Lo and Behold: Reveries of the Connected World (Lo and Behold) stops to smell the roses in the muted and earth shaking beginnings of the Internet. The drastic evolution of our way of life seems to be streaming past us like star scape when you initiate your hyper drive. In the capable and comforting hands of master documentary filmmaker Werner Herzog, you’re given the permission to reflect and momentarily to examine if what we’re doing is jeopardising the human experience.
There’s no one better in the universe that Werner Herzog to examine the burgeoning technological age. You imagine that with a topic as broad and varied as the evolution of the Internet that it would be impossible to chart a coherent course without getting lost in the vast sprawl of the way the internet has changed the human experience. The pleasure then is Herzog’s approach to the Internet. Herzog’s selections of key theorists help ask some fascinating questions. Elon Musk is the world’s greatest philanthropic genius, discussing pouring that ‘Scrooge McDuck’ level cash into our evolution as a species, sustainability and space exploration. Kevin Mitnick, one of the world’s greatest hackers, discusses that security is a relative concept on the Internet. Sebastian Thrun, CEO and cofounder of Udacity, takes us through the staggering intellectual capability unlocked online. There are many more but the final one I’ll mention is NASA’s Lucianne Walkowicz, who tell us it’s not ‘if’ but ‘when’ for solar flares to devastate our array of technology.
Herzog has a hound like sense for eccentrics on the fringe of the Internet existence. He visits a space vacated from technology because the signalling is affecting radio astronomy and makes the implicit impacts of a world increasingly wireless, tangible. A series of bewildered folks recount the agony of living with the radiated world; where many people are forced to live in ‘faraday’ cages (a metal screen used to block out electromagnetic static and signalling). In this secluded pocket of the greater United States, they’re free to live a ‘normal’ existence. You feel the same level of conflict and compassion that you did viewing Grizzly Man (in controlled bursts). You feel at once like you’re watching absolute ‘wackos’ and simultaneously, stories that are quite raw and devastating.
Herzog has poetry in his approach; in his interactions with participants, even down to his perspective that never fails to be able to take the interview subjects to places that are unexpected. And you just try to watch one of his films without resorting to narrating the rest of that day as Werner, I ‘darez’ ya.
Blake Howard – follow Blake on Twitter here: @blakeisbatman
Director: Werner Herzog
Lawrence Krauss > American theoretical physicist and cosmologist who is Foundation Professor of the School of Earth and Space Exploration at Arizona State University,
Kevin Mitnick > American computer security consultant, author and hacker, best known for his high-profile 1995 arrest and later five years in prison for various computer and communications-related crimes.
Elon Musk > South African-born Canadian-American business magnate, investor, engineer and inventor.
Sebastian Thrun > CEO and cofounder of Udacity
Lucianne Walkowicz > Works on NASA’s Kepler mission, studying starspots and “the tempestuous tantrums of stellar flares.”