Day 49: The Unbearable Purposefulness of Noah

I know probably most of you have seen this by now. I am still wondering about something, however. About once a month I watch this thing again and contemplate the problem of teleologies and stable life narratives in present society, as well as the affect that is attached to the idea of purpose and the necessity of articulating the self in relation to, or by means of a  teleological narrative. Can it be this easy? Is this why I want to kill myself every time I watch this?

Strange.

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7 Comments

  1. Ah! No, I didn’t know this. Not sure whether I like it. It certainly does a couple of things to me that I don’t like. I don’t like being reminded about the days that go by. I don’t like this sense of continuity that the film seems to evoke. I started a similar project seven years ago with my first webcam, but stopped after a few weeks, which means that this films reminds the that I stopped and that annoys me as well.

    I don’t think one should hold on to time. I think that alienates us from ourselves, from ourselves in our own lives. The film is a visual expression of the impossibility of holding own to the moment, of the existence of the person I was yesterday, or a moment ago, or the person that awaits me in five minutes, or two years.

    I don’t like it. And I think that we use cameras too much and too often. Cameras that are used as mirrors, that we hold up against ourselves, should be destroyed. Just as much as mirrors.

    Hmpf.

  2. Ooops? Did you set your blog to ‘all posts going in to pre-mod’? Did I mention the word sex, unknowingly?

  3. Hmmm…just wondered the same thing. The settings have remained the same, however. I’ll see if this persists as a condition.
    See, I was thinking about this in terms of alienation as well, but am still not clear on it. Is it an example of, or a remedy for alienation?

  4. Mmmh. I’ve posted links too often, and WP suspects that I am a spammer.

    Example of, clearly. Although this verdict is based on the assumption that a form of relationship to oneself is possible that is not mediated (by cameras) and that is challengable, of course.

  5. I have some issues with this, mostly along similar lines as anaj. I do think, however, that the video does ask—via the eyes that never seem to change (though the clothing and background do) and via the “mood” music—to be read in terms of alienation. I’m not keen on the project or its “in progress” nature (i.e., what Noah intends to do further or where he intends to take this) but certain questions arise.

    1.) What prompted him to do this—was it loneliness, a sense of sharing loneliness with others, or as a project about loneliness?

    2.) To what degree does this project perform the very loneliness and alienation it seems intent on conveying?

    3.) The issue of audience arises rather obviously, so how much of an impact did knowing others might “see” him—in whatever way it is we do, in fact, see him—have on this project and, also, how does the knowledge of a potential audience change or alter our (performed) alienation, from self and other?

    It raises a lot of questions and could be used as an example for all kinds of postmodern teleologies of the self, specifically with regard to technology and performativity.

  6. 1.) Loneliness. Hmm. First I wanted to write ‘certainly’, but now I think that one shouldn’t condemn him for the impetus. It’s the wish of inscribing yourself into the our surface world (but I am not sure whether that equals ‘he wants to escape loneliness’; also, the loneliness debate is ideologically fraught – “why would anybody want to go the movies alone?” for instance)

  7. @whetted. Thanks for your comment. Yes, I agree. This seems to perform the precisey loneliness it intends to convey (hence, in a way robbing the argument about loneliness of its social critique in do far as it is abstracted from a commentary of the larger social context and elevated to an exercise in bourgeois self-indulgence).

    Somehow it reminds me of the confessional poets of the 1950s. Interesting, thus, that such an inherently atavistic exercise can spark such a response and become an internet phenomenon. May suggest something about alienation, the communication society and the internet, but then again precisely not. 🙂

    @anaj: there is something to be said, however, for the experience of dating oneself–dinner and a movie (in a partly narcissistically amusing and partly epiphanically self-destructive way). 🙂


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