Memoria

2023 | Expanded cinema installation with 4 video channels (16:37 min.), central server

Memoria is an immersive four-channel expanded cinema installation with custom software and hardware elements. It combines ethnographic research, science fiction, and recombinatory forms of cinema that appropriate found or pirated footage.

The work intricately weaves together two narrative threads: the dystopian landscape presented in William Gibson’s groundbreaking cyberpunk short story, Johnny Mnemonic from 1981, and the reality of the Cuban underground data distribution network El Paquete Semanal. Memoria appropriates Gibson’s fictional story of a data courier who has valuable information locked in his head and projects it onto the contemporary Cuban media reality with its vernacular infrastructures of data exchange. Gibson’s Johnny Mnemonic is a data trafficker who has undergone cybernetic surgery to have a data storage system implanted within his brain This bio-enhancement enables him to serve as a human conduit for transferring highly sensitive digital information that cannot traverse the internet. Johnny earns a modest living by physically transporting classified data for corporations, criminal organizations, and affluent individuals. As the story unfolds, he discovers that the latest data package implanted in his brain has been stolen from the Yakuza, who now relentlessly pursue him. Assisted by Jones, a retired Navy dolphin with cybernetic enhancements and a heroin addiction, Johnny embarks on a mission to extract the data from his own mind.


Shot in the year in which the plot of Johnny Mnemonic takes place and during a pandemic, as described by Gibson in his screenplay for the Hollywood version of his story, Memoria explores how Cyberpunk’s predictions shape our contemporary reality. The work contrasts the imaginary Internet of 1980s Cyberpunk literature with the contemporary Cuban experience of the Internet as a particular conglomerate of differing horizons of technical and social possibility. Hence, it examines both sci-fi, as well as real-world alternatives to the mainstream capitalist consumerist version of the net that we are left with today, envisioning more decentralized, (net-)neutral, non-commercial iterations of the web.

To represent the memory loss of its protagonist, the work will slowly ‘die’ over the course of the exhibition. For this, we have developed a batch script that runs several programs that continuously manipulate the video. Over time, the video devours itself through the constant process of faulty replication, like cancer that makes the cells inside the host grow in a random and uncontrolled way. The speed at which the material deteriorates is adjusted to the duration of the work’s exhibition. We have made this custom software freely available on GitHub.


All hardware is housed in a custom case, a sculptural object in itself that was molded and 3D printed from recycled plastic filaments in collaboration with COPINCHA, a hackerspace in Havana that works with local materials and technologies.

CAST
Dayron Villalón Pereda
Chris Gómez Gónzalez
Felix Roman
Benito Guerra
Albany López Suárez
Lynn Cruz
Raudelys Rodríguez Pérez

 
CREW
Screenplay | Erick J. Mota
Director of Photography  | Nicole Medvecka
Costumes |  Raki Fernandez
CGI & VFX  | Alexander Bley
Additional VFX |Helman Bejerano Delgado
Editor  |  Ginés Olivares, Miguel Coyula
Sound design  | Lorenz Fischer & Malte Audick
Dialogue editing | Malte Audick
Re-Recording mix| Lorenz Fischer
1st AD| Francesco Innocenti
Music  |  Johannes Klingebiel
Software developer and programming | Eduardo Pujol
Hardware design | Maurice Haedo Sanabria
Props and Prostheses | Eric Maza

EXHIBITIONS
Aksioma Institute for Contemporary Art, Ljubljana, Slovenia
Living Togetherness – 2023 Taiwan International Video Art Exhibition, Hong-Ga Museum Taipei.

other Work