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You Are Here (excerpt The Chinese Room)

Daniel Cockburn (CA 2011, 10:00 mins excerpt, original length 79:00 mins)
You Are Here is a Jorge Borges-like fantasy composed of multiple worlds, circling and weaving around each other in always-unexpected ways. One of these worlds is “The Chinese Room”, staged after a famous thought experiment by the American philosopher and linguist John Searle. “The set-up is deadpan absurdism: an English-speaking man finds himself locked in a room lined with a document written in Chinese. He’s then presented with a multiple-volume set of mindless instructions for translating it, but not for divining the text’s meaning, turning him, in effect, into a human processing unit. Is this, Cockburn (via Searle) asks, merely an approximation of consciousness, and if so, whose?” (Adam Nayman)