association loi 1901 | non-profit organisation
Jalal Toufic Matrix for AI et Al
screening Metropolis
October 2018
Screening Metropolis, Empire Sofil
24 September- 27 September 2018

The Matrix for AI et Al.
Jalal Toufic

— The Matrix for Realists (aka Reviewing The Matrix in Terms of One Cypher), film, 41 hours and 24 minutes, 2018

— The Matrix for Radical Simulationists (aka How to Read The Matrix as a Cypher), film, 72 hours and 36 minutes, 2018

— The Matrix for Realists (aka Reviewing The Matrix in Terms of One Cypher)—A Timesaving, Perception-Taxing Version, film, 137 minutes, 2018


The images we see of the vast simulation dubbed the Matrix, at least those that are not the subjective views of the humans in the simulation, are illustrative images and sounds provided to the film spectators of The Matrix (1999) by its two directors, Lana and Lilly Wachowski. In my version of The Matrix, what happens in the Matrix is provided in Unicode (Universal Coded Character Set)—on the right side of the screen for images, and on the left side of the screen for sounds. At various periods in history, books were written and paintings were made not only for kings and princes but also for gods, demons, angels, God, etc. The narrator of the fourth of Rilke’s Duino Elegies asserts: “I won’t endure these half-filled human masks; / better, the puppet. It at least is full. / I’ll put up with the stuffed skin, the wire, the face / that is nothing but appearance. Here. I’m waiting. / Even if the lights go out; even if someone / tells me ‘That’s all’; even if emptiness / floats toward me in a gray draft from the stage; / even if not one of my silent ancestors / stays seated with me, not one woman.… / … Am I not right / to feel as if I must stay seated, must / wait before the puppet stage, or, rather, / gaze at it so intensely that at last, / to balance my gaze, an angel has to come and / make the stuffed skins startle into life. / Angel and puppet: a real play, finally”; his waiting and intense gaze is addressed not to a human but to an angel, who would startle the puppet into life, and, through his waiting and intense gaze, the play is addressed not only to humans but also to an angel. While The Matrix for Realists (aka Reviewing The Matrix in Terms of One Cypher)—A Timesaving, Perception-Taxing Version (2018), the component of my film trilogy The Matrix for AI et Al. where the Unicode sections are speeded so they take only as much time as the images they supplant, is still addressed mostly to humans, especially those who, like The Matrix’s Cypher, are trained to read computer codes, the two versions that last 41 hours and 72 hours, The Matrix for Realists (aka Reviewing The Matrix in Terms of One Cypher) (2018) and The Matrix for Radical Simulationists (aka How to Read The Matrix as a Cypher) (2018), respectively, would be addressed mainly to artificial intelligences, who would be able to read the code of the film and “see” images (since Unicode is a machine language, a machine would be able to go back from the code in my version to the images and sounds of the original The Matrix film). Nonetheless, might a human who would watch the 72-hour and 41-hour films in their entirety achieve enlightenment?[1] If not, might he or she, notwithstanding not having been trained to read the computer code, begin after forty or sixty or seventy hours to recognize patterns in the scrolling Unicode, then perceive fleeting images, then see whole audiovisual scenes (as Cypher, who follows what happens inside the Matrix, a simulation, by looking at the code on his computer monitors, tells Neo: “There’s way too much information to decode the Matrix. You get used to it, though. Your brain does the translating. I don’t even see the code. All I see is blonde, brunette, and redhead”)? Given that he did not understand the machine language though, he could not dispel the suspicion that these scenes were hallucinations that veiled the scrolling Unicode rather than being the images and sounds coded by it.

[1] It would most likely take more than that: Bodhidharma (3rd–4th c. CE), to whom “Chinese Ch'an and Japanese Zen masters trace their master-disciple lineages” (Damien Keown, A Dictionary of Buddhism [Oxford University Press, 2003], 37) is said to have “sat in meditation for nine years while facing a wall (mianbi), in so-called ‘wall contemplation’ (biguan)” (Robert E. Buswell Jr. and Donald S. Lopez Jr., The Princeton Dictionary of Buddhism [Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2014], 132).

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