1503 – Devs (TV mini-series 2020 – )

Director: Alex Garland

“A computer engineer investigates the secretive development division in her company, which she believes is behind the disappearance of her boyfriend.”

Alex Garland that left quite an indelible mark with his Annihilation and Ex Machina is now back with a Hulu (FX on Hulu) series largely about quantum computing, the fabric of reality, alternate history, Silicon Valley, affects and technology. It is also true that this base realty of the Silicon Valley has somehow (at least BC/ Before Corona) come to crowd out every other reality. I want to briefly highlight what struck me most about the series, it is a very mysterious, vague, eerie episodes that play with non linearity and temporal paradoxes, so a plot-line synopsis will completely miss the mark. I am also thankful that it avoids all the boring old determinsm-non determinism discussions and all the free will dead alleys. What is more important is what is left unsaid, or where one can extend and speculate with and around this series. It looks and feels in a certain way, which is definitely a lack in most your run-of-the-mill Sci-fi’s. The closest I can think of is the wonderful noir Cold War Sci-fi 1973 World on a Wire by Rainer Werner Fassbinder. In my mind it almost picks up where the other one left.

Devs could be all matter of things, I had good friends who recommended the series (big thx to that) speculating about the title of it even, so I am not gonna continue that venue here. Also no major spoilers I hope.

  1. It is first I think a quant (?!) entrepreneur space, before it is a quantum computing space hosting the ideas and the very hermetic, secretive environment where the possibilities of quantum computing are slowly emerging as the each episode slowly. It is almost a chosen self-image of West Coast Institutes and Tech Giants. But instead of lofty, Alphabet (Google) AI golems, it’s rather the particular circumstance – it is animated by intimate loss close to home. I can see that it is inspired and could in its turn inspire (fictional?) the design of future enterprises. It also illustrates the quasi- sacral character of such a re-search lab, the secretive self-absorbed atmosphere, where the toughest and most brutal number crunching meets contemporary art meets gnostic ideals, where each level of access or mystery is approached with kabbalistic reverence mixed in with the most vulgar, violent and bloody means.
  1. It incorporates what Eric Davis (Techgnosis) and others have highlighted, when recognizing that such secular Institutes and limited access facilities exude an almost monastic air, and the more lowly or titillating and profane its actual results, aims or content, the more it speaks to us in tongues. It also speaks of the banality of access & time travel, of surfing history, of prying into the wounds of the past. Its stark, minimalist, highly aesthetic look is a statement of the whole rapture of the nerds maybe. It might be repulsive, sterile but it is what it is, it is made in the image of its maker. And the maker needs to inhabit this floating, suspended fractal golden cube. At the same time this detachment from the lowly, from matter, even its dealing with bodies that are burned, suffocated, drowned speaks about a certain fury applied, a violence suffered and thrown at the flesh it needs to instantiate in order to surpass. It is almost as if bodies have to be martyred in order to achieve any measure of earthly detachment or technological success.

2. Same time there is some incredible almost melodic, tonal interplay of sentiments, they are not just attachments for the audience to approach such a difficult subject, in fact one can feel how these affects that seem almost autonomous, a shadowplay of research into abstruse knowledge. Affects intervene, subtend & promote actions, also interfere, flash forward, move around and lead the whole highly abstract endeavor. What I like is its lack of theoretization, its sub theorizing. Of one needs further metaphysical trajectories one cam search it elsewhere. Devs is almost a key illustration of Rani Lill Anjum and Stephen Mumford have (in more philosophical terms) boldly posited in their path breaking 2018 book – a third modality (“dispositional modality” DM) or tendency, beside the other two – necessity and possibility.

Weird naturalism (to pick on another term employed by E Davis) or weird aesthetics (to use Steven Shaviro’s phrase) is full of such vague incentives, a lure that leads nowhere or to something else, where the affective drive breaks loose, ways in which theyaare effective not only as anchor points of personal history or quest but as oscillating, flipping over constantly into impossible reaches and improbable planes, madness and make believe, false leads and unfinished plans. The most normal, the most homely feels made up in a way that the candy and endearing 1990s schematic VR, especially in movies and musivc videos never made the real feel. It maybe started then, but now every vintage furniture or lighting feels artificial, highly composed and rendered (not surreal in the old sense) but nevertheless compelling and etherReal.

imdb / science fact or science fiction

1314 – The Order of Time (2017 book)

“Sooner or later
the exact measurement of our time
will resume—
and we’ll be on the ship that’s bound
for the bitterest shore. (II, 9)


The Order of Time (Italian: L’ordine del tempo) is a book by Italian physicist Carlo Rovelli. It is about time in physics.

