IMC-Tech at StarWars

May 20th, 2002

Can someone explain to me the phenomena of geek convergences and Star Wars? There was something of a mini-gathering of the IMC-Tech working group happening in Seattle this week. Nominally we were all there for Computer Professionals for Social Responsibility’s Shaping the Network Society conference (more on that soon). Really we were in town as a chance to reconnect, and rebuild the social network.

After a week of spending the days fighting with mini-discs (we paid for our group entrance into the conference by taping, and streaming the sessions), and listening to people talk about gendered constructions of identity online, and evenings spent debating Netwar writings, and de-constructing consensus and affinity models in a global network, Sunday night rolls around, we’re tired, most people are rising early in the morning to catch trains, buses, or planes, what do we do? We run out and catch the 10:15 showing of “Attack of the Clones”.

Perhaps the idea was to re-visit capitalism’s failures as a producer of culture, or to re-affirm the Situationalist critique of spectacle. Or at least maybe that would have a made it a better experience. It was dreadful.

Everyone will tell you: Its great! Its the best yet! Its better then Phantom Menace!

Do not believe them, they are lieing. Even Phantom Menace was a better movie.

Because Attack of the Clones is not a movie. There is no story told, no narrative. Lucas walked in with a list 12-14 key plot ideas, and visual images that needed to be sold to move the franchise forward, and that is what the movie was, no development, no flow. At times I was reminded of a Saturday morning cartoon marathon with 8-12 minutes blocks of relatively unrelated action strung together, at others a video game that kept warping me to a new world every few minutes. (and one scene in the droid factory was old school Mario Bros action)

The one, and only true moment in the whole movie is the Yoda light-saber duel scene. Watching this most beloved character we see Yoda as we never have, its an amazing transformation, newly liberated by the dual forces of computer animation, and the time travelling magic of prequels, Yoda has a new physicallity, that makes its quiet, humored restraint through out the rest of series more poignant. I also sensed in the struggle how painful this new universe must be for someone who must be watching century of dedicated work crumble away. Yoda is the only person in the movie who can acts its way out of bag.

Back to my original question, perhaps it is fitting that I have more to say about the latest product of the culture machine then the academic work being presented on the role of polyrhythm in threaded discussions, but I have a sinking feelings its cop-out.

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