FILTRATE is the culmination of a two year multi-disciplinary artistic collaboration, exploring digital connectivity and physical isolation. Shot guerilla style, entirely on iPhone 7, in the active metro system of Montréal, Quebec. The project took over two years to complete, with 43 days of underground shooting, six months of costume building, and over a year of post production. What began as just a short film, evolved into something much larger, combining guerrilla filmmaking, performance art, original costume, still photography, and urban exploration.
If people retreat into smaller and more idiosyncratic groups, what will the evolutionary trajectory of our society look like? As social groups diverge further and further over the course of generations, when does humanity cease to be just one species? The filmmakers sought to create this surreal future, and the post-human beings who populate it.
Montréal’s Metro System was the central inspiration for the project. Each station, designed by a different architect, possesses its own distinct aesthetic, forming a network that is simultaneously interconnected and starkly differentiated. The design of the costumes, the shot choices, and even the structure of the story itself were all shaped by the metro system. As the project grew, artists from Los Angeles and Montréal contributed their own works to the world of FILTRATE.
The digital spaces we inhabit today -from social networks and search engines to content channels and news sources- are increasingly personalized to serve our individual desires. With over 3 million Facebook posts, 500,000 Tweets, 500 hours of YouTube video, and 50,000 Instagram photos generated every minute, almost all digital content is filtered before it can be consumed at the individual level. This seemingly benign -and even necessary- filtration of the words we read, the music we listen to, and the images we see, is almost entirely automated; driven by complex algorithms that decide what content each user is fed, based on their personal data.
As the content we consume is increasingly personalized, it creates environments and communities that are successively smaller and more homogenous. These emerging spaces are called ‘filter bubbles’ or ‘echo chambers’, because they are closed systems of people and information. This transformation of the internet from an open architecture to a system of separate silo-like networks is known as cyberbalkanization and it’s a process that has already had profound effects.