REFLECTIVE PIECE: I WATCHED A LIVE PERFORMANCE THROUGH A STRANGER’S PHONE SCREEN

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‘The stranger’s phone screen’ created with Easel.ly.

Wow. It feels like forever ago since I wrote my last blog post. It was a while ago, but I want to share something that happened the other day. It was a strange, yet stimulating experience and over the last few days I have been analysing it, from a personal point of view and also as a PR student. I’m currently taking a digital media unit and it’s making me think about the technology around me more than ever before. I love it. This post does not explore scholarly academic research, it is purely just me reflecting on my experience.

Earlier this week, my friend and I went into the City. We heard some music not far down the street and saw a fairly big crowd of people. Street Performers! I didn’t catch the name of their group but this blog post isn’t about the performance itself, it’s actually about how I watched it. So, yes we weren’t the first people there so we didn’t get to pick the perfect spot to spectate, but we did manage to find a spot where we could see glimpses of it. I’m not overly short, but I could hardly see the performance, as there was someone right in front of me whose phone was right in my vision. The person was filming the performance on her phone. So, I know what you’re thinking – Tara, why didn’t you just move? Well, I tried a few times but it was a squishy area and there weren’t too many places for me to stand to get a better view without annoying people around me.

Anyway, I still tried to see over the top of her phone and peak over the sides of it. I didn’t have much luck. I’m still stumped as to how a smart phone was in my complete view and blocked out the performance from all angles. I did in fact take a photo of this situation however due to ethical reasons I decided against uploading the image. Whilst writing this blog post, I’m using the image to help me describe the experience. I noticed for a second when I looked at her phone, everything I couldn’t see was inside her screen! So, I made a conscious decision to start watching the performance through her phone instead. It was a strange experience, I could see everything through a smart phone screen. I started to think about time before mobile phones and technology, how one would not have the opportunity to watch a performance like I did. If they didn’t move elsewhere, they would never get to see the performance, not even a recording. Then I started to think, had I become in some way a ‘passive’ audience member by watching through a screen rather than watching it physically through my own eyes?

It felt so different. I had become disconnected to the physical society around me, it was extraordinarily bizarre. As soon as I started watching the performance through the phone screen, I felt like I wasn’t truly or fully living in the moment even though I was physically there. This may sound strange, but I think my mind had shifted from being ‘active’ to a ‘passive’ state. I felt like I was watching T.V and forgot what was happening around me for a moment because I decided to purely focus on the screen. It was a brain-numbing few minutes, there was something about it that made it feel wrong. Sometimes we may be so focussed on our technology or our eyes are glued to our screens that we forget we are living in a physical world.

Some things are best seen with our own eyes, rather than consumed through a screen. Someone once bought me an ornament that said ‘Live in the moment’ because they said that I do, but in those few minutes that I deliberately chose to watch through the screen, I didn’t feel like I was living in the moment at all. Some things are best seen with our own eyes. So I’m proud to say I tried something new, something that hadn’t crossed my mind before. An experience that will more than likely make me go look and search for answers. Or perhaps moving to a better spot to watch a performance. 😉

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