All posts by Alexander V Woods

Interview: Simon Herzog and the Cyberpunk Protests in Hong Kong

The Fugitive Offenders Amendment Bill

On April 3rd, 2019, Hong Kong lawmakers were given a pretty straightforward extradition bill called the Fugitive Offenders Amendment bill. In response to a legal issue, the bill would have allowed extradition of suspected offenders from Hong Kong to mainland China under very specific conditions, and on a case-by-case basis.

A “Special Administrative Region”

While Hong Kong technically belongs to China, it is considered a “special administrative region” of China with its own set of laws, currency, and government with a strong pro-democracy, pro-independence movement. While this status is set to end ominously in 2047, many residents of Hong Kong are afraid of mainland China trying to end it early. This extradition bill could have allowed that to happen, because if Hong Kong residents are extradited through dubious claims to mainland China, they could then be made to disappear, and then who knows what would happen to them.

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Cyberpunk Protests in Hong Kong

Thus, the uprising began, and although the bill was later rescinded, protests have been going strong since April with many of them feeling very cyberpunk in nature due to the use of gas masks, bows and arrows, umbrellas, face masks, flashlights and lasers to avoid CCTV detection.

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In order to experience this firsthand and get a better understanding of the massive Cyberpunk protests in Hong Kong, my friend Simon Herzog decided to go there himself, where he spoke with locals and snapped some photos of everything he witnessed. He agreed to an interview with Cyberpunk Matrix to share some of his thoughts below.

Simon Herzog in Shades

Hi Simon. Thanks for agreeing to this interview. Can you tell us a bit about who you are and what you do?

I translate between different disciplines and help bridge cultural and human differences through entrepreneurshipart, and design. I spend most of my time organizing or teaching workshops in innovation and problem-solving methodologies like design thinking and service design, helping organizations create more human-centric products and services. Other than that, I use photography and video for storytelling and have side projects like designing and making an ultralight backpacking tent from scratch.

Gibson Quote Street

Art by Benjamin Last

Why do you like Cyberpunk? What does it mean to you?

Like a lot of science fiction, cyberpunk casts a light on the worlds we have already built. I appreciate its stories for the resourcefulness of its characters in the face of overwhelming forces such as corporations, governments, or technology itself. It allows me to vicariously experience an extreme version of the adaptability, preparedness, and pragmatism I take so much pleasure and pride in in my own life. On top of that, I love the aesthetic and the sense of anarchy and possibility, and the sense of meritocracy that comes from an unyielding environment where skill is everything.

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The aesthetic is definitely pretty cool. And what brought you to Hong Kong recently?

I had been following the protests since their beginnings in March, and it felt right away like something important was happening. It’s difficult from afar to form a balanced opinion and to understand what is really happening when there’s social upheaval like this and both sides have a vested interest in presenting their side favorably, and I wanted to be in a place where the news is happening and talk to people on the ground. Also, I saw some of the resourcefulness and anarchic creativity that marks the characters in cyberpunk stories in the protesters, and was curious to see it for myself. When I had some business in Kuala Lumpur in December I decided to extend my trip and stop by Hong Kong for a few days.

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Can you explain what is happening in Hong Kong?

The introduction of a controversial extradition law that would have allowed mainland China access to people arrested in Hong Kong and Taiwan triggered severe resistance from a large portion of Hong Kongers who see themselves as a quasi-sovereign nation and are eager to preserve their relative independence from China for as long as possible. The Chinese government is keen to begin assimilating Hong Kong into its authoritarian system even before the official end of the “one country, two systems” arrangement in 2047, and in a way the protesters are trying to delay or prevent this most likely inevitable outcome. From the initial rejection of the extradition law the protests have evolved as a largely leaderless movement to include five demands, ranging from an independent investigation into police brutality to universal suffrage in deciding the government of Hong Kong. The government has been relatively unyielding, other than withdrawing the extradition bill, and clashes have steadily escalated over the past several months.

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Interesting. And what happened when you went there?