Time is a mystery that does not cease to puzzle us. Philosophers, artists and poets have long explored its meaning while scientists have found that its structure is different from the simple intuition we have of it. From Boltzmann to quantum theory, from Einstein to loop quantum gravity, our understanding of time has been undergoing radical transformations. Time flows at a different speed in different places, the past and the future differ far less than we might think, and the very notion of the present evaporates in the vast universe.

An audiobook, four hours and nineteen minutes long, was read by Benedict Cumberbatch. (wiki)

Carlo Rovelli on The Order of Time (youtube)


“For centuries, as long as travel was on horseback, on foot, or in carriages, there was no reason to synchronize clocks between one place and another. There was good reason for not doing so. Midday is, by definition, when the sun is at its highest. Every city and village had a sundial that registered the moment the sun was at its midpoint, allowing the clock on the bell tower to be regulated with it, for all to see.
But the sun does not reach midday at the same moment in Lecce as it does in Venice, or in Florence, or in Turin, because the sun moves from east to west. and for centuries the clocks in Venice were a good half hour ahead of those in Turin. Every small village had its own peculiar “hour.” A train station in Paris kept its own hour, a little behind the rest of the city, as a kind of courtesy toward travelers running late.

goodreads   /   penguin


Sadhguru on Yugas

1311 – Southland Tales (2006)

Southland Tales is a 2006 science fiction comedy-drama thriller film and the second film written and directed by Richard Kelly. The title refers to the Southland, a name used by locals to refer to Southern California and Greater Los Angeles. Set in the then-near future of 2008, as part of an alternate history, the film is a portrait of Los Angeles, and a satiric commentary on the military–industrial complex and the infotainment industry. The film features an ensemble cast including Dwayne JohnsonSeann William ScottSarah Michelle GellarMandy Moore, and Justin Timberlake. Original music was provided by Moby. The film is an international co-production of the United States, Germany and France.

Southland Tales postertimespace coordinates: On July 4th, 2005, in a fictionalized United States alternate history reality, two towns in Texas (El Paso and Abilene) were destroyed by twin nuclear attacks, killing thousands and triggering a catastrophe of unimaginable proportions, sending America into a state of anarchy and hysteria, as well as a Third World War (a fictionalized version of what the nation may have become under the War on Terror), with the US government re-introducing the draft. The PATRIOT Act has extended authority to a new agency known as US-IDent, which keeps constant surveillance on citizens—even to the extent of censoring the Internet and requiring fingerprints to access computers and bank accounts. In response to the recent fuel shortage in the wake of global warfare, the German company Treer designs a generator of inexhaustible energy, which is propelled by the perpetual motion of ocean currents, called “Fluid Karma”. However, its inventor Baron von Westphalen and his associates are hiding the fact that the generators alter the ocean’s currents and cause the Earth to slow its rotation, and that the transmission of Fluid Karma to portable receivers (via quantum entanglement) is ripping holes in the fabric of space and time.

In near-future 2008, Los Angeles (referred to as “The Southland” by locals) is a city on the brink of chaos overshadowed by the growth of an underground neo-Marxist organization. The film follows the criss-crossed destinies of Boxer Santaros, an action film actor stricken with amnesia; Krysta Now, a psychic ex-porn star in the midst of creating a reality TV show; and twin brothers Roland and Ronald Taverner, whose destinies become intertwined with that of all mankind.

Southland Tales was initially planned to be a nine-part “interactive experience”, with the first six parts published in six 100-page graphic novels that would be released in a six-month period up to the film’s release. The feature film comprises the final three parts of the experience. A website was also developed to intertwine with the graphic novels and the film itself.  The idea of six graphic novels was later narrowed down to three. The novels were written by Kelly and illustrated by Brett Weldele. Kelly wrote them while making the film and found it very difficult as it pushed him “to the edge of my own sanity”, as he remarked in an interview. 

They have been collected together into one single volume:

The titles of the parts in the film are:

  • Part Four: Temptation Waits
  • Part Five: Memory Gospel
  • Part Six: Wave of Mutilation

The film remains enigmatic to many viewers and even some of its makers. In a 2011 interview, Justin Timberlake himself said, “To me, Southland Tales is performance art. I still don’t know what that movie is about [laughs].”

In a 2013 interview, Kelly said he considered this work as “the thing that I’m most proud of, and I feel like it’s sort of the misunderstood child or the banished child.” (wiki)

imdb


[Southland Tales Soundtrack] tracks Aerial/Snowball -Moby / Southland Tales – Full Soundtrack (Score & Songs)   /   Sarah Michelle Gellar – Teen Horniness is Not a Crime

1305

the adjective “real” is ambiguous; it has a thousand meanings. The verb “to exist” has even more. (1314)


What dream among dreams is reality?