Human Resource The Musical
Video: 06:22 min
Created by Maren Dagny Juell
Musical score: Kjetil Schjander Luhr
Voice: Benedikte Kruse
Animation: Joachim Nielssen
Motion capture actor: Christine Jakobsen
Technical Assistance: Richard Cawte
Production consultant: Tonje Alice Madsen
Supported by: Kulturrådet, Fond for Lyd og bilde, NBK prosjektstøtte.
A female avatar starts to give a TED-style talk about the effective use of Human Resources. She bursts into song and a Disney-inspired musical session ensues where the avatar interacts with office equipment and machines while quoting snippets from self-help and performance guides.
Fearlessly singing into an empty void filled with dumb technology, the avatar tries to avoid an existential crisis.
With this short film, Maren is exploring further the use of new technology in moving images. The animation was created with various AI tools and MetaHuman 'digital human builder' from UnrealEngine, in this way it deals with human efficiency and the use of AI as a resource both in form and content. The avatar is based loosely on the artist as that was the only image she could consciously copy. The mimetic properties of AI, and avatar development and the 'emptiness' inside the increasing 'uncanny valley' become visible during errors and glitches.
As Benjamin Bratton says “The Inverse Uncanny Valley is the feeling of unease we feel when seeing ourselves through the eyes of AI. What we see looks humanlike, but not quite familiar, not quite right, and we start to become disturbed by our own reflection.”
The HR lecture is a framework that extends to a metaphor about the management of human resources in general and the language we use about people as a movable commodity. In this way, the work explores how the body is incorporated into economic power structures through language that praises flexibility and progression.
The Disney musical is referred to both in its light-hearted pompousness and its recognisable implicit dream about humanity's eternal potential for improvement. Its is a push and pull of hope and a feeling of dread regarding a neo-liberal promise of success.
If we think of ourselves as an 'efficient resource', how does that affect our attitude towards the world around us and its apparent reality?
Work screened at Landmark, Bergen Kunsthall, as a part of "Palmera Au revoir" Photo by: Andreas Aicka Thomsen