Video Review: Native - In Our Nature   0  142  6/14/21

January 4, 2022

Video Review: Native - In Our Nature 0 142 6/14/21

IN OUR NATURE is Native’s latest full-length offering to the scooter community. Featuring sections from nearly everyone on the roster, it should be surprising to no one that this film presents nothing less than top-shelf ripping, and of the variety which will undoubtedly be regarded as canonical within the Australian scene and beyond. The riding in this production is consistently ground-breaking, with each individual depicted offering his own distinct yet equally valid verse to the collective output. The tricks performed are entertaining throughout, and at select points are sheerly mind-blowing, crystallizing the advancements made on new frontiers across the spectrum of available obstacles—handrails, gaps, ledges and the like. I could go on indefinitely about the extent to which so many of those featured in this film embody the top tiers of trick difficulty and the right directions of progression toward which scootering ought to go, but such would, I think, also be to the end of disregarding the more symbolic value videos such as these possess.

In truth, what I feel to be the most significant aspect of this film is its presentation as a collective entity; in short, the fact that it is full-length, and a full-length produced by a company. I was enveloped by the scooter community at a time in which full-lengths still represented the pinnacle medium of video creation. Films like Proto’s Catalyst and Armageddon, Addict’s So What? And Tilt’s THE TILT VIDEO comprised the backdrop to my individual progression and in turn inspired my friends and me to make our own full-length productions. Company full-lengths shaped the cultural construction of scootering at large, influencing the tricks that riders did and the ways in which they sought to document and communicate them. However, for a number of reasons—perhaps none the singular culprit—this bi-dimensional influence of company-produced media, specifically the company-produced full-length, has faded dramatically in recent years. Responding largely to underlying shifts in individual attention span, consumer demand and market norms, scooter companies in contemporary contexts rely increasingly on shorter, easily digestible and oftentimes poorly constructed media “bites,” bites which contribute directly to the oversaturation of short-length platforms such as Instagram. 

But the issue with these media “bites” isn’t necessarily the shortness of their duration, nor even the styles/modes of scootering they depict, and rather the collectively internalized notions surrounding the nature of their process of creation. These “bites” are short-lived in and of themselves, but they become even more so resultant of the ways in which they are understood and in turn created by those who produce them. Recognizing the inherently ephemeral nature of media “bites,” creators seek to trim the excess and maximize the immediate intrigue of their productions in any ways possible, often to the detriment of more allusive content value. What inevitably remains are relatively minimalistic and overwhelmingly indistinguishable depictions: advanced scootering paired with catchy soundtracks and flashy visual aesthetics, but in ways which appear almost entirely devoid of deeper creative ideation. 

This content is in its very essence substanceless, and in turn contributes to an intrinsically static influence on scooter culture. Scooter riding—that is, the individual tricks performed—come to be regarded as the only metric of improvement or achievement, leading to relatively linear and thereby anticipatorily uninteresting advancements in overall “progression.” There is effectively no end other than to perpetually one-up—to add one more tailwhip or one more barspin—and there remains little room for directional derivation; the avenues for novel exploration in this regard have already been discarded, cast to the wayside as difficulty and difficulty alone reigns sovereign. The ensuing creative product is thus thoroughly fragmented; it presents no deeper meaning, no fully-formed symbolism because it need not present such to achieve the intended effect of merely adding, providing an additional sub-verse to a much greater race to the bottom, and never to diverge or offer something markedly new. This approach leads in many respects to an unfortunately widespread conformity, one which pervades the mindsets of individuals and brand-marketing entities alike. Reckoning with the apparent futility of breaking this monotonous stream of depthless creation, individuals and brands alike simply double-down and produce further, perpetuating a positive feedback loop of insubstantial progression and stagnated influence on the community as a whole.

And yet, there remains at least some semblance of dissidence to the aforementioned conformity, and such is exactly what videos like IN OUR NATURE represent. Though they in many ways continue the stylistic composition traditionalized by videos-past, they nonetheless communicate a revolutionary agenda, one which emphasizes the collective over the individual, the interwoven over the independent. IN OUR NATURE is a product of communal aspiration, one which links the creative perspectives and intentions of unique individuals into a single cohesive whole. Each part is an achievement on its own, but together it is something undeniably greater, stronger, that much more moving. And as such it communicates an essential clarion call, one for heightened attention to products of completed and lasting creative ideation and not to those which simply conform, fulfill, satiate but do not propel further forward. To offer a full-length in the present context is to make a deliberate and pointed statement on the nature of scooter media in general. In this case, IN OUR NATURE contends that the full-length film remains very much so a formidable source of media influence, one to be viewed, analyzed, and perpetually improved upon in later iterations. It provides a blueprint and lays the preliminary building block for future generations of scooter audio-visual production, insisting that concerted efforts toward the development of full-length videos are not vestiges of the past and are instead presages of the future. By every indication, it affirms that the full-length is still alive, awaiting its next innovative metamorphosis. It will be interesting to see if such affirmations take hold in the community, and indeed manifest in imitations and sites of further reinvention down the line. I hope so.