Sight—a new short film making its rounds on the internet—is a grim tale of a seduction-turned-cock-block app that in reality seems to be about soft-tech’s colonization of human compassion via apps and gamification. It’s set at the endpoint of augmentation, at least for this very rich white guy. Apparently, everyone’s eyes in this affluent, high-rise world have been cast in a glassy operating system.
What’s remarkable is that it sharply curbs what is often the internet’s conditioned salivation for self-styling tech. The short instead projects an ecstatic loneliness and desperation onto living in this high-fantasy, high-grease city—where you can’t stop looking at a screen, when your eyes are the screen.
It opens with a guy cavorting face-down on a shag carpet. In his head, on his screen, he’s base jumping, and so when he finishes, the camera pans down over his smug, nearly postcoital face.
Eventually he’s revealed as a programmer at “Sight Systems” tech, the visual subject of this story that overlays a crystalline design over the playboy protagonist’s eyes and takes the audience in and out of the augmented psychosis of the HUD. The camera occupies both worlds—the drab interiors of his real apartment, and the phantasm of gamifying everything from chopping cucumbers to choosing clothes.
Then, someone else enters his world—a love interest encapsulated and placed as the object of the man’s newest game—his Wingman app. For the characters in the film, the games and apps promise penetrative understanding of your partner—maybe opponent—and their actions. On the date, the guy can read her mind based on what he actively reads on her profile, which is bubbling effervescent in some synthetic aura he’s mentally groping. He succeeds in taking her home, but on the couch she spies the Wingman app on some massive UI wall. Disgusted, she calls him a game junkie and makes for the door. As it turns out, the apps become cataracts. The glassy stare of ecstasy that you see constantly over their faces is present but constantly receding.
The twist, though, is a shock to the system: The man hacks her, becomes her admin, and in no small suggestion, effectively rapes her. “Let’s try this again,” he says, as his OS becomes a barebones DOS-esque log full of commands.
Here, augmentation is more a sickness than anything—psychosexual power politics launched at your distorted discretion.
Sight was produced by Eran May-raz and Daniel Lazo for Bezalel Academy of Arts and Design.