I have some friends in Hong Kong and I had relied on one of them in particular to invite me to some protester Telegram groups in the weeks before my arrival. That’s how I found out about what was happening that weekend, and I went to a small rally on Saturday and a gigantic one with over 800,000 people on Sunday, December 8th. This march was one of the few that had received official approval from the government, which is likely why so many people attended and it did not result in significant clashes. Still, as the masses of people were churning through the streets and reached the official end of the marching route, the overwhelming momentum of the crowd pushed it past the finish line, unable or unwilling to disperse, and into a large riot police blockade. The police had lined up across an entire wide avenue in full riot gear, trucks with water cannons behind them, and they were holding up the yellow flag warning protesters to not approach any further. The police use a color-coded system of flags to announce their increasingly severe response – from a passive warning to a vague threat of force to tear gas to live fire. That day, things didn’t escalate to real violence, and I didn’t end up having to use the gas mask or any of the emergency gear I’d brought. At the front lines, some provocateurs had dismantled street barriers and were wielding steel bars they had pulled from those barriers as weapons, but most other front-liners, though visibly prepared to fight, repeatedly pushed the line back and away from the police in order to avoid a confrontation.

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What do you think will come next for the city?

I had a chance to speak to people with a range of opinions on the protests, from young people that had been actively a part of them since the beginning, were in the streets every weekend, and boycotted pro-Chinese businesses, to professionals who were concerned with or disapproved of the methods of some of the protesters and were discontent with the disruptions the movement had caused. At its core, the issue is about Hong Kong’s quasi-sovereignty and its relationship with China, and even many moderate Hong Kongers have gotten used to and value the special privileges of living in a state with some of the features of Western democracies such as freedom of expression. Virtually everyone under 30 in Hong Kong now identifies as Hong Kongers rather than Chinese, a record figure. There is also a class dimension to the protests; many wealthier professionals rely heavily on business with China for their income and therefore tend to be more pro-Chinese as a group. Still, the recent elections represented a strong vote of confidence from the general population in favor of the protests. I believe they will continue for some time, but I do not expect either major concessions from the government – since showing weakness would embolden other dissidents and separatists – nor, hopefully, a major escalation of force. Eventually, I anticipate that some minor concessions will be made and that the protests will eventually lose steam.

Last, but not least, why do you think Hong Kong is one of the most Cyberpunk cities in the world?

There are certain places in the world – Dubai, Hong Kong, Chongqing – where the reality is already stranger than fiction. Hong Kong has the look that defined a lot of the greatest cyberpunk aesthetics, such as Ghost in the Shell and Blade Runner. Few other cities have both the verticality and the claustrophobia of Hong Kong, where millions are crammed into a finite space, and buildings grow as tall as they can while apartments are as small as humanly possible. Hong Kong was also until 1993 home to the Kowloon Walled City, easily the most cyberpunk place to have ever existed, and also the densest human settlement in history. For readers of this blog not familiar with it, it’s very worth researching.

Kowloon Walled City

The Kowloon Walled City

Thanks for answering our questions here at Cyberpunk Matrix, Simon!

To see or learn more from Simon Herzog, you can contact him via his website here or follow him on his instagram.

Photos courtesy of Simon Herzog

2019: A Year in Review for Cyberpunk

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A Time to Look Back

We are lucky that the end of the year brings us two weeks of holidays, for Christmas and New Year’s, where we can sit down and take a minute to reflect on what the year has brought us. My last Year in Review, for 2018, described how I learned about and became obsessed with the genre of Cyberpunk. While different from 2018 in that I now know what the term means, 2019 has been a year of incredible growth for me personally and for the genre of Cyberpunk in general. On the first few days of 2019 I wrote the following:

I wonder what 2019 will bring, but one thing I know for sure is that my love for everything Cyberpunk will continue. I will carry on consuming and writing about cyberpunk media, starting off with this new year with watching the newly released Bandersnatch episode of Black Mirror, and then hopefully from watching Replicas and then Battle Angel: Alita. I’m also excited to read the newest addition to my cyberpunk library, Down and Out in the Magic Kingdom, as well as learning more about Philip K Dick–his life, his writing, and his philosophy.

