World premiere: IDFA DocLab 2021
The VR experience of Diagnosia, alumnus of IDFA’s DocLab R&D program in collaboration with MIT Open Documentary Lab, is a sensorial immersion in the director’s recollections of a military-operated rehab camp for Internet addicts in China, and a voice given to those who were locked there by their parents. In these camps, Internet addiction and other issues that teens face are treated, sometimes rather violently, as severe mental disorders, and social control is exercised under the banner of medicine and education. In 2007, when the director was 16, he was sent to the rehab in Beijing by his parents against his wills. He later found out that the rehab camp had been using patients as research subjects and publishing extensively on the medicalization of internet addiction, which raises questions of medical ethics.
A highly individual experience, Diagnosia is accompanied by an uncanny soundscape, which mixes real sounds and algorithmically manipulated samples that interact with the audience’s movements in real time.