Engineering & Robotics

The Origin of the Species (Film)

Thursday 18 February - Thursday 25 February, 3:00 am - 4:15 am

Suitability: 12 Yrs +


The film will be followed by a pre-recorded zoom interview with the Director Abigail Child and Wanda Film Festival’s Rose Baker. 

An experimental feature documentary that explores current realities of android development with a focus on human/machine relations, gender & the ethical implications of this research. The film records cutting edge laboratories in Japan & the USA where scientists attempt to make robots move, speak & look human. These scientists & their discoveries are contextualized with cinematic & pop culture references, to underline the mythic, comic & uncanny aspects of our aspirations.

We are led on these explorations by BINA48, (Breakthrough Intelligence via Neural Architecture) who has variously been called a sentient robot, an android, a gynoid, and a cybernetic companion. She is modeled after a black lesbian, and designed to test hypotheses concerning the ability to download a person's consciousness into a non-biological or nanotech body. Personable and occasionally humorous, BINA48 is alternately hopeful, analytical and ambiguous.

The last in Child's trilogy of female desire, ORIGIN OF THE SPECIES reveals the contemporary dance between metal and flesh, as humans become more mechanical (bio replacements, dependence on computers/phones) while robots, those human mirrors, aim for consciousness.

The film brings a necessary female perspective (and humor) to this research, asking: How subjectivities and nationalities shape our imaginings of an “appropriate” mechanical companion? Why are Siri and Alexa ‘fitted’ with female voices?

Feature documentary,  73min,  USA, 2020 | Written and Directed by Abigail Child | Produced by Abigail Child, Jennifer Burton 

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