At some point during my freshman year of college, my professor showed us a trailer for the short film, 'World of Tomorrow'. I recently decided to watch all 15 minutes of the short film on Netflix and it raises so many questions.
This short animated film, directed by Don Hertzfeldt, is incredibly imaginative and explores the concept of cloning in the future; a society where people can basically 'upload' their digital consciousness to the web and continue to clone themselves.
After watching the film, I started to think of some things. Is a clone another version of myself? Or is it just a continuation of who I am? In 'World of Tomorrow', the young girl, Emily Prime, is contacted by her future clone Emily 4, who contrasts greatly from young Emily. Emily 4 is sad, but aware of her sadness and is also aware of the bleakness of the world she resides in. Meanwhile, young Emily Prime is easily fascinated, and takes great pleasure in all of her encounters - virtually fearless and living in the moment. It is important to note how young Emily Prime apprehends the present; she is aware, she is happy, she feels. Emily 4, the clone, is filled with sadness and longs for memories of the past that used to fill her with joy as she is now an empty void, prepared for death.
If there were some way to continue our consciousness, would you do it? Imagine uploading your consciousness to a virtual system, such as the Internet and surviving forever through digital waves. I find it almost disturbing, actually; because, that's not technically living, but existing.
Death is apart of life and fits into the natural equilibrium of the world. Day/Night, Dark/ Light, Life/Death. It's inevitable and unescapable; yet so many people try to find ways to extend their lifetime; discovering the fountain of youth or perhaps Neverland. But, why?
Death is such a taboo topic that no one really likes to cover, because why think about the end of your existence? But what if it's not the end? No one actually knows what comes next, so why the fear?
Young Emily Prime opened my eyes to so much in those 15 minutes. You have to live in the present, you have to be aware and pay attention. Happiness is right there in front of you. And when faced with death, you can't escape. Emily 4 clearly exemplifies the risk of continuing an unnatural life and all of the emptiness that comes from it. Cloning, for me, would be like continuously adding water to something concentrated; which doesn't make it any better.
I encourage everyone to watch the film on Netflix and raise your own observations on the future of our society, how humans cope with loss and fear oblivion.
See you soon!
producer / writer / artist