In the Documentary Film and Video MFA program at Stanford, we each make three films in the first year. For the third film (produced in the Spring quarter), they encouraged us to try something new and experiment with something we weren't confident would be successful. Well, I took 35 Ubers in four days and filmed my rides. That was definitely an experiment and I for sure didn't know how it was going to turn out.
Sleepless Silicon is a product many Uber rides and lots of experimentation in the edit room. The long hours with the footage showed me something I didn't see when shooting the film––the monotonous dependence on the smartphone. The mobile device (which nearly every driver had mounted on the dashboard) was, in a way, this ominous beacon that dictated the way each driver worked and lived. It received requests, it gave directions and even summoned food. I noticed this darker theme of sleeplessness because of a monotonous dependence on the smartphones we religiously carry with us. My film explores, through an experiential form, the relentless relationship between us and our smartphones in one of the most connected areas in the world––Silicon Valley.