Alan Turing lives on in The Creator, a computer generated homage and ‘resurrection myth’ by visual artists/directors AL and AL.
It was the UK premier for the 45-minute short, which was commissioned by the Cornerhouse for the 2012 Abandon Normal Devices (AND) festival, and the two film-makers held a Q&A session.
Aside from the actors, no live-action was used in this sci-fi tale of surrealistic landscapes and digitised robots of the future, which are known only as the Thinking Machines.
It focuses on the day that Alan Turing chose to end his life, while his dreams, flashbacks and the Thinking Machine’s future is interspersed in an order that would be confusing were it not for the film’s dreamlike logic.
The monochrome visuals and ambient soundtrack may recall Eraserhead, but The Creator never reaches Lynch’s heights of irrationality; the audience is guided by voice of Turing’s therapist who narrates over the images with a soothing hypnotism.
“Turing’s story has this incredible, international reach. We just feel that there’s a myth to be made about that and we’d like to make that myth,” co-director Al Holmes said during the post-screening discussion.
Al Taylor, who acted as Turing in the film, also referred to a ‘new resurrection myth’ in how the legacy of the father of modern computing lives on in the robots.
It’s a relevant term here since The Creator is infused with mythology as much as science – Turing’s therapist Dr Franz Greenbaum uses Jungian psychology to interpret the mathematician’s dreams, and compares the cyanide apple to the forbidden fruit featured in the Biblical creation myth.
Interestingly, the therapy session featured in the film never took place, as Turing committed suicide days before Dr Greenbaum responded to his last message.
Al Taylor said: “What’s fascinating about Turing is that he came to Manchester as a logical and rational mathematician but after his arrest and subsequent estrogen treatment, he began looking at his unconscious mind and dreams, so it was the exact opposite life he had led before.”
As Al’s Alan says in the film 'there’s no time for logic anymore', and the surreal imagery is captivating; their artificiality is obvious, but still immersive.
Computer generated imagery is often criticised elsewhere, but it only makes sense that The Creator was made using the technology that Turing helped bring into the world.
The Creator will be screened again during the AND Festival, which runs from August 29 until September 2.