<- Internet Studio

Missed Connections by Julia Russo

My final project is inspired by the voicemails I saved on my iphone over the past four years. I am unsure why I initially decided to save these voicemails from my famil y and friends, but looking back now I probably did so because I felt homesick. As soon as I had a few voicemails saved, I continued to collect them from the people who are most important in my life. I carry my iphone with me wherever I go knowing that I ha ve these intimate messages I can listen to at any time. I could have easily called whoever I was missing at the time to hear their voice over the phone; instead, I would listen to the saved voicemails to comfort myself. There is something about them that f eels more genuine and permanent to me than sending a text message or speaking on the phone. The voicemails represent specific moments frozen in time and evoke various memories based on why the person is calling me and whatever they have to say. Each person ’ s voice is so unique and emotive that it almost feels to me as if I am interacting with them in the present as I listen to messages from the past. I decided to create a video montage to compile my saved voicemails and exhibit t hem on the internet in order to preserve them further. I could easily lose years and years worth of memories in the form of photographs, videos, and voicemails if anything happened to my phone or computer. However, the internet provides me with many ways to upload these memories and store them permanently online.

I began my project by uploading all of my saved voicemails into the video and audio editing application, Adobe Premiere Pro. I then brainstormed different ways in which I could create a visual component to accompany the aud io of the voicemails. I want viewers of my project to go through a similar process as myself whenever I listen to the voicemails. Therefore, I utilize photographs and videos from both the present and past in order to stimulate the feeling of reflection. I hope that my project enables viewers to look back with me at my own life so that maybe they will then begin to think about their own. In terms of gathering the visuals to accompany the audio component of my project, I searched my computer for the most cand id imagery of myself and my family that I could find. I then assembled the introduction portion of the video with a standard answering machine tone to simulate the experience of leaving someone a voicemail. The voicemails themselves are first introduced in to the video with the individual greetings and nicknames from the people who are most significant in my life.

During my creative process, I started to fear that the project wo uld be too repetitive and boring if I organized the audio and visuals person by person. I also became worried that my video was beginning to resemble a clichéd eulogy or tribute. It is important to me that my viewers feel something after watching my project, but I don’t want them to feel pity. In order to make the video more relatable to everyone, I decided to crop photographs of my family and friends into small details and incorporate footage I found on the internet . I believe that this close up, intimate imagery can evoke multiple different senses and emotions all at once . Since the visuals are not as specific to my life experiences, I hope they are more personable to my viewers. Nevertheless, I still believe it is important to include myself in the video in some way because I want to portray the process of growing older and moving aw ay from the ones you love. My final project ultimately displays the way in which the internet can function as a platform to preserve memories and the voices of people who will not be alive or able to be heard forever; it is a tool that can be employed to b ring personal, intimate experiences into the public realm of the internet . My project’s weaving of my own photographs and videos with footage I discovered on the internet creates a connection between all internet users so that another person’s memories can conjure or even become your own.