Re-watched David Cronenberg's eXistenZ last night, an existential meditation on reality and the virtual realities of future videogame worlds. Without spoiling the plot (since this is really a must-watch movie), Jennifer Jason Leigh and Jude Law are the main characters negotiating their way through the chaos that ensues when a focus group for a new videogame is hijacked by an activist intent on killing the game's designer (Jason Leigh).


Some notes as they relate to sportsBabel:

  • The interface for the game is a very organic animal tissue and umbilicus construct that jacks directly into one's spinal cord via an implanted 'bio-port' — "C'mon Pikul, they do these at the mall. It's like having your ears pierced."
  • The motif of religion surfaces often during the movie, from the fact the focus group takes place in an old church, with the congregation of attendees waiting expectingly in pews; to the title of the game in the movie, transCendenZ, which is published by the PilgrImage company. It reminded me of the religious motif that appears at the heart of Michael Jordan advertising for Nike.
  • Another motif that reappears in the movie is one of hygiene, infection, mutation, etc. Of particular interest is the idea that there is some sort of possibility for hygiene/infection that may permeate the invisble membrane between the digital and the organic, a question I have pondered myself.
  • Finally, we note that Geller (Jason Leigh) is an extremely tactile and sensual woman, demonstrated repeatedly in the ways she touches, caresses or otherwise explores objects and surfaces with her hands. In fact, since the game is jacked directly into her nervous system, she plays with her eyes closed and her hands manipulating the interface as necessary. I see strong resemblances between her and this young man.


3 responses to eXperienZ

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  1. Jeff Wong says:

    That's a pretty disturbing pic - it sent my wife fleeing from the room!

    Disturbing, too, that sports figures like Jordan are promoted purposely in place of religion, aimed directly at youths. Note Matthew 6:24 - "No one can slave for two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will stick to the one and despise the other."

    Jesus was referring here to serving both God and Riches, but it is applicable to any other "master."

  2. sportsbabel says:

    I'm not so sure I would go so far as to say that he is "promoted purposely in place of religion", but it sure is interesting how religious stories and icons may be repurposed to consumerist ends.

  3. Jeff Wong says:

    Perhaps the intent is consumerist, but the result? The kids may not "worship" MJ in a church, per se, but His Airness may occupy their hearts and focus in life.