there is nothing to see

vertical video || Running time: 13'

conceived, edited and directed by   

Lorenzo Montanini

First produced (2019) for          LOOP Festival, Espronceda Gallery, Barcelona.

We live our lives constantly watching - through social media - the lives of the others. We spend hours looking at the photos of everybody’s holidays, grandma’s birthdays, the food they eat, the clothes they choose; hours looking for something as if there was a hidden treasure, spying and waiting, with the quite illusion that this investigation into each other’s life is life itself, sharing and watching in an endless cycle.

 

 

Sharing has become today’s most popular mean to tell a story, and the power it has is so strong that it is a common belief that sharing is “good”. It exerts such a strong power over us that we seem to have forgotten there are two opposite and very different kinds of curiosity.

Humans find themselves thrown into the world without an apparent reason and we spend our lives fabricating an explanation, working on our own exegesis, driven by an innate curiosity, an inexhaustible desire to know more, trying to understand what our project (to say it with Heidegger) is as individuals and as part of the whole. 

 

However we can get caught - as Lucius in Apuleio’s Metamorphosis - by another kind of curiosity, what the latin called curiositas profana.  This curiosity is fuelled by the desire for what is new, the “must-know” of the moment, what is fashionable, newsworthy. This is intimately connected with ambiguity, with the morbidity of the act of watching, with the fascination for the appearance taken to the extreme where look and aesthetics are the only point of interest. We mistake this curiosity for thirst of knowledge, when it is nothing but a hunger, a yearning to see and gather information - it doesn’t really matter about what - to fill the void of our existence. Our restlessness, our uneasiness germinates from the inability to examine things in depth, to delve into them, to linger, which becomes, when widespread, a fast food culture.

 

The act of watching into someone else’s window (or social media page) is an act of suspension: we watch life passing by, washing over us and we become part of that everydayness that seems to be making us the perfect passive agents this society wants us to be.

Like moths at night we are so attracted by the light, so strongly lured by its beauty, so distracted by it, that we completely forget what our path is and in which direction we were going before that deviation.

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