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Power Down

Beth is a young woman fighting to gain control of her mind as she journeys from a dark cybernetic environment to the beautiful Australian Wilderness. She spends all her time in a chatroom called ‘Gothic Lolitas And All Things Harajuku’ to avoid real life. She has an argument with her mother over something dark that has happened in her past. Something she must avoid at all costs. Something of which her mother is completely oblivious.

Night finds Beth in a dark corner of a bar drowned in minimalist techno. She stares across a sea of phones lighting up the dark atmosphere. In the background is a picture of a mountain. Her eyes find Tom, Emile, Jess and Ryan. Tom was found sitting in shit playing some MMO. Emile was addicted to online porn - the dark stuff. Jess was addicted to media of the social variety. Ryan was addicted to online gambling. Beth finds herself doing a line on her phone. She becomes hyper aware of everybody bowing to their phones. Homage to a digital planet. She finds herself scrolling through her phone at a million pages per minute. Every time she stops she sees “#digitaldementia.” The scrolling noise is deafening. In the blink of an eye she is back in the club looking across a plethora of phones. As Beth leaves the club she is thrown - a homeless girl is dressed in the same trainers.

Beth stands in front of the University noticeboard. There is a picture of a smiling girl with one word ‘Joy’ written underneath her. Next to her is a notice posted by the Psychology department. Words reach out at her - ‘Are you ready to Power Down? Come with me. Let everything go. Experiment…’ She is seduced by the female voice speaking these words.

A bus heads out of the city with Ryan, Beth, Jess, Tom, Emile on board. The terrain becomes less and less urban. Mary the bus driver, transports them into magical natural environment. At first the students rebel against the new environment finding it hostile and inhospitable. Beth unravels further, lost in a sea of trees.

The beauty of the bush starts to come alive around them - golden and majestic. Beth opens her eyes to Ryan. They are on top of the mountain. Hands automatically search for dead phones to take photos. Mary builds a fire and turns the bush into a theatre. Caught up in the moment everyone forms a circle and words are spoken into the fire. They speak of addiction, withdrawal and loneliness and as they speak they finally slow down. They allow themselves to be quiet in the moment, stand still and receive.

In the end Beth is removed from her dark, fearful and digital world of noise. She is placed into a magical natural environment - a domain that is both seductive and warm, alien and ominous. Beth’s strong emotional side is set on fire. She falls for Ryan and his strong, unspoken sense of herself. She discovers a new part of herself. Dialetically both Beth and Ryan move beyond each other to find something more - hidden in the magic of the mountains - something they both yearn for but have lost behind the wall of technology.

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