Blog Archive for the ‘Long Shorts’ Category

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The Majestic Plastic Bag

Posted on Friday, September 6th, 02013 by Alex Mensing
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The Majestic Plastic Bag from Heal the Bay on Vimeo.

Heal the Bay, a nonprofit environmental organization working to improve watersheds and coastal areas of Southern California, made this short film that tracks the ‘migration’ of a plastic bag from the grocery store to the ocean. The film is narrated by Jeremy Irons, and was featured as a Long Short in our series of short films that convey long-term thinking. It was screened at our May 02012 SALT seminar with Susan Freinkel, Eternal Plastic: A Toxic Love Story.

Silent Evolution

Posted on Wednesday, August 28th, 02013 by Alex Mensing
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Silent Evolution by Jennifer Piazza was screened at Timothy Ferris’ September 02011 SALT talk, “Accelerated Learning in Accelerated Times“. It features the art of Jason deCaires Taylor.

Taylor’s installation work is not found in galleries or typical sculpture gardens. Instead he places sculptures on the ocean floor, in locations where they slowly and silently accrue the trappings of a coral reef. Silent Evolution is an installation off the coast of Mexico.

Long Now chooses short films that convey long-term thinking to proceed many of our Seminars, a series we call Long Shorts.

Spaceship Earth

Posted on Monday, May 13th, 02013 by Charlotte Hajer
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OVERVIEW from Planetary Collective on Vimeo.

In 01963, Buckminster Fuller wrote:

Our little Spaceship Earth is only eight thousand miles in diameter, which is almost a negligible dimension in the great vastness of space. Our nearest star – our energy-supplying mother-ship, the Sun – is ninety-two million miles away … Our little Spaceship Earth is right now travelling at sixty thousand miles an hour around the sun and is also spinning axially, which, at the latitude of Washington, D.C., adds approximately one thousand miles per hour to our motion. Each minute we both spin at one hundred miles and zip in orbit at one thousand miles. That is a whole lot of spin and zip. … Spaceship Earth was so extraordinarily well invented and designed that to our knowledge humans have been on board it for two million years not even knowing that they were on board a ship. And our spaceship is so superbly designed as to be able to keep life regenerating on board despite the phenomenon, entropy, by which all local physical systems lose energy.

Taking Fuller’s words to heart, Stewart Brand once argued that “we will never get civilization right” until we recognize ourselves as travelers aboard a spaceship, and famously claimed that a photograph of the whole vessel might do the trick.

Indeed, a new short film by Planetary Collective documents and celebrates the transformative power of what it calls the Overview Effect. Ever since the crew aboard Apollo 8 first turned its camera back toward our planet, space travelers and ordinary earth-bound citizens alike have been struck by the emotions elicited by images of the whole Earth, floating in the darkness of space. Bringing astronauts together with philosophers, the video attempts to put these reactions into words – and echoes Stewart Brand by suggesting that whole-earth consciousness can be the seed of long-term responsibility.

To have that experience of awe is to, at least for the moment, let go of yourself. To transcend the sense of separation. So it’s not just that they were experiencing something other than them, but that they were, at some very deep level, integrating, realizing, their interconnectedness with that beautiful, blue-green ball.

(Image credit: NASA)

The Returning Tree

Posted on Tuesday, February 12th, 02013 by Alex Mensing
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The Returning Tree from YuriSerizawa on Vimeo.

Digital artist Yuri Serizawa created this visualization as his graduation work at Digital Hollywood. It blends the biological with the urban and set the stage for our June 02012 SALT talk with Benjamin Barber on the role of cities in the future, “If Mayors Ruled the World.” We screened it at the seminar as part of our Long Shorts series of short films that convey long-term thinking.

The Lunar 02013

Posted on Thursday, December 13th, 02012 by Charlotte Hajer
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The universe may be governed by quantum probability and uncertainty, but we can nevertheless predict the movements of bodies in our solar system with relative accuracy. For a preview of how the Moon will behave in 02013, this video offers an animated choreography of its phases and libration as it ellipses around our planet.

And for detailed information about specific dates of your choosing, NASA offers this handy tool.

Our Story in 1 Minute

Posted on Thursday, November 8th, 02012 by Austin Brown
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Our Story in 1 Minute – a quick, inspiring reminder of how far we’ve come, with original music by MelodySheep aka John Boswell.

(Thanks, Stuart!)

Epic Tea Time

Posted on Wednesday, September 5th, 02012 by Alexander Rose - Twitter: @zander
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Alan Rickman in Portraits in Dramatic Time by David Michalek. Thanks to Laura for sending this in.  Most of our Long Shorts have been time lapses that speed time up, this is a good one on slowing it down…

The project featured an array of glacially paced performances of theater artists and actors all genres and nationalities. With artists featured both singly and in groups, the piece offered a unique and secret glimpse into some of the world’s greatest performing artists.  More at

Scored by:
Music from Inception – Mind Heist

Created by:
David Michalek



Posted on Wednesday, August 22nd, 02012 by Alex Mensing
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Duelity from Ryan Uhrich on Vimeo.

Duelity is a split-screen animation that tells both sides of the story of Earth’ s origins in a dizzying and provocative journey through the history and language that marks human thought.

Marcos Ceravolo and Ryan Uhrich designed and directed the short animation Duelity with the Vancouver Film School. We featured it as a Long Short – our series of short films that convey long-term thinking - at the August 02012 SALT talk with Elaine Pagels. Duelity visualizes two versions of the earth’s creation, and Pagels’ presentation delves into the Book of Revelation’s apocalyptic foretelling of its end.

From Above

Posted on Thursday, March 8th, 02012 by Austin Brown
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While searching for a Long Short that could help us visualize the Anthropocene for Mark Lynas’ SALT, we came upon an amazing resource: The Gateway to Astronaut Photography of Earth. Contained therein are well over a million images of our planet taken from space.

And since NASA is a public institution paid for by American tax dollars, their policy for using the photos is basically, “They’re yours – have at ‘em!” (Just give them some credit – they did go to space to take them for us…)

One particularly exciting section within this massive collection is a series of photos taken by astronauts on the International Space Station using low-light cameras. Stitched together into videos, these images create amazing time-lapse depictions of the Earth and human civilization rotating and pulsing in a starry sky. Despite being over 200 miles below, humanity features significantly in the videos, weaving across the landscape, clustering around water sources and glowing through cloud cover.

Long Now videographer Chris Baldwin created a compilation of some of those videos and set it to Brian Eno’s aptly titled ‘Late Anthropocene’ from Small Craft on a Milk Sea.

A Short History of the Modern Calendar

Posted on Friday, February 3rd, 02012 by Austin Brown
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Keeping time, it turns out, is a messy business. In order to satisfy science, religion, and sometimes ego, our calendar has changed quite a bit throughout history. This video by Jeremiah Warren tells the story up to now.

Since we can’t predict what changes might be made in the future, the 10,000 Year Clock has been designed to keep track of the cycles of the Sun, the Moon, the planets and the constellations – things even the largest of egos will have trouble changing.