Watch Lily McMenamy in a web series about ‘digital puberty’

Translantics tackles the transition from URL to IRL with expert cameos from Mykki Blanco and VFILES’ Preston Chaunsumlit

Life as a socially anxious creative in the Eurozone is tough, right? That’s the idea that Britta Thie’s Translantics explores, in the form of a web series about our digitally pubescent generation. Revolving around the intertwined lives of a group of friends, as they cross from digital to IRL, it stars a host of creatives, from Mykki Blanco to Lily McMenamy to Preston Chaunsumlit. As we premiere the fourth episode, we talked to the series’ creator Britta Thie about being on the guestlist, digital pubescence and taking inspiration from The Simpsons.

Could you explain the idea behind the title? 

Britta Thie: It’s a wordplay with transitional, translation, transit and being trans – across – generations, languages, continents and most importantly, between analogue and digital. We’re this generation that was born in the 80s and grew up without internet but then, when we hit puberty, we grew up parallel to society's puberty from analogue to digital. It's about these people who are not so confident, but self-referential and self-nostalgic.

What’s this episode about?

Britta Thie: Essentially, it's about being in a club in Berlin. “The Hate Box” was inspired by Chesters, which was this ironic place to go out for the art world or young, creative people in 2012-13. The atmosphere there was always really anxiety-driven with super aggressive, macho techno playing. But actually, everyone was just ignoring each other, being observed, instead of being sociable, trying to squash their real feelings underneath the posing. “The Hate Box” name is also from a Simpsons episode!

“It's a fairy tale about a circle of friends, but they tell it themselves in a sort-of-scripted way” – Britta Thie

A lot of the people in the show are well-known in their own rights. Did you create the characters with certain people in mind?

Britta Thie: Some of them were in my friend circle but not all of them. The dialogue isn't scripted entirely. It's kind of a collaborative piece – the people I asked to be in it make up their own characters. For example, Lily (McMenamy) is doing a great job of playing this hilarious gallerista that's not inspired by anyone real, but is just a caricature. Also, Ella Plevin’s character, Nora Bloom, who’s really mean: she invented that (even though, in this episode, Nora turns into a really sweet character). It's a fairy tale about a circle of friends, but they tell it themselves in a sort-of-scripted way. There's an image, but then they decide if they want to interpret it and how.

How did you portray this liminal state between digital and analogue that the characters are in?

Britta Thie: I work very closely with my co-director Julia Burlingham, and she always comes up with really amazing ideas, and we inspire each other. We wanted to make caricatures of the iPhone communication stuff, so it's all a little over the top and not trying so hard to be realistic. We want to draw a funny, surreal, almost painterly story of a generation that is making fun of themselves.