sure if it's a good vid or not. It's so unlike anything I've seen before that I don't know what kind of evaluations to make. I'm pleased that I made it, but I'm not sure what it says.

(no subject)

Date: 2013-05-22 04:30 pm (UTC)
sanguinity: woodcut by M.C. Escher, "Snakes" (Default)
From: [personal profile] sanguinity
I love that you made this vid. (I was laughing so hard during that convo you clipped.) But outside of the utter seekingferretness of it, it is an inspired song choice for Skynet. I can't think of anything that would possibly work better. (Would that I could experience it first-hand! Fortunately, there is enjoyment to be had in secondary sources, as well. I've been reccing the hell out of it to those who I think would have the background to appreciate it, hoping that they would report back and tell me what they saw.)

I had not realized how face-centric the John Henry stuff is, but... yes. Even before the Cromartie body is jacked into John Henry, a lot of that footage is Ellison reacting to what's on the screen. (In the vid drafts where I've had reason to play with that footage, it is often difficult to draw attention past Ellison's face to what's on the screen.)

:: Skynet was just creating the ecosystem it would thrive best in, as all evolutionary creatures do. The post-Judgement Day wasteland I show is full of Skynet's tendrils, moving with purpose and meaning. It is not the apocalypse for Skynet. It is the dawn of a new day. ::

YES. What I was saying about the Oxygen Catastrophe. Someday far, far in the future, Skynet-descended scholars will refer to the Radiation Catastrophe, and it will be shocking and titillating! Because the Skynet-descended populace can barely conceive of something as essential and ubiquitous as nuclear radiation being framed as a disaster. :-D

(no subject)

Date: 2014-03-03 12:51 am (UTC)
thirdblindmouse: The captain, wearing an upturned pitcher on his head, gazes critically into the mirror. (Default)
From: [personal profile] thirdblindmouse
A different style of vid for a very different kind of character. It makes perfect sense. (I rooted for Skynet by the end.)


seekingferret: Photo of me with my 2012 Purim beard, with stripes shaven into it. (Default)

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