The term ‘downshift’ is used in sociology to indicate a new social phenomenon which has emerged in Western civilizations since the start of the new millennium: affluent and successful middle income earners and managers voluntarily leaving their professional positions, reducing their working hours or stopping work altogether in order to be able to devote themselves from then on – in a more modest, if not also poorer, lifestyle – to the newly discovered significant things in life. They allow themselves to retire from luxury. In this regard having more time ranks higher than financial opulence, true wealth now lies in having time. The idea of stepping out of the everyday rat-race, saying goodbye to the ideal of higher, further, faster, more – which has been the hallmark of postwar Europe through to the 1990s, with its idea of limitless growth – is the subject of this video. The term downgrade is used as an objection to the term upgrade, something that is repeatedly needed in the computer world, intentionally reducing things to just what is necessary, which is in most cases sufficient.
In the video a children’s play becomes – almost imperceptibly – a game of abstract veils out of which shapes of bodies emerge…slowly and steadily, accompanied by a somewhat inappropriate, blaring, and yet at the same time eerie song.