Video Remix: Human/Computer

Human/Computer from Jacob Bohrod on Vimeo.


For this short project I wanted to think about how to address the interface in the video platform. I wanted to conceptualize how a lesson explaining or revealing the interface can be demonstrated in video essay form, or how we might learn about one “medium” (i.e. the computer) through another (i.e. film, TV – in collage form). Is this even possible? The jury’s still out, but I thought the most effective route through the problem was to highlight one facet of Alexander Galloway’s definition of the computer and the interface instead of try to take it all on at once. Galloway views the computer as a worldless “anti-Ring of Gyges,” one that “materializes in our image” (12-13). In this way, as you can read in the quote I’ve selected for the collage, the computer is human; it isn’t the object of man “because its data is one.” This explains my choice of techno-human transformation scenes, including pre- and post-transformation scenes, to illustrate this paradigm: we fear and laugh at and dream of the borderline between human and computer when we’ve “crossed” that line already (probably the better way to think of it is that there never was a line to begin with). These clips seek to destroy that line, but put together they also map past and ongoing popular conceptions of human-computer symbiosis.


Bill and Ted’s Bogus Journey. Dir. Peter Hewitt. Perf. Keanu Reeves, Alex Winter, and William Sadler. MGM, 1991. Youtube

Cyborg Cop. Dir. Sam Firstenberg. Perf. David Bradley, John Rhys-Davies, and Todd Jensen. Vidmark Entertainment, 1993.

Demon Seed. Dir. Donald Cammell. Perf. Julie Christie, Fritz Weaver, and Gerrit Graham. MGM, 1977. Youtube

Dr. Goldfoot and His Bikini Machine. Dir. Norman Taurog. Perf. Vincent Price, Frankie Avalon, and Dwayne Hickman. TGG Direct, 1965. Youtube clip:

Ghost in the Shell. Dir. Mamoru Oshii. Perf. Akio Otsuka, Atsuko Tanaka, and Iemasa Kayumi. Anchor Bay Entertainment, 1995. Youtube clip:

Metropolis. Dir. Fritz Lang. Perf. Alfred Abel, Gustav Frohlich, and Brigitte Helm. Kino International, 1927. Youtube

RoboCop. Dir. Paul Verhoeven. Perf. Peter Weller, Nancy Allen, and Ronny Cox. 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment, 1987. Youtube clip:

S1m0ne. Dir. Andrew Niccol. Perf. Al Pacino, Rachel Roberts, and Winona Ryder. New Line Home Entertainment, 2002. Youtube clip:

Sleeper. Dir. Woody Allen. Perf. Woody Allen, Diane Keaton, and John Beck. MGM Home Entertainment, 1973. Youtube

Tetsuo, the Iron Man. Dir. Shinya Tsukamoto. Perf. Shinya Tsukamoto and Nobu Kanaoka. Image Entertainment, 1989. Youtube clip:

The Matrix. Dir. Lana and Andy Wachowski. Perf. Keanu Reeves, Carrie-Anne Moss, and Laurence Fishburne. Warner Home Video, 1999. Youtube clip:

Videodrome. Dir. David Cronenberg. Perf. James Woods and Deborah Harry. The Criterion Collection, 1983. Youtube