You know the type – someone so preoccupied with tweeting, Facebooking, shooting photos or video that he forgets to live in the moment.
Well, here’s something that aims to cut through all the noise and visual bombardment to remind you to savor everyday life.
1 Second Everyday is a mobile app that compiles one-second video clips and saves them in the form of a chronological montage. You can either record the clips with the app, or choose timestamped videos that you already recorded on your phone’s camera. Each moment is then saved in a calendar time-slot. To access the content you can either go back and choose a specific day, or put them all together to make a “movie” about your life thus far.
The app’s creator, Cesar Kuriyama, is an artist who worked in advertising to pay the bills. Working numerous nights and weekends, he found himself unable to pursue any of his own personal projects. After seeing Stefan Sagmeister’s TED Talk entitled “The power of time off,” where Sagmeister describes his plan to work and save money for seven years so he can take one year off to pursue personal adventures, Kuriyama decided to work toward the goal of freeing himself from any formal work when he turned 30.
He didn’t, however, want this year-long adventure to be forgotten 10 years down the line; he wanted to be able to recall those moments he experienced, so he started the 1 Second Everyday project. It let him catalog his everyday triumphs and travails — be it seeing the Eiffel Tower or eating a burrito. He found doing this simple task of recording a moment everyday made him more cognizant of what he did, as well as led him to pursue more interesting goals.
Following his year off, Kuriyama was invited by TED to show off his video and talk about the project, so he must have done something right. He launched a Kickstarter campaign last December to make the project into a full-blown app. The campaign surpassed its $20,000 goal, raising over $56,000.
1 Second Everyday is part of a surging oeuvre of projects and apps that catalog personal moments to better document and enhance personal narratives. There’s Timehop, which provides users with the pictures, photos, and personal notes that happened precisely one year ago on each day. Noah Kalina took a photo of his face everyday for six years and then strung it together to make a pretty breathtaking video. Going along with this idea, the app Everyday lets anyone do what exactly what Kalina did. There’s Everyday.me which creates a “smart timeline journal” to capture and organize every online occurrence, for users to reference later. Or, for an even lower tech example, Hugh Crawford took one Polaroid a day for 18 years.
This latest crop of apps focus even more on mundane moments than the extraordinary; they are interested more in the subjects and their effect than what they actually did. People’s faces look very similar everyday, but when we stitch them together for six years we’re able to see something that wasn’t present in any single photo.
1 Second Everyday is working at making something more long-lasting than a reference to times passed, as well. Kuriyama’s one-year montage is a beautiful memento. What’s important, he says, is the act of capturing that one second, as well as viewing it a few years later. It is trying to get people in the habit of noting important moments and savoring them. When you capture a one-second moment of being at the beach, you are instantly reminded that, hey, you’re at the beach! Enjoy it!
In addition, Kuriyama believes that modern culture is ruining the exceptionality of these moments. Take for example, those young millennials attending concerts and recording every second of it. So often you see people mediating their entire experience through a cell phone or digital camera. You know those people who video record museum visits? Doesn’t that kind of take away from the actual art viewing? In contrast, a one-second interval helps you capture the moment, but lets you put down the device and go on with what was actually happening.
The app was released a few months back on iOS, and has an Android version in private beta soon to be released. Kuriyama told me that within the first month of its release it got more than 100,000 downloads. Since then, that number has been rapidly increasing.
He also says that he has plans to go forward and make this into a real business. Already he has been approached by potential investors, but he’s still tinkering with the idea until he finds a model that maintains the simplicity and beauty of the original project. He does not want this to become an Instagram knockoff money-making scheme.
It’s doubtful that 1 Second Everyday will become the next SnapChat. And that’s obviously not what Kuriyama wants. Instead, he seeks to create a way to savor and cherish the everyday experiences. If he’s able to make a living off of that, well, that’s alright too — then it will mean he can take off his 40th year.
[Images courtesy Cesar Kuriyama]