SYNOPSIS & THEMES

 

Karen Barley is convinced by her sinister "Boss" from Croydon Museum, to take on an outdoors project in an ancient bronze age woods. Her boyfriend Darren is excited about a mysterious legend of the Hurst and can't wait to find a hidden path he's heard about.

On first appearance the Hurst seems mundane, with traffic and people close by.

But gradually they begin to experience strange sounds and druid like signs.

When Darren discovers the path, he opens a portal that lets in his "Other" and his world begins to clash with this parallel universe.

Convinced that her boyfriend is trying to frighten her, Karen slowly spirals into a deadly paranoia that results in tragedy. And all the while her madness is played out for all to see as she uses Twitter to tell everyone what's happening.

"People are lonely. The network is seductive"

- Alone Together: Why We Expect More From Technology: Sherry Turkle

The idea that someone feels that the only real emotional support they have is via Twitter, may seem absurd to some; but in fact the distancing of humans from humans has long been encroaching on modern society.

 

Karen Barley has grown up in a period of technological intimacy; where people would rather text than talk to someone. A time of using computers for psychological comfort, where the human feeling of loneliness and alienation can be forgotten online, in a virtual social network. In these networks, people young and old can forget about their problems and the way they're perceived by others in reality. Instead, they create online persona's or virtual avatars to present the ideal version of how they wish to be. In this day and age, teenagers would rather spend time chatting to their friends on social media, than have an intimate conversation face to face. So tweeting what they're doing and thinking on Twitter to a world of strangers is normal. Strangers who gradually become friends, because it appears they care, sometimes more so than people in the real world.

 

It's this sort of modern computerised virtual life that Karen Barley feels comfortable with. To her mind, her followers on Twitter are interested in her and respond to her; something she feels isn't always the case outside the online network. And like the subjects in Alone Together, she is lonely; perhaps afraid of intimacy. Twitter gives her the feeling she's not alone.

When Karen realises she can't get anyone to tweet back to her, she insists on carrying on recording and tweeting what's happening in the hope that she really isn't alone in her real world. Yet as the knowledge creeps in that the physical reality she knows has collapsed, and her online world has disappeared into a parallel universe, she psychologically implodes with tragic consequence.

- Kristi Barnett

 

"Gradually, we come to see our online life as life itself". - Sherry Turkle

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