Bandersnatch ended up being a creative new way to watch a series, but the ideas that came with it proved insufficient to warrant writing a review yet.

Replicas ended up being good, but it took me a lot longer to watch it than I expected. Alita: Battle Angel was amazing, as expected, but Down and Out in the Magic Kingdom was so boring in the first 30 pages or so that I couldn’t even finish it. So that was a little disappointing.

So Many Great Surprises!

Nonetheless, I was happily surprised by a myriad of interesting new Cyberpunk releases that 2019 brought, many of which were things I could have never in my wildest dreams predicted (like Keanu being in Cyberpunk 2077 or Matrix 4 being announced!)

So now, dear reader, let’s take a look at each month and what cyberpunk news or media production was released.

Replicas

January 2019: Replicas

The year started off lightly with the indie production of Replicas, released on January 11th in the US and featuring Cyberpunk legend Keanu Reeves, who plays a neuroscientist who tries to bring his family back to life via digitizing their consciousness into clone bodies. The movie was pretty good! More of a solving-a-series-of-problems thriller a la Da Vinci Code than action or horror film. I definitely recommend seeing it though, if you haven’t already. You can check out my more in-depth review of it here. The film got very little press coverage or mention, and I think was mostly ignored by the general public due to funding. The cyberpunk genre still hadn’t grown into its own at this point.

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February 2019: Alita: Battle Angel

February 2019 came with the long-awaited GUNNM anime adaptation called Alita: Battle Angel. This movie did pretty well at the box office, and put the Cyberpunk genre back in the spotlight for the general public with its high production value and marketing. Released on Valentine’s Day, February 14th, the movie did an amazing job displaying both Motorball and Parkour in its film, while giving an overall palatable romance between the cyborg Alita and human Hugo.

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March, 2019: Love, Death & Robots

As the picture above describes, this was a NSFW (Not Suitable For Work) animated Anthology series of short stories all related loosely to the themes of Love, Death, and Robots. While some stories showed just science-fiction, and others showed just fantasy (like vampires and werewolves), there were a total of six clearly Cyberpunk episodes in this Anthology. They were Sonnie’s Edge, The Witness, Suits, Beyond the Aquila Rift, Zima Blue, and Blind Spot. For my favorites and a more in-depth review of each episode, you can check it out here. This Anthology was very interesting because it made clear, in my mind at least, the different kinds of Cyberpunk sub-genres that exist: Action, Horror, and Mystery/Drama.

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April: Organ-Harvesting and the horrors of the Uyghurs

After seeing a report of this on CNN and then later on the news, I shared the horrors of what sound like basically concentration camps for ethnic Uyghurs who are being targeted by the Chinese government. Very dystopian indeed. This story, sadly, is still developing.

Pokemon Detective Pikachu

May: Pokemon: Detective Pikachu

Despite probably not officially Cyberpunk, I shared my views on how Pokemon Detective Pikachu had some decidedly Cyberpunk themes in it. It was also an all-around fun movie to watch, especially with Ryan Reynolds voicing Pikachu.

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June: Cyberpunk 2077 Trailer with the legendary reveal of Keanu Reeves as Johnny Silverhand

This is the moment where internet fandom went into overdrive. At E3 fans first heard Keanu Reeve’s voice, then saw his digital likeness come on screen during Cyberpunk 2077’s newest official cinematic trailer for their video game due to be released in April of next year. Few will forget the moment when Keanu himself then comes onto the stage to announce the game’s release date, and that fateful fan who yelled “you’re breathtaking!” to which Keanu responds “no, YOU’re breathtaking! You’re ALL breathtaking!” This, along with John Wick 3, officially hailed the beginning of what some are calling the Keanussance. August’s big announcement didn’t help in this regard.

July: …I’ve got nothing.

Keanu and Carrie Anne

August: Matrix 4 announced

This was perhaps the one biggest announcement that I couldn’t have even ever imagined happening in my lifetime. Matrix 4 was officially announced, with many of the actors from the original trilogy returning, including Carrie Anne-Moss and Keanu Reeves himself. Since the original announcement I have been following any further updates as we have been getting them, such as concept artists, hopes and predictions, and October and December updates.

