Life Is Right Now
Life Is Right Now, like many of Steve Roggenbuck's youtube films, puts this artist's genuine enthusiasm for life on full display. In this short film you can see Roggenbuck licking and shaking the hands of trees, shouting grandiose statements such as "LIFE IS RIGHT NOW", and simply indulging in the act of living. Roggenbuck's primary subject matter in this film is himself and the natural environments he surrounds himself with. Throughout the film there is a clear emphasis on his appreciation for the world around him. Whether Roggenbuck is surrounded by the beautiful landscape of Hawaii, or the bleak expanses of snow covered Fairbanks, Alaska, he is relentlessly passionate about the trees, air, and sky that he is engulfed by.
Roggenbuck's videos are striking in the way that they add a new facet of personality to his poetry and rhetoric, as he seems to intentionally exploit this personal window provided by the camera. The video is typically shot at a very close angle to his face in intimate environments where there is no one around, giving the viewer a sense of isolation in Roggenbuck's world where he has free reign. In this space he digresses on a number of topics, but there is always a clear emphasis on living life and engaging with the surrounding world. In the internet age it is easy to lose yourself in false online identities, and Roggenbuck's work comes as a revolt against this tendency and as a call to reality and humanity.
Adrian Chen talks about Roggenbuck's work on Gawker:
"His poetry is just the start of this process: He spins clips of his videos into GIFs that he posts on his popular tumblr and image macros he posts to his Facebook page, multiplying, diverting and spreading his work. Ultimately, Roggenbuck shows how being unselfconsciously weird and funny can help us live online without being reduced to an avatar or a screen name."(Chen, Adrian. (11/5/2013).Something About How Steve Roggenbuck's Poetry Will Save the Internet)
While Roggenbuck's work is loosely based around the poetry he writes, it is important to recognize his video art as more than just a mere mode of poetry presentation. Roggenbuck adds many new dimensions to his pieces through his performance style, sound choices, and imagery. Through all of these conventions he deepens the meaning of his work significantly and ultimately makes meaningful statements about the way we should be interacting with the world. His pieces come as a partial mockery of people who sit and rant in front of a web camera for youtube, and an outright call to remove yourself to the outside world where life is happening. This piece is culturally significant in the way that it uses the vehicle of the internet to critique many of it's users. Moreover, it reaches a huge swath of relevant audience members through social media and also shows us how to use these mediums in a more genuine manner.
Life is Right Now is fairly consistent with all of Roggenbuck's pieces, which share a similar style and message to the piece in question. One piece I found particularly interesting was Roggenbuck's piece THE ULTIMATE BEGINNERS GUIDE TO PODCASTING, which takes on a more clear cut criticism of media platforms than many of his other videos. Unlike Life is Right Now, which is merely stylistically critical of internet media users, THE ULTIMATE BEGINNERS GUIDE TO PODCASTING is a very direct mockery of podcast users whose main focus is racking up channel traffic and monetizing their broadcasts. Similar to Life is Right Now and his other youtube videos, all of this is done through his comedic camera presence and impersonations. When browsing the internet for other artists similar to Roggenbuck, I stumbled across Joseph Kendrix's, a video artist who worked along side Roggenbuck at the poetry publishing and vegan co-op called Boost House. Like Roggenbuck, Kendrix's Where Am I Even Going?!? shares similar messages on embracing the beauty of life. However, Roggenbuck's comedic shtick and meaningful criticism is apparently absent from Kendrix's work, which primarily strikes the viewer as short clips of blissful rambling. Kendrix films in a way that looks outward more than Roggenbuck who constantly has the camera pointed directly at his face. Since he films in such a way, the piece becomes more about the environment than what the artist is actually saying.
Life is Right Now was part of the following exhibitions:
-The New Museum Triennial in New York
-The Oslo Poesifilm festival in Norway
-Life is Right Now - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ENZ2zRB-0AI
-THE ULTIMATE BEGINNERS GUIDE TO PODCASTING - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BMB8LnN0fT0