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Brief Published: 23 Jan 2014

Spike Jonze Film Reimagines Digital Future


Indie US film director Spike Jonze paints a seamless and unexpectedly simple vision of our technological future in his Oscar-nominated film, Her.

Set in a modern metropolis, Her is fundamentally a film about relationships and love in the contemporary world. In it, we see American lead actor Joaquin Phoenix fall in love with his artificially intelligent operating system, Samantha. Through relationship highs and lows, experienced by both human and code, we see that forming connections with others might not become easier with advancing technology. 

High-tech design runs seamlessly through the film, inspiring viewers to question their previous expectations of our future interactions with technology. As the film’s production designer KK Barrett notes in an interview with tech publication Wired, “the movie wasn’t about technology, or if it was, the technology should be invisible”. 

Indeed, Jonze and Barrett’s vision for the future isn’t steeped in the loud and unavoidable technology we’ve come to associate with sci-fi films like Blade Runner or Minority Report. In their world, technology is intuitive, easily accessed by hidden interfaces and integrated into unobtrusive design – so much so that hardly any ‘futuristic props’ featured at all.

In our coverage of the Memories of the Future exhibition in Paris, we look at how designers struggle to create without referencing past expectations of our sci-fi future. Where science fiction once gave designers a clear goal to work towards, Jonze and Barrett have created a future based on the seamlessness coveted by much gestural and sensory tech of today. See Body Tech, Synthetic Aesthetics, Hyperreal Design and The Internet of Things from the Thinking Digitally Industry Trend for a guide.