Trailer, 30s, 2021
SO LONG (WE DREAMT OF THIS)
Royal College of Art
With online communication commanding much of our psychological energy, it seems inevitable that human consciousness only moves further towards the digital network and away from an embodied cognition bound to the physical environment. Technological developments are fostering a transhuman future through network effects that force upon us a reliance on digital devices for communication and expression in the present.
Someone who we never see – a 'nobody' – tries to tend to their plants, but persistent inner voices draw them into an alienating place with the promise of communication through pure thought.
Where are we in this vision? Are we an observer of this experience, or experiencing it ourselves? Where is the division between us?
A warning / a reminder / an experiment in investigating a subject through subjectivity.
Digital video, 5.1 surround
16mm celluloid shot on Bolex H16, caffenol developing, handmade film, letraset, clay, card, aluminium wire, monoprint, Lizard Ladder, Adobe After Effects
AESTHETICA SHORT FILM FESTIVAL 2022 // Official Selection: Artists' Film
ANNECY INTERNATIONAL ANIMATION FESTIVAL 2022 // Official Selection: Graduation Films
EFEA - Experimental Film East Anglia // Awarded Best Experimental Animation & Experimental Visual Approach
La Plata Short Film Festival - FESTIFREAK // 2021 Official Selection
Prague International Indie Film Festival // 2021 Official Selection
Royal College of Art MA Animation // Graduation Films Screening at the BFI, London
Written and directed by
Animation and cinematography by
Additional Animation by
Sanjana Chandrasekhar and Loïc Kreyden
Research & Assistance
Music & Sound
V. R. Alevizos and DrumTalk
Sound Mix and additional Sound Design
So Long (We Dreamt of This) is a process-led experimental animation investigating what it means to be human in the digital networked economy. It was also a way of developing an animation practice in an era where everyone with a mobile phone engages with the form.
For me, animation takes advantage of a neurological phenomenon that allows the manipulation of light and matter to give the appearance of objects defying physics.
The resulting magic is a thrill; one that has captured the imagination since the earliest experiments in optical illusion, since prehistoric humans began experimenting with it on cave walls. We dream of defying physics, to be untethered from our mortal reality. The concern at the centre of my project, however, is that networked animation technologies – such as the mobile phone – deliver the illusion under the guise of actual reality, as opposed to the realm of fiction. Primarily this is due to the screen’s permeability, the sense that we can control it, influence it; a dream that cinema audiences of the 20th Century might have been thrilled to see realised.
This logic – that animation technologies are ‘progressing’ towards a seamless fusion of physical and digital – appears to be the underlying force behind the visions of tech positivists leveraging network effects to integrate their surveillance devices permanently into our lives; beyond the screen, even, into a boundless, seamless ‘experience’. To enjoy screen-based art or entertainment is a choice. To have our every move and interaction collected and sold through optical technologies that we use for human communication is not.
To be fully aware of the opaque medium that sits between us when we communicate like this is to enter into a state of digital paranoia. It raises difficult questions: how to connect – as we want to – and feel as if we are doing it naturally, when this connection must necessarily first be transcoded by an incomprehensible web of algorithms, code and ulterior motives?
So Long (We Dreamt of This) is an act as much as a research project, a statement of intent as much as a story. Reintegrating with the material and investigating a subject through metaphor, non-rational associative improvisation, and self-initiated ‘found footage’, to process an experience and move beyond it.
All content © Lewis Heriz 2023