The Samsung Connected Series asked 10 filmmakers to explore the topic of connection and each one told his or her story of connection in vastly different ways — from a profile on a human cyborg all the way to reimagining our identity with the power of technology.
Having spent most of my own career as a visual designer, I was more than a little excited for Vimeo to team up with Bradley “GMUNK” Munkowitz on the Samsung series. His work on futuristic user interfaces in films like Tron and Oblivion showed his mastery over extremely technical processes. In his short The Chamber, we see a man enter a room and view endless projections of his past and future selves, in what ultimately becomes a confrontation with his own self-perceptions.
Vimeo: You obviously went big on this work. What was it about this project that made it so personal for you?
GMUNK: What made this project so personal was that it was an open brief; so naturally I wanted to explore a series of themes and aesthetics that were both personal and often imagined in my head — and this project finally granted me the opportunity and resources. Thematically, I’ve always been drawn to what it means to be “connected” while using technology, and how that connection paves the way for new relationships (e.g., how people are using the internet to find lovers, friends, completely alternate lifestyles, and virtual existences.) The entire topic is fascinating to me, so it was really inspiring to dive headfirst into these rich topics for discussion.
You are known for your amazing visual pieces and this one was no different. Do you see yourself as primarily a visual storyteller or a narrative storyteller? Did you push yourself on this project?
I am definitely a visual storyteller, as I’ve never done any sort of dialogue in any of my short films. I think my background as a graphic and motion-graphic designer steers my strengths to more of the visual narrative versus if I was a naturally trained writer or director (I’m trying to get better at the latter). I will say that some of my projects examine themes of subversion, perversion, and absurdism, so I’d love to produce some short films exploring those concepts while utilizing dialogue — could be fun :).
What kind of conversation did you want to spark with this piece?
I think the main questions asked in this film are what is real and what is a projection of virtual space — i.e., a fabrication of our imagination. I wanted to present technology as an all-encompassing entity with obvious power, influence, and affect, but then the question becomes how much of the emotional response to that power is actually real and genuine. Given that technology creates such a vast virtual space for humanity to exist, there’s an entire world out there that has great influence but doesn’t actually have a presence in reality. That being said, this fabricated existence can pave the way for real encounters — and that’s where it gets really interesting to me.
As a content creator in 2015, how has the topic of connection affected your work?
As a creative professional, I want my work to connect with as many people as possible, which in return brings in more creative work and allows me to make a healthy living doing what I love. So I use whatever means I have to increase my outreach, like utilizing social media outlets and my website to connect with a larger and larger audience.
As a subject, I think the concept of connection — fabricated, virtual, and actual — is so rich with throughlines and opportunities for consideration with artistic expression and dialogue-inducing content. As we head more into the virtual and augmented reality spaces with increasingly immersive content, I’m looking forward to playing in that space. I’m sure those mediums will continue the conversation about it means to be “connected,” and I’m loving it.
What was it like to work with Vimeo on this project?
It was a breeze to work with both Vimeo and Samsung on this project. They were very collaborative and supportive of my vision throughout the entire process. I think they immediately felt the enthusiasm and excitement I brought to the project and didn’t want to impede that energy.
And lastly, now that you’ve worked with Vimeo + Samsung, would you do it again?
Of course I’d love to work with both Vimeo and Samsung! Because of my background in creating UI and holograms in science fiction films and imagining what the future of technology will look like and how it impacts us, I’d love to continue exploring this dialogue. Both Vimeo and Samsung are pioneers in those topics as well, creating the consumption technologies and distribution models for it all.
The Samsung Connected Series is a set of 10 original stories that examine the human relationship with technology. All of the films can be seen on the Connected Series Tumblr Hub, and on each filmmaker’s Vimeo profile page.