In 2013, Godfrey Reggio, an experimental film director known for critically acclaimed avant-garde movies like Koyaanisqatsi, released Visitors. He simply displayed the faces of other people.
The film is described as showing "humanity's trancelike relationship with technology.” The film shows faces as if they are staring at us, the screen. The film is as simple as that.
I watched it, and the experience was unlike any other I’ve had before. I enjoyed it.
But in 2005, PSP (the first portable PlayStation gaming handheld) took a very similar route thematically for their “Take Me Out” Commercial. The video shows the 1st-person perspective of the PSP itself while we can see the faces of those who play it. It starts with a woman in a factory boxing up the PSP, and in the next scene, the same PSP is later being unboxed by an ecstatic buyer.
The journey of the PSP is expressed in this commercial, with people around the world, from different cultures, in varying contexts.
But if we go even further back, to 1982, when director Godfrey Reggio released Koyaanisqatsi, that film too set the blueprint for experimental films to come decades later. Slow panning shots, time-lapsed footage of human beings all around doing what humans do on a macro-scale all over the planet.
Interestingly, this big picture presented through the vantage point of technology in Visitors is utilized. Still, the foundation for that film’s ethos was indeed built back in 1982, which would directly (or indirectly) influence the direction of an experimental film movement that would later impact corporate adverts decades later.
More on commercials, the PSP, PS2, and Y2K aesthetics in future newsletters.