Regarding Matt’s Location

This is one of those things I avoided writing about because I assumed everyone had seen it, but a quick poll reveals that very few of my friends have. It’s best watched without preconception or explanation, so first off, here it is (click the four arrows for full-screen):

Where the Hell is Matt? (2008) from Matthew Harding on Vimeo.

It’s fascinating to read the comments on this, over at Digg or Vimeo. Those that respond most strongly to it often have no idea why – some find it hilarious but aren’t sure what the joke is, others cry and have no idea if it’s happy or sad. A few of us have been talking lately about how every time you travel, you come back slightly dismayed at how small and repetitive your normal life is. This is a sharp smack of that, but I consider it a good thing. If it makes us feel bad, it’s a bad feeling we need. It’s a spur for change, experimentation, or just a cool holiday.

It’s a particularly good thing for America, where supposedly 23% of the populace have a passport. Matt Harding doesn’t evangelise about it much, he just says “it’s important to know what the world looks like.”

That’s in a series of talks he did about the 2006 video (the one embedded is his third). Listening to a lecture given by a man whose claim to fame is dancing badly in a multitude of countries sounds unappealing, but I did it anyway and was riveted. It’s a travel diary, mostly – turns out five seconds of bad dancing isn’t the whole story of his visits to each of these countries. And the notion of getting paid – as he was the last two times – to tour the world and jig like a six year-old is magnficent.

Matt was a game designer. He wanted to make a game about animals in balls that smack into each other, but Microsoft shifted their focus to games about killing people. He said they could make a game where you’re aliens trying to wipe out the human race. His publishers said “Yes!” He said “I was kidding.” His publishers green-lit the game. Matt left a while after. That game is Destroy All Humans; it came out in 2005 and got 9/10 in Stuff magazine.

14 Replies to “Regarding Matt’s Location”

  1. Awesome. This one is by far the most affecting of the three, which I’m pretty sure is down to the music messing with your mind as your amazement grows over the scale of his stunt.

    I sometimes wish I knew more about keys and scales and stuff, I keep hearing about how that shit has a profound affect on listeners.

  2. When I first saw it, I hated it, thinking him an over-privilidged Richy Rich who could just waste so much time.

    Then I found out he got sponsored to do this and let out a huge sigh of relief.

  3. Wow, I envy him. I’d love to visit a lot of these places, and intend to if I get the chance.

  4. I just… wow. He’s dancing. I’m crying slightly. As you say, strong reactions and I don’t know why.

    I have to refute your claim of it just being sadness at, essentially, not having that in your life. My initial guess at my own reaction is that I’ve been a bit convinced of the generally awful state of things in the world at the moment, and that’s just such a beautiful counterpoint.

    But thanks for that. That’s a truly wonderful thing.

  5. Yep, I was one of those people who has never seen the things that everyone has seen.

    It was the same at school. The teacher would tell us, “the incedent that everyone already knows about must never happen again”, and I would have no idea what was going on.

    True story.

  6. I had seen this and the 2006 one before. It’s pretty cool. Sometimes it’s easy to forget that the world is a really really big place, when you see the exact same places most days of your life.

  7. I don’t think this one is as powerful, with the dancing matt, the one constant between the pictures hidden in most of them, and a lot of the locations just a mass of dancing people which could be anywhere.

  8. London, England was also in there Bob. I liked the video, it made me smile. The bit in the demilitarized zone was highly amusing.

  9. I still think he’s hiding something. Has NOBODY noticed that if you take some of the letters from his supposed sponsor’s slogan and add a couple, you get ‘Phriday’?

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