IASH Documentary Series 2017

All Watched Over by Machines of Loving Grace

(2010, 60 mins)

Written & Directed by: Adam Curtis

The final chapter of Adam Curtis’s exploration of humanity’s relationships with technology and the natural world, this episode traces the consequences of Western colonisation, and intervention, in African countries like the Congo. Curtis argues that Western ideology, religion and liberalism created a climate in which the Rwandan genocide could occur, and that despite its previous interventionist stance, the West failed to act out of interest in its own capitalist ventures in the region, such as the mining of minerals used in computers and mobile phones. By focussing on the intellectual history of evolutionary science, Curtis contends that concepts of technology and computers were fused with scientific understandings of human behaviour and development.

Analysing the ‘discovery’ by scientists like William Hamilton and Richard Dawkins that human beings are simply ‘machines’ programmed to ensure the continuation of our genes, Curtis asks us to consider what the consequences of such a theory are for the future of humanity. Is all human action reducible to a ‘computer code’ of genetics, and are we simply monkeys in the machine, or machines in the monkey?

The screening will be followed by a panel discussion with Dr Leigh Penman (IASH), and Jamie Milton Freestone (SCA/IASH) – with plenty of opportunity for Q&A with the audience.

Tuesday 5th September, 4pm
Seminar Room 402, Level 4 Forgan Smith Tower, UQ


Seminar Room, Level 4 Forgan Smith Tower (Building #1)