These days, many of us (and even maybe most of us) have a more intimate relationship with our smartphones than we do to our friends, our family, even our partners. We spend our waking hours glued to these devices, and often, they know us better than even we know ourselves. But what is falling in love with our phones actually doing to us, especially when that love is fleeting?
The Life & Death Of An iPhone a new seven-minute short which aims to answer that question. Directed by Paul Trillo, who was previously featured on Co.Design for his two-mile uber zoom down New York’s 5th Avenue, shot and edited the whole thing using Cameo, Vimeo’s video suite for iOS. The choice to use Cameo ended up determining the project’s subject matter–although good for what it is, an iPhone’s camera is still limited. So Trillo just made that limitation part of that narrative.
“I figured if I had to shoot through the lens of an iPhone why not just have it function as the eye of the iPhone?” he says. “There was something instantly compelling about seeing the world, and really ourselves, from the POV of a phone. It all became too obvious and I could make fun of the ridiculousness of smartphones.”
I don’t really want to spoil it for you, but in a sense, The Life & Death of an iPhone is really about the life of an iPhone cursed to be owned by the douchiest human being in the world: a lying, pretentious, thoughtless, and shallow scumbag who spends all of his time ignoring fellow human beings in favor of his phone. By the time the iPhone breaks, shoved into the back of a drawer, eventually gets resold, is repaired, and finds itself in new hands in China, you’ll breath a sigh of relief. It’s almost like it’s been brought to heaven by whatever the iPhone’s equivalent of the Velveteen Rabbit’s fairy is.
According to Trillo, although he didn’t want his film to be a PSA, that was by intent. “It’s a reflection of our times,” he says by email. “As much as smartphones have made things easier and more efficient, they’ve caused a lot of social issues.”
One of these social issues, as Trillo sees it, is our increasing inability to relate to the people in our lives. “That’s why there is this parallel of dating someone that runs throughout the film,” he explains. “The lack of human interaction contrasts the obsession with the phone itself. We have to vie for the attention The phone is the true love of the short. Yet these devices are fleeting. Our love one day, is tomorrow’s garbage.”