I remember seeing Ghost In The Shell at the cinema in the 051 centre in Liverpool. The 051 Centre was more famous for the club nights ran there by Dave Graham at a time when he ran Groove Records in the city centre. Anyway the cinema had a reputation for showing world and art house films (I saw Akira, The Dollars Trilogy and The Seventh Seal there over the years) and was part of a rich audio visual arts community that existed in Liverpool during the early and mid 1990s. Watching it over a decade later on the small screen, didn’t disappoint, it was as rich and wonderful as I remembered it.
Watching it over again, a few things struck me:
- The Matrix owes it a huge stylistic debt in terms of the real-world style, character motion and even the green character title sequence at the introduction film credits
- The film was quite prescient is its perception of technology. The idea that our ideas and memories would be super-connected to each other is already happening with social software and services from Facebook to Flickr and Delicious. The three-dimensional visualisation of data isn’t that far from systems being demonstrated at the moment, if you think about Jeff Han’s touchscreen work at New York University’s Courant Institute of Mathematical Sciences and Perceptive Pixel, the Apple iPhone and Microsoft’s Surface project
- The films cultural references see Asia Pacific (lots of visual references to Hong Kong) as being foremost in future technology. This may seem far-fetched at first, given the world’s largest and most successful software companies are American (Apple, Google, IBM, Microsoft, Oracle and Sun Microsystems); but when you look at the level of engagement by Joe Public in Asian markets for social and mobile software services and cultural attitudes to new technology in general the geographic status quo is unlikely to be maintained over the longer term