Taiwan was under martial law from 1949 to 1987, and throughout this period the secret police and the army kept a close watch on the population—they saw citizens as no more than numbers and functions. Director and artist Hsin-Chien Huang, who experienced the end of this period as a child, sees parallels with the modern-day use of big data, artificial intelligence and digital surveillance to monitor and manipulate the masses. In Bodyless, he interweaves childhood memories and ultramodern technology to create a surreal fairy tale environment through which we literally fly using VR technology.
The story begins with an elderly man who was subjected to a secret experiment when he was a political prisoner. In accordance with Taiwanese folklore, after he dies his spirit descends to the underworld. In the seventh month of the moon calendar, however, he returns to his family, but all he finds is an empty apartment. This is followed by a journey into the spirit world, where he sees humanity being ever further reduced to geometric forms that a computer can easily process.