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  • Writer's pictureAmy Burvall

Ephemerments: Transient Beauty Spliced with Sound

The other morning I was lingering in my bed in my Airbnb in Maine and noticed something stunning on the white paneled wall…the light danced enticingly, almost teasingly. Juxtaposed with the leaves and window blinds it was an overwhelmingly poignant sight that succeeded in captivating me for a good few minutes. I was working out an accompanying audio track in my head when I got the idea to archive this fleeting moment on camera (iPhone6 to be exact), and marry it to some music via my new favourite go-to film-making app, Splice 

I threw the footage on to Instagram and wondered…could this be a new series for me? Perhaps, an experiment in Mindfulness or Wonder... or a tribute to the Japanese concept of Mono no Aware, “the pathos of things” and a “sensitivity to ephemera”.


illustration found here

On the plane ride home I, like many window seat wanderers, mused about our place in the world as we ascended above endless pink marshmallow clouds. After applying the instrumental track (from the “cinematic” category in Splice), it was evident that audio pumped up the drama and impact of the footage.

When I arrived home in Hawaii and hung my laundry out on the line, my eyes were now keen to something I would have normally overlooked – the sun behind the the swaying palms.

Apparently, this is a phenomena (also from the Japanese aesthetic) called Komorebi.


illustration found here

It’s strange but once you start to “see” rather than merely “look”, transient beauty starts popping up all over the place. For example, I walked in my bathroom in the late afternoon and spotted a light show curtesy of the swimming pool.

On my beach walk the flock of kiteboarders resembled some sort of nautical bird species, so I called this footage, “Strange Birds”:

I like to name my creative series with some sort of unique hashtag, often a portmanteau. The more distinct it is the easier it is to organize / find later on Instagram. For this one, I’ve decided on #ephemerments (obviously a combination of ephemera and moments).

Hopefully, the project will allow me to appreciate the world and my immediate environment even more than I already do. The clips do not take very long  to create between the capture and and the editing in the Splice app. I would encourage teachers to incorporate something like this with students – particularly if you teach poetry, for which the clips could easily be inspiration.

My friend Erin Olson actually wrote some verse as a response to my Maine morning light video:

spectrum magical, fantastic fraction

light-perceived-swims along the shadow

teasing the reflection

testing the line

taunting the eye

After sharing this post, the lovely and talented Simon Ensor responded with a delightful blog post of his own, as well as some experimenting with #ephemerments:

Moreover, Simon used an app I’ve not toyed with before to send me this music-i-fied response:

#series #creativity #erinolson #Spliceapp #poetry #video #Instagram #mindfulness #ephemerments #amyburvall

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