Gerard Mensah Case studies

Case Study 1

For all mankind – (1989) Al Reinert        

 

The documentary takes the audience on a journey of the Apollo missions from the perspective of the astronauts from 1968 -1972.

The film starts with the image of the moon and the President proclaiming “we choose to go the moon, we choose to go to the moon” to a rapturous applause.

For my research I have been looking at the reasons behind man’s need to travel in particular mans reasons to travel to the moon.

In the documentary the relationship between image and sound is edited so at times we hear interviews but we never see the people in real time doing the interview. This adds to the dramatic effect of the film with these stunning images of: a rocket taken off, earths view from space and the moons bumps and craters close up.

The astronauts try and paint a picture of the men behind the suit in this case the space suit. Most of the astronauts were also in the Royal Air Forces or the Navy, they explained that they found it hard to express emotions because of the training, environment etc. when these men are in space they realize how important and privileged they are to be representing mankind on these important missions and we see they are real people who let their guard down and we see them express fear, joy, anticipation.

Towards the end of the film we hear a quote from one of the astronauts on Apollo 15 “I realize there’s a fundamental truth to our nature man must explore.

 

It seems that it is in our nature to travel “if its there why not go and explore” seems to be motto

“We cosmonauts are like sailors. Sailors long for the high sea, and no sooner do they have solid ground beneath their feet than they’re already dream of heading out again.” Pg 48: Ujica

 

Case study 2

Moon – (2009) Duncan Jones

 

“Moon” is a science fiction film telling the story of the protagonist (Sam Bell) living on the dark side of the moon on a 3 year mission readying himself to come back home to reality to be with his wife and child on Earth. We later find out this is all an illusion and Sam Bell is one of many clones who has a memory implant and every few months or years (it’s hard to say) is replaced by another clone that wakes up with the illusion of heading back home in a few weeks or days.

 

The film is set in a space station on the moon where Sam works for a corporation that provides 70% of the earths clean energy he lives with a talking robot called Gerty who is Sam’s helper and Sam’s only friend on the moon.

One of the first things we hear within the first minute of the film is the statement “The power of the moon the power of our future” this sets the tone for the movie, the excitement and romanticism of travelling to and living on the moon. In reality the protagonist is trapped in a literal and figurative bubble the former being the space station he is in, being controlled by this big corporation that has already sent Sam home to his wife and child probably many years ago whether it was a clone or the “real” Sam we don’t know. The latter being Sam living in a fantasy thinking he’ll return to earth. Sam is sent pre recorded videos of messages from his wife and child which are played on repeat for each Sam that enters the space station after the previous one has been destroyed.

 

The film starts to build tension around the 20th minute when Sam suspects something isn’t right and goes against orders by leaving the space station and discovering another Sam. The relationship between the two Sam’s is an interesting journey we see them struggle with notions of who is the ‘real’ Sam, are there any more of us on thus space station, will we ever get home, are we being lied to.

 

 

Filmography

 

Moon (2009) Duncan Jones U.S.A

 

For all mankind (1989) Al Reinert

 

In the Shadow of the moon (2007) David Sington

 

 

Bibliography

 

Science News , Vol. 96, No. 4 (Jul,1969),

On the Moon pp. 72-75

Society for Science & the Public

http://www.jstor.org/stable/4548212

 

Sergei Krikalev, Andrei Ujica and Sara Ogger

(Winter, 2003),

Toward the End of Gravity I

Grey Room, No. 10 pp. 46-57

The MIT Press

http://www.jstor.org/stable/1262636

 

 

 

 

Advertisements

Anthoy CrockettCase Study on The Matrix and Robocop.

Case study on the Film The Matrix And Robocop

 

The two films I will be looking is The Matrix and Robocop. Both film is a Sci Fi type of that involved the topic on Artificial Intelligence and Merging man with machines. These film are over ten year old and the futuristic topic is not far of from where we are today and it is close to the topic I am researching with modern day science and technology to help the human race live longer close to immortal.

There will be a difference when I record my voice directly on the first film I with writing about is The Matrix. A film about waking up from a dream world, the Matrix, and into the real world. Where Artificial Intelligence rule over most of the earth and grow humans begins to keep the race alive. The humans in that time are hybrids. Their bodies are merged with machines making them walking power source. The can plug themselves into the Matrix, virtual reality world, to find those who are ready to be waking up in the real world. The Matrix is like a video game, made up of codes in a programmed and has the basic rules like in the real world, like the rules of gravity but the rules can be bent.

