If you want a quick, trippy video as well as a (small) commentary on social media use, this Instatravel video is pretty eye-opening. Cobbled together from social media posts, it shows just how mundane even the most exciting places can become through over-exposure. “I came up with this idea last summer while visiting Rome,” Oliver Kmia, who made the video, wrote. “As I was walking toward the famous Trevi Fountain, I discovered that the plaza was full of people and couldn’t even manage to get close to the fountain. Hundreds of people were buzzing all around, some forming a huge line to take the perfect picture in front of the popular landmark.”
So how did he feel? Well, it was mixed. “At the moment, I found this sight deplorable and ridiculous, yet, I was one of these tourist, not better or worse. Like everybody else, I purchased a cheap flight to Rome and booked a hotel nearby. As I noticed the rush to reach the fountain and get a selfie, I remembered a video I saw a year earlier from the French Artist Hiérophante and I decided to adopt his concept but focus on the travel side of it.”
Anyone who’s travelled will be familiar with the new mass of selfie-takers surrounding any important landmark. You can see the whole video here:
But it’s important to note that, although it’s definitely a commentary, Kmia also readily admits that he enjoys taking selfies on his travels as much as anybody else. Although there are times he argues that the selfie culture has gotten really out of control — he describes people climbing and posing at the Holocaust Memorial in Berlin — when it’s done respectfully, he’s not really sure what the problem is. “Being original or different doesn’t necessarily make you better or smarter,” he writes. “For instance, most wedding pictures look similar but each ceremony is unique and very personal. Eventually, what matters are the good memories you can share with your friends, family, and loved ones.”
Although even if you enjoy the photographs and posting them to social media, that should never be the focus. “However, during my trip, I felt that many people didn’t really enjoy the moment and were hooked to their smartphones, as if the ultimate goal of travel was to brag about it online and run after the likes and followers. This is what, I believe, has changed over time. Some people are not creating memories but trying to collect Internet points.” So put the phone down and actually look around, at least once in a while.