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September: New Gameplay Trailer for Cyberpunk 2077

September brought us a new video of the gameplay we could expect in Cyberpunk 2077, including a deep dive into the locations, classes, and factions we could expect from the videogame. Which class will you be?

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October: Terminator: Dark Fate

Retconning the sequels after T-2 and intended to be a reboot of the franchise, James Cameron returned to produce this sequel, creating a movie that was pretty good in my opinion but lacked any significant wow-factor. It performed alright in the box office, but not well enough to jumpstart the franchise again. Will this be the last Terminator film we will ever see? Time will tell.

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November: Tesla’s Cybertruck

The much-teased Cybertruck was finally introduced by Elon Musk, in a manner that was probably meant to be a big trending epic reveal but ended up being a bit of an embarrassment for Elon as the supposedly bulletproof and shatterproof windows of the Cybertruck broke (twice!) during the live demonstration in the unveiling. Oops! “We’ll fix it in post” Elon tried to nonchalantly say, but the damage was (literally) already done. Nonetheless, it still turned heads and didn’t stop multiple preorders from being submitted, promising that this truck will be the newest hot item to hit the roads. Whether the trend will last, no one knows, but it was worth noting how mainstream Cyberpunk has become considering how similar the visuals and fonts were for the Cybertruck and the Cyberpunk 2077 video game. Elon is clearly a fan.

NeoSkies photo for Alex

December: Expanding the community: Interviewing and collaborating with NeoSkies

The most recent development from the last couple of months is more of a personal development which has been discovering and interacting with other Cyberpunk fans who enjoy the genre and like creating content as much as I do. One such fan has been NeoSkies. It’s been great to follow NeoSkies’ content production online with Instagram, Twitter, etc. and to engage in her surveys and discussions with the Cyberpunk Community around the world. We’re not alone! It was also similarly great for me to have the opportunity to interview NeoSkies on her process and inspiration, as well.

Looking to the Future

So what does the future hold for Cyberpunk? Something very exciting indeed. Just look at all the great content, announcements and surprises we got from 2019! So while it’s impossible to say what surprise announcements or content we will get, what we can do is predict things that are already in the pipeline and have been announced.

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  1. Altered Carbon: Season 2 should arrive to Netflix in February 2020, which will start off our year right
  2. Cyberpunk 2077 will be released in April, which should really kick the Cyberpunk genre into front and center of pop culture, especially considering it’s in the name of the game itself.
  3. Matrix 4 isn’t expected until 2021, but 2020 will bring with it more and more production and casting updates, as well as hopefully story clues, so the production of Matrix 4 will be very fun to watch. Production should begin in February as well.
  4. While not exactly Cyberpunk, Denis Villeneuve did an excellent job with Cyberpunk 2049, so his adaption of the science-fiction classic DUNE will be very exciting to see. There may be some cyberpunk elements present, but it should be a mostly science fiction tale.

So what new Cyberpunk media are you looking forward to seeing/reading/playing in 2020? Let us know in the comments below!

Matrix 4: December 2019 Latest Updates

It’s been a slow drip of news for Matrix 4 updates, so I wait until the end of the month to give you all the most important, juicy details altogether. Here’s what’s new with what we now know with Matrix 4:

Casting Updates

Neil Patrick Harris

Neil Patrick Harris

Neil Patrick Harris has been cast, and his role is still unknown. You may recognize him as Barney from How I Met Your Mother. He’s also been in movies such as Dr. Horrible’s Sing-along Blog, Gone Girl, and a Series of Unfortunate Events. This is one of the most surprising choices to cast, and it will be interesting to see what role he will be in.

Jessica Henwick

Jessica Henwick

Jessica Henwick has been cast, and her role is still unknown as well. You may recognize her as Nymeria Sand from Game of Thrones, or as Colleen Wing in The Iron Fist. She can definitely kick ass, so she’s an exciting martial arts casting choice.

