What’s with the title, what does “The Ghosts In Our Machine” mean?
Since the film’s release, people have reflected on its meaning.
“The Ghosts in Our Machine” …[is] a brilliant metaphor for capturing the idea that animals are ubiquitous but invisible members of the community: essential to its functioning; the creators of its wealth; utterly governed and regulated by its laws and policies; and tyrannized by complete absence from political representation or participation.
Canadian novelist and naturalist Graeme Gibson inspired the title for me, back in 2010, so I sent him and Margaret Atwood a long overdue letter. Canadian icon Margaret Atwood, novelist, activist, and wife of Gibson, replied and tweeted to her one million followers:
Here is an excerpt from my letter:
Dear Graeme and Margaret,
In the fall of 2010 I attended the Planet in Focus Eco Awards ceremony at the TIFF Bell Lightbox … I was actively seeking a compelling title for my next film. During your eloquent acceptance speech Graeme, you said something that influenced me … you spoke about our human infringement, and referred to nature as the ‘ghost’ in the ‘machine’. Upon hearing this powerful common phrase used within this context, I was instantly inspired. I went home and played around with some variations, did my research about its origins, spoke to my lawyer about copyright issues, and settled on the title of my next film: THE GHOSTS IN OUR MACHINE.
Audiences and reviewers have been consistently intrigued by the title – so thank you for inspiring it.
Ultimately, what I like about the title is that it invites interpretation.
It is self-reflexive – it is “Our” machine.
For the Ghosts, #fortheghosts