Gifaanisqatsi generates Koyaanisqatsi-style montages with random GIFs and sets them to Philip Glass's looming score

Originally published at: Gifaanisqatsi generates Koyaanisqatsi-style montages with random GIFs and sets them to Philip Glass's looming score | Boing Boing


Is there some anniversary or something? I had never heard of the movie before and this is the second time today I’ve seen it mentioned.


Forty years, I guess? From Wikipedia:

premiered at the Santa Fe Film Festival on April 28, 1982.

The film’s initial limited release began in San Francisco at the Castro Theatre on April 27, 1983.

When I saw it in a theater, the person who had invited me to go with them wound up going out to her car and waiting because it made her feel dizzy and sick, while I stayed and watched the whole thing and enjoyed it.


Algorithms are sending you links about it because your phone heard you utter something in your sleep that sounded like “Koyaanisqatsi.”


It’s an incredible algorithm that changes the movie on a “guess the movie” site :stuck_out_tongue:


Baader–Meinhof phenomenon


Thanks, Rob.
Hilarious. Sad. Bizarre.

Saw the live performance (directed by Philip Glass) of Koyaanisqatsi in St. Louis, Missouri in the 1980s. The film (silent–remember, the live orchestra performing the soundtrack was seated just in front of the screen) broke halfway through, and the musicians just sat there, quietly, facing forward, waiting for Glass to raise his hands up for “ready?” while the projectionist in the booth behind us worked fiendishly to get the film part going again. It was many minutes of waiting. A performance piece inside the performance piece, and like all the best kind, random, odd and unanticipated.

Good times.

Always had a soft spot for the music of Philip Glass, his works vary and are often hard to love at first listen (or first view).

We are well into the next phases, the sequels to Koyaanisqatsi … now:

Godfrey Reggio (director of these films) called it early and often.
The third of his trilogy:


It’s a cute idea, but IMO it falls flat. The best of the original is in matching Reggio’s carefully selected visuals with Glass’s carefully crafted music, and both depend on immersion and continuity. Short snippets of Glass music with random clips lose both.

Still fun, but as any kind of commentary it misses the mark.

1 Like

In addition to the two sequels, other films came along that struck me as at least influenced by Koyaanisqatsi, if not necessarily direct imitations.


See also Anima Mundi with the same creatives behind it. Seeing this on TV sent me down a rabbit hole of trying to locate the soundtrack, realizing that it was Glass (an obsession of a friend) and then getting mildly obsessed myself. Some of his pieces don’t do it for me, but more do.


Yes, I was going to say that in my own experience I’ve noticed it get referenced quite a bit now and again over the years…

E.g., a search of the bbs brings up 44 results from a variety of topics (one of them my own comment from 2018, on something that happened to remind me of it…)

I think a fair number of folks could name the film and reference it, but not necessarily the other two films in the trilogy. I’ve only seen Koyaanisqatsi, myself.

That said, @sqlrob is one of XKCD’s lucky 10,000 today :smiley:


I like this, although it would be much better without the jarring black intervals between the GIFs.

I made my own Koyaanisqatsi version with footage from a trip to NYC one winter. This, a time just before the virus, not a mask in sight.

It’s all about the subtle gestures (and the phone, always the phone…)


Given the way it’s assembled, it’s unlikely to sync up in the way the film does. When it does, though, and the faux-gravitas is applied to a person removing a bottle cap with a chainsaw, followed by a jowly dog shaking its head, it’s hilarious.


Blank screen… seemingly randomly skipping thru the score… At least it wasnt a rickroll


I had to turn off my “Disable Autoplay” extension.

And if you follow it to YouTube, there’s only the audio clip there, no images…

1 Like

What is this Baader-Meinhof of which you speak… Oh, wait a minute, there is someone at the door…


You’re in for a treat! In the meantime, here’s a great short he made from the same time period that Philip Glass scored as well.


Strangely enough, I don’t remember much of the movie - I’ve seen it when it came out.
Strangely enough,as I have quite a number of LPs, cassettes and CDs of Philip Glass’s music (and, in these moderns days, playlists).
Strangely enough, as I was already hooked on his music since the mid 70’s, when I caught by chance a performance of “Music in similar motion” on a radio I had just built.

I find Lavinia Meijer’s execution of Metamorphosis II deeply touching.


Baraka and Samsara were both directed by Ron Fricke, who was the cinematographer on Koyanisqaatsi (but not the sequels.)