Jonathan Groff

Jonathan Groff

Jonathan Groff is another surprising cast choice. He’s probably best known as voicing Kristoff and his reindeer Sven from Frozen and Frozen 2. He’s also a main character on the series Mind Hunter from Netflix, where he plays an FBI agent, so he can definitely play some serious stuff.

Toby Onmuwere

Toby Onmuwere

Toby Onmuwere has been cast, and once again, his role is as of yet a mystery. This casting actually wasn’t much of a surprised to me, since he’s a main character in the Wachowski’s series Sense 8. Not only is Sense 8 seasons 1 and 2 some of the latest work that the Wachowskis have made, it has also been written by David Mitchell and Alexander Hemon, who both helped contribute to writing the script for Matrix 4. I’m expecting to hear more casting choices from people who contributed to Sense 8, especially Doona Bae for instance, who is in Sense 8 too and was a major character in the Cyberpunk scenes of Cloud Atlas, which was also by David Mitchell.

Other News

Keanu Reeves has a girlfriend!

Keanu and GF

That’s right, internet, Keanu Reeves is unfortunately off the market! Considering it’s the age of the Keanussance, it was big news when this story broke on November 6 that Keanu was walking down the red carpet holding hands with Alexandra Grant.

After meeting and getting together with Jennifer Syme in 1998, the couple experienced their first tragedy when she had a stillbirth after 8 months of pregnancy. It devastated the couple, who separated, and then not even two years later, Syme was killed in a tragic car crash.

So now after being single for about 15 years, fans were very happy to learn that he found happiness again! Also for someone as cultured and interesting as Alexandra Grant, who is a multilingual visual artist who is also a feminist and has published two books with Reeves, “Ode to Happiness” and “Shadows”.

Keanu Reeves and Carrie Anne-Moss are working out again to prepare for their roles

“That was such a shocker,” Moss said to ET when she learned she would be returning to the Matrix franchise. “I’m still processing it that I’m going to do that again.” About playing Trinity, she added that it’s not about “trying to replicate something. You’re trying to expand it.”

“It’s definitely 20 years later and I have to remember to take my time because I get pretty into it,” she says with a laugh. “I have to be so incredibly strong to do it.” She remembers this because when she was filming the Matrix trilogy, she actually broke her leg doing it.

“That happened,” Moss said matter-of-factly about getting hurt. “Every day I was making those movies was incredible. Even when it was hard, even when we were dealing with tough stuff.”

Although it will be tough, grueling stuff, Moss reports she’s ready for the challenge. “I’m just so happy to be in it and being part of it,” she said, adding that what she remembers most about her time working on the franchise is how much she loved doing it. “To me, that’s the only part I have control over is my experience on the project — not necessarily how it’s received or how it does.”

Moss concludes by saying, “I’m taking it one day at a time for sure.”

Meanwhile, Keanu Reeves is back at Taran Tactical to train for both The Matrix and John Wick movies. So perhaps we can expect…

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Guns. Lots of Guns. 

Last, but not least: Matrix 4 finally has a release date!

Matrix 4 has finally been given a release date, so mark your calendars: It’s May 21st, 2021. For now this is conflicting with John Wick 3 release date (which still doesn’t even have a script yet) but it’s expected John Wick will be bumped to a later date. Nonetheless, that didn’t stop mega-fans from dubbing the day as Keanu Reeves day.

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Black Mirror’s Metalhead Review–Could This Be Our Dystopian Future?

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Not for the faint of heart

Metalhead is an incredibly bleak episode, one of many in the Black Mirror Series. It’s set in a dystopian future where sentient robots, called dogs, hunt humans. The entire episode is set in black and white, and the musical score is as chilling as any proper horror short story. The episode follows three members of a survival group who are out foraging for supplies, looking for a specific box on the top shelf of a specific warehouse out in the wasteland. Hastily-abandoned cars litter the side of the road among empty, destitue landscapes, suggesting something went seriously wrong in this world.

