Watch Koyaanisqatsi in 5 Minutes


Over on Vimeo, user Wyatt Hodgson has uploaded his first video entitled “Balance Out of Life” (embedded above). It is the entirety of Godfrey Reggio’s landmark 1982 film, Koyaanisqatsi: Life out of Balance, sped up exponentially bringing the runtime to just over 5 minutes. From Hodgson’s notes:

{% blockquote %} Video: Koyaanisqatsi at 1552% speed. (The year 1552 marks the publication of “A Short Account of the Destruction of the Indies,” an account of the mistreatment of the Indigenous Peoples of the Americas)

Audio: “The Holy Egoism of Genius,” a track off the 1999 album The Seduction of Claude Debussy by The Art of Noise. {% endblockquote %}

While this decontextualizes Reggio’s film (and does away completely with Philip Glass’s score) it isn’t any less mystifying than the original. Koyaanisqatsi has proven to have remarkable staying power for a film which is best experienced in a theater with live musical accompianiment.

Hodgson has reframed that experience. What does it mean that we can watch it online, windowed in a web browser, in as much time as it takes to take out the trash? I’m not sure, but questions like those are why I really enjoy this little experiment.

UPDATED 02/06/2012: Over in the comments on Vimeo, user stretta points to a sped up version of Philip Glass’s Koyaanisqatsi score he posted that matches the above video. I think speeding up the whole film, audio and video, provides a completely different experiment than what Hodgson was trying to do with his piece. Still, this seems a noteworthy addition so I’m embedding it below. You can mute the video and play the audio, but be warned, it’s not easy to make it through all 5 minutes.