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Which clippings match 'NASA Ames Research Center' keyword pg.1 of 1
18 OCTOBER 2011

Cyberpunk: the future has already happened

"Cyberpunk' is a 60–minute documentary, the ad for which states: 'What started as a book became a literary movement. What was a literary movement became a subculture'.

And that's one of the major flaws of this film. It perpetuates the general myth that everything 'cyberpunk' expanded out of 'Neuromancer' and Gibson's vision. In truth, most of the stuff covered here (virtual reality, hacking, industrial music, cybernetics, designer drugs, anarchy) was already developing quite nicely before Lord Gibson, Chairman Bruce, and the rest (Shirley, Rucker, Shiner) were kind enough to provide a fictional universe in which to fuse these disparate explorations.

The production of 'Cyberpunk' is very inconsistent, too –– some parts are professional documentary, while other parts have the odor of quick–cash opportunism. The breathy women narrator is ultimately aggravating, oh–ing and ah–ing over all this stuff.

But there is some good material here, including interviews with Gibson, Leary, Scott Fisher (of NASA/Ames), Brenda Laurel, Vernon Reed (Living Color), Bill Leeb (Front Line Assembly) and others. There's also some cool computer graphics (circa 1989) and an industrial soundtrack with Front Line Assembly, Ministry, and Severed Heads.

'Cyberpunk' is still a must–see since it's the only documentary about cyberpunk that we have."

(G. Branwyn)

Fig.1 Produced and Directed by Marianne Trench and Peter von Brandenberg, Intercon Productions, 1990.

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TAGS

1990 • anarchy • augmentation • Bill Leeb • bodybody modificationBrenda Laurel • Bruce Bethke • computer graphics • computer virus • corporeal augmentationcyberneticscyberpunk • Cyberpunk (1990) • cyborgdesigner drugsdystopiaembodimentethicsfictional universe • Front Line Assembly • hackinghacktivismhuman beings • industrial music • informationinformation wants to be free • John Shirley • Lewis Shiner • Living Color • Mariana TrenchMinistry (band)mutant scienceNASA Ames Research CenterNeuromancerorgan • phone phreaking • posthumanRudy Ruckersci-fiScott Fisher • Severed Heads (band) • speculative designtechnological determinismtechnophobiaTimothy Leary • Vernon Reed • virtual realityvirusvisions of the futureVRWilliam Gibson

CONTRIBUTOR

Simon Perkins
11 AUGUST 2009

Hyperland: 1990 fantasy documentary speculating about the future of interactive media

"In this one–hour documentary produced by the BBC in 1990, Douglas falls asleep in front of a television and dreams about future time when he may be allowed to play a more active role in the information he chooses to digest. A software agent, Tom (played by Tom Baker), guides Douglas around a multimedia information landscape, examining (then) cuttting–edge research by the SF Multimedia Lab and NASA Ames research center, and encountering hypermedia visionaries such as Vannevar Bush and Ted Nelson. Looking back now, it's interesting to see how much he got right and how much he didn't: these days, no one's heard of the SF Multimedia Lab, and his super–high–tech portrayal of VR in 2005 could be outdone by a modern PC with a 3D card. However, these are just minor niggles when you consider how much more popular the technologies in question have become than anyone could have predicted – for while Douglas was creating Hyperland, a student at CERN in Switzerland was working on a little hypertext project he called the World Wide Web..."
(douglasadams.com)

Adams, D. N. (1990). Hyperland. UK, BBC Two: 50 minutes.

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CONTRIBUTOR

Simon Perkins
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