There’s a supercomputer in Douglas Adams’ H2G2 that’s been programmed to calculate the answer to the Ultimate Question, from which 3hd 2022 takes its theme—“Life, the Universe, and Everything.” The aforementioned second greatest data processor in the cosmos (Earth, as it turns out, is the first) threatens the very livelihood of those intellectual laborers who spend their lives contemplating existence. And so, representatives of the Amalgamated Union of Philosophers, Sages, Luminaries and “other professional thinking persons” disrupt the risk of a final resolution by demanding “rigidly defined areas of doubt and uncertainty” and threatening to go on strike. That’s where Creamcake’s “Deep Thought” film program comes in, named after the offending artificial intelligence—with its foreboding finality—and screening online at 3hdTV and IRL at Berlinische Galerie, from October 21 to November 21.
Running through the ten-day 3hd festival into the following month, four films by four artists broadly examine notions of life on earth and interstellar imaginaries, from the globalized connectivity of trade routes to the terraforming of other planets. There’s Shuang Li’s fictionalized account of a French mother and young Chinese yellow vest factory worker, involved in the production of a ubiquitous symbol of industry distributed worldwide, while Agnieszka Polska presents a poetic collage of stock videos reflecting on notions of everyday life, inspired by a 1990 experiment to test conducted by the Galileo spacecraft on its way to Jupiter. Alice Bucknell’s 3D-animated work of world-building, AI, and speculative fiction investigates and critiques contemporary architectural visions for the colonization of Mars. Finally, Josèfa Ntjam offers an exploration around Persona, a fictional character inhabited by memories and narratives from her ancestors’ fight for Cameroon’s independence, in a film that explores permeations between temporalities, histories, hybrid bodies, and geographies.
Between control experiments to determine signs of life and cosmic reworkings of history from personal and embodied stories of those silenced, Creamcake’s curators choose to defer to these human brains, rather than their machine-like counterpart for answers. Because when the H2G2 narrator asks, “Could a mere computer solve the problem of Life, the Universe, and Everything?” The answer should probably, hopefully be, “no.”
Flyer & title by Jon Lucas, featuring art by Nina Sarnelle in “collaboration” with AI & S.A Mayer’s main poster assets