The most unnerving shot of Spike Jonze new short, “I’m Here,” comes about 5 seconds into the trailer. Establishing his isolation, the trailer starts with a lonely Apple 2-like robot looking out a bus window.  Later, we see him sitting on a couch alone, plugged into the wall. But in between, something truly shocking: our robot scanning the shelves at the library, visibly weary, theoretically looking for that one book that will make him happy.

It’s perfectly reasonable that a robot will have to sit around the house recharging. And I understand why the robot takes the bus at the beginning of the trailer; how else is a low-income hipster robot going to get around town? But for the life of me I can’t understand why the robot needs to read a book. Can’t he connect to the internet and download the entire library’s contents into its head? Why doesn’t he have a data spike like Robocop? Or at least have access to a good e-reader? Jonze seems to be guiding us towards an ethics of experience. Even the simulacrum of experience is better than pure digital knowledge.

It’s an odd looking short, albeit one that you can’t really take your eyes off of. Read the rest of this entry »