The Invisible World

Jesse McLean

2012 | 00:20:15 | United States | English | Color | Stereo | 16:9 | HD video

Collection: Single Titles

Tags: Consumer culture, Found Footage, Mental Landscape

A deceased hoarder, reconstituted through technology, recounts a difficult childhood as inhabitants of a virtual world struggle to reconcile materialistic tendencies. A scientist leads an effort to understand the passage of time, but the data is unreliable. The question remains, what happens to our things after we are gone?

In this video, materialism, emotional presence and the adaptive nature of human beings are broadly considered through the lens of time. A variety of time-based materials are collected (including home movies, internet videos, Sci-fi seventies films, and a photographed archive of objects) and collaged, revealing the filmmaker’s own hoarding tendencies. YouTube genres are parsed, including “haul” videos (where contributors display the results of a shopping spree) and unboxing videos (where a new purchase is unwrapped), and the results suggest not only how materialist tendencies have found a way to continue in the cresting virtual age but also how the need to own is often paired with the need to relate.


The present world is packed with objects that evidence human productivity, yet the desire to possess things remains somewhat mysterious. Lifeless objects become imbued with emotional significance, and possessions linked with personal identities, even as these objects bear a cool and distant witness to human struggles. The rapidly arriving future portends an intangible new world of virtual experience. How will we relate our materialist tendencies in this new world of immateriality?

-- Jesse McLean

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Note: This title is intended by the artist to be viewed in High Definition. While DVD format is available to enable accessibility, VDB recommends presentation on Blu-ray or HD digital file.

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Prizes + Awards

First Prize in the International Competition, VideoEx 2013



Exhibitions + Festivals

Transmediale Festival, Germany, 2014

Anthology Film Archives, Show & Tell, New York, NY, 2013

Video Fest (Formerly Dallas Video Fest), Dallas, TX, 2013

VideoEx, Zurich, Switzerland, 2013

International Film Festival Rotterdam, Rotterdam, Netherlands, 2013

51st New York Film Festival, Views From the Avant Garde, New York, NY, 2013

The Images Festival, Toronto, Canada, 2013

30th Kasseler Dokfest, Kassel, Germany, 2013

Impakt Festival, Utrecht, Netherlands, 2013

25 FPS Festival, Zagreb, Croatia, 2013

Chicago Underground Film Festival, Chicago, IL, 2013

Ann Arbor Film Festival, Ann Arbor, MI, 2013

Crossroads Film Festival, Jackson, MS, 2013

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