Thinkers, creators, and imaginers of all kinds love Powers of Ten, with good cause. If you’ve never seen Charles and Ray Eames’ still-influential film on all the various scales at which one can view the universe, take nine minutes and watch it free online. Though the original power couple of modern American design produced the film 35 years ago, the short has stayed as crisp, striking, and (literally) perspective-altering as ever. We may not need a new Powers of Ten, per se, but who wouldn’t be interested in seeing how many 21st-century interpretations of its theme 40 artists can come up with? The Powers Project has taken on this very idea, inviting contributors from Los Angeles to Köln to Wellington to Kyoto to re-envision each of the distances from which the original film views humanity, from one meter away to 1024 meters away to .000001 angstroms away.
Just above, you can watch one completed segment of the Powers Project from London’s Jordi Pagès. In it, the camera moves toward the surface of a hand and into the skin, eventually finding its way into a single blood vessel. When it eventually comes available online, the finished project will include almost as many styles of filmmaking as it does scales of viewing. Open to as many techniques of and perspectives on moving image creation as its contributors could summon, the film will take the Eames’ idea, originally all about the straight-on perception of reality, into a new realm of abstraction. Who’d have guessed how much rich artistic potential remained in, as Powers of Ten‘s subtitle puts it, the Relative Size of Things in the Universe and the Effect of Adding Another Zero?
Ice Cube & Charles Eames Revel in L.A. Architecture
Colin Marshall hosts and produces Notebook on Cities and Culture and writes essays on literature, film, cities, Asia, and aesthetics. Follow him on Twitter at @colinmarshall.
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