The idea behind the short film SODO EXPRESS came from watching a British news segment featuring Silicon valley old schooler Jaron Lanier. He explains the growing negativity around social media and the way it changes our behaviour.
With this seed of a concept, SODO EXPRESS really began to grow and shape as a way for artist EZRA DICKINSON and director SURIDH HASSAN to work on something collaborative and spontaneous.
With no set budget and no time limitations, the production took a very DIY guerilla attitude but it didn’t take too long for crew to jump on board and here we are over a year later and we are close to finishing!
As the idea refined, we have found a film forming that is rich in character and abstraction. It has a thematic intensity through its portrayal of anxiety and we hope it adds another voice to the discussion about our reliance on social media and the need for ‘instafame’ and social validity.
There is a visual intensity through Ezra’s dance and expression plus his relationship to the space around him. We also have the world of street art, which is constantly battling with what is legal and what is not and where you can where you can’t paint.
Shot in black and white, the film exists as a film and an art piece that holds a mirror up to contemporary society. With Shaz’s background as a documentary filmmaker, the camera is more of an observer that stays with our character Ezra, building intensity until the final rich emotional payoff.
Swipe, swipe, swipe, double tap, like, swipe, double tap, like. How many times a day do you do that? We’re in a trance and can’t escape. Add a layer of collapsing ecosystems, extinction, migrant crisis, polarising societies, screwy politics and you have to admit we’re living in mad times.
I met artist EZRA DICKINSON soon after I moved to SEATTLE and it was clear we needed to collaborate on something. A film, a performance, an exhibition – something. Mentally I was in a strange place, coming out of living in a corporate bubble and running a pseudo creative corporate business, I needed to get back to what I know love. Film, art, expressions, ideas.
I’d love to say I woke up one morning and all my emotions about everything poured out of me and I wrote SODO EXPRESS, but i’d be lying. The truth is, I can’t pinpoint where the concept came from, but our dependance on tech, social media and the way it lends itself to anxiety, mental health issues and behaviour modification is something clear to see and that something needs exploration.
People are simply distracted (I know I am) and we’re distracted by everyone else. Our need to be part of a community and feel accepted is being taken advantage of by unseen algorithms. Technology has financialized every part of our daily life and as a species we haven’t had to time to adjust to these changes.
SODO EXPRESS is my exploration of this (on a low budget). The start of the film shows everyday life for most artists I know – riding the bus or the train, putting up work, checking if it’s received well online – it’s the simple existence most artists live and breath on the journey to success. Our characters sees a tool in tech and social media but the reliance and the relationship evolves into something darker – a journey of unexpected occurrences, at times intense stillness, other times explosive movement. With animation to accent the film and take us into another realm, SODO EXPRESS is a unique film that has little comparison to anything else out there.