The short and the short of it: Goodbye humanity in The Desert

(image via Vimeo (c) Michael Dockery)

In a future where humanity has abandoned its home planet—or perhaps gone entirely extinct, as bits of atomic-bomb imagery suggest—robots rule, but it’s a lonely and strange existence. They’re drawn to things that remind them of the past, like libraries and TV sets, but also feel more primal urges, like the instinct to fight. (synopsis (c) io9)

We like to think of ourselves as tenaciously eternal creatures that have always been around and will always be around.

But the truth is we are but a flip on the evolutionary landscape and soon we too will pass into history, leaving behind all manner of detritus, some of which may speak of who we are and some of which may not.

Australian Michael Dockery has crafted a broodingly atmospheric rumination of what life after us might look like, and while it’s stark in its Blade Runner-type dystopian desolation, it’s also curiously and wondrously beautiful.

Even in this most desolate of places, some of the machines left behind have found purpose in ingesting book upon book of the things we learnt about the world in our relatively brief time on the planet while others, though beset by violence, find a meditative reverence in watching the light of a computer flicker on forever.

While it all seems to be restlessness without end, The Desert suggests a promising future may await with the far off twinkle of something this way coming.

Short of the Week, which featured The Desert, notes that Dockery was inspired by the “the literary dystopias of J.G. Ballard, the concept art of Ralph McQuarrie … and his own broad cynicism of modern A.I. discourse and fandom”, all of which have come together to create something profoundly contemplative that is well worth your time.

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