Life is a commercial; I see “spots” in my eyes.

June 12, 2008

As a boy, I pretended my eyes were camera lens. Moving my head was like moving a camera. I “directed” my eyes. I’d look at this object and that person, imagining them as mise en scene (what you put) in the ongoing film of my life.

Every time I blinked represented a “cut” in that film. Disparate images cut together visually forming my moods, setting a tone. For effect, sometimes I blinked rapidly, or flash cut, on the same object: say, a woman dancing, creating a strobe similar to the one popularized in the film, Flashdance. If I followed a specific person for an inordinate period of time without blinking that was the “long take.” I believe Orson Welles (Touch of Evil) and Alfred Hitchcock (Rope) created this move but I became its master. When I ran, my eyes took in the passing scenery like a tracking shot. Jogging created the “shaky cam,” which seemed to heighten my reality. Chasing a fish underwater, be-snorkeled, my eyes were like the cameras of Jacques Cousteau.

Like most filmmakers I loved to “shoot” at dusk when the light was perfect. I’m not a morning person so I usually missed dawn’s “golden hour.” My eyes like being closed at 6 AM. Speaking of shuteyes, staring at a specific object long enough I could then capture its essence upon shuttering mine, burning the image into my mind. An arty effect, I used the technique sparingly.

A few weeks ago on this blog (May 14: Dreaming in Ads. What would Freud say?), I speculated that TV commercials were like waking dreams, that these countless brief films, or photographs, pandered to our desires, or emanated from them, much like dreams.

Furthering this idea, what if everything we view are commercials? Do we stare at a car because we want it or do we come to want it by staring? People, places and things have become subject matter, content. We direct our head at them and shoot. We are all consumers. We are all media. And we are all creators as well. You Tube and Facebook exploit this idea. Yet, what I am talking about is even faster than those, and far more personal. It’s as personal as it gets.

Everything we look at is… commercial, is… advertising, is…content. But we cannot alter these commercials in post. They are as transient as air, subtle yet crucial.


5 Responses to “Life is a commercial; I see “spots” in my eyes.”

  1. David Burn said

    Interesting post. But you could just as easily say everything we look at is art. Saying it’s advertising, commercializes it. I don’t believe that’s necessary. I don’t want to consume images, even if I do. I want to invite them in, some of them, and let them go when it’s time.

  2. SRP said

    You’re probably right but I’m not wrong either. Our eyes are trained first to find what we “want” and “need” vs. the appreciation of art.

  3. Mark Trueblood said

    One might argue that all the reality we encounter is interpreted by our brain as a waking dream. And our judgments of it depend on the stories/mythologies we believe in.

    So in “ad” terms, if I dig a car commercial and like the car it promotes, it means i’ve bought into its mythology. That mythology will be replayed (and its associated good vibes) when when i see the car driving down the road.

    But of course, mere advertising mythology has nothing to do with the TRUE and IMPORTANT religious and political beliefs one holds. Of course.

    I enjoy your philosophical perspective on advertising, and i’ve had similar observations on this crazy industry (and reality) we share.

  4. voiceofreason said

    Eyes are the window to the soul but are they better than getting spots on the Superbowl? Discuss

  5. SRP said

    You’re a true believer!
    I’d love you to read some of my earliest posts…about God and advertising. The two systems constantly clash in my mind. So much so my new novel ( is about that very thing. Thank God I am not alone…

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