Photo News – Cyborg Foundation by Rafel Duran Torrent Grand Prize winner GE/Focus Forward $200,000 Filmmaker Competition

CYBORG FOUNDATION | Rafel Duran Torrent from Focus Forward Films on Vimeo. Directed, produced and edited Rafel Duran Torrent; Image & sound: Filma-T Produccions (Anna Moradell & Joan Figueras); and Video Effects: Rafel Duran Torrent, Harald Donner.

Barcelona-based filmmaker Torrent is the $100,000 Grand Prize winner of the GE/Focus Forward Film as well as a collaboration with the Sundance Institute ShortsLab. The film raises questions as to how Harbisson perceives the colours as sounds, ie, in which order does he identify them if he is looking at a multitude of colours? As well as questions relating to the increasing intertwining of the artificial and the organic and the shifting boundaries of identity. He is identified as a ‘cyborg’ in his passport – a fact that makes me wonder about the extent of responsibility and how long it will be until someone argues ‘diminished responsibility’ citing a lack of control of the artificial intelligence part of their identity, rather than the biological.

About the film: Neil Harbisson was born with achromatopsia, a rare condition that causes complete colour blindness. In 2004, Harbisson and Adam Montandon developed the eyeborg, a device that translates colours into sounds. Harbisson has been claimed to be the first recognized cyborg in the world, as his passport photo now includes his device. In 2010, Neil Harbisson and Moon Ribas created the Cyborg Foundation, an international organization to help humans become cyborgs. The foundation has also experimented with other sensory devices, including an “earborg,” which translates sound into color, and a “speedborg,” which allows people to detect movement through electronic earrings that vibrate.

The competition brought together over 600 submissions from 69 countries with topics spanning robotics to energy to philosophy. Jared P Scott and Kelly Nyks, Paul Lazarus, Kim Munsamy and Callum Cooper were given runner-up awards that combined total $200,000. Follow the link to watch all five Focus Forward Films winners, including Torrent (the major cash prize winner).

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