Monday, November 11, 2013

Cronenberg Evolution / Visiting BMC labs

What happens when I try to take a trip in the Seth Brundle Teleport Pod with David Cronenberg
according to Bartok labs.

So yesterday Leigh and I went to Toronto to check out the David Cronenberg  Evolution exhibit for my Birthday. We've been playing along with the Body/Mind/Change ARG that's being run in conduction with the exhibit so we thought it would be fun.
Outside the exhibit there is a little DNA testing booth set up by Bartok labs. It takes a picture of you to analyze your DNA unfortunately David Cronenberg must have been playing with the camera because some of his DNA seems to get mixed up with yours resulting in the machine being confused and mixing your DNA resulting in what you see in the image above. I hope they get the machine cleaned so  you can get a pure analysis of your own DNA.
Inside the exhibit you can see props and various other artifacts from the entire filmography of Cronenberg showing the evolution of his subject matter and style of film making. I've only really watched his earlier horror flicks so it was pretty interesting seeing what he was trying to say in those movies and how these themes progressed and changed throughout his career. You weren't allowed to take pictures through most of the exhibit but you could visit the bar from Naked Lunch and get your picture taken with a Mugwomp.

Leigh and I having words with the weirdo. He's kind of a creep.
The tour through the exhibit ends with three short films from Cronenberg. One was about a woman who wanted her breast removed because it was filled with wasps, one was about an old actor who thought that film was killing him, and the last was called "The Last Jew in the World Commits Suicide in the Last Cinema in the World." That one was pretty self explanatory. It is presented as a news story covering the event. The last jew was played by Cronenberg and it was surprisingly darkly funny. I think it was about Cronenberg's thoughts on how crummy film is becoming now cinemas are becoming neglected. Either way I enjoyed it the most.
When we were done with that exhibit we headed up stairs to check out BMC labs. to see how our "POD"s were progressing.
me and the pods.

There's a virtual version of the Evolution exhibit in that area. If you can't afford to go to the Evolution exhibit you can check out some of the displays on computers in the back of BMC Labs. It's cool but not  as cool as being right up close to those things. If you are playing along with the ARG you definitely need to go to BMC Labs. It's fun. The volunteers are dressed like lab techs and show people around the POD production facility. In one corner there is a set up of three TV screens. Me being the kind of person I am immediately sat down and started fooling around with the control console in front of the TVs. Eventually I asked the tech if they knew anything about the security footage. They cryptically responded "Oh, you would be very interested in that." So we sat down and played with it some more. There's a clue there for the ARG but for the life of me I couldn't find it. Hopefully someone will and tell me what we missed so I can feel like an idiot.
Leigh playing with the security footage.
On a side note, we've been interacting with the game on twitter. At one point we mentioned that we'd be heading to the lab. The BMC labs ended up contacting us through twitter asking when we'd be going. Eventually they asked what we'd be wearing. They sent us a weird cryptic video on Instagram. and DM'd us on Twitter asking if we smoked. I said no. They then asked if I wanted a cigarette. I said sure. They then told me that smoking was not allowed at BMC Labs. A few hours later they posted a tweet about some recommendation engine and asked if it was socially positive. I sent them a DM asking if BMC was socially positive and they suggested that some questions were better asked in person because the answers weren't possible in 140 characters. While we were in the lab we asked one of the techs if BMC was socially positive. The tech's attitude changed and she said "I think we live in Over stimulated times" (this conversation was eerily similar to an exchange between Max Renn and Nicki Brand in Videodrome) and walked to the front desk. She returned with an envelope and handed it to us. This is what was inside the envelope:

You may recognize that as something I drew last week. Only now they've printed it out and it seems Nicki Brand has burned it with a cigarette. I am not sure what any of this means but it was a great blurring of lines between game and reality. 
If you are a fan of David Cronenberg, Videodrome, or just weird reality bending games you should join in on the Bondy/Mind/Change fun. It's creepy and will make you feel like you need a shower but it's really interesting.

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