Life Rewired Shorts: Wifi in the Glen

Barbican Centre

How much do you rely on technology? Meet the residents of a remote community in the heart of the Scottish Highlands.

'WiFi in the Glen' is a witty, heartfelt portrait of a remote community in the heart of the Scottish Highlands. Assynt is one of the most ancient places on earth, dating back billions of years. Using the landscape as a starting point, this film explores the lives of those that live there, and the often surprising part that technology plays in them. Through interactions with the people who call this barren, dramatic environment home, you can get a sense of the place - and are invited to perhaps consider an alternative to your own reliance on technology.

Still from Life Rewired Shorts / Wifi in the Glen by Josh Hughes and Jake Lancaster, Josh Hughes, Jake Lancaster, Barbican Centre, 2019/2019, From the collection of: Barbican Centre
How does your film respond to the ideas behind Life Rewired?
‘There are still parts of rural Britain that have little internet or none at all, mostly in the remote Scottish Highlands. Assynt, where our film is based, is one of the most sparsely populated regions in the whole of Europe. We were intrigued by the idea of exploring what it means to live in an ancient environment, in a modern age.Through interactions with a diverse cross-section of people - from crofters and hunters to schoolchildren and storytellers - our film offers up an alternative to the fast-paced, technology-obsessed world many of us occupy. And we hope it encourages the audience to reflect on the internet’s role in their own lives.’
Still from Life Rewired Shorts / Wifi in the Glen by Josh Hughes and Jake Lancaster, Josh Hughes, Jake Lancaster, Barbican Centre, 2019/2019, From the collection of: Barbican Centre

"We were intrigued by the idea of exploring what it means to live in an ancient environment, in a modern age"

Still from Life Rewired Shorts / Wifi in the Glen by Josh Hughes and Jake Lancaster, Josh Hughes, Jake Lancaster, Barbican Centre, 2019/2019, From the collection of: Barbican Centre
Can you explain the process behind the making of your film?
‘There’s a very boring version of this story that we could have told, focusing on internet speeds and cabling in remote areas. Instead, we wanted to make something which reflected our initial reaction to the place: a film about the warmth of the community and the unique character of its people, contrasted with the cold, bleak beauty of the landscape they inhabit. Over the course of several trips we travelled up and down the North West coast of Scotland in the middle of winter, experiencing every possible weather condition. We made contact with musicians, storytellers, farmers and hunters who we thought captured the spirit of the place - these people quickly formed the basis for our story. Visually, it was important for the film to illustrate the interaction between man-made artifice and the natural landscape, so people, cars, telephone wires, a lighthouse, ruins all became important signals of human life in an otherwise untamed place’.
Still from Life Rewired Shorts / Wifi in the Glen by Josh Hughes and Jake Lancaster, Josh Hughes, Jake Lancaster, Barbican Centre, 2019/2019, From the collection of: Barbican Centre

"We made contact with musicians, storytellers, farmers and hunters who we thought captured the spirit of the place - these people quickly formed the basis for our story"

Still from Life Rewired Shorts / Wifi in the Glen by Josh Hughes and Jake Lancaster, Josh Hughes, Jake Lancaster, Barbican Centre, 2019/2019, From the collection of: Barbican Centre
What does the filmmaker of the future look like?
‘Anyone with a strong vision, regardless of background. We hope filmmaking in the future becomes more representative, less elitist’.
Still from Life Rewired Shorts / Wifi in the Glen by Josh Hughes and Jake Lancaster, Josh Hughes, Jake Lancaster, Barbican Centre, 2019/2019, From the collection of: Barbican Centre
Still from Life Rewired Shorts / Wifi in the Glen by Josh Hughes and Jake Lancaster, Josh Hughes, Jake Lancaster, Barbican Centre, 2019/2019, From the collection of: Barbican Centre

"People, cars, telephone wires, a lighthouse, ruins all became important signals of human life in an otherwise untamed place"

Credits: Story

About the filmmakers
Jake Lancaster is a writer/director from Manchester. As well as writing and directing fiction shorts, he works in script development for the producer Liza Marshall at Hera Pictures.

Josh Hughes is a cinematographer and documentary filmmaker working across genre and mediums. He has shot projects around the world including Nigeria, Ghana and Southern Italy.

Life Rewired Shorts are a series of short films produced in collaboration with The Smalls. Each month throughout 2019, we asked filmmakers to explore the ideas behind the Barbican's Life Rewired, a season exploring what it means to be human when technology is changing everything.

The series is supported by the British Council's Anyone / Anywhere, a global season on the 30th anniversary of the birth of the web, looking at the impact of this world-changing invention on every aspect of our lives.

Credits: All media
The story featured may in some cases have been created by an independent third party and may not represent the views of the institutions whose collections include the featured works or of Google Arts & Culture.
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