Dream Cargoes (2013) was an Unsound commission; a collaborative work between Marcel Weber, Lucy Benson, Roly Porter, and myself. Staged only twice, it is an ambitious recasting of the eponymous J.G. Ballard short story, with a visual narrative shot & presented by the MFO duo, accompanied by a live string quartet & electronic score by Roly, peppered with rendered & live electronic music.
“While exploitation of the earth is slowly reaching its saturation point, private corporations reach out into space to fuel mankinds ever growing hunger for resources (i.e. the google founded company Planetary Resources). Sci-fi writers and philosophers of the last century expected this to happen as some sort of hard labour of brave men and women in space, but today it seems this will happen as an enterprise fully automated and driven by artificial-intelligence. At first an ever-growing swarm of man-made drones ventures into space, exploiting astroids, nebulas, moons, planets; until eventually an autonomous entity sustains and extends itself and its functionality. Capitalism in space, one that does no more require a human consumer, seems to be our legacy.
Another thought: life on Earth was created from very basic organisms, simple amorphous cells. Hence no matter how much mankind wastes this planet, it will always find a new balance of life out of whatever remains of nature – and out of what we leave behind. These are some of the ideas I was interested in when approaching this project.
To produce Dream Cargoes we thankfully received funding from Werkleitz Festival allowing Lucy and myself to fly to Iceland and shoot all the cinematic footage on location in the volcanic landscapes there. It is the perfect spot to film barren lands of an alien beauty, to find the old exploited planet and it’s rich minimalism.
The increasingly abstracted imagery, the synthetic lifeforms and depiction of evolution was developed based on research into current nano- and bio-technologies. I spend much time on experiments with generative imaging techniques: algorithms for chemical and biological simulation of growth, oscillations and behavioural patterns. Additionally, we conducted physical experiments with a number of materials – ferro-magnetic filings and liquids, crystal growth, paint and acids, etc; the filmed results were then processed with a number of digital techniques. In post production all the various footage was brought together and composed into extensive imagery. ”