Monday, November 25th: Cyberman (86 min.)
This documentary was about Steve Mann, a professor at the university of Toronto. He has been walking with a 'wearable' computer for twenty years. He is considered a 'cyborg' by some, a being half human, half computer. He perceives the world through a camera mounted on sunglasses with a videoscreen. With his computer he can interpret and manipulate what he sees. He is connected to the internet so people can see what he sees when they log in to his website. He has built these computers himself from broken cameras and computers. At first the equipment was very heavy and striking but his latest version, the one with the sunglasses, is very covert and portable.
Throughout the film images from Steve's computer are mixed with the original footage. When Steve goes to a shopping center and is requested to turn of the cameras we can still see through his perspective. It was interesting when Steve pointed out that while there are cameras everywhere in the shopping mall, he is not allowed to film. He argues that by surveilling the surveillance, the invasion of privacy is neutralised.
This documentary was fairly good. While the subject fascinates me, I
should like the documentary to go in the capabilities and the working of his
machine a little bit more. The documentary featured a lot of footage of Steve
taking pictures with flashlights, I did not see why this was relevant. But at
the end of the film the director explained that at first it was hard to make
contact with Steve and that the picture-taking was a way of seeing him in
action without invading his personal space. The documentary gives us a glance
at the life of Steve Mann without presenting any judgment or analyses of him.
This sometimes disappoints me when I feel as though I knew more before I
watched the documentary than after. The problem is probably that this film
was made for an audience neither interested nor capable of understanding what
goes on in the subject's mind. I was especially annoyed when I noticed people
laughing, as though the film was some kind of 'freak show'. Well, I'm
probably exaggerating here but the bottom line is that I enjoyed the film
although I felt some parts were missing.
LINK: Homepage Steve Mann
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