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Stanford Department of Art & Art History presents Users, a film by Natalia Almada.

Users begins with a mother’s question: will my children love their perfect machines more than they love their imperfect mother? From this seemingly simple prompt, acclaimed filmmaker Natalia Almada (2012 MacArthur Genius Grant Recipient, 2009 Sundance Film Festival Directing Award) spins an epic examination of our world, where it is taken for granted that technological progress will always inspire social progress; that ever-smarter machines will better humankind. Constructed from stunning, immaculately rendered images, and featuring a score performed by the Kronos Quartet, Users is an immersive journey into the heart of our changing relationship to the natural world.

From the largest indoor vertical farm in the world to an IVF embryo lab to an underwater fiber optic cable landing, Users unearths new vistas of the inner workings of the invisible forces that surround us. Almada marshals all the forces cinema in a Malickian montage to reveal the invisible forces that guide our lives and suggests the extents to which these movements may not be fully understood for years to come. In a world in constant flux, children grow up, their mother loves and worries, and Users blends the great and small questions into a mesmerizing cinematic whole.

Image courtesy of Icarus Films

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MacArthur Fellow and two-time recipient of the Sundance Documentary Directing Award for her film El General in 2009 and Users in 2021. Natalia Almada's directing credits include Todo lo demás (New York Film Festival 2016), El Velador (Cannes 2011), Al Otro Lado (Tribeca 2005) and All Water has a Perfect Memory (Sundance 2002). 

Almada’s films have screened at Documenta13, The Museum of Modern Art, The Guggenheim Museum, and The 2008 Whitney Biennial. All three feature documentaries have broadcast on the award-winning series POV. Almada has received the Guggenheim, USA Artists, Alpert, and MacDowell fellowships. Almada graduated with a Masters in Fine Arts in photography from the Rhode Island School of Design and currently lives in Mexico City and San Francisco.

VISITOR INFORMATION: Oshman Hall is located at 355 Roth Way within the McMurtry Building on Stanford campus. Visitor parking is free after 4 pm on weekdays, except by the Oval. Alternatively, take the Caltrain to Palo Alto Transit Center and ride the free Stanford Marguerite Shuttle. If you need a disability-related accommodation or wheelchair access information, please contact Julianne Garcia at Requests should be made by April 20.

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