Civilization may be defined by great tragedies, but survival is dependent upon small comedies, the joy in tiny events and the avoidance of pain where ever possible. At Flat Creek Inn, the sun rises from behind the hills. The trucks and minivans enter and leave the parking lot, having gotten breakfast and gas. I sit at my desk, listening to Allen Toussaint, drinking a coffee, one sip at a time, sip sip, click click. The day begins again there and here now.
Most people learn through experience. That’s a fact. But what happens when we’ve never experienced something before. Where then do we get our knowledge? Surely not from a master of disaster, not from some random individual getting their thrills and self worth by dropping knowledge bombs across the internet. Opinions online are like rabbits in the summer dusk. Ubiquitous, but fragile. I glance their way and they run and hide under the shrubberies.
So, there is a word for what I like to watch, my webcams and walking around videos — Ambient TV. It’s actually a thing. How ‘bout that? I’m on trend again. It’s TV as ignorable as it is interesting. TV you can watch without paying attention to. Thin storytelling wrapped in exotic backdrops. Lot’s of B-roll, maybe up to 100%. This is van life. This is foreigners living in Taiwan and China. Slow TV. Reality TV of unedited reality, like the train ride from Bergen to Oslo, inspiring introversion and reflection, like meditation with your legs not crossed and your eyes mostly open, or not. So much, so many, so commonplace, so colourless. So perfect in terms of giving a small sample of actuality to my reptile brain, input that can be processes without energy, like a clear soup, or a Brian Eno album. So much blank empty space, a mirror to my state of mind. We are alone in our bubbles, headed by algorithmic digital platforms, soothing us, controlling our emotions and our minds.