Director David Cronenberg has been pushing the limits of science and body horror since the late 70s. With films like Videodrome, Scanners, and Existenz, he envisioned futures where man and machine are inseparable. Machines evolve to become more human, taking on organic features.
This idea has taken the leap into an interactive experience, put together by a fictional (?) biotech corporation called BMC Labs.
Cronenberg himself claims to be the first to experiment with this technology, and urges us all to give it a shot in the video below.
There are three stages to the technology of the creation of your own symbiotic POD (Personal On Demand). To begin, you simply visit the website and enter a few personal details, then submit honest answers to the strange questions posed to you.
The virtual slug-like creature is intended to interface with your brain and possibly improve it. What the creature actually ends up doing has largely to do with the answers you give to it’s increasingly personal questions.
It wants to know what you find disgusting and how you react to certain situations ; what you regret and what you desire.
You are, in effect, responsible for the intelligence of your personal creation.
After the first simulation, the intelligence of your pod grows, based on what you have taught it.
It can discern trust from disgust, and form unique responses to emotional prompts.
The more honest you are, the more intelligent and emotive your pod will be.
My POD told me the story of Blake and Elena and one fateful night involving a tragic accident. The story is told effectively through unique camera tricks and creepy sound effects, and you are asked questions about how to feel about the events as they unfold, to help shape the world-view of your very own creation.
Having completed the first two simulations, I must admit that it has gotten under my skin.
The immersive design and AI of the project is fascinating and eerie, and makes me look forward to (and dread) the third simulation when it becomes available!
Create your own POD here!
From the press release :
Body/Mind/Change (BMC), a digital extension of TIFF’s exhibition David Cronenberg: Evolution, immerses audiences in a “Cronenbergian” world inspired by the film Videodrome, re-imagined for the 21st century and brought to life across three platforms— online, mobile, and real-world. Co-produced by the Canadian Film Centre’s Media Lab (CFC Media Lab) with creative direction by Lance Weiler, Body/Mind/Change features plot lines and game mechanics involving biotechnology start-ups, body enhancements, emotional learning systems, and presents the plausible science fiction found in Cronenberg’s work as scientific fact.
Visitors will be able to go to the BMC Labs installation at the CIBC Canadian Film Gallery to pick up their own physical, personalized POD in January 2014.