Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.
Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

Koyaanisqatsi recreated with just watermarked stock footage

Illustration for article titled Koyaanisqatsi recreated with just watermarked stock footage

Experimental filmmaker Godfrey Reggio blew people’s minds back in 1982 with his 85-minute cinematic tone poem Koyaanisqatsi: Life Out Of Balance, an unscripted, dialogue-free assemblage of footage documenting late 20th-century American life. Reggio and cinematographer Ron Fricke captured memorable, striking images in a number of locations, ranging from national parks to major cities, and set it all to the haunting, minimalist music of composer Philip Glass. It was probably a heck of a lot of work. These days, however, the movie could be pretty convincingly pieced together out of stock footage, as evidenced by this mock trailer posted to the Vimeo account of Jesse England. Koyaanistocksi features all the time-lapse and slo-mo grandeur of the Reggio film. From clouds soaring across the sky to cars gliding down highways, all the essential shots are here. Viewers just have to ignore the translucent watermarks for Shutterstock and iStock in the middle of the screen. The Glass score is retained as is.


Koyaanistocksi from Jesse England on Vimeo.

England says that Koyaanistocksi is a tribute to “Reggio’s influence on contemporary motion photography, and the appropriation of his aesthetic by others for commercial means.” In other words, Reggio and Fricke did their jobs so well that their innovations have become commonplace to the point of being invisible. Their movie presented a shockingly new way of looking at the world, and then the schlockmeisters and hucksters copied them shamelessly. Now, anybody can make a PowerPoint presentation look like an artistic masterpiece. For the sake of comparison, here is the actual trailer for Koyaanisqatsi. Apart from the lack of watermarks, it looks pretty much the same.

[via MetaFilter]