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Science Fiction As Critique

Too Much Information – Keiichi Matsuda’s vision for augmented and mixed reality

I just finished watching Keiichi Matsuda’s new piece Hyper-Reality and really enjoyed how it used the science fiction genre as a way to critique modern society. Note: The article also has a great interview with the creator, but if you don’t have time to read it the video is more than worth your time and doesn’t require the interview to follow along.

Confession: I’m a huge fan of science fiction. From classics like Blade Runner and Stalker to more recent films such as Interstellar and Automata, I think science fiction has a unique position within film genres to act as pieces of real critique. They’re able to abstract ideas and concepts away from our ordinary life and examine them in ways that we may not have thought to. My favourite example is seen in Blade Runner, when the quintessential question “what does it mean to be human and alive?” is asked and answered through the robots that wanted life more than the humans.

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I think Hyper-Reality is interesting because it fits into this category of sci-fi critique. Rather than impose a set of morals or offer “all the answers,” Keiichi Matsuda offers a critique of AR, capitalism, religion, and societal values using film narrative as a vehicle. In just over 6 minutes the video leaves you with more to think about than most 2.5 hour sci-fi blockbuster. It’s great and worth the watch.

Check it and if you’ve got examples of other great science fiction as critique, let me know!