Can filming one second of every day change your life?
January 8, 2013 3:41 AM   Subscribe

BBC News article: to document the year, Kuriyama filmed one second of video every day. "After just six weeks, I realised I was going to be doing that for the rest of my life," he says.
posted by devnull (19 comments total) 16 users marked this as a favorite
That is a splendid idea tied to a very annoying beard.
posted by Sebmojo at 4:06 AM on January 8, 2013 [1 favorite]

If you did this with my life most of it would be long periods of me sitting at a desk and twitching a bit.
posted by Segundus at 4:07 AM on January 8, 2013 [5 favorites]

According to a kickstarter email I got this morning, the app will be free to download on Thursday (EST) (and then be $1 forever after).
posted by jcrbuzz at 4:59 AM on January 8, 2013

I'm planning on doing this for my upcoming 6 week trip in Patagonia. Ok, maybe 4 or 5 seconds each day. Anyway, I got the idea from a metafilter comment. Sure beats a slideshow!
posted by saul wright at 5:21 AM on January 8, 2013 [1 favorite]

This is probably great for yourself, similar to using your Photos folder as a screensaver. But it was painful to watch otherwise. Like channel flipping, only more seizure-inducing.
posted by DU at 5:36 AM on January 8, 2013

Similar, but with more effort I think
posted by univac at 5:37 AM on January 8, 2013

What's not clear from the article: how/when does he choose which second to keep? Seems like without some sort of automation, the risk of self-censorship/editorialising is likely to defeat much of the the self-discovery effect he describes...
posted by progosk at 5:42 AM on January 8, 2013

posted by hal9k at 5:54 AM on January 8, 2013

This could be interesting, especially for those ephemeral noises or songs children tend to emit throughout the year.

For the past six months I've been trying to log my Best Moment of the Day every night. I try to stay away from the general such as "going out to dinner" or "spending time with family" but try to focus on specific moments such as: "the smile on my child's face when he caught the ground ball in the game", "turning on the water and noticing the pipe I painstakingly fixed in the bathroom no longer leaked", or simply: "cleaning the garage - a task I've been putting off for months - and finding 3 tools I was looking for all summer!" These are moments of genuine happiness and ethereal connectedness to the universe - they happen often, yet looking back we tend to ignore them because we are frustratingly focused on some far off - supposed life changing goal - we believe will make our lives better... But these moments ARE life, we have just been programmed to file them away as mundane because they aren't considered major accomplishments. Looking back on this log I can get a picture of what makes me happy in this world and more importantly, this exercise is proof that on even the crappiest day I can still find a single moment of happiness that I might have otherwise ignored.
posted by any major dude at 6:07 AM on January 8, 2013 [8 favorites]

At first glance it seems like we've gone to the opposite end of the spectrum from the days when cameras, film and processing took some serious money. In those days you wanted every frame to count. You tended to concentrate on the special moments like birthdays and holidays and family vacations. Then decades later you looked through the shoebox full of prints or spools of 8mm and tried to remember who were those people standing around the pool. Why did you have a picture of your neighbor Burt pointing at a dead fish and holding his nose? Or was his name Bernie? Even if you took the shots yourself, you often couldn't remember.

If that's what happened when we were more deliberate, what are we going to make of seemingly random seconds jumbled together? As a video collage, it sort of works. You see how life looked to you during a certain stretch of time. But would I really want to spend an hour watching one-second fragments of my 30s? I'd rather have a 10-minute highlight reel with some context. But that's me. If this guy likes having the one-second fragments, good on him for making it happen.
posted by Longtime Listener at 6:21 AM on January 8, 2013 [1 favorite]

any major dude, I actually thought of a microblogging platform...
"OnePostADay - A microblogging site where you only get to post one post a day, SO MAKE IT IMPORTANT! "
The other ideas I had were:
Binarius - Life is never all good or all bad, it's a mix. Like one post a day, only you get two posts; one good, one bad.
(I was thinking of binarius last night and picturing a split screen of your feed, with plus on one side, negative on the other)...

I also had the idea of "Impermanet"
You make a post, maybe limited to a few a day. After 24 hours, 10 characters are randomly deleted from the post. After 2 weeks (14 days), all 140 characters of a post are completely destroyed. Off the servers. Never to be found again.

Message in a Bottle (which apparently is now a thing in China, but at the time I wrote, it wasn't, afaict).
posted by symbioid at 6:38 AM on January 8, 2013 [1 favorite]

In those days you wanted every frame to count.

You make a good point, and also a good case, to my mind, for this type of approach. The downside of filming and taking pictures of certain periods, like a wedding or important family events, in such painstaking detail is that, while at the time you want to capture as much as possible, later you not only find that A) you missed a lot of the event itself in the process of trying to capture it, and B) you can't possibly want to go through the hours of footage you've captured. My aunt filmed my wedding day (and made a bit of bother of herself doing so) in late summer, and by the time she was showing it to the family at christmas dinner a few months later, my wife and I were already 'meh' about the idea of watching every second get replayed.

