I often feel anachronistic to the Millennial generation perhaps because I’m somewhere between Gen X and Millennial (Gen Y). I’m the generational equivalent to the dubious astrological cusp, but maybe this sentiment is precisely what makes me an unremarkable Millennial. As you may already know, we Millennials have a sordid reputation at best. By the last U.S. presidential election cycle, Millennials matched Baby Boomers in eligible voting population. But our lack of civic engagement shows in our dismal voter turnout and thus our left leaning political preferences are nowhere to be found in our government. Instead, we’re amidst an “unprecedented” political climate where the administration's political strategies resemble fascism. The direction of navel-gazing and shame both point down.
These days I spend most of my time teaching video art to students under 22, the generation yet to be officially named. Depending on who you ask they’re the Generation Z, Post-Millennials, iGeneration, Gen Tech, Net Gen, Digital Natives, Plurals, or more recently and tragically the Mass Shooting Generation. A recent New York Times survey revealed a crowd favorite, the Delta Generation to denote the rapid change and uncertainty that has shaped their lives.
I find myself deeply engaged with these student projects. As if reading tea leaves, I look to these works, desperately trying to predict and understand what is to come. And if these videos are any indication of what is ahead of us, I am vigilantly hopeful.
Disembodiment depicts different sections of my mind with a scattered yet intentional psyche. Calm can go to chaotic in a second, or vice versa. Using a sharp contrast of tones represents the mind in certain situations. How many things can be seen or processed at one time until there becomes a sense of overload. Can loud and boisterous also represent calming and sane? When does the line of blurred and clear begin and end, if there is any at all. There is a clear beginning to friendship but the end is solely dependent on the people involved. It can be a constant source of happiness and interesting conversation with people you connect with. Also with nature and the world outside of anything electronic that seems to be taking us over more and more. When the beauty of the earth is laid in front of us, something always takes away our focus on it. Even taking a picture of the beautiful scene, technology is still in use creeping up on us. However, is there a clear definition of what is too much technology? That is up to the user, what they use it for with others or only their self. How does it make them feel? Does it determine their happiness or feelings in that moment? Alone with oneself what really goes on inside your mind? Anything and everything you can think of, which creates disembodiment of your mind.
These two videos are based on how people put value on social hierarchy. The updated way we see this now is on social media. The blue checkmark represents verification directly from the powerful platforms, but in turn it also the mark of a higher social standing on social media creating a new form of social class structure. The gridded video has a similar configuration to how instagram looks in a single account. I chose people of all races and personalities and had only a few of them verified. Showing a specific selection on who exactly could be verified. The other film is a satirical tutorial video. Even if we have to change the whole of ourselves, we do it to fit in to the standards of today. We waste so much time, and in turn we lose part of ourselves.
The social media networks we use today may be making history repeat itself, the only way to climb the social ladder is to become the most popular, gain the most likes and to always be on top. Is becoming famous the new way to be crowned king?
Sometimes when life starts to suck the only way you can find happiness is through pure cringe.