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Sunday Shorts: The Opposite of Short

Virtual has replaced the physical.

Zoom, Kast, Facebook Live have all become a key part of the vocabulary, with their logos haunting every interaction that we now seem to have.

Streaming is the new normal, defined as: ‘a method of transmitting or receiving data (especially video and audio material) over a computer network,’ creating a ‘steady, continuous flow.’

The ability to switch off both ourselves and online content, often seems almost impossible.

Don’t get me wrong, it is important that we can still connect with others via such methods. It helps keep businesses going and is key for checking in with those who are elderly or vulnerable + who doesn’t want to have a pint with someone over the web…?

It is the constancy of streaming that I find slightly overwhelming, running in the background/on every platform possible.

For this week’s Sunday shorts, I am kind of going the opposite of shorts, quite the opposite in-fact, and focusing on content that never end. Infinity ‘films’ you might say.

We have all been in that situation, I imagine, either in a cinema or at home, where we are stuck watching a film that feels like it will never end… I recall last week’s viewing of Burlesque as an example of this…(my sisters choice) but they obviously do and although some may be sad a Cher and Christiania Aguilera sing-along does have a time stamp, they do ultimately finish.

So, for the two following ‘films’, it will be up to you to stop them, the fate of their ending is in your hands. I know that does sound rather grandiose, but the idea of a constantly streaming film does raise questions as to what does it mean to watch something without an ending? In the age of 24-hour content, do we always need something on? How did we every survive before?

Firstly, I direct you to EarthCamTV. This is a live streaming camera, described as a place where ‘the world watches the world.’ It has a schedule which tells you the place you are currently watching and where the camera will switch to next. When I went on I was transported from dreary Cambridgeshire to Barnes Bay, Anguilla, with a local time of 7:25am and a temperature of 79 degrees Fahrenheit. The tagline of EarthCam, suggests a communal platform with the whole ‘world’ watching together, it all feels quite wholesome, doesn’t it? Especially as you can pick your own background music as well (I went for pop).

But what does it mean to be able to constantly watch the world, is it really wholesome…I am not fully convinced that it is…

The next film to watch is by Andrew Wong and James Thompson. Here we delve into the more undiscovered world of youtube, we get to see just a few seconds from thousands of YouTube videos uploaded in the last week that have titles like DSC 1234 and IMG 4321. The result is a string of largely unedited, and unseen videos that come from all over the world. The film acts as an ‘interactive collage of material’, which at first may seem humorous and entertaining - as we see a series of yoga tutorials, how to cook an egg or performances on a guitar for example. But it also poses a number of questions, which I will leave you with...

What are the consequences of recording and uploading?

Do we only exist online?

Links to Films


Words by Martha Cattell

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