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A Killer Robot Dog With No Face

The characters encounter one of these “dogs” early on, and this is where the true horror sets in. This dog is completely expressionless, adding a cold and calculating element to its purpose to apparently search and destroy any human it comes across. Part of what makes this killer robot so chilling is perhaps because the technology it employs does not seem that far-fetched compared to what is possible today.

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Slow-Motion Horror

Another masterfully done element of this short horror piece is the slow-motion effects that are employed whenever something truly shocking and terrible happens. It reminds me of anytime something awful is in progress of happening, so bad it requires a shift in worldview or complete change in perspective afterwards, and so while it happens it seems as if time slows down. If you’ve ever watched something truly valuable like a new cellphone fall towards the hard concrete without a case, or some priceless bauble tumble into a drain, perhaps you can relate. And so too is the viewer taken along for the ride of the horror that these humans encounter.

Similar to other horror films (I would think, because it’s a genre I try to avoid) the camera often takes the place of what the dog sees, how it scans the land and how it pursues its prey. This at least reminded me of the AI visions from the perspective of the Terminator.

Metalhead Gun

Alternating Between First-Person and Third-Person Shots

Surprisingly, the camera never takes a complete first person perspective of the humans in the episode, but with the masterfully cut angles it might well have with its close-up shots of the tools that the surviving humans encounter in their breathless run from the dogs.

As terrifying as this episode is (including the decidedly unhappy ending), one might find solace in thinking that this dog, this technology, isn’t possible.

Why This Matters: Chilling Parallels with Boston Dynamics

boston dynamics dog

Well, that same terror might return if the viewer knows about the work of Boston Dynamics. See any similarities here?

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Boston Dynamics has already made several breakthroughs in the mobility of their robots, and I for one think it’s just a matter of time that these robots, similar to the drone technology we already have, will become more widespread and available, especially with the military.

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It’s not a far leap to guess that weaponizing the quadruped robots they already have would be useful to ‘save lives’ for the military, and once that’s achieved, it’s only a matter of time before those weaponized robots are hunting enemy humans (as this Youtube Channel Corridor effectively imagines). Combine that with the drones that are already dropping bombs on people, and you have a truly dystopian future.

The acting in this episode is masterfully done, as are the shots and the scenes. I would have liked to see the episode in color, as the black and white scale was unnecessary, but I suppose it does add an artistic and even more somber touch to an already depressingly terrorizing episode.

Final Verdict: 9/10

You have to take the episode for what it is: A chilling, and thrilling, standalone episode. I always find that it’s the episodes that you keep on thinking about long after you’ve seen it that are the most influential, and this episode is definitely one of them. Because of the acting, the black and white stylistic choice, the action, the horror, and the direction of different angles, this is an excellent thrilling robot horror episode.

Cyberpunk Matrix Interviews NeoSkies!

Last weekend I was able to interview NeoSkies! In case you haven’t seen her before, NeoSkies creates an incredible amount of Cyberpunk-related content daily via her website, instagram, and twitter. She graciously agreed to answer some questions about her favorite Cyberpunk works, her inspiration, and how she got started with NeoSkiesArt.com.

NeoSkies photo for Alex

What’s your real first name? If you feel comfortable sharing it.

My real name is Joy, though I do go by NeoSkies 🙂

What got you into Cyberpunk?

So ironically enough, I was watching E3 2018 and I saw the 40 minute Cyberpunk 2077 demo.  I remember being so intrigued by how the world looked from the futuristic aesthetic, outlawed districts and above all the weaponry. It was like stepping into a whole new world that I never knew existed. I started to search more about the game and soon decided I wanted to dive more into the Cyberpunk genre.

What made you decide to start Neoskiesart.com?

I was a digital artist on Instagram for a long time and in April of this year I wanted to create a website where I could further express myself and create content that I wouldn’t be able to post on social media. Such as: Tutorials, blog posts, process videos and etc. That’s why the website was called ‘Neoskiesart.com’ but after a couple of months realising that art wasn’t something I no longer wanted to pursue (career wise) I took a break.

You post a lot on Instagram and Twitter. How do you keep on posting original content so regularly?

