New Emotion

by Shannon Lowell Frady

A film, entirely in Chinese, translated from my original English text. All the actors are local Chinese with day jobs, none of whom have ever appeared in any type of production before. Photographic stills are mixed with footage of modern-day Shenyang, the capital of Liaoning Province in the northeast, where I am currently residing.

The film, which begins with the words, "Home. Sweet home. No war. No crime. No guns. No bombs. No sadness. Everyone is happy...", was completed, ironically enough on September 11.



Sweet home.

No war.

No crime.

No guns.

No bombs.

No sadness.


Everyone is happy.


And few people know why.


We, the Family, have engineered this society, but it is really the satellites and global transmitters that keep the world at peace. Only we are capable of all emotions, equipped from birth with permanent implants, to resist the transmitter signals. Yet in order to tame the rest of society, we generate electromagnetic emissions to control thought patterns -- evoked potentials -- which are then instantly transmitted and amplified around the planet. Yet people are starting to wake up, and die. The sudden emotions, previously unknown, are too much for them. Playing with a few old electronic parts, someone had accidentally blocked our signal. They could feel everything. It was worth dying for. And it caught on.

In the beginning we could trace the signals caused by the active components, EM resistors, to an exact location. No one was safe. But eventually they caught on, and started using scramblers.

The ones who survive usually suffer insanity, and grow distant from friends and family who do not understand them. No one knows where they go. And no one seems to care.

I take the mission.

I move like a shadow from moving light, following, always in different directions depending on how much attention I attract.

Somehow, it seems I will find more than just a missing number. I will find something familiar.

Faces become mirrors, and the more I continue, I sense a different, perhaps forbidden purpose.

What's your name? Like asking the city, one can only guess what the shadows know.

Emotions demand responsibility. Just like freedom. With the public deprived of fear, anger, envy, hatred, even loneliness, peace and security are ensured. I manage to trace the manufacturer of the EM resistors to an address in Shen He District.

First, I remove her hat, which hides a protective scrambler.

But I do not expect her, the new emotion. In spite of my training, I fail. I want to fail -- and she leaves her scrambler behind.

I find her signal. The new emotion again. I look for her now for a different reason.

The Family suspects. But I am already too distant. Now I am the one being watched, a threat, to world peace.

I have joined the addicts. I show them an implant, a bargaining chip -- to find her -- all fruitless.

I have lost everything to find her -- while quietly, I have begun to find myself.


Copyright 2001 by Shannon Lowell Frady






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