By Augustine Cerf
This week we had to make seven second films on the hopes and fears of twenty somethings in the UK using only projected silhouettes. After brainstorming for several hours, my team and I found we were running out of time. We didn’t know what exactly we were going to make or how we were going to practically create the projections. We went to the Ritzy to ask if we could use their projectors. They said no but on the way back to school, we found our silhouettes appeared perfectly projected by the greatest projector of them all: the sun. And so we started asking people their biggest hopes and fears as twenty somethings and we filmed their shadows. It was a simple idea, not even a great one, but one we hadn’t given much thought. If you go out and try to make things happen, opportunities arise, even if they aren’t the ones you were originally out to get. A bold statement, perhaps mismatched to this trivial example, but out of the micro you often find the macro. Later, a pub trip with a mate moved into a series of conversations with strangers as I collected the genuine worries and desires of Londoners. Some gave me just a short insight, some had a more prolonged discussion with me. I loved just striking up conversations: we have so much to gain from engaging people. What’s more, their shadows created quite striking visuals, striking if only because we were capturing real humans, their shapes and the anonymous revelations of their most immediate hopes and fears.
It was refreshing to get out and ask people difficult questions, instead of striving to extrapolate from how we felt as a group. It turns out that twenty somethings have similar hopes and fears: immediate financial worries and hopes for careers or relationships. What struck us most was the difference between the concerns of twenty somethings and how people over thirty remembered their own respective hopes and fears at the same age. The fears about buying a house or finding a wife were elevated to fears about political turmoil: the threat of nuclear war, environmental worries, world peace. We couldn’t help but wonder if they lived in harder times or if there was some kind of hindsight fallacy at work. Were people rewriting their concerns at twenty, having got the job, the kids, the kitchen island? Will we remember our biggest hopes and fears in our twenties not as generic and immediate material concerns but instead as Brexit, the rise of populism and global warming?
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