On
Time‐Lapse
Photography



One
of
the
foremost
tasks
of
art
has
always
been
the
creation
of
a
demand
 which
could
be
fully
satisfied
only
later.
 Walter
Benjamin,
"The
Work
of
Art
in
the
 Age
of
Mechanical
Reproduction"
 
 Accelerated
the
life
of
flowers
is
Shakespearean.
 Blaise
Cendrars
 
 I
continued
to
look
at
the
flowers,
and
in
their
living
light
I
seemed
to
detect
 the
qualitative
equivalent
of
breathing—but
of
a
breathing
without
return
to
 a
starting
point,
with
no
recurrent
ebbs
but
only
a
repeated
flow
from
 beauty
to
heightened
beauty,
from
deeper
to
ever
deeper
meaning.
 Alduous
Huxley,
The
Doors
of
Perception
 
 True
imagination
actually
"sees"
the
"subtle"
processes
of
nature
and
their
 angelic
prototypes.
It
is
the
capability
to
reproduce
in
oneself
the
 cosmogenic
unfolding,
the
permanent
creation
of
the
world.
.
.
.
 Maurice
Aniane



 P h u sis,
P o ie sis,
a n d 
th e 
P re ‐H isto ry 
o f
T im e ‐L a p se 

Substance,
Nietzsche
argues
in
The
Gay
Science,
has
not
always
existed.
Once
 mankind
lived
in
the
midst
of
a
substanceless
"absolute
flow
of
becoming":
"In
order
 that
the
concept
of
substance
could
originate—which
is
indispensable
for
logic
 although
in
the
strictest
sense
nothing
real
corresponds
to
it—it
was
necessary
that
 for
a
long
time
we
did
not
see
nor
perceive
the
changes
in
things"
(171).
Perhaps,
 Nietzsche
speculated,
we
are
not
momentous
enough
beings
to
perceive
change
in
its
 purest
form:
 
 We
are
not
subtle
enough
to
perceive
that
probably
absolute
flow
of
 becoming;
the
permanent
exists
only
thanks
to
our
coarse
organs
which
 reduce
and
lead
things
to
shared
premises
of
vulgarity,
whereas
nothing
 exists
in
this
form.
A
tree
is
a
new
thing
at
every
instant;
we
affirm
the
form
 because
we
do
not
seize
the
subtlety
of
an
absolute
moment.
(Quoted
in
 Barthes
61)
 


The
Collected
Works
of
David
Lavery
2


A
kind
of
epistemological
natural
selection,
Nietzsche
theorized,
thus
 governed
the
rise
of
substance—the
evolution
of
a
common‐sensical,
material,
 stable,
vulgar
world—and
the
elimination
of
a
perceptual
awareness
of
perpetual
 metamorphosis.
 
 The
beings
that
did
not
see
so
precisely
had
an
advantage
over
those
that
saw
 everything
"in
flux."
At
bottom,
every
high
degree
of
caution
in
making
 inferences
and
every
skeptical
tendency
constitutes
a
great
danger
for
life.
No
 living
beings
would
have
survived
if
the
opposite
tendency—to
affirm
rather
 than
suspend
judgment,
to
err
and
make
up
things
rather
than
wait,
to
assent
 rather
than
negate,
to
pass
judgment
rather
than
be
just—had
not
been
bred
 to
the
point
where
it
became
extraordinarily
strong.
(171‐72)
 
 (Bergson
meant
much
the
same
when
he
argued,
in
Creative
Evolution,
that
 "A
man
is
so
much
more
a
'man
of
action'
as
he
can
embrace
in
a
glance
a
greater
 number
of
events:
he
who
perceives
successive
events
one
by
one
will
allow
himself
 to
be
led
by
them;
he
who
grasps
them
as
a
whole
will
dominate
them”
[327‐28].)
 But
the
human
mind
has
not
always
turned
its
back
on
becoming,
despite
the
 adaptive,
evolutionary
pressure
to
do
so.
Phusis
has
had
its
20th
century
 reincarnations.
 
