April 30, 2023
Which Way Is Up? s01e04 — Inventing The Future

“Take back control over our future and foster the ambition for a world more modern than capitalism. Demand full automation, demand a reduced work week, demand universal basic income, destroy the work ethic.”

Canadian film experimentalist Isiah Medina (88:88) adapted Nick Srnicek’s and Alex Williams’ eponymous 2015 essay into an invigorating and inventive piece of digital cinema that transforms the accelerationist source material into a work of film art. The main argument by Srnicek and Williams is that by embracing digital and robotic technology, the left can actually strategize to liberate workers of the mandate of labor by demanding full-on automation of every job that can be automated. The manifesto proposes a long-term strategy that the left should consider to take back control over our future, out of the greedy grip of the neoliberal right. 

Medina, whose 88:88 is a poignant reflection on poverty and its relationship to how we experience time, keeps the argumentative structure of the book, but channels it in a grand, cinematic work that reflects on the neoliberal failings of the 21st century. Practically reinventing the intellectual montage of Soviet cinema, Medina has made a grand opus that — through digital image-making — dares to imagine a technological utopia we actually could rally behind. 

Title: Inventing The Future | Director: Isiah Medina  | Year: 2020 | Runtime: 98 min

About the programme: Which Way Is Up? is a recurring film series curated by film critic Hugo Emmerzael, offering critiques and reflections on our postmodern, late capitalist hellworld through the lens of digital film — from mainstream blockbusters to experimental cinema.