Net Positive

To find out what to do in New York City, I usually follow The Skint, which is full of fun cheap cultural stuff that’s happening around the city. Usually it’s Just Weird Enough, and sometimes it’s spot on … like last night, when it mentioned Net Positive, a screening of independent short films relevant to the politics of and on the internet.

It was held at Industry City, a pair of factory buildings that have been renovated into a lively and artistic space for startups and other hip companies. To get there, we had to walk through a pretty gritty stretch of Brooklyn and under an elevated highway, but once inside, the restaurants and courtyard were gorgeous at sunset.

The films were largely dystopian, in different ways. Somehow dystopia is easier than celebration, in a short.

The highest-budget production was probably HYPER-REALITY, which seems like an all-too-believable vision of an Augmented Reality future, for the sorts of people whose phones are full of crapware because they can’t afford a Pixel (or an iPhone). I feel like I might need to watch it again, more than once, to catch all of the stuff that’s going on; its incredibly high information density matches its vision of an overloaded future.

Conversely, the least expensive production, and probably the most ethereal, was Project X, a movie about a building that was also the subject of a blog post I wrote in 2011. Of course, in 2011, we didn’t yet know that this building housed not only AT&T networking equipment but also NSA wiretapping gear, which is the subject of the film.

Summer in the city … it’s amazing.

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