 It
was
Owen
Barfield's
contention,
central
to
his
whole
understanding
of
"the
 evolution
of
consciousness,"
that
Greek
thinking—indeed
Greek
consciousness—"was
 in
a
certain
sense
alive"
(Romanticism
51).
Because
the
Greeks
were
more
"at
home
.
 .
.
in
the
coming‐into‐being,
or
becoming"
than
we,
whose
thought
is
"built
.
.
.
on
 the
secure
but
rigid
framework
of
logic
.
.
.
and
can
only
deal
with
the
'become,'
the
 finished
product
.
.
.
,"
their
thinking
reminds
us
today
of
"a
blossoming
flower
that
 is
still
moist,
alive,
in
movement,
becoming."
Heraclitus
witnessed
the
"universal
 flux";
we
can
only
perceive
and
think
the
"is."
The
turning
point,
according
to
 Barfield,
came
when
"Anaxagoras
set
over
against
the
for‐ever‐changing
world
of
 growing
and
decaying
substance
.
.
.
the
other
principle
of
Onus
or
Mind"
and
 "antithesis
(hitherto
unapprehended)
between
Spirit
and
Matter"
became
common
 sense,
logic
triumphing
over
logos
and
judgment
over
justice.
 Still
immersed
within
the
experience
of
becoming,
"conscious
in
it,"
the
 "Greek
mind
could
not
at
first
be
conscious
of
it
as
such."
Thus,
Barfield
argues,


The
Collected
Works
of
David
Lavery
3


those
"laws"
of
nature
which
we
now
conceive
abstractly
were
to
the
Greeks
"still
 apprehended
as
living
Beings."
That
aspect
of
nature
perceptible
by
the
senses
"was
 itself
the
sum
of
the
accomplished
deeds
of
another
invisible
part—that
of
the
 'Forms'
as
we
will
call
them.
Indeed
the
Greeks
tended
to
lose
interest
in
the
Nature
 which
had
become.
.
.
."
It
was
natura
naturans
which
captured
their
imaginations,
 not
natura
naturata.
 But
we,
in
our
static
thought,
have
made
such
evolution‐in‐progress,
such
 becoming,
into
a
mere
theory.
We
now
have,
Barfield
insists
(alluding
to
the
thought
 of
Bergson),
no
experience
of
evolution:
"Now
it
is
one
of
our
four
fundamental
 'Laws
of
Thought'
that
a
thing
cannot
both
be
and
not
be,
and
so
obvious
does
this
 appear
to
us
that
when
we
hear
Heraclitus
maintaining
the
opposite,
we
are
inclined
 to
stigmatize
him
as
a
verbal
quibbler.
This
is
because
we
can
only
think
'is';
we
 cannot
really
think
'becomes'
except
as
a
kind
of
cinematic
succession
of
'is's'."
 The
very
word
"evolution,"
Barfield
has
observed,
once
had
a
very
different
 meaning
than
the
one
infused
into
it
by
the
19th
century
mind
as
it
changed
the
 meaning
of
the
older
word
(which
still
carried
vestiges
of
the
Greek
awareness
of
 becoming)
to
denote
the
cosmos
it
was
then
in
the
process
of
engineering,
and
this
 change
reflects
the
modern
loss
of
the
experience
of
evolution. 
For
once
the
word
 had
suggested
an
"unfolding,
a
gradual
and
uninterrupted
process
of
change
from
 one
form
into
another,
towards
which
it
has
tended
from
the
start—from
one
form
 into
another
through
a
whole
series
of
intermediate
forms,
the
one
imperceptibly
 merging
into
the
other."
Once
"evolution"
called
to
mind
transformation
(onto‐ genesis)
not
mere
substitution
(a
succession
of
"is's,"
or
phylogenesis)
as
it
did
for
 Darwin—a
transformation
in
which
could
be
witnessed
"a
change
from
potential
form
 into
actual
and
spatial
form,
the
typical
instance
being
a
seed
or
an
embryo
evolving
 by
growth
into
an
independent
plant
or
animal."
 
 Like
Barfield,
Martin
Heidegger
found
the
pre‐Socratic
Greek
mind
attuned
to
the
 emergence
and
establishment
of
the
"real"
with
a
consciousness
quite
different
from
 our
own.
In
characteristic
Heidegger
fashion,
he
illustrates
this
difference
through
 what
might
be
called
phenomenological
etymology
(a
method
which
he
shares
with
 his
British
contemporary).
The
Greek
word
for
our
"nature,"
Heidegger
shows
in
his

1

See
Raymond
Williams’
discussion
of
‘evolution”
in
Keywords:
A
Vocabulary
of
Culture
and
Society
(103‐ 105).
Barfield
discusses
the
etymology
of
“evolution”
in
“The
Evolution
Complex”
(8).


