There is this foreign feeling which emerges from watching what should be your life play out on screen: every once in a while, when watching a movie or an episode of television, I notice characters are not wearing masks, not socially distancing or going out to parties and restaurants, and think “that can’t be made today.” Otherwise realistic works of art are sapped of that reality when the crushing changes of the pandemic sink in — and it becomes all the more painful when that work of realistic art is meant to represent your youth.
South by Southwest (SXSW) occurs annually in Austin, Texas. All of your favorite websites have liveblogged the event, millions of camera-phone photos are available to recreate each second of each show in panoramic vision and enough scratchy audio has been recorded to fill your 80-gig iPod. I myself was probably photographed several times by magazines, zines, blogs, police cameras, nightlife photographers and friends. And not because I’m particularly particular, or because I have friends. But because I was there, and it’s 2009. The Internet knows more about my experience in Austin than I do.