Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Inbox - Short Film

This is the second presentation on the MOOC 'E-Learning and Digital Cultures', and the emphasis here seems to be much more on the side of utopia with the magic bag in Inbox representing a number of benefits of web based communication.  Here we have a mix of e-commerce, e-mail, instant messaging, chatrooms and internet dating agencies all rolled up in one package.

The bag introduces the young couple by seemingly random chance, although a net dating bias might read into this that the couple had similar tastes in shopping, and therefore possibly similar cultural and economic backgrounds.  By gifting small items we see the process that has made E-Bay, Amazon and their ilk into commercial giants and the film even manages to encompass the new age horror of disconnection, the boy accidentally ripping his bag being a metaphor for dropping a cup of coffee into your keyboard.

It is a neat little film, with no spoken lines and only a tiny smattering of text, the film tells its love story in a light hearted and economic way.   Although this film might be encouraging the #edcMOOC students to consider how technology and information exchange pervades our new digital culture, it is worth considering that the film relies on a much older technology and that also I may be reading too much into the film, and that the director's idea was that the bag doesn't really represent all the things I have listed.  Perhaps it was just a magic bag after all.

If though we do accept the things that the bag stands for, then the technological determinism aspect of the film focuses on the way that enhanced, instant communications have changed society.  If the bag is just a magic bag, then the story is just a fable, a fairy tale, one story to tell to many people.  If the bag represents the internet, then the bag itself is promulgating its own story, by a variety of means, to as many people as can access its information stream.  As a fairy tale the story has a pre-determined and logical conclusion, as a display of the possibilities of information technology the bag changes the story for each person, who as they are minutely changed and altered, educated and informed, by each interaction, pass on the story, again minutely changed by their own personal spin.
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