MUBI is showing Daniel Cockburn's You Are Here (2010) nearly worldwide from September 29 to October 28, 2016.
I called American philosopher John Searle on the telephone. I told him I was planning to direct a film that would include a dramatization of his famous "Chinese Room" thought experiment, which is sort of a pessimistic cousin to the Turing Test. I said I was hoping he would grant me permission to do so. He said: "Well… I'm very busy."(1)
The film's production designer made Styrofoam props of a book which is a key element of Searle's thought experiment. After finishing the film, I carried these fake books with me from home to home, though I never had a use for them. After eight years, I finally threw them out. The next day, my six-year-old niece asked what a "film prop" is. I said: "If you had asked me that question at any earlier point in your life, I could have shown you. But you are 24 hours too late."(2)
Someone at Rotterdam told me that he had watched You Are Here in the mediatheque. I said it was too bad he hadn't gotten to see it in the cinema. He said: "No, it was perfect watching it on a small screen, in a room with all these other people watching small screens; it was like I was part of an experiment."(3)
1. He later gave succinct approval.
2. That's not exactly what I said. I do know how to speak to children. There are even three of them in the film. And though we shot a scene in which The Lecturer proves logically to The Children that there is no such thing as unconditional love, it was cut.
3. With this I could not, nor can I now, argue.