Oh wow, good question! Well first let me say, there is just so much to talk about and discuss when it comes to Cyberpunk so the way I see it, content ideas are endless. I do aim to create content in advance to help with my sanity 😂 but I do tend to create content on the day (especially when an idea or theory comes to my head). But I believe it’s all down to scheduling and just having times throughout the day to be in silence. It helps a lot, especially when you’re struggling for ideas, sometimes the best ideas come to me in silence.

What’s your inspiration for the content that you post? Where do you get your ideas?

Above all else, the main thing I want my content to do is spark curiosity in the Cyberpunk genre. So a lot of my inspirations come from myself and what I find fun or what I’m curious about. Such as: quizzes, polls and theories. I also look at IGN, Pinterest and BuzzFeed for content ideas.

I saw recently that you added Ruth to your team. She’s your sister, right? How did that come about?

Ah yes! My sister, Ruth, is a filmmaker but in her spare time she helps me with creating content for my page. She’s no stranger to the Cyberpunk genre as she’s obsessed with Deus Ex and Mr Robot. She’s always wanted to create content around it but she didn’t know where, and that’s when we got the eureka moment of working together. I create content on all things Blade Runner and Altered Carbon and she does the same with Deus Ex and Mr Robot 🙂

What are your top three favorite Cyberpunk works, and why?

Blade Runner, Blade Runner 2049 and Blade Runner: Blackout. If you didn’t know already… I’m OBSESSED with Blade Runner. It was the first film I watched when I got into Cyberpunk and that’s why it holds such a dear place in my heart, it’s like my first love.

I was in awe when I saw Blade Runner (1982), the movie was ahead of it’s time for sure! The idea that these ‘robots’ were a danger to humanity because they were expressing human emotions was just bizarre to me. Like what’s wrong with that? And above all, Roy Batty was just so easy to fall in love with, he was by far the main reason why I kept watching the movie.

Blade Runner 2049 was something I hated at first but after watching it a second time, I now consider it superior to the original. It had a more compelling narrative and it was easier to understand and follow. Also, I loved the set design and relationships that were shown in the sequel. Especially Joi and K’s relationship and the dynamic between Niander Wallace and Luv.

I didn’t know Denis Villeneuve released 3 short films before Blade Runner 2049, so you can imagine how excited I was to find out that there were more Blade Runner films to see.

I don’t know what it was but Blackout hit me differently than the other two movies. I felt this feeling of anger, grief, pain and sadness towards the replicants that I didn’t feel in the other two movies. I don’t want to spoil anything but I would love to see more about this storyline in future installments.

With Altered Carbon being such a hit last year on Netflix, Cyberpunk 2077 releasing next year as the most anticipated game of the year, and Elon Musk recently unveiling his CyberTruck, what are your thoughts on Cyberpunk as a genre and its future? Do you think it’s going to continue becoming more mainstream, or is it just a passing fad?

Right now, I believe this is truly the beginning of the rise of Cyberpunk. Now more than ever we are living in the future that this genre warns us about.

I do feel like it’s a 50/50 chance that Cyberpunk could go mainstream or sink to the bottom to be unheard of again. But something’s telling me that it will continue to grow and expand. I mean just look at what Cyberpunk 2077 did with me, I had no clue this genre existed but now I do and that’s all because of this game.

Finally, what does the word Cyberpunk mean to you?

Wow, Cyberpunk means so much to me, it’s a place where I truly feel like I belong. Cyberpunk makes me feel like I can express myself freely, I struggle a lot with self esteem and self love, and this genre challenged the way I see myself. I’ve grown a lot in confidence and this is something I didn’t think I had. This genre rebels against society’s norms and you can be whoever you want here, I love that!

Cyberpunk sparks my curiosity in so many ways, I no longer look at the world through one telescope but multiple. My views on humanity, technology, sexuality and economy have changed a lot since I joined the community.

You can find Joy on her blog at NeoSkiesArt.com or on her twitter or Instagram, where she constantly produces content and regularly engages with the Cyberpunk community.