This. is. sweet.
Heliotropes / 2010 / 3 min / HD / Stereo
HELIOTROPES documents the parallel goals of man and nature, through the most primitive and sophisticated means, to simply stay in the light.
Based on the poem by Brian Christian.
“Heliotropes” premiered at SXSW in March 2011. langanfilms.com
Flights to the American east coast from the west coast often depart at nightfall; travelers lose three hours, resulting in a shortened night. Flights westward tend to be in the morning, with travelers experiencing the three-hour gain as an extended afternoon. Likewise, many “heliotropic” plants—notably sunflowers—”track” the sun through the sky by bending westward slowly as the sun goes westward in the sky. At night, these plants “reset” by tilting back eastward in anticipation of the next day’s sunrise. In essence, the behavior of the planes and the behavior of the sunflowers manifests the same pattern: west in the daylight, east at night. And both attempt to maximize the exposure to sunlight: plants need it biologically, and humans need it psychologically.
“Heliotropes” offers a glance at how certain patterns repeat themselves at different levels of nature, whether we know it or not. Sunflower seeds and petals are known to follow the Fibonacci sequence, a mathematical formula that makes their structure maximally efficient—but they don’t “know” they’re doing this. Likewise, humans go to such lengths to mathematically optimize flight patterns to maximize profit for airlines, but perhaps we don’t realize that what we are doing, when one stands back and looks at that flight data statistically, is simply trying to stay in the light.
“Heliotropes” illuminates the ways that certain patterns recur throughout nature, some very sophisticated, some very primitive—the sophisticated Fibonacci sequence occurs in the primitive flower, the primitive urge towards the sun occurs in humans’ sophisticated air travel industry—and in so doing, suggest a sense of the fundamental unity of life.
- Brian Christian