Many people has wrote about the film in a philosophical view on what the film is really about and its meanings. Some people believe it is saying how people create their reality in what they believe in. some people are willing to accept things on how they appear. Or waking up from the world you believe in that you thought to be true and finding it hard to accept the reality, like a child finding out Father Christmas is just an illusion that was created by the parents. This relate to Neo taking to red pill, waking up and Morpheus telling him what is the real world and Neo fights to not let go on what he thought to be real and true.

I find this film relating to what is happening now and what scientist is planning on doing in the future. People live their lives through computers, social network sites, online computer games and online shopping and more. We are very much a digital society creating a digital profile online. The same thing happens in The Matrix. They plug themselves into the Matrix and upload what ever the need in the Matrix.

Futurists and scientists are trying to extend human existence and often talks about the singularity where computers get better and better every six months and soon computers will be as smart as humans and even smarter. This will be Artificial Intelligence that scientist are aiming for. A Futurist Ray Kurzweil is the head runners on making this happen and also plans on using artificial intelligence robots to help humans to live longer by merging them with are bodies. Like in The Matrix the people are part human and part machine. Ray Kurzweil future robots called nanobots, will live inside are blood stream and do the same jobs as the white blood cells killing viruses. Also they will be able to scan are brains and create a digital copy of our brains with are memories. Nanobots will be able to send signals to are brains and transport are mind online and into a virtual world where we want to go. Just like in The Matrix.

There are questions around the beginning and start of the middle of the film asking what is real and not real. The truth or just an illusion. Are they really humans where they are in the Matrix or just code that we make sense of it being human. Will we still be human if we live in a virtual world constantly? Will we still be human merge our self with machines so we can live longer near enough internal.

I am going to do an experiment on what is real and what we make sense that is real. Lot of people use technology to get in contact with people like email, telephone and now video calls. We say we are talking to Bob on the phone when in fact we are talking to a digital replica of bob voice. We make sense of that digital copy of Bob voice. Does it mean because it sounds like him on the phone, it is actually him? Does it mean it look like him on the screen that it is actually him?

I am going to record my voice straight on a recorder and then record my voice talking through my phone on loudspeaker compare the difference in sound of my voice.

The next film I choose to study on is the 1987 classic film Robocop. A film about a Detroit officer that gets killed by a gang of criminals. He then gets brought back to life as a machine. He is programmed to fight crime of Detroit and bring more peace in the city. The officer name before death was Murphy. Doctors pronounce him dead in hospital and an innovative scientist take a chance to try out this new project to solve the high crime rate. He merged his dead body with a machine that will be near enough immortal. When Robocop first wake up he has no memories of his pass life. His brain has ben wiped clean. And all he knows is that he is programmed to arrest criminals of Detroit. He has no free will. His decision-making is restricted, he can’t make decisions that will go against what he is not programmed to do.

To be human, having free will is part of being human. Being able to choose what you want to do or not do. Choose to break the law or not. Some physicists, like Einstein, believe that we don’t really have free will. Albert Einstein believe that free will is just an illusion. What is going to happen in the future has already been preordained to happen if you look at the Newton’s laws of physics. However Hiesnberg put his principle of the uncertainty. So with free will we do have some sort of free will because there is always a possibility of uncertainty in what we are going to do. “No one can determine your future events given your past history,” Said Michio Kaku in a clip on You Tube called Why physics ends the Free Will debate.

Having some sort of free will make us human. Robocop has none. We see this at the near end of the film where Dick Jones, Head of OCB that runs the police force, is guilty of aiding and abetting and Robocop comes to bring him to justice. But Robocop is programmed to shut down if he is about to kill or arrest an member of the force. The human side of him has that free will to track him down and the compute system is the barrier to stop from completing his mission. Its is only when Dick Jones is fired and Robocop has access to shot him.

There still parts of Murphy inside of Robocop. Fragments of memories of his past life. He is able to access some of them and piece them together to get a picture what his was like. He has memories of his house, wife and son. In a scene where Robocop is with Murphy ex police partner, Officer Lewis, Robocop refer to Murphy in third person, after his partner said “it really nice to see you Murphy,” but Robocop replies “ Murphy had a wife and son, What happen to them,” like Murphy does not exist anymore. The personality of Murphy is gone. Just an emotionless machine is present. Robocop speak of human emotion by saying I can feel them but I can’t member them. I believe this is a mistake on the dialog on the actor part that wasn’t corrected. Previous we saw that Robocop has memories that was being played back of his wife and son in their house, so we know that he remembers them. I feel the correct line was or should have been, “I can remember them but I can’t feel them”. This will show that he is just an machine and has no human emotion. Never the less he did told his partner to leave him alone in a sense that he was feeling some sort of emotion to Murphy’s family.

