John Perry Barlow

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Conceiving Ada Review


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Highly conceptual, intricately cerebral and ever- so-slightly pretentious, "Conceiving Ada" is a semi-science fictionsemi-biography of Ada Byron King, the daughter of amorous poet Lord Byronand the great-grandmother of the digital age.

The picture is directed by Bay Area multimedia artist LynnHershman Leeson and stars the deeply affecting and resonatingly intellectualTilda Swinton ("Orlando") as Ada, a thinker so ahead of her timethat most of her Victorian contemporaries couldn't dream of wrapping theirheads around her innovative mathematics.

The film taps into her genius -- she invented what is generallyacknowledged as the first computer language for partner Charles Babbage'srevolutionary analytical engine -- and into her frustration with Victorianconvention through a modern protagonist, a passionate computer prodigynamed Emmy (Francesca Faridany).

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