The Bosnian's cyberneuro movement continues to pick up pace
This week has seen multi-disciplinary cyberneuro pioneer Billain win two more awards for his short movie.
Following trophies and acknowledgements from the likes of the Top Shorts Film Festival, the European Cinematography Awards, the Fantasy / Sci-Fi Film & Screenplay Festival, International Short Film Day and honourable mentions from other organisations such as the Zagreb International Film Festival, this week’s prizes at the Hollywood International Golden Age Festival and the Athens International Monthly Art Film Festival bring the Fugitive award tally up to an impressive eight since its launch in July 2022.
Available to watch on Vimeo, Fugitive continues to build on a narrative and lore that has been in place since some of his earliest releases such Blockfield and Colossus on Bad Taste Recordings. Set in an unforgiving, cyber-brutalist future that’s not too far out of reach or imagination, the movie explores the challenges and complexities of humankind’s relationship with machines, especially when it comes to artificial intelligence.
“The theme of the film explores the thin line between being human and artificial,” the Bosnian artist explains. “I think the bridge, or the key between those two, lies in the memories as a force that defines time, and time as a force that defines memories, in this perpetual coexistence we are caught in for a fraction that we call “life”. The existential whirlpool in its all beauty and demise is a wonderful format to present to people in so many ways. If it is what makes us humans, it is certainly the same for everything else, including machines.”
Packing a provocative and timely punch, Fugitive tackles the wider complexities of AI while highlighting Billain’s wider cyberneuro vision as a multi-media, multi-discipline, technological and cyber-aesthetic movement. In essence – just because an idea or concept takes root in one technological realm, it doesn’t have to remain bounded by that.
“I remember people looking at me like a lunatic while I was pitching the future of deeper narratives to some big labels,” laughs Billain who, as well as being a producer and DJ, has previously worked on a variety of movie scores and games as a composer and sound designer including Pacific Rim and Scorn.
“To many of them, it was a financial risk, even when we had sponsors covering all the expenses. willing to go that far. I keep saying it, it is the future. A kind of future one loves to explore within the core of our D&B, halftime and hip-hop bass innovations. I think labels have to be braver because this is one of many ways to innovate.”
No innovator is an island of course, and one of the many endearing aspects of Fugitive is the global team Billain recruited for the movie including Cheng Weizhi who illustrated and animated the movie, despite various language barriers.
“The team grew naturally as I wanted to involve my friends that specialize in something else in the project,” says Billain. “Funnily enough my friend Cheng Weizhi didn’t know English, and I don’t know Chinese, so half of the film is the result of us exchanging images as language and using Google translator for three years. I don’t think this is possible with many people, which gives the film even deeper meaning.”
Further meaning and poignance can be found in the fact that Billain and Cheng have made another film since Fugitive – Robot Express – and that Fugitive is actually the first movie to be scored entirely using FL Studio.
Instantly winning appraisal from key cultural figureheads on its initial release at the Sarajevo Film Festival last summer, cyberpunk author Bruce Sterling and Matrix co-writer Aleksandar Hemon were both public in their praise for the movie months ahead of any of the awards the film has since received.
For Billain, the Fugitive story continues as the short will appear at more film festivals over the coming months and a full score album is also in the making, featuring Julia Marks on the main movie theme tune.
Beyond his work in film Billain has also remixed Noisia’s Stigma, released the beautiful VR-primed Unsealed Seas on Shelternet, created Hyperbinary, a mix with the first ever AI-generated dancefloor full of ravers, and is also currently working on a cyber aesthetic campaign with sports brand Adidas.
Following last year’s LP Lands Unbreached, he’s also working on a third studio album. Eagle-eared fans have already caught a slight tease of that on Billain’s recent co-host role on Vision Radio. Check the show here.
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