Neuro Scientist believe that there no spiritual soul that drive the human body and give us our personality. Its are brain which contains memories and the knowledge that we gain in life that create our personality our uniqueness to others. And they believe that we will still be the same person if our brains were taking out and put into a machine. Some people believe we won’t be the same. In some cases with people with memory loss after an accident but manage to remember everything over time they take n a new personality to the ones they had before. Our memories and information in our heads, shapes our personality but I don’t think don’t think it creates our personality and our soul.

If we were to be part machines what restrictions will we have? I will expect that we will have something programmed to stop us from having our human free will. We be restricted mentally but how about physically? The human body can move in so many unique ways. Will we move in the same way if we are made out of metal? There are so many unclear answers to question and it seemed there’s a heavy price to becoming immortal. We saw the price Murphy had to pay to be still exist on earth.

I produce an Experiment on my voice seeing of recorder and when I spoke through the phone when the phone is on loudspeaker on the other end and recording it. I found that there is a big difference in my voice when I was on loudspeaker. The obvious difference was the volume and the clarity of my voice. The phone recreating the sound of my voice lost some parts of my voice. However it wasn’t a good experiment. I wanted to test my actual voice to a digital replica of my voice. What I did was tested a digital replica of my voice to a replica of a replica of my voice but I and I’m sure other people will make sense of the voice that it is me when it is not.

Filmography

 

The Matrix 1999

Directed by the Wachowski brothers, Written by Andy and Lana Wachoski

 

Robocop 1987

Directed by Paul Verhoeven, Written by Edward Neumeier, Michael Miner

Michio Kaku: Why Physics Ends the Free Will Debate

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Jint5kjoy6I

As Humans and Computers Merge… Immortality?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KP09reIihGw

Ray Kurzweil On Immortality

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EtataLdqNvw

Aubrey De Grey – Technological Singularity fact or fiction?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AqMxhX6u_9w

Michio Kaku: The Intelligence Revolution

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L4_ExHIFEjg

Human Enhancement

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qa14xjYR1bE

Ella’s two case study on the pursuit of happiness nowadays

 

 

 

 

Sean Penn,( 2008) Into the Wild.

url

 

 

 

David Bond, (2013) Project Wild Thing.

project_wild_thing_press_still_2_Hi__640x427__detail

 

