Mike Beversluis

Thursday, October 26, 2006

[Something about] Koyaanisqatsi

Koyaanisqatsi, by Godfrey Reggio
(USA 1982).

The word "koyaanisqatsi" means "life out of balance" in the Hopi language (I am shameless in copying this information from the Internet). Just to give an idea of the movie to the few ones that may have not seen it, this movie is a big collage of images and music, divided into two parts; first come images of the natural world, then images of life in cities, that obviously have been chosen so that the viewer finds them repulsive: but it was not too difficult to do so.

Before starting to write I read something in the IMDB and I found a guy ("Adam", see http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0085809/plotsummary) that already wrote what I wanted to write. I quote him:

"This movie was designed to have no plot. Meaning is to be created by the viewer, and only the viewer can give value to the images and music. That said, there is a central idea behind the movie, and according to the director it is this: The greatest event in the history of mankind has occurred recently, and has been largely missed by both the media and academia. Beyond the headlines and every day crises of international events, a deeper shift in human affairs has occurred: Humanity no longer exists in the natural world, we are no longer connected to it. It is not that we are now users of technology, but rather that we exist within technology, we are part of it and it is part of us. The natural world now exists only to support the artificial one in which we live."

I add an idea which interested me; recently I read some lines about antropology in which there was a hint about two possible ways of relating to nature: one "aesthetic" and another one called with another name that I can't recall but associated to the idea of a practical relationship. This brief reading that I have done made me reflect on why I got a strange sensation whenever I went to do some trips here in the US: the only possible relationship with nature for me is the aesthetic one, since I cannot approach nature with the economic view, and I am surrounded by people who also do not have any possibility of having an economic relationship with nature; besides by many people an economic relationship with nature is considered an archaic thing and simply not taken into consideration.

I could add a lot, but I see the pure and simple admiration of nature as a quite sterile thing; besides, for many of the people that I know this admiration reduces to taking photographs.

As a last note, very nice the passage between the natural images and the human world images in the movie; admitting that I interpreted correctly what I saw, two images apparently similar and yet quite different follow each other.

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