Breaking Boxes

Box box box box box

I order a lot of stuff online. In the past week I’ve ordered socks, postage stamps, 4 small glockenspiels and a new hammock for the office, among other things.

This means boxes, lots of boxes. I’ve got a process for breaking them down that is easy and doesn’t add strain to my hands after a day of typing and musicking. It involves using my feet instead.

My second secret channel is where I often share life tips such as how to squeeze toothpaste or press microwave buttons, and I’ve always thought box breaking might be fun to share as well. A couple months ago I was sick and kind of trapped in my apartment living via delivery, and with the boxes building up and not trusting my sickybrain to do more important work I wrote and recorded a script (you can hear my sickyvoice in it).

Then, I let the boxes build up.

And up…

Until finally I filmed the video about a month later, and returned my apartment to its box-free state, and edited and posted it a bit after that. Living with that growing pile of boxes was the hardest part of making this video.

The first minute-and-a-half are carefully written and edited. Then, instead of ending the video, the last piece of footage simply continues unedited for almost 11 minutes, until I turn the camera off.

I did this for a few reasons. First, might as well. The footage was already filmed and people can exercise their free choice to stop watching. Then, I figured some tiny percentage of people might actually want to see more examples of how to break boxes, or like the noise, or appreciate the excuse for a moment to relax and listen to ambient sounds before clicking back into the bright flashing whirl of the internet.

Mostly, I liked the contrast. Narration of a carefully-written and carefully-acted script over carefully-edited video, then the uneasy continuance of something clearly other, something unformed and unintentional, perhaps capturing the uncomfortable feeling of seeing someone who thinks they’ve already turned the camera off.

I’d like to explore that idea further, because looking at the comments I was clearly unsuccessful. I am surprised at the number of people who watch, or think they are supposed to watch, or that I want them to watch, the entire video, that the uncut continued footage is actually the substance of the video, rather than empty packaging.

There’s subtler meanings to the substance of the video itself that I won’t go into, but everyone seems focused on the box– after all, it’s the bigger and more easily-defined object!

I hadn’t planned to post here about this quick experiment of a video, but like many experiments with unexpected results I have more to say than I thought I would.

Speaking of unexpectedly interesting experiments, the latest microwave counting video has guest cinematographic rotation technician Henry Reich (who makes MinutePhysics). In retrospect it should have been no surprise that we would work so well together counting down with a microwave because we’ve done a fair amount of musical improvisation together, but it’s still fun to see how those skills transfer over. For me, at least. Watching, as always, is entirely optional.