Four Eyed Monsters on Life Logging
Last night, after having dinner with a friend near Union Square, I went to Cinema Village, where there had been a screening of “Four Eyed Monsters,” part of their first week-long theatrical engagement. BTW, Four Eyed Monsters has been extended another week, so if you haven’t already see it, please do so. After the screening, co-directors Arin Crumley and Susan Buice initiated a panel discussion on the topic of Life Logging, with special guests: Journalist Mark Wallace and Futurist Jerry Paffendorf. I suppose my blog is a sort of life logging for the existence of film panel notes that I’m sharing, but only the ones I’ve taken myself so far, so please, submit your own notes if you attended this discussion, or any notes from any other film panel discussions and be a part of the revolution :)
A Panel Discussion Following a Screening of Four Eyed Monsters
December 7, 2006
A.C. = Arin Crumley
S.B. = Susan Buice
M.W. = Mark Wallace
J.P. = Jerry Paffendorf
Opened the discussion with explaining what life logging means. Life logging is a recording of your life, more than just text. The ability to record everything. It’s a document of yourself. Could include photographs of yourself. Jerry was into digital video in college, and an absolute life logger for those four years. Took over 1,000 hours of footage of himself. Four Eyed Monsters is like life logging. Life generates interesting material. Running around with inexpensive video cameras.
Talked about how he and Susan have been showing their film all week and having panel discussions after that are loosely based in some way to the film and on technology that inspires what’s going on in the film. Four Eyed Monsters was an opportunity to capture video and communications in more ways than just speaking. That is in deed how he and Susan got to know each other. Since making the film, social networking and video sharing sites such as Myspace and YouTube have come along. Certain amount of synchronicity there. Never considered their film had anything to do with life logging. Got him thinking, why would people document these things? It was just in the moment. In the survival mode. History has become a way to keep track of things. Storytelling is the same thing. Someone can walk away with some insight. Doing things that are grounded in reality.
Life logging is over a 1,000 years old, beginning in early civilization when primitive people made cave paintings. They were recording their lives, rather than expressing art. Life logging today is how we create our identities online. Autobiographies, for example, you can never paint a perfect picture of yourself. Myspace is a very static snapshot of who you are and conveys very little info. Second Life is a 3D virtual world where you can be whomever you want. A couple that Mark interviewed for a book met on an online game started falling in love in the game, then they met in person, and fell in love in reality and got married. These online virtual games are much less weird than basing a choice on the flat Myspace page. On the virtual game sites, you share more of a common goal, and can see who they are and how they behave better.
Read a book recently about online virtual gaming is like going back to the Romantic/Victorian-structured world. Get to know people better.
Response to audience comment: like courting one another.
The way Arin & Susan court each other in Four Eyed Monsters is a very slow way to express things. The film shows a gradual unfolding of their personalities on screen.
Life logging is a personal desire of wanting to know who you really are. Jerry is jealous of the people in the following clips, wishing he had something life this about himself:
Trailer for Michael Apted’s documentary 49 Up – Part of series of documentaries examining the same people every seven years of their life, starting when they were seven.
Living My Life Faster – Short film where a guy takes a picture of himself everyday for eight years.
What’s the value of life logging? (posed to Susan)
A big question to answer. Having filmed a lot of stuff and through the editing process, was shocked that they had the exact same arguments. It was really frightening.
Video game The Sims, where you control people who live in a house. You can track everything in your life. There’s even a spreadsheet.
Is there a logging mechanism? Keeping a journal. Some way to get it automated. Lot of potential here for a psychologist.
How would you feel if other people re-mixed Four Eyed Monsters on YouTube for example?
Would be interesting. Ultimately a good idea.
The Four Eyed Monsters video podcasts were created with massive archives at their disposal. They have over 500, 1-hour tapes. Have this life they could scrub through.
Sometimes Googles out of fear. Goes to the Internet when she freaks out about something.
AOL accidentally released who searched for what one time on the Internet, enabling some people to figure out who was searching for what.
Life logging is the capturing of events and the ability to process those events that become a part of a timeline. If you ever wrote in a journal, you would never put it under your parents’ bed, you’d put it under your own. With sites like Netflix, Myspace, and FaceBook, you’re syndicating information that could be useful to friends to process. They have tools that cross-reference and discover things that people have in common.\
We live in a performance environment.
Performance is converging with existence.
Life logging is great, but there’s something dark about it. We are descending into a decadent narcissm or superficial comfort.
Thinks that notion is asinine. People are becoming more literate in video.
Technology getting cheap.
Ideas: Stay open to stuff that doesn’t exist and figure out a way how the Internet can be a filmmaking tool. There’s a value in sharing certain things, but you may or may not want to share everything personal. Find what has value to share.