Supercomputers Week: GERTY (September 19 Night Thread)

Duncan Jones’ 2009 directorial debut Moon is a snug little film starring several Sam Rockwells. From the spacesuit design to the interiors of the ships, every detail seems to have been lifted from an earlier work; that doesn’t make it bad necessarily, just … comfortable in its ambitions. The same can be said for GERTY 3000, Sam’s robotic companion; HAL, of course, in the unblinking lens that sits in the centre of its mobile casing, and which gives the computer an automatic menace in the audience’s mind, intentionally so.

The hardware surrounding GERTY’s simple digital screen interface is reminiscent to me of a Nineties commercial fax machine or airline furniture, making it feel nicely cheap and dated at the same time; progress on a budget. Like the designs in Alien, the future depicted in Moon is realistically worn-down and busted out.

GERTY communicates not only through voice but through visual Emoticons, which kind of dates the technology in it’s own strange way. The first iPhone debuted in 2007, two years before the release of this film. Although text emoticons have been popular since the Eighties, their ubiquity now makes this idea of a sophisticated future computer using them seem oddly quaint.

Good Morning, Sam!

Enjoy your night and remember to take care of yourselves, everyone!