Project Momentum (2016)

Every day we take the same routes, enter the same buildings, and talk to the same people. These routines can become boring, often to the point that you do not even pay attention to them anymore. Nonetheless, all these routines are made up of a million little moments and objects – these are the fragments that form our lives.

This project challenged its participants to look at those fragments again.

But instead of looking at them as usual we asked them to use their poetic senses. “Poetic” in our understanding refers to something that highlights the special in the ordinary while at the same time, this very feature might appear impossible to describe.

We asked to shed a new light on the routines of your everyday lives by capturing those fragments using the social media application and platform Vine.

Vine appeared to be the ideal tool for this project because it enabled us to involve a great variety of participants without having to choose every single one of them individually. Although we initiated the project, it was supposed to take on a life of its own. Our hope was that the participants would pass it on to other people who might be interested too.

To make it clear, the task for our participants was to share moments that they recognized as poetic in the form of short videos on Vine by using the hashtag #projectmomentum. If they didn’t have or didn’t want to create a personal account on Vine we also provided an official account just for the project, which everyone was free to use. The form of the videos was completely up to the participants but of course limited to the features and constraints of the app. We only asked them to tag their clips with additional descriptions such as the location where the video was taken (city/place and country) by using the hashtag function.

Our plan was to collect the videos in a monthly interval and import them into the Korsakow system. We wanted to use Korsakow as a tool to find multiple connections between the video clips. We hoped that this process might inspire a new approach, direction or task that we then would have forwarded to the participants again.

Unfortunately, the project failed. We couldn’t motivate enough people to get it going and in the end the circle of people who did participate was limited to mostly friends of ours, that is students and other academics. We can only speculate about the reasons, but two of them seem fairly clear:

1)    Our search for a poetic everyday life was simply to abstract for a simple, enjoyable task. It needed too much explaining and thus created a barrier to join the project.
2)    Our initial pool of people was too small and too homogeneous. We simply didn’t reach enough people right away and those we did came all from more or less similar social backgrounds.

What we take from this is a reminder to keep it simple and know and choose your audience (in this case participants) wisely and carefully.

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