By Hannah Star Rogers, guest contributor
This film celebration of Animal, Mechanical and Me Project will bring together a triptych of short films for a discussion about “Everyday Cyborgs and Humanimals.” In a future where human beings can live longer by putting different kinds of materials (animal, mechanical or human) in the body, more of us, will have more in us. The filmmakers ask if an individual is no longer 100% biologically human does that change them as persons?
In following this thread, viewers discover what it is about human beings, being human. Films include a live action short created by young people based on how it would feel to be ‘humanimal’, and an animation of life as an everyday cyborg based on interviews with people who have an implantable cardiac defibrillator. At the intersection of art house cinema, medicine, and sociology, these films are unusual in their aesthetic treatment of difficult subjects. All three of these films avoid being gruesome or technical, in favor of being personal in ways that are honest to subjects. The thoughtfulness of the film making cued through careful animation and an emphasis on the specificity of individual stories predisposes audiences to see into the lives of others without fear and with imaginative empathy.
Rather than displaying literal the medical implants in “Broken Wings”, we see their effects and the results of a sense of difference on the internal life of a young woman. Rather than stark hospital imagery or slick medical propaganda, “Everyday Cyborgs,” gives us the diary of a person who receives an implantable cardiac defibrillator (ICD) in the form of a vivid animation that makes it possible to understand the fear and hopes of the patient. Rather than a didactic description of the electrical impulses that make our hearts function, “Electric Heart” educates while inviting viewers to consider the cultural and social roles that the concept of the heart has had for human beings historically. Taken together these three films, and the Q&A that will follow, offer new ways of thinking about bodies and the ways medical interventions change and do not change our sense of humanity.
Animal, Mechanical and Me Project, led by Gill Haddow (University of Edinburgh) and supported by the Wellcome Trust, presents three short films and a Q&A on a time and date TBD at Filmhouse Cinema 3 in Edinburgh, United Kingdom. Watch the behind the scenes trailerhere.