1

The
Collected
Works
of
David
Lavery
4


Introduction
to
Metaphysics,
encapsulates
this
change
of
consciousness
which
the
 western
mind
has
undergone.
 For
phusis
really
meant
to
the
Greeks,
if
we
translate
it
properly
(avoiding
the
 "logomorphic"
imposition
of
our
rational
mind‐set
upon
what
was
in
reality
a
pre‐ rational
logos),
nothing
like
the
given,
known,
"natural"
world
suggested
by
"nature"
 (a
Latinate
word
which,
in
typically
Roman
fashion,
became
routinized,
obliterating
 the
sense
of
wonder
implicit
in
the
Greek
equivalent). 
Phusis
was,
rather,
nothing
 less
than
"self‐blossoming
emergence
(e.g.
the
blossoming
of
a
rose),
opening
up,
 unfolding,
that
which
manifests
itself
in
such
unfolding
and
preserves
and
endures
in
 it"
(Metaphysics
11‐12;
my
italics).All
truth—to
the
pre‐Socratics
aletheia,
the
 unconcealed—was,
Heidegger
explains,
the
result
of
the
"gathering
in"
(the
root
 meaning
of
logos)
of
the
fruits
of
this
unfolding
in
a
process
they
knew
as
poiesis,
of
 which
techne
was
understood
to
be
only
a
sub‐set,
a
lesser
activity.
George
Steiner
 has
explained
this
difficult
aspect
of
Heidegger's
philosophy
of
being
with
admirable
 clarity.
 
 Once,
says
Heidegger,
nature
was
phusis,
the
archaic
designation
of
natural
 reality
which
he
reads
as
containing
within
itself
the
Greek
sense
for
"coming
 into
radiant
being"
(as
is
still
faintly
discernible
in
our
word
"phenomenon").
 Phusis
proclaimed
the
same
process
of
creation
that
generates
a
work
of
art.
 It
was,
in
the
best
sense,
poiesis—a
making,
a
bringing
forth.
The
blossom
 breaking
from
the
bud
and
unfolding
into
its
proper
being
(en
eauto)
is
at
 once
the
realization
of
phusis
and
poiesis,
or
organic
drive—Dylan
Thomas's
 "green
fuse"—and
of
the
formal
creative
—conservative
dynamism
we
 experience
in
art.
(137)
 
 The
Greek
awareness
of
phusis,
in
which
a
tree
might
be
recognized
in
fact
as
 "a
new
thing
at
every
instant,"
could
not
long
be
endured,
however.
phusis
became
 natura
merely;
becoming
became
become;
what
Heidegger
calls
the
"ought"
was
 imposed
upon
the
world
of
perception,
and
truth
became
almost
exclusively
a
matter
 of
correctness,
not
revelation
(Mehta
138,
147‐51).
And
whether
we
accept
as

2

The
early
Greek
philosophers
(as
Aristotle
explainsin
the
Metaphysics
[1005])
were
even
known
as
the
 phusikoi—those
who
concerned
themselves
with
the
processes
of
growth
and
genesis.
See
H.
F.
Peters,
Greek
 Philosophical
terms:
A
Historical
Lexicon
(158‐60).


2

The
Collected
Works
of
David
Lavery
5


explanation
Nietzsche's
Darwinistic
historical
epistemology,
or
Barfield's
theory
of
 the
evolution
of
consciousness,
or
Heidegger's
history
of
Being,
 Yet
throughout
the
history
of
the
West,
it
seems,
certain
individuals,
despite
 the
pressure
to
forget
becoming
and
concentrate
on
the
objective
"is,"
have
retained
 an
atavistic
awareness
of
phusis,
have
kept
alive
an
"openness
to
the
mystery"
even
 in
a
time
which
Heidegger
has
characterized
as
the
"oblivion
of
Being."
(All
great
 genius,
Nietzsche
had
speculated,
may
after
all
be
atavistic. )
For
a
distinct
sub‐ species
of
the
race,
such
a
consciousness
might
even
be
called
"species‐specific."
 After
all,
as
Steiner
observes,
phusis
and
poiesis
have
always
been
united—and
the
 "blossom
breaking
from
the
bud
and
unfolding
into
its
proper
being"
always
an
ever‐ present
reality
of
perception
and
imagination—for
the
artist.
Artists,
being
the
 antennae
of
the
race,
have
never
forgotten
their
allegiance
to
the
"self‐blossoming
 emergence"
of
things;
artists
have
kept
alive
for
the
species
an
authentic
awareness
 of
becoming.
 

