Shu Lea Cheang’s Radical I.K.U.

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Reiko, a cyborg built for sex, prowls the Tokyo night for customers.

A soft critique of late-era Capitalism, I.K.U. (appropriately Japanese slang for orgasming), imagines a future world so accelerated in its everyday life that humanity has resorted to cyborgs for collecting the overwhelming amount of information. Inspired by Blade Runner (1982), the cyborgs are known as replicants, and collect data through sex. That information then takes the form known as the “I.K.U. Chip,” allowing customers to experience recorded orgasms. The story follows one particular replicant by the name of Reiko (Played by seven different actresses), a shape-shifting cyborg helping to develop the I.K.U. Chip by way of fieldwork. Shu Lea Chang brings her multidisciplinary sensibilities to the directorial front, rendering Reiko’s nighttime sex odyssey in a mix between absurd CGI and real-life photography to what results to, “What if Oshima had access to modern technology.” The result, an otherworldly film drenched in neon and sexual fetish, seeking freedom from society one cybernetic orgasm at a time.

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