33. “Cruising in NYC on a Fake Summer Day” by MoonBear

One of my favorite things about our current time’s technological revolution is the degree to which young people can find and develop their voice. Video-wise, the accessibility of cameras and the platforms for distributing your work create a rich and textured forum for emotion and curiosity through which people figuring out their place in it all can share their discoveries with a vast, diverse community. Oftentimes acting like a public diary, the social media channels of such performative thinkers include all sorts of random little clips filled with day-in-the-life images, musings and tonal textures that create moods and vie for attention in the monoculture stream. There’s a lot of visual goop out in the world in this day and age; social media testimonial nonsense, stupid AF web slang, “____-isodes,” system updates, software versioning, special effects goop, or endless races to have the newest hardware. It’s hard to sift through it. Yet somewhere in between it all, behind the paradoxically ethereal and whirling machinations of the internet and endless marketing of its providers, in the nether beneath the vast sea of Silicon Valley servers, at the intersection of expression and representation, is the distilled ambergris that delivers on its promise of connectivity and connection: you can use this stuff to learn about who you are and, hopefully, understand the world a little better. We’re in a new era of that adult-creating process of finding one’s identity and, in following some young skaters, I’m rediscovering parts of my own identity. I’ve posted MoonBear’s clips before but, like any good artist, she keeps giving me reason to come back for more. In viewing the shaky visuals of my beloved New York City asphalt giving way and gently sloping west to the Hudson River I felt the bliss of being alive and on a skateboard and in the greatest city on Earth. That’s a feeling I scour video clips on the internet for daily, always inclined to watch New York-set videos first. Sometimes, a company or independent filmmaker will portray the city in a way that moves me. More often, they don’t get it right, the sleek images of grit and grey grime that have monopolized representations of New York fail to ring true with the vitality of a city of such personality and stature. That a young black woman in New York is willing and able to give viewers a direct line not only to her joy at spending a spring day aimlessly cruising around downtown Manhattan with her friends, but to the living, breathing heart of the city is a radical thing; that her joy is transferred to me, on the other side of the country, through the power of technology, is damn near transcendent.

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