For my two case studies, I choose to analyse one documentary called “Project Wild Thing” directed by David Bond and a movie by Sean Penn called “Into The Wild” based on a true story. The latter came out in 2008 and was inspired by the true story of Christopher McCandless, a young man who after graduating from Emory University decides to leave everything he knew behind: family, friends, money… to live in the wilderness. I chose this movie because it was interesting to me to view the journey of a individual who bluntly chooses to leave the society he grew up in, to leave civilization behind and to enter a new lifestyle for the first time: Nature. Christopher wanted to live off the wild land, hunt his own food, like in the Prehistoric Ages. I was intrigued by the story because it was the story of a man who had the courage to make a drastic change in his lifestyle in the pursuit of his freedom and happiness. That subject relates to my research in the way that it refers to the act of rethinking about your current situation in the purpose of satisfying your mental health. My research is based on Maslow’s theories on true happiness and the hierarchy of human needs. Christopher was tormented by the unhappiness of his parents‘ marriage. The resentment that his father and mother had for each other began to affect the well-being of their son Christopher and his sister Carine McCandless. In the movie Christopher McCandless expresses a lot of anger and hate towards his parents in a way that they are shown to be the main reason why he has chosen to leave everything behind. He chose to leave his family without any warning and made sure that he couldn’t be find either. In his first few weeks in the wilderness, Christopher expresses joy and wonder when he sees around him all these beautiful natural environments. We see him enjoying his freedom in Nature. As he travels around these beautiful environments, he does meet on his way different people with whom he shares pleasant moments. Some people even get attached to him but he still chooses to go the wilderness alone. Unfortunately for him, he ends up being trapped by Nature when he accidently eats deadly wild berries that he picked out in the rush of calming his starvation. In his sorrow he realised that true happiness is best lived shared. He understands the importance of having relationship with other people at the end, which is the point in the story that interests me the most. Relating to my research, the importance of human connection with each other for the well-being of our mental health was argued. But this movie shows to the audience how human relationship with one another is quite crucial to our survival. Sean Penn directed the movie by making an adaptation of the book of the same title “Into The Wild” written by Jon Krakauer. Sean Penn read the book quite a few times but only started making the movie 10 years after reading the book. He only re-read it after he had started making drafts of the movie. He realised after making the drafts when he re-read the book that his drafts were practically identic to the story he had read 10 years ago. Very few changes were to be made. The main resources he used to make the movie were primordially the book written by Jon Krakauer. He found it very enlightening, he could picture in his head vivid images of the action. He also did his own research by travelling to the places where Christopher McCandless went. He also met the real characters involved in the Christopher’s life such as his real parents and sister and also the people he met during his adventures in the wild. All these discussions with those people helped him shape the story better. To share this true life story with the audience, Sean Penn filmed the real surroundings where Christopher McCandless adventured but also reconstructed the bus that he actually lived in in the wilderness. Sean likes to tell this young man’s story but cutting and separating different key moments of the main character’s life such as : his first hunt, his first encounters with a couple living on the road, his parents’ big fight that scared his little sister… Sean liked to mixed those moments not in a chronological manner but went back and forth with the story telling for the audience to picture Christopher’s present situation in the movie and also understand his past that would explain his present situation. In his interview Sean Penn believed that the surroundings themselves that he chose to film would truly communicate the true life story of Christopher McCandless to the audience. My second case study is a documentary called “Project Wild Thing” directed by David Bond. David is concerned about his kids watching too much television and not spending enough time outdoors. He decides to name himself the “Marketing Director of Nature” and gives himself 2 months to launch a campaign for Nature. He wants to sell Nature as a Brand for people, especially kids. His goal is to bring kids back to Nature. The documentary shows the audience the process by which David goes through to make his plans a reality. He shares with the public his success, struggles and failures as a Marketing Director of Nature. I chose this documentary because I was interests in knowing how David Bond would do to bring Nature back to kids when kids nowadays spend most of their time playing on ipads and watching television. What I’ve liked about the documentary is that David engages with the audience by talking to the camera directly and sharing his thoughts at all times. And he is not afraid to show the struggles of reality as he is trying to advertise Nature to people. David argues how in his days as a kid he would spend so much time outdoors and thought that maybe the taste’s of kids today had changed but, during his research, by talking to different people, he soon realises that it was actually the parents who were spreading their fear of the outdoors onto their children. Throughout his launch for his campaign for Nature, David talks to different experts around the subject of Nature. The audience sees him talking to a brain scientist, a writer and environmentalist, a brand sale expert and advisor, a psychologist, psych biologist and neurologist, also a seasoned environmental campaigner… As David learns from all these people, the audience also gets educated from his discussions. The documentary informs the audience on the importance of Nature in the lives of human beings and the role that Nature plays in the well-being of human beings. According to a large number of studies a patient in a hospital would recovers more quickly and need less medication if that patient has a view of a natural habitat. Also students who have a view on a natural environment score better in tests. It is said in the documentary that the lack of natural environments in the lives of kids will and do affect the well-being of an individual. All these information are given to the audience in illustration. David Bond chose to mixed live action with animation in his documentary, which I found to be given some charm to the film. As more people get involve in his campaign, a lot of interesting and innovative ideas come about and David is pleased. This film shows also the advantage and importance of working in a large group. For his film and campaign, David was quickly supported by the “National Trust”. David really wanted with this documentary not only to raise awareness but also motivate people to do something about this issue. So he made this documentary with one though in mind: advertise Nature to the public. To reach the audience David wasn’t shy in sharing his own situation at home with his wife and children.

I’ve chosen to make a short clip that would represent my own way of approaching Nature and show it to the public. In both case studies that I’ve analyse the director had tried to represent Nature at its best. In the movie “Into The Wild” Sean Penn used real images of natural environments in America. In the documentary “Project Wild Thing”, David concentrated more on the activities you can do to have fun in Nature. I choose to advertise Nature as an unknown and secret place. Here in the link to my short clip: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sbNqKWWuCkE&feature=youtu.be

