Douglas Adams is dearly missed in so many ways. A remarkable author of rare wit and intelligence he also touched so many lives with a bubbling charm. In addition to his more popular work Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, Hyperland is an absolutely prophetic view of the future of interactive entertainment and personal enrichment. Beginning with a dream in which he dumps his television in the rubbish heap (during a showing of the American gameshow The Price is Right), he is greeted by ‘Tom,’ a guide of sorts who introduces Adams to a new way to interact with information.
Played by ex-Doctor Who Tom Baker, the guide provides a thought-provoking view of the world of the future as seen from the perspective of 1990. The comical and charismatic Tom Baker is lots of fun, but doesn’t go over the top (though he does don a tutu at one point and grunt as a caveman at another).
Information becomes video clips and icons that pop up and cough for attention as the world of what would later become readily accepted by the world at large. It reminds me of the first time I was exposed to a digital encyclopedia or was witness to early computer imagery on ‘Live from Off Center’ on PBS late at night. These innovations, at such an early state, are so fueled by brilliance and a desire to use technology in a way that changes the way we experience life.
Of course the stress on Virtual Reality is so very 1990′s and amusing in my opinion. I know that in five years we’ll laugh ourselves silly at the tech in Minority Report (actually I already do… what’s with the wooden balls?). Of course iPads are the 8-track players of the 21st Century in my opinion, so what do I know?
The work of Beethoven is seen in segmented moments, Kurt Vonnegut’s narrative structure becomes tangible shapes, etc. Picasso’s Guernica is represented in a robust interactive multimedia experience courtesy of Robert Abel. The multimedia lab of MIT is also represented in the development of interactive learning using dramatic structure.
It’s a very enlightening film, so why not give it a view?