What Are You Looking At?

I've been thinking a lot about what we give our time and attention to recently. There have been many discussions around the topic of social media, and the issue of smartphone addiction. It's something I'm really interested in, as you might have noticed with some of the Set Sail videos about why it's a good idea to buy an alarm clock, why I decided to quit social media for a month, or why it's important to make time for meditating on scriptures.


Most recently, I watched a fascinating talk by Tristan Harris, who was a design ethicist at Google. He spoke about the ways tech companies research the human brain to figure out ways to keep you on their app or website for as long as possible. Because they know the most profitable thing is to keep people using their service. Our time is probably our most valuable resource. In a world where everything is fighting for our attention, it's important to be aware of what we're giving our time to.

It was this idea that inspired these collages. I wanted to create some surreal landscapes that ask the question, what are you looking at? Whether it's a bunch of people looking out of frame to something we can't see, and missing what's behind them, or people looking at something curious and abstract. The point is to make us think about what we're giving our attention to. Are we so lost in our phones that we don't see the beauty around us? Let's learn to be present. Let's take control of our time and choose how we want to use it, and what we want to look at, rather than having that choice made for us.

Turn my eyes from looking at worthless things; and give me life in your ways.
— Psalm 119:37