the city as an emergent life form

In a previous post I’ve written about the environmental and social rhythms we are immersed in. That post included the 1982 cult classic koyaanisqatsi. Experimental films go way back (as e.g. Bert Haanstra’s work form the 50s and 60s shows) but I continue to be surprised by new examples of old work that superbly illustrate something I care about. Aeon recently posted this 1975 gem called organism, about the city as an emergent life form:

I reblog the accompagnying info below:

The city as an emergent life form, with architecture as the skeleton and roads as veins
While comparing cities to living things perhaps isn’t as novel in 2021 as it was when Organism was first released in 1975, the analogy has never been as dizzyingly inventive or convincingly rendered as in this experimental short by the US filmmaker Hilary Harris. Working primarily from time-lapse footage of New York City, Harris intersperses biological microscopy and voiceovers describing the structures and functions of the human body to meticulously assemble the metaphor – roads, bridges, tunnels and trains form a grand circulatory system; shipping, distribution and waste management networks mirror the digestive process. With the frantic yet orderly action set to a hypnotic score, the viewing experience is at once experiential and thought-provoking, hinting at broader reflections on emergence and the self.

Director: Hilary Harris

Website: The Metropolitan Museum of Art


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