So, I'm an artist. I live in New York, and I've been working in advertising for — ever since I left school, so about seven, eight years now, and it was draining. I worked a lot of late nights. I worked a lot of weekends, and I found myself never having time for all the projects that I wanted to work on on my own.
And one day I was at work and I saw a talk by Stefan Sagmeister on TED, and it was called "The power of time off," and he spoke about how every seven years, he takes a year off from work so he could do his own creative projects, and I was instantly inspired, and I just said, "I have to do that. I have to take a year off. I need to take time to travel and spend time with my family and start my own creative ideas."
So the first of those projects ended up being something I called "One Second Every Day." Basically I'm recording one second of every day of my life for the rest of my life, chronologically compiling these one-second tiny slices of my life into one single continuous video until, you know, I can't record them anymore.
The purpose of this project is, one: I hate not remembering things that I've done in the past. There's all these things that I've done with my life that I have no recollection of unless someone brings it up, and sometimes I think, "Oh yeah, that's something that I did." And something that I realized early on in the project was that if I wasn't doing anything interesting, I would probably forget to record the video. So the day — the first time that I forgot, it really hurt me, because it's something that I really wanted to — from the moment that I turned 30, I wanted to keep this project going until forever, and having missed that one second, I realized, it just kind of created this thing in my head where I never forgot ever again.
So if I live to see 80 years of age, I'm going to have a five-hour video that encapsulates 50 years of my life. When I turn 40, I'll have a one-hour video that includes just my 30s. This has really invigorated me day-to-day, when I wake up, to try and do something interesting with my day.
Now, one of the things that I have issues with is that, as the days and weeks and months go by, time just seems to start blurring and blending into each other and, you know, I hated that, and visualization is the way to trigger memory. You know, this project for me is a way for me to bridge that gap and remember everything that I've done. Even just this one second allows me to remember everything else I did that one day. It's difficult, sometimes, to pick that one second. On a good day, I'll have maybe three or four seconds that I really want to choose, but I'll just have to narrow it down to one, but even narrowing it down to that one allows me to remember the other three anyway.
It's also kind of a protest, a personal protest, against the culture we have now where people just are at concerts with their cell phones out recording the whole concert, and they're disturbing you. They're not even enjoying the show. They're watching the concert through their cell phone. I hate that. I admittedly used to be that guy a little bit, back in the day, and I've decided that the best way for me to still capture and keep a visual memory of my life and not be that person, is to just record that one second that will allow me to trigger that memory of, "Yeah, that concert was amazing. I really loved that concert." And it just takes a quick, quick second.
I was on a three-month road trip this summer. It was something that I've been dreaming about doing my whole life, just driving around the U.S. and Canada and just figuring out where to go the next day, and it was kind of outstanding. I actually ran out, I spent too much money on my road trip for the savings that I had to take my year off, so I had to, I went to Seattle and I spent some time with friends working on a really neat project. One of the reasons that I took my year off was to spend more time with my family, and this really tragic thing happened where my sister-in-law, her intestine suddenly strangled one day, and we took her to the emergency room, and she was, she was in really bad shape. We almost lost her a couple of times, and I was there with my brother every day. It helped me realize something else during this project, is that recording that one second on a really bad day is extremely difficult. It's not — we tend to take our cameras out when we're doing awesome things. Or we're, "Oh, yeah, this party, let me take a picture." But we rarely do that when we're having a bad day, and something horrible is happening. And I found that it's actually been very, very important to record even just that one second of a really bad moment. It really helps you appreciate the good times. It's not always a good day, so when you have a bad one, I think it's important to remember it, just as much as it is important to remember the [good] days.
Now one of the things that I do is I don't use any filters, I don't use anything to — I try to capture the moment as much as possible as the way that I saw it with my own eyes. I started a rule of first person perspective. Early on, I think I had a couple of videos where you would see me in it, but I realized that wasn't the way to go. The way to really remember what I saw was to record it as I actually saw it.
Now a couple of things that I have in my head about this project are, wouldn't it be interesting if thousands of people were doing this? I turned 31 last week, which is there. I think it would be interesting to see what everyone did with a project like this. I think everyone would have a different interpretation of it. I think everyone would benefit from just having that one second to remember every day. Personally, I'm tired of forgetting, and this is a really easy thing to do. I mean, we all have HD-capable cameras in our pockets right now — most people in this room, I bet — and it's something that's — I never want to forget another day that I've ever lived, and this is my way of doing that, and it'd be really interesting also to see, if you could just type in on a website, "June 18, 2018," and you would just see a stream of people's lives on that particular day from all over the world.
And I don't know, I think this project has a lot of possibilities, and I encourage you all to record just a small snippet of your life every day, so you can never forget that that day, you lived.