On the last day of 2015, I found myself in the middle of the city of Melbourne, with a camera. What resulted is this film—which I now understand to be some kind of documentary about some of the strangest and subtlest, yet glaringly obvious aspects of this culture that we all find ourselves living inside.
Some of the themes for the film became apparent early on. Others only became clear when it was all over: What were we meant to be celebrating? Family, friends? Instead I saw a sea of individuals, together, but atomised; many staring at screens, through screens, right at the moment we used to be kissing and hugging and wishing our loved-ones well. Is it all about selfies, and living vicariously through the screen? Is it a celebration of a new year of prosperity, opportunity and equality for everyone? Or a celebration of the global computer, the Century of The Self?
We walked like lambs to the slaughter, through a city of barriers and metal fences, a space that isn’t ours. Through advertisements and fast food outlets and looped recorded instructions played on loudspeaker. The same old songs, the same old burgers, the same old paternalistic micromanaged consumer society. The same old hands pushing the masses, while it is said to be “for our own good.”
This is ultimately a film, in part, about optimism. It’s about questioning this culture at a time when we’re asked not to the most, but to instead party and forget it. It’s a video essay of the tunnel-vision of this culture, where entire physical environments are destroyed, anthropomorphised, recreated and rehashed to perpetuate cities of concrete and regimented conformist expression. To build and continue this way of life that refuses to end despite the repeated unrelenting warning signs. It’s about feeling that visceral creepy fascistic feeling that emerges in high-vis and metal gates and plastic barriers and arbitrary police powers. It’s about remembering those of whom we’ve forgotten and constantly forget and are constantly reminded and encouraged to forget on a daily basis; including ourselves and our very own lives.