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Are we all living in the Matrix? Behind a documentary on simulation theory | Documentary films | The Guardian

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Film producer Rodney Ascher's speech in The Matrix talks to people who believe that the world we live in is not real.

Last modified: Thursday, February 4, 2021, Eastern Standard Time (05.31)

Ascher’s way of working allows patience and enlightened attention to the weird people who have unusual obsessions, whether it’s sleep paralysis (such as his movie "Dream") or Stanley Kubrick’s adaptation of "The Shining" "(Such as his breakthrough) hidden countless secrets. Room 237). His latest work comprehensively examines the emerging "simulation theory" and the culture of its supporters, who believe that the reality that all of us take for granted is nothing more than a trivial projection of truth by the human brain. For such an indispensable topic, Ascher accepted animation, which is unprecedented in his film work, so that the experience is described as a bizarre abstraction in the dream of digital art. Soon after, he realized that the same technology could be applied to make the inert material he obtained from many online one-on-one interactions lively and interesting. This is an inspiring action that not only forms an appropriate formal rhythm with the material, but also accidentally imitates the mediocre isolation of the quarantine area after months of laptop screen meetings.

"This is a strange coincidence, because we actually started filming these interviews in 2019," Ascher told the Guardian over the phone while waiting for the premiere at the Virtual Sundance Film Festival. "I think doing all of this work through digital middleware is the subject of these stories. To some extent, when we interact with each other, we are just pixels and colored dots, and the audio output between each other. Everything feels appropriate , And frankly, it allows us to save money. Putting these animated avatars in this frame looks like a satire that we have been living in the Zoom world for the past 10 months, which is really strange and interesting Luck. These projects can attract those people."

Although Goode and his enlightened brother would have us believe that there is no such thing. The coincidence we accept is contingency, which is simply a flaw in the system we are connected to, no matter what shape it takes. We may be the brains in the vat, receiving electrical stimulation through wires manipulated by scientists, or maybe we are nothing more than bytes of data on a smart biological hard drive. Plato assumed that we might be trapped in a cave and mistaken the shadows on the wall for what cast them. From VR video games to pop culture, countless metaphors express the core concept of this dimension, which can be seen by those who know how to look at things. With more adventurous psychologists accepting these symbolic ideas as literal facts, some people even try to control this illusion.

Ascher’s first impression of simulation theory came from many milestones in science fiction related to it, from the key texts "The Matrix" and the works of Philip K Dick to "Twilight Zone" and "Lost Space" Set of odd numbers. It wasn't until he hyped up his movie "Nightmare" that he knew the truth of this assumption and the organization surrounding it. "A person I spoke to with that movie said that he thought what was happening in his sleep paralysis experience was seeing the code, the zeros and zeros that Neo could see," Ascher recalled. "Immediately, it was on my radar, and when I started to read all the information I could find about it, I noticed that it appeared more and more around me-news stories, jokes, tweets, Elon · The appearance of Elon Musk, Rick and Morty. It’s everywhere. After a while, I can hardly see anything."

The filmmaker called the disciples of simulation theory from all corners of the Internet and discovered a thriving community whose solidarity principles have diverse relationships with them. Under the support of the pastor, Goode lost contact with God and found a viable alternative in reason. Alex LeVine (talking by facing the automaton of emojis, with his brain floating in liquid) believes that after he ignores death and possibility, he must be prepared. The Laeo Mystwood brothers (Anubis with glowing eyes in a tuxedo) "hacked" the 7-day work week, and the rest of the work followed. Jesse Orion (the ogre in the spacesuit) escaped from life with nothing, unable to provide him with life outside of this universe. The last witness was a man named Joshua Cook, who spoke with Asher over the phone. The reason was later clarified in a painful way. His grim story is unplayed, and leads us out of sanity with a spooky first-person perspective.

"Because his story ends with such a serious and tragic story, so I think the same is true, I don't know if glib is the word, but it feels too light for what we represent," Ascher explained the part The content is alienated and intimate POV. "Putting it together is a rather complicated thing. It requires 3D modeling of the real location through the photogrammetric process to create a virtual house that we can float in a ghostly way. One thing that interests me The thing is, although it is very compelling, it is full of incorrect places and loopholes, and the information in these places is not correctly digitized. I appreciate this quality, and it feels like visiting the memory so many times that it starts Frayed the edges."

Cook's section illustrates the inherent danger of rejecting false surroundings. Although not in that extreme form, other testimonies also have an animated narcissism. The reason for self-inflation is that everyone else is boring and they must be non-playable characters in a game tailored for you. On the subjective philosophical question-the old standby "How do we know that the green you see is the same as the green I see?"-Traditionally it has always been the jurisdiction of a smoky dormitory, but this kind of discourse has been Adopted by the sober population, they are more interested in avoiding their own dystopia rather than creating a utopia. "Think about it. Elon Musk is the most capitalist person on earth!" Asher said. "You can no longer think of it as a mason and a hippie at the university. His willingness to participate made the idea mainstream."

A speech by Philip K Dick in France in 1977 provided the structure for the film and showed the humble beginnings of simulation theory entering public consciousness for the first time. Since then, all this has spread far beyond Metz’s lecture hall, as more and more conspiracy theorists’ factions have begun to mock society as a well-planned lie. The paranoia of the QAnon subculture overlaps with the many gullible cynicism expressed by Ascher's subjects, which parallels his non-blindness. He said: "People see that any representative of the world comes from a source they trust, and make big assumptions about reality based on reality." "One of the major crises of the 21st century is how many places we can go to get this information. Many people do not get along with others, putting us in these dangerous differences. I heard it says: "You have the right to express your own opinions, but you have no facts about your own. "People can't even find the same premise."

The audience can easily imagine Ascher being lost in the woods during the production process, and finally start to wonder if these guys (not everyone, but not insignificant) will make a difference. However, he anchored his non-judicial trial with healthy skepticism. He is an example of curiosity, able and willing to consider those concepts and show compassion to those who support them, while still taking his position firmly. He knows how to accept everything without being accepted.

Ascher said: "There are two things to say about where my personal journey of simulation theory ends." "Accepting it as a scientific truth, of course I am still far from this, although it is not the one where we spend the most time. Movies. Quantum entanglement and Planck's constant are all trying to prove or debunk. In my opinion, all of this is more like a question of belief. Simulation theory is a creative myth. Although they are useful, they have far-reaching significance. It will definitely have a big impact on your daily life. I believe we will live in computers made by aliens or people in the future. This will not change the way I raise children or pay bills. I am still checking my rear view while driving. mirror."

From February 5th, there will be glitches in movie theaters, and they can also be purchased on demand in the US and the UK.