You enter the project’s portal. A blank screen except for these words:
I AM READY.
A blinking cursor waiting for you to type.
You type a few words trying to figure out what’s going on. You ask questions. The computer tries to answer but mostly fails.
After a few minutes, the computer asks you to call it and gives you a phone number. When you call it, the phone rings a few times. Anticipation builds if anyone will answer. It goes to voicemail. There’s no obligatory greeting. Instead, a human voice asks you a random question. The question is from a pool about the human condition.
What do you need?
What do you value?
When are you most happy?
Do you feel powerful?
What do you fear?
Why do you love?
After the tone, you leave a voicemail. Maybe you answer the question, maybe you vent, or perhaps you quietly tell a thought.
The question that was asked of you, the text you typed, and your transcribed voice become seeds for learning and searching.
The machine gleans the virtual world to construct your film. Searching for images, words, and sounds.
The audio of your voicemail is digitized to become a narrator for your film.
Your words are not enough. It looks up antonyms of your words, words tangentially in meaning as if they were trying to complete your thought.
Not deep enough.
It takes random results and creates new searches. Children become parents. Generational searches in a loop. Are the original meanings lost? Are new meanings discovered?
Spliced, cropped, blended, color-swapped, saturated, desaturated, distorted, glitched, reversed, and enlarged are all on the menu of possibilities to edit the content. Your video is synthesizing.
A musical score is an AI-generated soundtrack, built from various words and sounds – including your voice – that, much like the videos, are synthesized into a composition.
But your voice remains untouched. Real. Unmodulated. Unfiltered. Decompressed.
Words gather and overlay on your film, but they are not the subtitles of what you said or what you hear. They are snippets of letters never sent. Subtitles from films in foreign languages that you may not know. Ancient poems translated by machines lose meaning. Quotes from philosophers. Verses from a religious text.
After hours of machine processing and without any human intervention other than your phone call, assets for your film are gathered, randomly edited, and posted for you.
You no longer have to wait. The machine contacts you.
You get a link to watch your film. You click play and you have no clue what you’ll end up seeing. Neither do I. No one does. Perhaps it has no rhyme or reason, but perhaps there is spontaneous synchronization.
Do you think about going back to see what may happen? It’s never the same film twice.
What does it mean? All the semiotics were interpreted and misinterpreted.
Perhaps it all means nothing, but you want to believe it means something.
You go back to the portal and see the words again:
I AM READY.
I AM READY is an experimental digital essay film that is generated based on interaction with the audience. Its purpose is to question our devotion to technology; the ways in which we return to it like Sunday Service. Do we seek short-term gratification or seek repentance or salvation?
Using a rudimentary Q&A with an AI to gather keywords from the user as seeds to grow branches that form generative cinema that is part chance, part choice, part destiny. These seeds and branches search for images, audio, and words that are combined to form each user’s film. A unique experience each time a user interacts with the portal and no two films are ever alike.
“Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic God.”
-Arthur C. Clarke