Film Series: Artificial Being

In her book, Alone Together: Why We Expect More from Technology and Less from Each Other (Basic Books, 2011), psychologist Sherry Turkle argues that we are entering the “robotic moment”: we are willing to establish emotional relationships with machines and accept the simulation of communication with other people or programs that simulate people. As businesses accumulate data about us by analyzing our activity on the Web and Artificial Intelligence programs are perfected, the ability to predict or simulate the actions and thoughts of a person becomes real. At the same time, the development of biotechnologies approaches the manipulation of the living, so that both our Internet presence and the fabric of life itself progressively become data sets that can be processed, edited and copied.

In this context, it is difficult to establish the limits of what we call “artificial”: to what extent is artificial the intelligence of a machine that speaks and reasons as a person? To what extent is our identity on the Internet a mere fiction? What happens when you can configure a human being as you would a machine? This collection of stories explores different scenarios in the relationship between humans, science and technology, questioning the separation between what we consider natural and artificial, real and fictional.

Curator: Pau Waelder



Spike Jonze,  2013
119 minutes

Her chronicles the relationship between Theodore, a writer, and the Artificial Intelligence operating system that assists him in his daily activities. Spike Jonze puts forth in this film the isolation of people in big cities, the paradoxical way in which we communicate through digital media and how we live alone, together.



Duncan Jones,  2009
97 minutes

Sam Bell is about to conclude his three year term at the Selene moon base, in a mission to extract resources that will alleviate the energy crisis faced by the Earth. Sam will be replaced by an eerily familiar substitute. In a claustrophobic ambience of science fiction, the protagonist must ask himself who, and what, he is.



Andrew Niccol,  1997
106 minutes

Gattaca describes a world where genetic manipulation has created a division of society into two classes, those being considered superior, designed by eugenics, and the natural-born, considered inferior. The film tells the story of Vincent Freeman, a young man who fights for his goals despite his genetic inferiority, raising ethical questions about scientific research.



Ariel Schulmann y Henry Joost,  2010
86 minutes

Catfish tells the relationship between photographer Nev, brother of co-director Ariel Schulman, and an eight year old girl, Abby, who sends him a painting based on one of his photos. Nev engages in an increasingly close friendship with Abby’s family and especially with her older sister, Megan, through social networks. But he gradually discovers that this family is not what it seems. A story told in the form of a documentary that raises questions about our identity and online social life.



Documentaries: writing code, breaking codes

In our interaction with digital technologies, we often focus on the devices that surround us and ignore that our actions on these devices depend on the software, which executes a previously written program code. The apparent freedom provided by smartphones, tablets, social networks or an Internet connection is dictated by that code, which is under a constant struggle for control. A fight in which users face large corporations and governments.

This selection of documentary films exposes some of the current issues surrounding code written by programmers and code set by governments: software and legality have a tense and complex relationship.

Curator: Pau Waelder


Documentary films


TPB AFK: The Pirate Bay Away From Keyboard
Simon Klose,  2013
82 minutes

This documentary recounts the trial of the founders of The Pirate Bay: Peter Sunde, Fredrik Neij and Gottfrid Svartholm, accused by several Hollywood producers of infringing on copyrights, causing losses to the industry estimated in $13 million. The film was edited thanks to a crowdfunding campaign launched in Kickstarter and is offered freely on the project website, as well as The Pirate Bay and BitTorrent download sites. In May 2013, several Hollywood studios such as Viacom, Paramount, Fox and Lionsgate pressured Google to censor the links to the website hosting the documentary, which were only restored after the media echoed the director’s protest.



Hello World! Processing
Raúl Alaejos y Abelardo Gil-Fournier,  2013
82 minutes

First of a series of documentaries about the main programming languages Processing, Open Frameworks and Pure Data, which aims to explore the possibilities of these open source tools that have transformed the way in which artists, designers, musicians and artists develop their projects and share them with a growing user community. Through a series of interviews and excerpts from historical documentaries, the short film presents the possibilities introduced by computers in artistic production, design and other creative environments while offering introductory notions of the programming platform Processing, created by Ben Fry and Casey Reas in 2001 and since then developed by a large community of programmers and developers worldwide.



Google and the World Brain
Ben Lewis,  2013
89 minutes

When Google launched its Google Books project, millions of books were scanned and stored in digital format without asking permission to authors nor publishers. This generated a series of disputes culminating in an agreement between the multinational and various associations of authors and publishers . The documentary presents the disagreements between the world of analog and digital files in the particular context in which the “hacker” is a great company, not an individual. The Google project also raises the issue of a possible monopolization of human knowledge by a single company.