Alien Workshop’s Photosynthesis Video: Ten Years Later

(Or how hamburgers remain to be one of the greatest instruments of eating.)

One of the major footnotes to Habitat’s ten-year anniversary video is that it marks a decade since the release of Photosynthesis, the finest skateboard production of the 2000s. It was the video that taught New Jersey what to do with its shoulders when it does a backside nosegrind, gave one final hurrah to Long Island’s seemingly endless allegiance to the swooshy tan cargo pants, and provided a small dent to the ozone layer due to the surge of Philadelphia field trips that proceeded it.

If that is not enough to back up a longstanding cultural impact, the homie from Boil the Ocean summarized the video’s main contributions to the act of skateboarding fairly well: “Van Engelen’s grease-fire ledge attack, Pappalardo’s clockwork precision, Fred Gall with one pants leg up, Danny Garcia demonstrating how to pop out of a backside tailslide, Wenning’s backside nosegrinds and switch heelflips, Josh Kalis doing ‘the’ 360 flip and the walk down into Jason Dill’s bent world, back when he was doing all those 180s the hard way into ledge tricks and settling into New York.”

But skateboarding alone does not make classic skateboard videos, as ironic as that may sound. Before high-speed internet, it took a few years for tricks to get outdated — not to mention the turnaround on editing, production, and shipment of physical VHS tapes that preceded the release of the said tricks. Simply running down a list of maneuvers in a post-millenial video is not enough to surmise it being worthy of the “classic” label, e.g. when was the last time you watched Menik Mati? Once a video reaches ten years of age, the atmosphere and feel of an era gone by is what makes or breaks the chances of you unearthing the tape from its dust jacket. If you find yourself justifying any portion of an older video as “good for the time,” it’s not a classic. The whole thing requires a timeless quality.

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