Essay Example on Technology in Koyaanisqatsi 1982 and Homo Sapiens









Technology in Koyaanisqatsi 1982 and Homo Sapiens 2016 Technology is an integral and evocative theme in Godfrey Reggio's Koyaanisqatsi 1982 and Nikolaus Geyrhalter's Homo Sapiens 2016 Both documentaries offer complex visions of the relationship between man and machine The films are essentially wordless untethered from language or character they require utter capitulation from an audience and are drenched in atmosphere While Reggio presents a kaleidoscopic escapade through the chaos and imbalance of our current world Geyrhalter imagines the possibility of a world without industry or human activity with a simple eerie succession of images Through Koyaanisqatsi 1982 and Homo Sapiens 2016 we are able to consider the manner in which technology has been critiqued and imagined in both present and future scenarios resulting in a productive and illuminating comparison Koyaanisqatsi 1982 fuses a remarkable tapestry of images with the stark minimalist composition of Philip Glass to explore the primacy of technology in modern life 

The film revels in its own speed and dynamism astonishing the senses through a variety of cinematic techniques which pose formidable questions about the relationship between man and nature As the film begins the camera slowly glides through the epic desert landscapes of the American West capturing vast plains canyons and rock formations Reggio utilises time lapse photography and presents us with a succession of images including dust whirling across sand dunes cloudscapes pouring through the sky cascading waterfalls and glistening open seas The action unfolds at a gradual pace with the camera lingering on these majestic images prompting us to marvel over the hypnotic beauty and magnitude of nature The sequence is perhaps a visualisation of earth in its original splendour the raw undisturbed land that superseded human arrival and industrial structures The presence of industry and technology then begins to suffuse the environment with shots of atomic explosions pylons tractors pipelines and factories

After showcasing these industrial hinterlands the focus then shifts to the urban setting and through visceral imagery and stylistic technique the film illustrates how technology has utterly pervaded and become inextricable with human existence and culture As Reggio remarked in an interview The basic idea for the film is the transiting from old nature into a technological milieu It's not that we use technology we live technology We are no longer conscious of its presence Jean Epstein discusses the sense of wonder that is elicited through specific cinematic techniques and processes stating The modifications of spatial and temporal experience provided by slow accelerated or reverse motion will provide fresh access to the true concealed nature of the phenomenal world Indeed Koyaanisqatsi 1982 repeatedly utilises time lapse juxtaposing the serenity of the natural landscape with the chaos of the modern metropolis and altering our sense of perception 

As David Lavery notes Ron Fricke s mind boggling time lapse photography of storms the passage of night and day the circulatory system of a big city is central to the method of Godfrey Reggio s indictment of the unsustainable insanity of modern American life in the cult documentary Koyaanisqatsi The footage of cars flooding the freeway headlights and taillights infusing the frame with vivid blurs of colour has become one of the most memorable and striking shots of the film The image is overwhelmingly dense and encapsulates the pulsating energy and mayhem of the man made world Additionally in various factory settings we witness a multitude of goods such as cheese hotdogs cars jeans and computers being packaged and assembled at a dizzying speed The repetitive motion of conveyors belts and machinery merges together with human activity creating an incessant stream of industry Through the acceleration and repetition of time lapse photography Reggio creates a manic flow of images which demonstrate how humanity and technology are able to unite in a productive manner whilst prompting a spectator to appreciate and consider the sheer complexity and possible instability of modern life Furthermore arguably the epicentre of modernity and industry the urban environment provides the perfect canvas for the film to examine the power and potency of technology

Scott MacDonald considers Koyaanisqatsi 1982 to be an interesting example of the city symphony film genre MaDonald writes Koyaanisqatsi depicts urban spaces as parts of a broader survey of human experience the representative day in the life of a city is merely a cell within larger cinematic organisms Reggio reveals the modern city as a giant machine and the human beings who live there as its moving parts As the camera enters the cityscape mountains and valleys have been replaced with a labyrinth of towering skyscrapers and cloud formations are now reflected and contained in the harsh metallic surfaces of these building For one specific scene Reggio drastically slows down the action and captures the moon as it rises through the sky and subsequently disappears behind a skyscraper The two forces coexist in the same realm yet they are strikingly dissimilar the moon is bright curved and mobile the building is partially shrouded in darkness straight angular and immobile The gradual pace at which the moon approaches the building implies that a collision is imminent evoking great suspense and uncertainty However the moon is ultimately engulfed by the structure and the skyscraper remains the more visible object This spellbinding image reveals that humanity not only parallels nature in its enormity but is transcending the natural order This simple eerie succession of images is as gripping as any of the sci fi thrillers or post apocalyptic dramas that would normally use scenes like these as establishing shots At first I almost expected to see a group of armed YAs blunder into the wrecked streetscape of mossy overgrown buildings

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