| CNS News

From left to right: Humanexus creators Norbert Herber, Ying-Fang Shen, and Katy Börner

Ying-Fang Shen’s animated film Humanexus: Knowledge and Communication through the Ages depicts the ever-accelerating spread of information and communication over the course of human history. It’s perhaps fitting, then, that the film itself has been caught up in a similar momentum, with buzz about Humanexus and recognition for Shen building rapidly over the past year.

Recently, Humanexus was named an Official Selection of the 2013 Guam Film Festival, scheduled to take place September 24th through the 29th. This honor comes on the heels of the film’s nomination to the “Best Animation” category in the 2013 Taipei Film Festival. As an added bonus, the latter festival brought Shen’s work back to the artist’s own place of birth, as Humanexus received screenings in venues throughout Taipei during the festival’s three-week run. Then, in early August, the film was chosen for an Artistic Vision Award by the International Film Awards Berlin. Around the same time, it received an Award of Excellence from the Best Shorts Competition in La Jolla, California. Rounding off the list of honors, Humanexus has been named an Official Selection in New York’s Bootleg Film Festival, the Balinale International Film Festival, the Brownfish Short Film Festival, the Whitelight’s International Short Film Festival, the Roseville Animation Festival, the Uppsala International Short Film Festival, and the 2013 STUDIO 300 Digital Art and Music Festival. Such accolades serve as testimony to both the relevance of the film’s message and the artistic vision through which Shen conveys that message.

Humanexus is the product of a close collaboration between Shen and Indiana University professor Katy Börner, an expert in the theory and practice of data mining and information visualization who suggested the initial story and provided guidance and resources along the way. And viewers of Humanexus will be struck by the evocative relationship between Shen’s visuals and the rich aural landscape created by composer and sound designer Norbert Herber, a senior lecturer in Indiana University’s Department of Telecommunications. The result of their efforts tracks the evolution of human communication from cave scrawls to Twitter feeds. And while the film captures the giddy exhilaration of discovery and creation, it also strikes darker notes as it imagines the crucial point at which humanity finds itself, a decisive moment that pivots between a path of continued creativity and innovation and one of information overload and message breakdown.

Ultimately, Humanexus argues that the question of “What kind of future do we want?” is one that each of us has the power to address. To begin engaging with the issues raised by this provocative and visually striking work, watch the trailer for Humanexus here on YouTube. You can also learn more about the production by visiting the film’s official website.

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