3

E v o lu tio n ,
R e la tiv ity ,
a n d 
th e 
M o m e n to u s


And
would
not
the
whole
of
history
be
contained
in
a
very
short
time
for
a
 consciousness
at
a
higher
degree
of
tension
than
our
own,
which
would
watch
the
 development
of
humanity
while
contracting
it,
so
to
speak,
into
the
great
phases
of
 its
evolution?
In
short,
then,
to
perceive
consists
in
condensing
enormous
periods
of
 an
infinitely
diluted
existence
into
a
few
more
differentiated
moments
of
an
 intensive
life,
and
in
the
summing
up
of
a
very
long
history.
 Henri
Bergson,
Matter
and
Memory
 


Ordinarily,
human
experience
of
events
is,
like
that
of
every
creature,
limited
by
 what
ethologists
have
deemed
our
"moment":
by,
that
is,
the
innate
biological
pace
 at
which
we,
like
all
creatures,
are
capable
of
perceiving
the
world.
Since
our

In
The
Gay
Science
(84),
Nietzsche
writes:
 
 A
kind
of
atavism—I
prefer
to
understand
the
rare
human
beings
of
an
age
as
suddenly
emerging
late
ghosts
 of
past
cultures
and
their
powers—as
atavisms
of
a
people
and
its
more:
that
way
one
really
can
understand
 a
little
about
them.
Now
they
seem
strange,
rare,
extraordinary;
and
whoever
feels
these
powers
in
himself
 must
nurse,
defend,
honor,
and
cultivate
them
against
another
world
that
resists
themuntil
he
becomes
 either
a
great
human
being
or
a
mad
and
eccentric
one—or
perishes
early.”
 
 Another
hypothesis
for
the
source
of
time‐lapse
consciousness
in
our
time:
Jung
suggests
that
the
“collective
 unconscious,”
in
its
almost
instinctual
depths,
possesses
a
“living
sense
of
the
rhythm
of
growth,
flowering,
and
 decay”
as
part
of
the
accumulated
psycho‐biological
wisdom
of
mankind.
See
“Basic
Postulates
of
Analytical
 Psychology”
(paragraph
673).

3

The
Collected
Works
of
David
Lavery
6


species'
moment
is
approximately
1/24th
of
a
second,
any
event
which
in
its
 "presentational
immediacy"
(Whitehead)
is
more
rapid
cannot
be
consciously
 detected
by
us.
 A
series
of
taps
administered
to
the
skin
at
a
very
rapid
rate
of
speed
will
 thus
be
perceived
by
us
as
one
continuous
tap.
Or,
to
use
a
better
known
example,
if
 motion
picture
film
is
projected
onto
a
screen
at
a
rate
of
twenty
four
frames
a
 second,
each
image
remaining
on
the
screen
for
approximately
1/24th
of
a
second,
 the
image
will
appear
to
the
human
mind
as
continuous,
thanks
to
"persistence
of
 vision."
Every
movie
is,
in
reality,
a
very
rapid
slide
show,
but
the
innate
limits
of
 our
moment
keep
us
from
seeing
it
as
such.
Our
inability
to
see
any
faster
than
we
 do
"animates"
the
individual
photographs
and
transforms
them
into
a
moving
 picture.
Similarly,
extremely
slow
events—for
example,
the
blossoming
of
a
flower— are
below
our
moment
and
likewise
imperceptible.
Thus
every
creature's
moment
 locks
it
into
the
world
at
a
particular
frequency,
allowing
experience
of
only
a
 limited
range
of
tempos,
though
worlds
upon
worlds—dimensions
which
I
will
called,
 taken
collectively,
the
"momentous"—continue
to
exist
beyond
its
ken.
 Fascinated
with
the
nature
of
the
phenomenal
or
self‐world
surrounding
every
 living
creature,
including
human
beings,
pioneer
German
ethologist
Baron
Jacob
von
 Uexkull
(18xx‐19xx),
author
of
such
works
as
A
Stroll
Through
the
Garden
of
Animals
 and
Men
and
Theoretical
Biology,
suggested
that
every
sentient
being
is
governed
by
 what
he
called
an
"Umwelt."
A
creature's
Umwelt,
Uexkull
thought,
is
a
biologically
 determined
adaptation
to
a
particular
environment,
the
long
term
result
of
a
lengthy
 period
of
evolutionary
development
and
the
immediate
effect,
in
part,
of
a
 creature's
very
metabolism,
of
its
moment.
 An
Umwelt,
Uexkull
imagined,
is
like
a
soap‐bubble
surrounding
the
individual
 being,
filtering
all
that
it
sees
and
feels,
and
yet
it
is
almost
impossible
to
grasp
and
 to
witness,
so
close
does
it
lie
to
the
intrinsic,
tacit
nature
of
the
creature,
so
much
 does
it
constitute
the
substance
of
its
accustomed
orientation.
 
