reality-scope: global lives project

Some time ago, our friend James Bullock, who is a cable car gripman in San Francisco, was followed for twenty-four hours by a video crew. The video of James’ day – all 24 hours of it – will be shown simultaneously with videos of nine other people from around the world, in a specially-designed pavilion on February 26th in San Francisco; you’ll be able to move at will from one screen (or life) to another to get a unique view of what’s going on in daily lives all over the world. All are part of the Global Lives Project, an international collaboration of filmmakers, architects, designers, programmers, photographers, and artists working to document the diversity of human life experience around the planet. They are building, and inviting others to contribute to, a video library of individual “twenty-four hours”. Much of it will be available online, with subtitles in a host of languages.

“There is no narrative other than that which is found in the composition of everyday life, no overt interpretations other than that which you may bring to it.

By extending the long take to a certain extreme and infusing it with the spirit of cinema verité, we invite audiences to confer close attention onto other worlds, and simultaneously reflect upon their own…

…This project is designed to remain a work-in-progress.We continue to accept new footage for our expanding archive –  fresh additions to an evolving visual conversation. “

There’s been an immense amount of effort, and enthusiasm and money put into this project, as well as sponsorship, and media coverage. We have some questions: If there is a camera present, are we really viewing an authentic day? We wonder what the effect of watching so much unedited footage would be like, since parts of people’s day are pretty boring when viewed from the outside. Or are they?  Or will the effect these videos, running and viewable at the same time, be extraordinary, way more than the sum of its parts?

We’ve watched footage here and there, and found some made us want to fast-forward, while others were amazingly interesting, especially the different ways people try to rouse themselves from sleep. Perhaps the real idea is this: How each of these lives resonates with a viewer is a totally personal thing, depending on our history or concerns or interests or…

Watching a clip of Edith Kaphuka’s twenty-four hours in Ngwale Village, Malawi, above, we found that it does, indeed, make us reflect upon our own.

Here’s more about the Global Lives Project:

(And one day, the Global Lives Project archive will act as a record, of days and ways of life gone by…)

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