Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Black Mirror

From the depths of Charlie Brooker's brain comes a darkly satirical miniseries called 'Black Mirror'. Each of the three episodes feature a different cast, setting and cinematography style which explore our relationship and rapidly escalating dependency on technology, social media and consumerism. Coupled with the willingness of the  general populations to be spoon fed and distracted by their government and the media (reality television, modern day celebrity, filtered news coverage etc.) Brooker examines the idea that "If technology is a drug – and it does feel like a drug – then what, precisely, are the side-effects?"

The series was produced by Zeppotron for Endemol, who ironically are the production and distribution company behind 'Big Brother' a reality show based on a group of people living together; isolated from the outside world but with every move and word continuously watched and recorded by television cameras.

I found myself watching Black Mirror with a nagging sense of unease. Brooker elaborates "This area – between delight and discomfort – is where Black Mirror, my new drama series, is set...The present day is no less crazy. We routinely do things that just five years ago would scarcely have made sense to us. We tweet along to reality shows; we share videos of strangers dropping cats in bins; we dance in front of Xboxes that can see us, and judge us, and find us sorely lacking. It's hard to think of a single human function that technology hasn't somehow altered, apart perhaps from burping. That's pretty much all we have left. Just yesterday I read a news story about a new video game installed above urinals to stop patrons getting bored: you control it by sloshing your urine stream left and right. Read that back to yourself and ask if you live in a sane society."

Info and links to episodes after the cut (episode info taken from Brooker's piece in The Guardian )

Episode One 'The National Anthem'

'The National Anthem' recounts what happens when fictional royal Princess Susannah is kidnapped and prime minister Michael Callow is presented with an unusual – and obscene – ransom request. The traditional media finds itself unable to even discuss what the demand is, while the Twittersphere foams with speculation and cruel jokes. As the ransom deadline nears, events start to gain a surreal momentum of their own. 

Part One embedded above / Part Two / Part Three

Episode Two '15 Million Merits'

'15 Million Merits' takes place in a world in which the population is apparently doomed to a life of meaningless toil enlivened only by continual entertainment and distraction courtesy of ominipresent gizmos and screens. So not really sci-fi at all, then. Your sole chance of escape or salvation from this world appears to be a talent contest.

Episode Three 'The Entire History of You':

'The Entire History of You' draws attention to how most of us routinely leave a trail of personal information behind us – from emails to idle thoughts on Facebook, to images of ourselves grinning at parties. The episode explores the logical outcome of this, something many might consider a fantasy scenario: what if you had a kind of Sky Plus system for your head, so you could rewind and replay memories at will? You'd never forget where you left your keys again, for one thing. And it would be great for winning arguments. But it might not be brilliant news for the health of your relationship. After all, how much do you actually want to know about each other?

No comments:

Related Posts with Thumbnails