Flesh Computer: Ethan Shaftel’s weird sci fi makes us rethink computers & houseflies alike

I learned about the sci fi short Flesh Computer from the writer/director Ethan Shaftel and thought it was worth posting.  Here is what Ethan has to say about the genesis of the project:

The origin of Flesh Computer was thinking about the seemingly insignificant act of killing an ordinary housefly.  The huge difference in scale between myself and a fly means this is not a particularly upsetting or meaningful occurrence for me, though it is very significant for the fly: the end of its existence and its awareness, however limited it may be, of the universe.

The other main concept in Flesh Computer is a world where the care of a computer resembles how we currently care for pets or for children, and the danger and anxiety that creates. Making the computer organic means it demands attention as a character in the story, but even more so is the fact that its point of view is portrayed. We see the world through its eye and experience, in a cinematically limited way, its consciousness. The world around the flesh computer is populated by characters that have, to a greater or lesser extent, mechanical or technological components.  This dehumanizes them just as the flesh computer has been humanized, and continual makes us aware that the line between our bodies and our technology is not sharply defined.

To unify the different strands of the fictional story I wanted to weave in some non-fiction narration from a philosopher and scientist who could discuss our current understanding of consciousness and the unique difficulties presented by such study.  I had been aware of David Chalmers excellent work, and luckily he agreed to take a chance on the project and give me an interview. Flesh Computer is the result.

About the Film-maker:

Ethan ShaftelEthan Shaftel is a director, editor, and game designer based in Los Angeles. In addition to his feature film debut Suspension released by Warner Brothers, Ethan has directed award-winning short films, a line of games for Hasbro, and screen content for musicians ranging from Tiesto, to Jane’s Addiction and Foster the People.  You can find more at www.easyAction.com


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