Sunday, September 18, 2011

Get Connected!

Connected is a visually stunning documentary created by Tiffany Shlain and her colleagues, and we will have a preview screening of the film at Fordham University next week, on Sunday, September 25th.

We had the pleasure of seeing a portion of the film as a work in progress at the New Languages, New Relations, New Realities symposium I organized last year, in conjunction with the Institute of General Semantics, held at Fordham, and I have since viewed the final version.  It is a marvelously appealing, and touching film that connects the macro concerns of ecology and the environment, both natural and mediated, and how we and everything else are all interconnected, along with a biographical account of Tiffany's relationship with her father, the late Dr. Leonard Shlain, who I memorized here in a post entitled A Brain to Remember, Rest in Peace Leonard Shlain.

Leonard Shlain was the author of several books rooted in the media ecology perspective, including Art and Physics, The Alphabet vs. the Goddess, Sex, Time, and Power, and the work he completed shortly before he passed away, the yet unpublished Leonardo’s Brain.   Dr. Shlain's work was strongly influenced by Marshall McLuhan, and so it seemed only fitting to list our screening as a follow-up event to yesterday's symposium:

Media @ the Center
A Fordham University Marshall McLuhan Centenary Event
Special Preview Screening of Connected
followed by a panel discussion
on September 25, 2011
1:00-5:00 PM
Fordham University
McNally Auditorium
Law School Building
140 W. 62nd Street
Between Columbus & Amsterdam Avenues
Free and Open to the Public

The film's style is similar to the award-winning short film created by Tiffany & co., The Tribe, in its use of a fast-paced cutting (montage, for all you film theorists, like Sergei Eisenstein, not like a Rocky training sequence) that invokes the sensibility of web surfing and hyperlinks, and in its amazing use of visual metaphor.  You can also get a taste of the style from the very short video, Yelp!, which I featured in a previous post, A Connected Yelp! To give you a taste of this new film, here's the trailer:

And here's the write up on YouTube:

Have you ever faked a restroom trip to check your email? Slept with your laptop? Or become so overwhelmed that you just unplugged from it all? In this funny, eye-opening, and inspiring film, director Tiffany Shlain takes audiences on an exhilarating rollercoaster ride to discover what it means to be connected in the 21st century. From founding The Webby Awards to being a passionate advocate for The National Day of Unplugging, Shlain's love/hate relationship with technology serves as the springboard for a thrilling exploration of modern life...  and our interconnected future.
Equal parts documentary and memoir, the film unfolds during a year in which technology and science literally become a matter of life and death for the director. As Shlain's father battles brain cancer and she confronts a high-risk pregnancy, her very understanding of connection is challenged. Using a brilliant mix of animation, archival footage, and home movies, Shlain reveals the surprising ties that link us not only to the people we love but also to the world at large. A personal film with universal relevance, Connected explores how, after centuries of declaring our independence, it may be time for us to declare our interdependence instead.

More information about the film and where it's playing can be found at the official website,  At our event on September 25th, we will follow the screening with a panel discussion:

Moderator: Lance Strate, Fordham University

      Panelists:                     T. C. McLuhan, author and filmmaker
Susan Maushart, Fordham University
Terence P. Moran, New York University
Robert Seidman, author and screenwriter
Frederick J. Wertz, Fordham University

So it should be an intellectually stimulating, inspiring, and entertaining event.  I hope to see you there!

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