Runtime: 7m 14s
Dir. Steven Lourenço
Moonlighting (2016) by Steven Lourenço, is a short video that follows our protagonist (himself) through one day in his home city of Toronto. The video takes place entirely on the route to and from the protagonist’s home and school (OCADU). The video recordings within were captured entirely on the back (1.9MP) and front-facing (8MP) cameras of a Samsung Galaxy S3 SGH-1747M, were then uploaded to Instagram in real-time, and then screen-grabbed by a screen-recorder application that saved the footage for further editing. The editing style is not based directly in an editing technique discussed in class, but is rather based in some of most readily used forms of editing to those of the digital era (mainly the 15-second clip). The video was originally intended for play on the above-mentioned cellphone, but it has also been formatted to play online for viewers outside of a gallery/exhibition space.
Although the video discards unnecessary moments in time through editing, it maintains the templates, load/buffer screens, and other often disregarded functions of Instagram. Moonlighting is edited within the paradigm that Instagram has instituted in the current capture culture. Functionally, the Instagram template has a very distinct means of operation: 15-second videos (unless recorded outside of the app) that capture any kind of moment for limitless dissemination. The ability to share a personal moment with friends and millions of strangers in an instant is what Instagram offers. It is a deep web of memes, scenic vistas, and selfies that reach over immeasurable space with extreme immediacy.
I wanted the images to have the low quality prescribed by our phones and the compression that occurs seemingly naturally in Instagram because it feels like it represents the nu-organic quality that we abide by uncritically. It is important to continually embrace and confront the fast-food aesthetics of our times, but it also represents a great paradox: to see and willingly represent ourselves within these pixelated, 8-frame per second systems.
Furthering on my conceptual approach, I wanted to touch on this stretching inclination to (over-) share with such rapidity and the questions of self-image and quality that come along with. As I shared the images to Instagram, the experience became akin to a live-journal or broadcast in that my appearance and actions weren’t edited in any way (except for minor cuts to beginning and end of clips) and that my followers were able to view exactly what I was up to from the moment I awoke. The process became less about the industry of “likes” that we find ourselves paying into so often and more so about it’s sister action “sharing”. Although I don’t consider myself one to over share on social media, I recognize that there are moments in which maybe I have, in things I say or images I post. I wanted to take a day and completely over exaggerate this process. As I did so, I felt the discomfort of playing the role of someone who felt inclined to share every minute detail, but as that economy of likes came back into play, I felt a slight obligation to satiate the curiosities of those who were intrigued by what was happening and were perhaps becoming aware of what I was up to. I felt that I was able to briefly play the role of someone motivated by notifications, whilst pointing to the mundaneness of an average day and the self-importance one manages to find on such a platform on any given day.
Along with these conceptual ideals, I decided to play on the idea that this over-sharing is just a front – a highlight reel. Although Moonlighting presents this reel in the opposite (by night: a crime-fighting, daring, partier/by day: slow, boring man), the purpose of the film means to say that in more recent times, we find the best ways/go to great lengths to represent ourselves in particular ways to a huge audience. It seems we come up short when aiming for these satisfaction points, and although we are aware of the cyclicality of the process, we are constantly swept-up in it. The dreams we have of alternate realities and fan-fiction exploration; a complete lack of responsibility and non-existent consequence: Moonlighting is comedically over-self-indulgent and unsophisticated in quality yet it speaks greatly to and about our current digital economy and the dreams that lie within it.