Working at advertising agencies are probably very bright, young people, that can get a big job because of their visual acuity, and what they’re constantly looking for is another visual language, because they’re looking for something that they feel can be impactful.1 That’s what I think happened. It wasn’t like the head of the company said, “Let’s do this.” It’s that those people are brought up in the visual world, and all of a sudden what was before Koyaanisqatsi, a visual punctuation mark, i.e. time-lapse photography that maybe you would see in a nature documentary or as a small clip somewhere in a feature, but more as a punctuation point became in Koyaanisqatsi in order to be able to see the world we live in. We all look at the world, but we don’t see it.


So, it’s kind of based on the idea that not only the blind cannot see. So, using time-lapse photography gave another way of seeing something ordinary, but in an unordinary way. And when I think these young dudes and the art designers in the advertising world said, “Hey, here is a language and it happens to be something that is spectacular.” So, they picked it up, because these images were trying to show the spectacle of the beast, not social inequity and war, all of which you are extraordinarily important, in terms of people making the public aware of it. But this was to show the attraction of the beast, the seduction of the beast. So, now the beast has consumed it as part of its commercial language to sell us gizmos and every other possible thing.

  1. Anybody To Answer To, Hyphenated Word, Switches Me Off []
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