Nightstream Review: ‘We’re All Going To The World’s Fair’ Illustrates the Dark Coccoon of the Internet’s Rabbit Hole – Substream Magazine

Posted: October 13, 2021 at 7:39 pm

The internet is a living ecosystem that sometimes swallows us whole. Its an active, contradicting quandary. Gone are the days of slow, dial-up collections that could get severed by answering the house phone. We are connected with our phones, tablets, smart devices, and everywhere in between. This wild west abundance of digital space and information can serve as a great unifierfor example, TikTok and teens creating dances to the latest catchy pop song. Theres also a dark underbelly, where things like the Momo challenge and Slenderman Creepypasta can morph into something inauspicious. We are more in tune with peoples emotions and options than ever before, but in a cruel stroke of irony, we are less united in a physical sense. That detachment isnt exactly healthy.

Director/writer Jane Schoenbruns Were All Going To The Worlds Fair begins with an opening shot of a girl named Casey (Anna Cobb). Shes in her attic alone with her laptop, projecting a glassy stare into the webcam. In a script-like fashion, Casey declares she will partake in the Worlds Fair challenge. What does a Worlds Fair challenge comprise exactly? State a declaration of going to the Worlds Fair three times, prick your finger, and show it to the computer screen. After which, a bright strobe light consumes her and the room like a site of pseudo-transportation. In this world, various young people embrace the challenge, but with varying degrees of afflictions. One person says that they can no longer feel their body. Another person claims they are turning into a plastic mold. One more is convinced their body is rotting. With the spirit of community considered, all are displaying their transformations through videos.

The little that Schoenbrun shows us about Caseys home life notes that its not in the most fantastic shape. Her relationship with her father is almost nonexistent, and shes often left alone to her own devices hanging out in graveyards and recalls her tendency to sleepwalk. The only comfort we see her have is when she sleeps in a garage to an ASMR video. So, the horror that Schoenbrun artistically displays is weighted loneliness. Is it possible that The Worlds Fair challenge has some sinister, metaphysical undertone to it? It could be possible, but it is most likely a figment of the imagination of young teens who dont have many strands of societal fraternity around. As this game goes on, Caseys behavior becomes more cryptic and somewhat frightening. She often alludes to her fathers gun and indulges herself in infinite nihilism.

Schoenbrun introduces another character with the username JLB (Michael J. Rogers) with an urgent message that urges Casey to the possibility that she might be in danger. On the other side of that keyboard is an older man with a beautiful living arrangement. There, the story turns to an even darker tone. When he urges Casey to keep making videos for him to know shes safe, its when Casey ultimately lets go of the bits of sanity she has left. Whatever The Worlds Fair mystique is, its thoroughly washed over her like a tidal wave. Theres a bit of muck to know that a substantially aged man is keeping tabs on an adolescent girl, further muddying the waters of what this game is. Worlds Fair tragedy lies in searching for something tangible and the many fashions that can rip you apart like metaphorical shark teeth.

So, we are with the deadpan frigidness that entangled Caseys expression at the films conclusion. Schoenbruns narrative shines a light on people who crave togetherness, but notes that the easiest way to find this feeling might also be the riskiest. Corporeality is reality indeed, but is a portal untamed when it has nothing to anchor itself to.

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Nightstream Review: 'We're All Going To The World's Fair' Illustrates the Dark Coccoon of the Internet's Rabbit Hole - Substream Magazine

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