Digital Time (film)

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Here is a draft description of a film to coincide with the Digital Living project …

Digital Time is a feature-length ethnographic film about everyday life in the information economy, directed by Amelia Bryne.  It investigates how our participation in digital culture influences how we experience time: documenting the speed of digital life, our hopes for the future, and our technology addictions and misgivings.  The film spans digital (and non-digital) ‘nodes’ in North America, Scandinavia and India, three areas of the world that are plugged into the global information economy, and that, in their own ways, are both participating in and shaping digital culture.

Images, shot in each of the three regions, will reveal a lush, dense world of digital technology and bodies in daily life, including: mobile phones in pockets and on nightstands; technology stores busy with customers buying new gadgets; old technology gathering dust in closets: the broken computer that you can’t bear to throw out or don’t know what to do with; ads for mobile internet on the beach; people eating breakfast while checking their email; eyes steadily gazing at screens; hands clicking computer mice; families ‘alone together’ with their personal digital devices; clocks, alarm clocks and scheduling devices.

The film begins with the premise that we increasingly live in a digital culture. TV ads, government policy, and school lesson plans all reinforce the idea that computers, on-the-go communication, screen-glazed eyes, and video games are the future. And that, more and more of us will come to live like this. But, what is it really like to live digitally? Is this a better life?

Digital Time illustrates our collective sense that time is speeding up. Digital technologies help us to complete tasks that once took hours or days in seconds. Digital culture equals efficiency, productivity, fast-paced multi-tasking: we are and we feel we must be busy all the time. Time is digital. Time is fast. Things are moving rapidly. Vast changes are happening on and to the planet in single human lifetimes. We are in a time of exponential time. We have exponentially more information at our fingertips; exponential growth of economies and devices; and are participating in the exponential use of fossil fuels and other natural resources. We are moving faster, changing faster, maybe moving towards disaster faster.

Ultimately, the film asks: What is digital time? What is its impact on us, and the planet? And, what happens if we choose not to participate?

Laptop Woman

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Lydia Grey, a ceramic artist, lives in a small town in the middle of a beautiful wild forest. She makes work that is most often very earthy: women’s bodies, animals, organic shapes, thoughtful faces.  Occasionally she works with other themes. The yellow piece below, for example, – in which a woman is balancing a laptop on her belly:

At first I didn’t like that she was mixing technology and clay, technology and nature, technology and body. But, more than anything else this pot makes me reflect on the (integral) nature of technology in our lives. The soft gaze and full attention the woman brings to her laptop, looks familiar, and is unsettling.