In both case studies the film reflects on two main subject that refers to my research: one subject is about the importance of Nature in the lives of human beings and the second subject is about the importance of a connection, a relationship between human beings. Both case studies approached the subjects differently. In the movie “Into The Wild”, Sean Penn represented Nature as a wild and uncontrollable place but also as a spiritual and fulfilling place. He chose to use real natural environments for his movie. At the beginning of the movie, when the main character Christopher McCandless arrives in the deserted Alaskan wilderness, the audience witnesses his joy for freedom and his wonder over the beautiful sites. He enjoys depending on his physical strengths to survive. He feels free, courageous and strong. The character tells the audience about the importance of testing your physical strength once in while against natural forces, he believed it to be reassuring and necessary. The audience could see Christopher connecting with nature and having a spiritual awakening. But at the end of the movie the same place that brought him all these amazing experiences also brought him pain and loneliness. When the same land that he fed on for several months had suddenly nothing to give to eat to Christopher, he had to collect wild berries to survive against starvation. Unfortunately he accidently confuses two types of wild berries and end up eating a deadly type, which leads him to his death. When he realises that he could no longer leave this land, he felt the loneliness and realised that “true happiness was best lived shared”. The same parents that he ran away from was now in his mind before he died, he imagined running into their arms with a smile. All this made me think that maybe Christopher needed to do this escape but he was running away from his problem with his parents. What I find interesting in that movie is actually the ending, because it resumed the research I’ve done on human beings experiencing true happiness, following Maslow’s theories on true happiness and the hierarchy of human needs. With the example of the character Christopher McCandless, who was lacking communication with his parents and ended up hating them because of the misery and the resentment that existed between the two parents, he decides to leave everything behind in the search for freedom and fulfilment. Nature did bring him some kind of fulfilment but not everything he needed. There was still this empty space for “love and belonging” which is one of the human needs that was argued to be very important in the pursuit of true happiness. He felt trapped in the society where he was forced to put up with his parents that would fight all the time, which would affect his happiness in result. He felt he needed to escape. So he did. He escaped from everything and everyone, which satisfied him at first, but even on his escape, he did meet a couple of people with whom he would get along with. But he would still want to go back on his own. His tragic and unexpected sorrow at the end brought him to clarity that he did need to have relationship with people in order to survive. If Christopher would have chosen to come clean in front of his parents and talked wit them about his issues with this marriage, I don’t think he would have had to escape to the wilderness so badly. But he did see the advantages of doing so and the movie shows some of them. For example, when Christopher has been living off the land for a few weeks, hunting down squirrels and other wild animals, we see him eating an apple with degustation. He enjoyed it with a lot more gratitude than a normal person would do, which showed the value of tasty organic foods that nature gives us. Also like I mentioned earlier, the advantages of challenging yourself against nature, argued by Christopher to be a necessary activity for your mental and physical health. Whereas, in the documentary “ Project Wild Thing”, David Bond represents Nature as a fun and exiting place for children. When he talks about Nature he refers to the forests and the parks that you can find near your house. He refers to Nature as a fun distraction from school and other activities. It’s not about going off and living in the wild but about re-organising your life around Nature. When he tries to advertise Nature to teenagers, they are quite sceptical about it. They raised problems such as not having really nice nature around them in London. And if they did have to choose between going outside and staying at home, they would prefer staying at home. David understood that Nature wasn’t popular between youngsters. But when he brought those same teenagers outside to the closest grass area, he could notice their face lighting up and they quickly felt comfortable outside and found things to do. He was now reassured that Nature could be really enjoyed. He just had to give them something that would make them want to go outside. By working with a bigger group of people during his campaign for Nature, interesting ideas came about to attract the kids to Nature such as a list of games that they could play in a forest or on the grass, also a list of challenges they could do such as kissing a frog or hold a worm in their hand… In his documentary, David thought about using Nature in a fun and interactive way. Not only that but he also got information from experts about the importance of Nature in the lives of kids. He argued that there was no evidence that technology was bad for children but that the lack of Nature around them would affect their mental health. David says: “We think we’ve outgrown nature. But playing god doesn’t make us happy, it just fuels our competitive urges.” David sees that technology is all around us and has a big place in marketing. He wishes he could market Nature just the same. What is interesting to me is that the documentary shows the progress of his campaign launch for Nature and his struggles. He comes with a lot of ideas that after speaking with a professional are left behind. He learns from a lot people and you can see that he couldn’t make it on his own. He needed the help of a lot of people. At the end of the documentary, David realises that while being so focused on his project to bring kids back to Nature he forgets about his own kids and feels bad about it, he even conclude the documentary by saying that the most important thing is to be with your kids and see them grow up, which intrigued me because it seemed that at the end he stopped the progress of his project. Nonetheless David does value the importance of team work and his relationship with his wife and children. In the process of making people aware of this deficit in Nature in the children’s life, the documentary also ends up sending also a second message that is to value the importance of building relationships and spending time with the family. Therefore both case studies shows their own representation of Nature, and shows the importance of human connection. In my experiment I chose to represent Nature in a different way. I chose to represent in the eyes of someone who hasn’t really lived in Nature: Nature as a hallucination and a mystical place and unknown territory.

Filmography:

David Bond (2013), Project Wild Thing.

Sean Penn (2008), Into The Wild.

Bibliography:

A. H. Maslow, A Theory Of Human Motivation, 1943.