Underground Film Journal

Posted In » Online Cinema

Peggy Ahwesh: The Third Body

By Mike Everleth ⋅ September 8, 2010

And on the eighth day, God created virtual reality. Take a trip to a brave unreal world in Peggy Ahwesh‘s ode to primitive virtual reality, The Third Body. Combining some sort of minimalist Adam & Eve recreation with promotional footage of people wearing giant VR glasses on their head looking at blocky CGI graphics with awe and wonder, Ahwesh casts humans as the new gods — and creating a world that looks really, really ugly. (This film isn’t quite NSFW, but the partial nudity may cause co-workers to look at you funny.)

My favorite part of this film is just the simple shots of a beige virtual reality living room while Morton Feldman‘s ominous soundtrack drones on. Set some good, creepy music to make any visuals seem disturbing. Actually, it was driving me nuts thinking the soundtrack was borrowed from some horror movie I couldn’t place, but I guess it’s an original composition by the experimental composer, whom I wasn’t familiar with until this.

Exotic Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden

The film was produced in 2007, according to the end credits, but the virtual reality demos that Ahwesh uses look like they’re all from at least 20 to 30 years old, if not more.

VR isn’t a concept one hears about much anymore. I suppose it’s big Hollywood heyday was the movie Disclosure, in which Michael Douglas has to dig through CGI filing cabinets to dig up dirt on Demi Moore. Since then, VR has been supplanted by the idea of consciousness transference ever since The Matrix. Who wants to just look at a fantastical new world when one can have their entire mind transported to a new reality, as in films like Inception, Avatar and the upcoming Tron: Legacy.

Perhaps VR lost its cool cache due to the giant helmets one has to wear to experience it. Maybe some company out there is trying to whittle that massive headgear to a tiny pair of 3-D glasses and VR will make a resurgence.