“Things go too fast. And we lose our sense of self.” That’s a line from a member of the Blackfeet tribe featured in a content piece from the new travel magazine, The Collective Quarterly.
The aim of the magazine is to always be out there, looking -- reflecting on what we see. The content that comes back is a look at a stranger doing a close reading of their life. It’s similar to 20 Day Stranger, in which two strangers get a sense of one another’s lives by watching one another.
MIT designed the project in conjunction with the Dalai Lama Center of Ethics and Transformative Values in order to tap into value systems we honor, but rarely show or express. However, close readings of our lives seem to be something we’re all very interested in right now.
This genre includes everything from the popular apps Secret and Whisper to content projects like The Collective Quarterly and 20 Day Stranger.
The brilliant album Kendrick Lamar just dropped is also in this camp. The drop is full of close readings that produce serious ‘compass work’ we can follow, which are readings that show us his overall orientation to life. The result comes across as a long-term project rather than a collection of banger tracks.
As content becomes a go-to media strategy I’m wondering whether we can consider close readings as a media strategy as well. Can close readings be used to reveal a longer-term story both about the characters in the content and about ourselves as we watch these characters invest in emotions we all share as we live and grow?