Have you guys ever seen The Powers of Ten? It’s a 9 minute short Charles and Ray Eames created for IBM in 1977 that I first saw at the Boston Museum of Science with my dad sometime in the eighties. It depicts, “the relative scale of the Universe according to an order of magnitude (or logarithmic scale) based on a factor of ten, first expanding out from the Earth until the entire universe is surveyed, then reducing inward until a single atom and its quarks are observed.” (source: Wikipedia)
In the wake of that first initial viewing I was simultaneously struck with wonder by both the enormity of the universe it illustrated and the ingenuity of the filmmakers.
How do we know all this is true? And how did they DO that?
Up until that point I had never seen anything like it. The Powers of Ten was ‘educational’ but didn’t feel that way; it wasn’t stuffy or boring but exciting, the type of thing I could watch at school that wouldn’t feel like school. It turns out that learning stuff doesn’t have to be chore…in fact, it can and should be the exact opposite.
I can’t know for sure but my guess is that Takashi Ohashi has seen The Powers of Ten too and that it, in no small part, inspired the attached. It’s a music video from the same album as my previous post, Maison De Megu – so it’s no surprise that the two share a similar aesthetic – but they differ in setting, trading the former’s electrical schematic for a virtual world that ‘gels’ only when viewed from a particular viewing angle.
In fact, that point-of-view play is my favorite part. Beyond just the eye-candy thrill you get by seeing the visual plane wobble (during the wormhole-y zooms) and dramatically split (during the rotating sequences at 1:18-1:25, 1:47-2:20 and 2:52-3:11) it’s a reminder that our view of the world always ultimately depends on our perspective. In my mind that, not the zoom-in/zoom-out bits, is what provides the most significant parallel to The Powers of Ten. Is that looking into it too much? Am I extrapolating meaning where none was intended?
Maybe. Probably. But, whatever. That’s what I saw, maybe you did too?
Also: If you were diggin’ the wormhole dives through triangles you should definitely check out the super-rad music video for Slugabed’s Quantum Leap next, it’s 100% can’t-miss.