The Met just posted Hilary Harris's Organism (1975) to YouTube

Originally published at: The Met just posted Hilary Harris's Organism (1975) to YouTube | Boing Boing


I don’t know if it is the nature of the film stock, but footage of the 1970s always seems to be covered in a layer of nicotine; just like I remember it being as a kid.


Obviously Let My Puppets Come needs some more in depth discussion, maybe its own Boing.


IMDb says it’s not softcore, so I don’t see that happening.


Cool film, but I can’t help but think that in this analogy Robert Moses is David Cronenberg.


Totally misread this as “Hillary Harris’s Orgasm” and started worrying about YouTube Kid’s algorithm.


Whoa thanks! This one I never heard about, and I do love Koyaanisqatsi. I’ll watch with much pleasure.


This film s a micro view that sees human life like scuttling ants, and is orchestrated to that end - the organism of the ‘hive mind’. In a way it shares a kinda utopian Ayn Rand vision that looks top down on a city and only just maintains a glossy facade of an artistic use of film. Reminds me of Leni Riefenstahl in so much as it works the city and people into a very dangerous hypothesis.

The creeping shadows over Manhattan of the World Trade Center says nothing of the good/bad humanity that inhabits these spaces.

Like Koyaanisqatsi one could label this glib and self affirming as a “piece of art” yet it says nothing about what it portrays and everything about the film maker - which is mute.



Fair call

Cool, I never heard of this prelude to Koyaanisqatsi either.

Not too long ago (but, also, very long ago) I made my own version of Koyaanisqatsi (using the original’s music). I color graded it with a custom-made LUT that simulates the 2-strip film process, limiting the color palette, and giving the impression of a color-coordinated world.


(updated scope of quoted text for clarity )

This is an interesting take, but I have to say that I find it a very odd one. If anything both Harris’s film Organism and Godfrey Reggio’s Koyaanisqatsi are clearly critical of totalitarianism (eta to add clarity over which works are being referenced) - there’s definitely some cause for questioning the extent of biological analogies projected to the societal level, but that need not contra-indicate systems analysis generally.

I’m not too familiar with Harris’s philosophy (do love his work, don’t miss Seaward the Great Ships which is an awesome shipbuilding doc), but the juxtaposition of narration in Organism is unambiguous in calling out overproduction in modern technological society as a pathology. Reggio’s life’s work is anything but mute in it’s transcendent call to awareness of dehumanizing potentials of mass society/technologically mediated culture and environmental degradation. (see also the thinkers listed as inspiration in the credits of K…)

That is beautiful, thanks for posting it!

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Thanks for your response and I’ll consider your view.

What the fuck?

  1. Ayn Rand was not a filmmaker.

But more importantly,

  1. Riefenstahl critical of totalitarianism???

@ChuckV I think there’s been a mix up. The “both filmmakers” that are being referenced in the above line are Hillary Harris (the subject of the OP), and Godfrey Reggio (the director of Koyaanisqatsi).
Obviously Riefenstahl wasn’t critical of totalitarianism, :rofl:

(… and the mind shudders to think what Rand’s film efforts would have resulted in)


Watching this just after watching Cells at Work Code Black and it’s kind of neat how biology/city metaphors can work both ways.

The city can be thought of as a superorganism, the body can be thought of as a city of cells. Fun.

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