Thu, Aug 10, 2017 - Page 13 News List

Finding love in a hi-tech world?

MeimeiWawa’s YouTube short explores how technology can affect our social lives and pursuit of romance

By Jerome Keating  /  Contributing reporter

Lara Veronin, right, stars opposite Danny Lee, left, in Still Better Than Love. Lee is holding the “love patch” featured in the film.

photo courtesy of meimeiwawa

Can Harry meet Sally and stay with her because of a “love patch,” which allows one to experience love within seconds? That and other questions on technology are raised in MeimeiWawa Multimedia’s recent bilingual YouTube film, Still Better than Love.

The Veronin sisters, Esther (梁妍熙) and Lara (梁心頤), who graduated from Taipei American School a decade ago, formed MeimeiWawa in 2013 and since then have been pushing the envelope. This film, entered in the 2016 Los Angeles Asian Pacific Film Festival, is their latest endeavor.

The sisters are by no means strangers in the arts. Esther, who now focuses on production, gave a powerful performance in LAB Space’s 2016 production of Wait Until Dark and Lara, a talented singer and performer, followed as the female lead in A. R. Gurney’s Love Letters. Their YouTube series Meiwa Diaries further present how art and exhibitionism playfully mix and infiltrate their own East-meets-West lives and identity.

However, the focus is on technology in this film written and directed by Diane Kang (康黛安). Often cast as an innocent girl, Lara delighted in the chance to play a woman desperate for love and satisfaction opposite co-star Danny Lee (李博翔) who takes on the “innocent” role this time.

Lara’s chaaracter seeks guaranteed instant love with the “love patch” but at issue, as Lara succinctly puts it, is that “technology can aid our lives but also destabilize traditional life as we know it.”

One could be tempted to dismiss this work as far-fetched soft porn. However other past imaginative technologies of films like 2001 Space Odyssey (1968) and Westworld (1973) are now realities and our world is populated with all sorts of artificial intelligence including androids, drones, virtual reality and Japanese sex robots.

This film raises other tech issues as well. How often do we forego real communication while we seek likes and smiles from tweets, Facebook messages and Photoshopped Instagram images? The technology of social intelligence fosters such and makes it hard to distinguish true value. Thus the film’s crass closing scene with spectators taking photos and selfies of the couple’s passionate sidewalk romp hits close to home.

Still Better than Love makes us question what we settle for.

As for Lara, what’s next? In the fall, she will switch gears to put out a long overdue third album with songs on the many challenges contemporary women face combining career and family, lifestyle, fleeting youth — especially when the biological clock is ticking.

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