User-Friendly 📱 📹 💻

As part of a wider series, this programme aims to highlight how experimental practitioners have responded to the integration of the video-camera as part of everyday life for many people. The accessibility of pocket-sized cameras has allowed for spontaneous moments of inspiration to be recorded through improvised and off-the-cuff methods. This ability to instantaneously document what is around us has become a novel characteristic of video through its familiarity as a social tool, bringing a unique quality into these simple, raw recordings that can be easily overlooked.

This small selection of videos – from a range of online platforms as evidenced in the programme – were chosen for their playful, honest, and sometimes humorously mundane approach to a relatable yet inquisitive mode of looking and re-looking through their video device. The accessibility of video enabled these makers to document a moment they noticed in the world, from an alignment of elements that became intriguing; as what may have once been jotted with pen and paper, becoming a sketch or verse, today are made into videos.

Storming the Park, Sony Xperia XZ2, 15/02/2020, 21:31, Hackney Downs, London, 5'11", Amy Dickson 

Untitled (moiré in Bari), iPhone SE, Nick Collins

Action Film, iPhone 5, 2017, Steph Parr

Turkish Toy Stall, Handycam, 2010, Nicky Hamlyn

Sofa, Handycam, 2012, Nicky Hamlyn

Selected Instagram Post, smartphone, 2017, Cathy rogers

Selected Instagram Post, smartphone, 2019, Cathy rogers

Selected Instagram Post, Smartphone, 2019, Riccardo Iacono

Crab Apple, iPhone 7 Plus, 24/03/20, Jamie Jenkinson

It is in these unassuming videos that we find a familiarity that cannot be achieved on the big screen, as it must be in our homes, on our devices, in and of our lives as video-users. The sense of familiarity generated by these works is often hidden on social media, filtered through fantastical ideals of manufactured cinematic lifestyles, that are culturally aspired to and algorithmically embedded into the platonic automation of “user-friendly” features. A life that only exists on-screen.

The videos in this programme present something different, an alternative yet primary use of video as part of life, as a tool of society that can be used and shared to promote creativity, experimentation, and inclusion through a manner of making that is equally accessible to the viewer as it is to the practitioner. For users, video here is part of life, and it is from simple videos such as these where a truly user-friendly approach to the medium could be established. One that demystifies the illusionistic lifestyle embedded within them, while finding value in the familiarity of the life they represent.