0s & 1s Goes Beyond the Obvious Points About Cyber-Dependence


While the throngs of recent films detailing our culture’s inundation with social media are generally content to make their obvious points about cyber-dependence and call it a day, 0s & 1s is after slightly bigger game. No new revelations abound in Eugene Kotlyarenko’s playfully formalist tale of a twentysomething’s search for his lost computer, but unlike Catfish (to give just one example), 0s & 1s goes beyond merely communicating what it feels like to have one’s consciousness colonized by spectacle, employing its exhaustive catalog of new media in instructive ways. A riot of pop-up screens that ape everything from Facebook to first-person shooters, Kotlyarenko’s film makes visible the invisible presence that defines our everyday social encounters. A conversation is visualized entirely via IM chat; when protag James Pongo (Morgan Krantz) gets drunk at a party and loses his computer, the director gives us a Persona moment. Instead of ripping away the film strip mid-movie as in Bergman’s film, Kotlyarekno’s digital production simulates a “system fail.” During his quest to track down his missing laptop, James’s unrelenting douchiness and his friends’ essential emptiness grow tiresome, but that’s precisely the point. As digital media becomes more vivid, people tend to hollow out.