We had an extraordinary Los Angeles sunset a few days ago. The sky was a combination of vanilla peach and pink colors. The lenticular clouds over the city were highlighted pastel pink contrasting with the darkening blue of the evening sky.
Los Angeles has fabulous sunsets and those of us who live here enjoy them. Just look up from our palm tree lined streets into a pink swirled sky and you'll get the feeling, an LA essence, a palm tree shadowed, behind a changing rainbow sherbet of colors.
This sunset was better than usual. I noticed it on my dog walk, stopped to enjoy it and took a few camera photos. Minutes later, I started to see friends and colleagues tweet and instagram photos of this very same sky from all over the city.
We don't necessarily realize that we are perceiving the same environment - and in our current paradigm, often documenting it. What does the sunset look like from Hollywood? Silverlake? Venice? It's the same sky, viewed from many perspectives. Our digital mobile devices make it easy to capture our perceptions, our perspective. Instagram filters act as thesaurus for our images that we share with our networks.
Our capturing and sharing activities today are innocent, undirected and unintentional from a collective perspective.
What will the world be like when it's easy to access multiple perceptions/perspectives of the same situation/experience/landscape? Through a timeline - I am reminded of Richard Misrach's Golden Gate series of photos of the sky above the San Francisco Bay, but also of place, like the sunset view from Venice, Hollywood or Silverlake.
I am reminded of the radical performance theatre, Sleep No More, where the audience is let loose in a 5 story set, in which the actors move from space to space performing/embodying the character within the confines of the set space. No more is the audience limited to rows in front of the fourth wall; the audience becomes part of the performance. Is threaded through the performance space. Each attendee (is responsible for) and has their own personal experience.
I have trouble with absolute truth.
I want to believe there is absolute truth, but I just can't see how it could be. Absolute truth would have to include all these various (and potentially conflicting) perceptions. I see value in being able to perceive.
Perhaps Absolute truth is a continuum, encompassing perceptions as sub-variables, explorations. There are infinite perceptions, and who is to say which one is "right" and which one is "wrong?"
But back to the long term impact of digitally capturing our co-perceived world. How does the world change when we have "user-generated" content capturing the same scenes from various perspectives? How do we as humanity change in our way to interact with others? The world? Our experiences? And how will the content we've created today (take these many pictures of my beloved LA sunset) be used and for what purpose in the future?
I think we're creating/collecting the raw materials today, in these digitally collected snapshots - documenting our co-perception, that will become something awe-some and transcendent.