 As
the
spider
spins
its
threads,
every
subject
spins
his
relations
to
certain
 characteristics
of
the
things
around
him,
and
weaves
them
in
a
firm
web
 which
carves
his
existence.
 
 In
Heidegger's
ontological
terms,
the
Umwelt
is
a
"world"
which
cannot
be
easily
 observed
because
it
is
that
"with
which"
we
see,
rather
than
"what"
we
see.
(This


The
Collected
Works
of
David
Lavery
7


tradition
of
thought
has
its
origin,
of
course,
in
Kant's
conception
of
the
"categories
 of
human
understanding,
a
tradition
to
which
Uexkull
consciously
attempts
to
add
a
 biological
and
semiotic
grounding.)
 The
Umwelten
of
some
creatures,
Uexkull
informs
us,
are
rich,
while
those
of
 others
are
exceedingly
poor.
For
a
cattle
tick
Uexkull
describes,
up
to
eighteen
years
 may
pass
without
a
single
accented
sensation!
(Bleibtreu
17).
But
for
every
creature
 the
situation
is,
in
one
sense,
the
same:
 
 All
psychic
processes,
feelings,
and
thoughts
are
invariably
bound
to
a
 definite
moment
and
proceed
contemporaneously
with
objective
sensations.
.
 .
.
.
Time
envelops
both
the
subjective
and
objective
worlds
in
the
same
way,
 and,
unlike
space,
makes
no
distinction
between
them.
(Theoretical
Biology
 15)
 
 But
human
beings,
of
course,
can
escape
the
moment.
We
alone
among
the
 species
on
this
plant
can
come
to
know
something
of
the
"Momentous"
itself.
What
 other
creature
shows
such
concern,
both
scientific
and
artistic,
with
the
inscapes
of
 other
living
creatures?
What
other
creature
can
transcend
its
own
moment
to
 investigate
the
duration
of
the
cosmos
itself?
What
other
creature
could
realize
the
 Theory
of
Relativity
or
propose
the
idea
of
the
Big
Bang?
 
 As
the
Dutch
phenomenological
psychologist
J.
H.
van
den
Berg
has
shown,
we
have
 in
the
modern
age
nevertheless
become
increasingly
oblivious
to
the
"tempo"
of
the
 world. 
Building
on
a
Cartesian,
quality‐denying
philosophical
foundation,
committed
 ideological
to
the
equalizing
of
all
dimensions,
epistemological
as
well
as
social,
 increasingly
obsessed
with
domination,
through
speed
and
power,
of
a
landscape
for
 which
we
have
little
respect,
convinced
that
time
itself
represents
imperfection,
and
 aided
mightily
the
omnipresence
of
mechanical
clocks
designed
to
"restrain
the
 changing
of
things,
to
camouflage
this
changing
as
much
as
possible"
(113),
we
 constructed
from
1740
through
1900
an
homogenized
world
almost
devoid
of
tempo.
 "Time
exists,"
van
den
Berg
observes,
"only
when
one
takes
the
time"—a
 contemporary
rarity.
When
he
himself
"takes
the
time"
in
Things:
Four
Metabletic

4

By
‘tempo”
van
den
Berg
means
the
natural,
innate
reality
of
things
in
biological
time,
apart
from
humanly
 iposed
structure
and
stability.


4

The
Collected
Works
of
David
Lavery
8


Reflections, 
he
discovers
that
"each
place
has
its
own
time,"
its
own
tempo:
clouds,
 trees,
plants,
the
whole
of
the
surrounding
landscape
are
filled
with
different
times:
 
 In
between
the
flowers
a
different
time
prevails
than
on
the
lawn.
Times
goes
 a
little
faster
there.
Above
me,
among
the
feather
clouds,
time
goes
even
 faster.
.
.
.
The
sea
has
a
different
time
than
the
land.
A
lake
in
a
forest
is
a
 realm
of
a
different
time.
Sometimes
a
single
tree
or
bush
can
draw
attention
 because
of
the
distinctive
time
prevailing
around
it.
There
are
flowers
which
 disclose
new
times
at
certain
moments
of
the
day.
When
the
thorn‐apple
 opens
up
in
the
evening,
a
new
and
faster
time
governs
this
flower.
And
the
 real
reason
isn't
that
the
flower
moves
at
that
time,
but
just
the
opposite.
 Because
a
different
time
governs
that
flower
in
the
evening,
the
flower
opens
 quickly
in
that
particular
way
and
invites
the
hawk‐moth,
which
is
endowed
 with
fast
time
and
flies
precisely
in
that
particular
way.
For
what
is
speed
if
it
 isn't
born
by
speedy,
"time‐consuming"
things,
plants,
or
animals?
 