Better to grab a few seconds as kind of a postage stamp, with the idea that seeing those few seconds is enough to jog the relevant parts of your memory.

I like the idea of some kind of narrative emerging out of the clips, even if I'm the only one that can see the whole arc.
posted by dry white toast at 6:40 AM on January 8, 2013

I am sixty days away from completing my 365 project (daily photo). Some are good-quality photographs, others are family snapshots or random excerpts from my day...and a few are throwaways when I didn't have anything else at 11:45 pm. I love it. The album is on my iPhone and I can flip back through my life day-by-day. It's helped my memory, it's been tremendous fun, it has finally disciplined me to be better about getting photos with friends and family, and it inspired me to take photography classes at MassArt and develop my new hobby.

So I agree with Kuriyama in principle. Everybody should try something like this. If you'd prefer to watch a video, then do one second of video daily instead of a photograph. (Personally I'd rather flip casually through photos than sit through an increasing-length video.) I also think jotting down your Best Moment of the Day is a terrific idea. But whatever you choose, try creating some type of daily log. It requires discipline, but that becomes easier as you get deeper into it, (1) out of habit, and (2) because you gain momentum from discovering that having the collection is really, really fun.

without some sort of automation, the risk of self-censorship/editorialising is likely to defeat much of the the self-discovery effect

That's a really interesting point. I put my 365 project on a blog, because I thought keeping it public would help motivate me. But over the past year I've discovered a lot of moments that I wanted to use as my "picture of the day" but didn't want to post on the Internet. After I finish the 365, I'm going to keep doing this daily but privately so that I can include those photos.

But there's still editorializing. When I have really bad days, usually I try not to document that. I enjoy how flipping through the album is fun for me, and I feel like documenting my bad days would hamper that. On the other hand, bad days are significant in your life, and I've also been thinking about this NYTimes Op-Ed from last week that basically says you're not being honest as an artist unless you feel humiliated. Am I missing an opportunity to experience something new, to grow, by not delving into photos that I will positively detest viewing?
posted by cribcage at 7:59 AM on January 8, 2013 [1 favorite]

Completed year video from a similar project if anyone wants to see an example of what the final product can be like.
posted by dogwalker at 8:55 AM on January 8, 2013

self-reflection is never a bad thing.

Yeah, I'm going to disagree with that. But in reality, I don't think there's any self-reflection going on here. It's just one more layer of exhibitionism. LOOK AT MEEEEEEE!!!!!!!! What is the goal, and isnt' self-reflection by nature private?

Seriously, one second a day? And how much time is spent every day orchestrating that moment? How is self-reflection ... or living mindfully in any way ... possible when your focus is on distilling all of your experience into a single second? How is it possible to fully experience the other 86,399 seconds if you're spending them curating footage to pick the right second to make public?

I love the photos each week of a kid growing up, because even outside of the youtube post they are a record the kid can have later, a gift he can look at when he can't remember the last time he was happy, or when he hits a milestone and is feeling nostalgic, or when he wants to show his girlfriend what he looked like before the accident, or as a blonde, or when he was chubby, or whatever. Those are personal.

This I don't see the value in. Except as a product of course, the app he's selling to other people who have bought into the idea that exhibitionism is the same as self-reflection and are willing to pay for an easy way to do it themselves.

(also, get off my lawn)
posted by headnsouth at 9:19 AM on January 8, 2013

This seems like a good way to covertly brag about how awesome one's life is.
posted by Apocryphon at 10:27 AM on January 8, 2013

how much time is spent every day orchestrating that moment?

In my case, it varies. Some days it's literally, "Oops I almost forgot to take a photo today, snap-snap." Other days, having the obligation will prompt me to snap a photo with friends or family where I might have otherwise skipped the moment. And yes, sometimes I will completely divert my itinerary to capture a sunset or to visit a state park.

Those latter are not "net-cost, 86,399 seconds." I was in Providence one summer afternoon for a commitment that ended early, so I opened my smartphone and saw that a park was nearby. The walk ended up being much farther than I anticipated, the park was difficult to find and smaller than I expected, but what a fun memory. (And a decent photo.) I wouldn't have done it except for that obligation in the back of my mind, "I need a photo for today. Hmm, what should I do?"

It has pushed me to better appreciate those 86,399 seconds, and use them.
posted by cribcage at 11:03 AM on January 8, 2013 [1 favorite]

My first thought is but my days are fairly routine! After mulling it over though, I can see this as a chance to pay more attention events and expressions (those smirks among the adults in my family when my nephew does something beyond his years) that some of us may sometimes overlook.

I already started doing this a couple years ago, but only recorded to video while on trips or at special events. My day to day life was absent. This could be fantastic. I'd vary the length of video though, to accommodate my mood and circumstances. Sometimes one second might be great, but when I'm in the backseat of an rickshaw, driving through valleys of tea plantations and want to send a video letter back home, 30 seconds was much more informative and a lot of fun to both create and watch months later.
posted by mayurasana at 11:16 AM on January 8, 2013

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