Instagram, for those non-grammers out there, limits video length to 15 seconds. Thus, deciding to use Instagram as a streaming service à la Netflix really isn’t an option: if one wanted to release a series on the social media platform, each installation would have to be within 15 seconds long — which, y’know, could limit plot, character development, and general engagement. But one form-challenging group pair of artists — writer Carolynn Cecilia and directed by Nikki Borges — have ventured to do so, with a miniseries called Unbound, based on David Bowie’s Blackstar album.
As The Guardian notes, Bowie himself gave Cecilia and Borges unlimited access to Blackstar before it was released, and this 16 part “Instaminiseries” (completed in December 2015), which features Tavi Gevinson and Patricia Clarkson, has resulted. Borges says in a release on Bowie’s website that the musician’s innovations “have influenced [their] own work as [they] transform a social media platform into a creative outlet.”
As you watch this first “episode,” you’ll find yourself realizing that the word “miniseries” has never felt so applicable. It’s set to the introduction of “Blackstar,” and merely shows a panning shot across a mysteriously lit library, in which a group of youngish people (and one actual child) participate in various activities (embroidery, conversation, drinking wine, globe-spinning, book selecting, eating something in a ramekin) while a potentially ominous figure in a white shirt looks on. (Yes, the contents of ramekins and colors of shirts are the types of tiny things one will be led to notice and speculate on, given that we’re provided with little else.)
Gevinson allegedly plays the “protagonist” in the series — whatever that may come to mean — while Clarkson is a lounge singer. The series — in which we’ll potentially find out the contents of that ramekin (!!) and the nature of the creepy onlooker — will be released on Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays.