Several weeks ago, The University of Southern California’s Visions and Voices Project and the Annenberg Innovation Lab’s “Geeks Speak” series jointly hosted a day long event focused around the past and future of the Cyberpunk movement. The event was organized by Howard A. Rodman, Scott Fisher, and myself. Today, I am able to share with you some of the video highlights of this event.
The day opened with my remarks concerning the Cyberpunk moment.
My remarks were followed by a panel discussion featuring two key writers from the Mirrorshades group, Bruce Sterling and Rudy Rucker, along with Survival Research Lab’s Mark Pauline and Roger Triling (who edited the Wild Palms Reader), talking about the roots of cyberpunk and its relations to changing ideas about technology in the 1980s.
Rodman moderated a second panel, featuring the next generation of writers and artists, whose work across a range of different media were informed and inspired by the Cyberpunk intervention: John Jennings from the Black Kirby Project, Jordan Mechner from the Prince of Persia games series, Claire L. Evans from YACHT and Motherboard, Alex Rivera, director of Sleep Dealers, and science fiction writer Nalo Hopkinson (Midnight Robber).
Later in the day, we presented a sequence of clips from key science fiction film and television series from the early 1980s to the present focused around “technologies of cyberpunk” and especially representations of the merger of man and machine. This sequence was curated by my USC colleague Steve Anderson and is reposted here with his permission. Anderson is also curating a series of clips dealing with virtual reality for our Transforming Hollywood conference this friday.
Meanwhile, Geoff Long and Jeff Watson ran a world-building/story-design workshop involving a mix of our invited guests and the general public. This next video is the report-backs as the teams pitch their contemporary cyberpunk stories.
Finally, the event closed with a memorable rant by “the Chairman,” Bruce Sterling, during which he reflected on some of the stylistic and rhetorical choices made by cyberpunk writers and beyond that, considers how he and the other Cyberpunk writers will or will not be remembered in the 22nd Century. Sterling often delivers closing remarks at the South by Southwest conference each year, always an engaging and memorable experience.
Next time, I will share a text-based version of my opening remarks from the conference.