"Almost Home" in mock-impressive time lapse

"Almost Home" in mock-impressive time lapse

Three weeks of blood, sweat and tears compressed into mere seconds... Even though time lapse videos are really a treat to watch, they do tend to leave me feeling more than a little… frustrated.

Firstly, they are exhausting to film. I wish I could remember the account now, but I recently heard a fellow artist on Instagram explain that we have stopped being artists. Because of our society’s constant need for content and our own desire to keep up with the pack, we are forced into the role of 'content creator’. Where once our creative process was absolutely private - something that needn’t be shared; something sacred only for the creator to enjoy - it is now necessary to record and share every step of the way. The process has become equally as important to the viewer as the final product. Our followers require - perhaps even demand - to be a fly on the wall.

Obviously, as a consumer myself, I get the appeal: It’s fascinating, entertaining and it makes me feel involved. I do believe that it actually brings value to the consumer.

As an artist, it has its drawbacks…

Having my cellphone looming over my shoulder… No, that’s not true. My cellphone looms IN FRONT OF MY FACE, and I have to bob and weave around it to see my work as I paint. Having my cellphone looming between me and my work, is intrusive and annoying. It feels like someone is watching me work all the time (which, let’s face it, they are, even if it’s not in Real Time).

Sometimes, I just swat away my phone, rebelling against the ever-present pressure to keep producing riveting content. Of course, later I berate myself for not filming more; taking more pictures. “Aaargh, I forgot to take one where I’m holding my paintbrush poised above the artwork in mock-action…”

It all ends up feeling rather mock

Time lapse video makes it all seem utterly surreal. Sleek and flawless. Fast and easy. That goes for all social media content, really. It’s simply the fast-food-nature of it all. We jump on trends, creating content that isn’t necessarily true to our own process or unique individuality, in the hopes of finally ‘going viral’ (don’t you just hate how sickly that sounds? Going viral?).

Even worse, after going through all the pains of putting ourselves “out there” - sharing things we never had to before - we then have to deal with the repercussions of baring our souls to an audience that can only be described as an unpredictable, deranged, aggressive, negative-Nelly, I-can-say-just-what-I-want-here-without-consequence mob. Yes, of course there will always be those that only have good things to say and are supportive, find your content relatable and respond with kindness. But to quote Julia Roberts in ‘Pretty Woman’, “The bad stuff’s easier to believe. You ever notice that?”.

Ok, let me wrap up my little rant with this:

Social media is a stage. Yes, it is a great source of information, entertainment and even community, learning and love. Many people have an amazing capacity for sharing honest, down-to-earth content, unafraid to shed light on that which is beautiful and that which is ugly. In fact, the trend these days is to actually curate one’s content to have a balance of both these contrasting things. It took us a while to catch on, but that perfect little candy-coloured, magazine-ready Instagram feed might be pretty, but it’s just not relatable.

So we curate the good and the bad. The problem is that through our curation - no matter how sensitive and honest - we inevitably omit the mundane. There isn’t much room on the stage for mundane. Without it, we’re back to that mock-ness… What we share on social media will never, ever be a full representation of the whole. Whether it is simply incomplete or downright fake, we should always keep the mock-ness in mind.

Art - and by extension, Life - is not a time lapse video. It’s not always easy. It’s not always difficult either. And there is lots and lots of delightfully boring mundane in between...

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