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Teknolust, October 16

Genetic Screenings

Thursday, October 16, 2003
7:30 a.m. TEKNOLUST
Lynn Hershman Leeson (U.S., 2001)

Artist in Person

Loneliness breeds strange bedfellows. Rosetta Stone (played to a timorous "t" by Tilda Swinton), a bashful biogeneticist, downloads her own DNA into an experimental A.I. program, creating a trio of Self-Replicating Automatons (SRAs). Olive, Marine, and Ruby (Swinton3) live in seclusion in a color-coordinated condo where they spend their time Web-surfing, mainlining protein, and being inundated by motivational tapes that shape their sense of the "human." Ensconced like priestesses in shimmering robes, the sisters SRA oscillate between machine superiority—"We're self-replicating"—and devolution—"When you are defensive and regressive you seem completely human." Beyond their jacked-in consciousness, they yearn for attachments, but not the e-mail kind. Hershman Leeson (Conceiving Ada) has modified the gene for humor, creating a franken-farce wired for witticisms. Designed with sleek graphical interfaces, Teknolust bodes of a future when we will rise through "flesh, spirit" to "soul, icon." Yet the film is also about something more fundamentally human—the impulse to fill the world with progeny as a gesture of existence.

—Steve Seid

• Written by Hershman Leeson. Photographed by Hiro Narita. Music by Klaus Badelt. Edited by Lisa Fruchtman. With Tilda Swinton, Jeremy Davies, John O'Keefe, Josh Kornbluth, Karen Black. (82 mins, Color, 35mm, From the artist)

Preceded by short:
Copy Shop
(Virgil Widrich, Austria, 2001). Using the latest in copy technology, an anonymous man fills the world with his duplicate. (11:30 mins, B&W, 35mm, From Sixpack Film)

(Total running time: 94 mins)