By Don Simpson | April 20, 2012
Director: Stephen Maing
Similar to Ai Weiwei: Never Sorry, Stephen Maing’s High Tech, Low Life looks at the Chinese government’s tyrannical control over the dissemination of information; but whereas Alison Klayman conveys the message(s) of her documentary via the perspective of a provocative multimedia artist, Maing utilizes two bloggers who achieve a similar goal with drastically different approaches. So, not only does High Tech, Low Life observe the detrimental effects of censorship in China, but it also functions as a smart compare and contrast piece on the ways two different generations attempt to change their situation.
Zola is a cocky young blogger who represents the “new guard” of Chinese revolutionaries. His unassuming appearance allows him to pass as just another bystander taking photos, rather than attracting attention to himself as a journalist. Zola’s goal is to document newsworthy events and tell the Truth before the government has a chance to cover-up the facts; he then relies upon his notoriety and fame to communicate the Truth to the legions of loyal fans who follow his blog.
Tiger Temple is part of the “old guard” of Chinese revolutionaries. He functions as an investigative reporter, interviewing people in order to document the ways in which they have been wronged by their government. Whereas Zola just blogs about events, Tiger Temple goes beyond just blogging; he actively assists his downtrodden subjects in a concerted effort to improve their situation.
High Tech, Low Life reveals the life-changing possibilities of the internet and social networking. As it turns out, Twitter is not just a tool for you to give your followers minute-by-minute updates on your routine; it can be used to spread important information, even in the most restrictive environments.