Filming one second every day: Cesar Kuriyama at TED2012

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Photo: James Duncan Davidson

On his 30th birthday, Cesar Kuriyama quit his job in advertising. At the same time, he started a project: “One Second Every Day” for which he cuts together one second of footage from every day of his life into an ever-expanding project. We’ve seen these daily-picture kind of projects before, but this is certainly ambitious. As Kuriyama explains, it’s a project he plans on conducting for the rest of his life. “If I live to 80, I will have a five-hour video that summarizes 50 years of my life,” he says to applause. “At 40, I’ll have a one-hour video of my 30s.”

He shows the film to the audience, and it’s interesting to see how much richness the footage includes. Sometimes, he says, it can be difficult to narrow down his choice to just one second, but as the project has gone on, he has become ever more convinced that this is a way he will remember his life forever.

Obviously, life is filled with moments, both happy and sad. The most affecting part of his talk and film comes with footage of his sister-in-law, who was taken ill in the last year and who spent much time, desperately sick, in hospital. This quiet footage of a family, hoping and waiting, is truly moving. “Recording these one seconds on a bad day is extremely difficult,” Kuriyama admits. “We take our cameras out when we’re doing awesome things; we rarely do that when something horrible is happening.” Yet filming the bad times has helped him to process, to recognize, to deal–and he concludes by wondering if it might not do the same for us all.