September 23, 2010

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100 minutes

view trailer

format: blu-ray

Life 2.0 (2010)

September 23, 2010 at 7:30 pm in 32-123

FREE Admission!

Life 2.0 will be followed by a short talk by MIT professor Sherry Turkle, and a Q&A session with director Jason Spingarn-Koff. Sponsored by the Knight Science Journalism Program.

Every day, across all corners of the globe, hundreds of thousands of users log onto Second Life, a virtual online world not entirely unlike our own. They enter a new reality, whose inhabitants assume alternate personae in the form of avatars -- digital alter egos that can be sculpted and manipulated to the heart's desire, representing reality, fantasy, or a healthy mix of both. Within this alternate landscape, escapism abounds, relationships are formed, and a real-world economy thrives, effectively blurring the lines between reality and "virtual" reality.

Director Jason Spingarn-Koff digs deeply into the core of basic human interaction by assuming his own avatar and immersing himself in the worlds of Second Life residents, whose real lives have been drastically transformed by the new lives they lead in cyberspace. In doing so, he manages to create an intimate, character-based drama that forces us to question not only who we are, but who we long to be. []

Not so much a documentary of an Internet phenomenon as a deconstruction of 21st-century culture, Jason Spingarn-Koff’s unsettling film explores the online game Second Life, in which players create avatars to live in a virtual world.
      -- Peter Keough, Boston Phoenix. Read this review.

Sherry Turkle is the Abby Rockefeller Mauzé Professor of the Social Studies of Science and Technology in the Program in Science, Technology, and Society at MIT and the founder and current director of the MIT Initiative on Technology and Self, a center of research and reflection on the evolving connections between people and artifacts. Professor Turkle received a joint doctorate in sociology and personality psychology from Harvard University and is a licensed clinical psychologist.

Jason Spingarn-Koff is a Knight Science Journalism Fellow and a New York-based documentary filmmaker who specializes in science and technology. Life 2.0 is his first feature, following a decade of work in television documentaries and journalism. He created and co-produced NOVA's The Great Robot Race (PBS/BBC), about a dramatic competition to build robotic vehicles and race them across the Mojave desert for a $2 million prize. His journalism has appeared in national publications such as Time Magazine and, and his experimental short films have shown in festivals and galleries. He is a graduate of Brown University and the UC Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism.

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