Ghost in the Smart Home

The new movie by Rupert Sanders, based on the hugely popular anime Ghost in the Shell by Musamune Shirow opens with a haunting preface. It is set in 2029 and observes as the boundary between human and machine becomes more and more blurred. In the time it has become customary for people to choose to “enhance” themselves by replacing a limb or an internal organ with a synthetic one, therefore also one with many new high-tech features. In that context, one private company works on blurring that boundary even further by creating the first “synthetic full-body prosthesis augmented-cybernetic human” – Major Mira Killian. She has an entirely robotic body except for her human brain. Therefore the story argues that by keeping the brain the soul, or the ghost, remains unaltered independent from the body, or the shell.

Now the obvious question this setup poses is where the boundary between human and machine really stands – how far can one go on altering and enhancing  before one turns to a cyborg? All that further leads to the discussion what is it that defines a human at all.

Read More »

Advertisements

"Arrival" and the Departure of Design

A review of the recent  production “Arrival” from director Denis Villenueve, in cinema November 2016.

Firstly, Arrival has to be one of the best movies to have come out in 2016 so far, a complete masterpiece, where all arts are in sync – the music, the picture, the story up to the smallest detail, the characters, the structure of the entire story. However, it is impossible not to notice the subtlety of the design proposal. 

Read More »

Doctor Strange and the Superpowers of Architecture

An architectural review of the 2016 Marvel production “Doctor Strange”.

Every now and then in mainstream media and film industry a movie comes up to touch the architects heart. Whenever that happens, it rarely stays unnoticed, students learn it in universities and architecture journals are full of articles about it for weeks to come. What happened after the latest Marvel production “Doctor Strange” is no exception – it is even an amplification. For this time architecture wasn’t merely perfectly suited or reflecting a characters feelings and personality – architecture was part of the concept, part of the transformation, part of the plot. Still it was not an architectural film and that might even be the beauty of it. Here I will focus on a few aspects:

Read More »