In a world of rabid political tribalism; misdirected outrage; dwindling self-awareness; click-bait headlines; unreliable corporate media; and worthless celebrity worship; combined with the fact that I am an indifferent, emotionless automaton when it comes to cat videos; there are now 2 particular sources that I have begun to rely on to bring me some modicum of enjoyment in the social media realm with any consistency. One is a page called The Vault Of Atomic Space Age, which peppers my feed with retro-futurism is the form of mid-century design, concept cars, throwback sci-fi posters, and kitchens of the future. The other is Nihilist Memes, the foundation of which is downer humor, cracking wise about the pointlessness of our existence, beliefs, and aspirations, reminding us of our true isolation in this bleak unforgiving universe and that we all fade back into the hollow, empty nothingness, eventually. [#WockaWocka]. There’s something about these 2 Facebook accounts that gives me a quick blip of happiness, before I move on without thinking much about why they have that ability, but it is interesting to consider how concepts of optimism and pessimism can be so subjective. Perhaps, the reason that I appreciate Nihilist Memes so much isn’t about some twisted love of misery, but could actually be attributed to the idea of employing sarcasm to undercut otherwise weighty subject matter, placing emphasis on the importance of laughter and never taking the world too seriously. Then again, coupled with my affinity for looking at images from The Vault Of Atomic Space Age that represent hopes for societal advancements lost, and dreams for the future which never came to fruition, it all might just reflect a penchant for deriving gratification from disappointment. Of course I know that I’m most likely compelled by something much less devious — I just enjoy a bit of humor and the aesthetic of a sweet old-school novelty space helmet that, in no way, looks like it could ever actually protect a human skull from the vacuum of space. At least, that’s what I assumed, until I found myself stuck watching a bizarrely masochistic video on repeat today; one where it seems like the only potential satisfaction from it could possibly be generated from a lack of satisfaction.
The aptly titled, Unsatisfying is a 1-minute-and-17-second animation piece by the Parisian “motion design studio,” Parallel Studio. The video is a compilation of several shorter clips presenting everyday situations that are just disappointing enough to be minor irritants and/or provoke that feeling of a lack of resolution. Parallel posted the video on their Facebook page by introducing it with the statement that, “Life is painful and sad but sometimes it’s just unsatisfying.” By transitioning from one irksome real world scenario after the next, which range from a soft drink can being stuck in a vending machine to a spoon handle slowly slipping down into a bowl of alphabet soup, the final product is guaranteed to trigger the obsessive compulsive, perfectionist leanings that most of us possess on one level or another. And maybe that plays into the reason that I love this thing so damn much; because I have been living with a woman for the last decade that this type of shit gnaws away at to a much higher degree than it ever could for me, and the beauty of that knowledge naturally offsets my own irritation. Perhaps, it’s ironic, or maybe it’s simply that this nuanced brilliance is by design, but, it’s actually my own perfectionist tendencies that makes this project feel as rewarding to watch as it does maddening or disappointing. The scenarios themselves may deliver a purgatorial dissatisfaction, but their presentation is so spot on, in that regard, that it simultaneously provides a unique sensation of accomplishment. They truly nail the concept of never quite nailing anything, resulting in a tremendous little video that you’re guaranteed to (almost) enjoy.
Here, torture yourself and/or someone that you love, after the following description and details from Parallel Studios:
During the summer of 2016, We created and directed a video about unsatisfying situations: the frustrating, annoying, disappointing little things of everyday life, that are so painful to live or even to watch.
We quickly realized that there are a lot of other situations that would be fun to see animated, so we decided to run an animation challenge around this idea.
Join the Unsatisfying Challenge Here : unsatisfying.tv/
Direction Animation and illustration : Parallel Studio
Sound Design : Zelig Sound
Music : Samuel Barber
Special Thanks to : Hugo Leick