 Compared
with
the
toad,
the
frog
is
fast,
even
when
it
doesn't
stir
and,
on
the
basis
 of
its
particular
speed,
the
frog
leaps,
while
the
toad
crawls
by
virtue
of
the
time
 that
is
its
own.
 
 Human
beings,
van
den
Berg
reminds,
are
likewise
governed
by
their
own,
often
 idiosyncratic,
tempos:
"Even
people
have
a
time
of
their
own;
each
one,
I
suspect,
 has
one
for
himself.
The
botanist
is
marked
by
a
different
time
than
the
geologist.
 The
zoologist
who
specializes
in
diptera
is
by
virtue
of
his
time,
his
tempo
and
 duration,
a
different
man
than
his
colleague
who
prefers
to
limit
himself
to
bumble
 bees"
(123).
 All
these
tempos,
van
den
Berg
discovers,
co‐exist,
moments
of
the
 Momentous,
in
a
marvelous
ecology:
 
 An
effortless
unity
governs
what
I
see,
a
unity
in
time,
strange
as
it
may
 seem.
For
just
now
when
I
observed
for
the
first
time
that
in
different
places
 times
move
at
a
different
speed,
I
thought
that
I
therefore
ought
to
conclude


5

Things
is
comprised
of
phenomenological
reflections
on
dimensions,
colors,
the
shape
of
the
earth,
and
 time.
“Metabletics,”
a
discipline
which
van
den
Berg
himself
invented,
is
the
study
of
historical
change,
considered
 psychologically.”


5

The
Collected
Works
of
David
Lavery
9


that
the
places
of
such
different
times
couldn't
possibly
remain
synchronous.
 One
place
would
lag
behind
the
others
and
be
stuck
with
a
surplus
of
time
at
 the
end
of
the
day,
while
other
places
would
run
short.
But
I
see
my
mistake:
I
 was
fooled
by
the
idea
of
an
absolute.
Uniform,
uniformly
progressing
time
 possessing
only
one
speed.
I
must
abandon
that
idea.
(122)
 
 That
very
idea,
however,
has
fooled,
and
continues
to
fool,
most
of
us:
"There
is
 hardly
anybody
who
still
thinks
that
things
change
in
reality"
(114).
 
 Writing
in
the
1920s,
Paul
Valéry
insisted
that
"we—who
cannot
even
perceive
our
 own
growth—are
unable
to
visualize
a
movement
so
slow
that
a
perceptible
result
 springs
from
an
imperceptible
change."
The
human
mind,
Valéry
wrote,
"can
imagine
 the
living
process
only
by
lending
it
a
rhythm
which
is
specifically
ours
.
.
."
("Man
 and
the
Sea
Shell"
xxx).
 Thinking
of
the
radical
nature
of
modern
knowledge—in
cosmology,
geology,
 evolutionary
biology,
physics—Teilhard
de
Chardin
observes
in
The
Phenomenon
of
 Man
that
in
this
century
our
species
seems
to
be
acquiring
new
senses,
the
latest
 additions
to
a
"whole
series
of
'senses'
.
.
.
whose
gradual
acquisition
.
.
.
covers
and
 punctuates
the
whole
history
of
the
struggles
of
the
mind."
One
of
these
new
senses
 he
describes
will
be
one
Valéry
denies
us:
a
"sense
of
movement,
capable
of
 perceiving
the
irresistible
developments
hidden
in
extreme
slowness—extreme
 agitation
concealed
beneath
a
veil
of
immobility—the
entirely
new
insinuating
itself
 into
the
heart
of
the
monotonous
repetition
of
the
same
things"
(34).
 Time‐lapse
photography,
as
we
shall
see,
may
prove
instrumental
to
the
 perfection
of
this
sense,
but
the
sense
itself
is
not
in
essence
instrumental
but
part
 of
human
potential
inasmuch
as
we
realize
ourselves
to
be
momentous,
poetic
 beings.
It
would
appear
that
ability
to
see
"the
irresistible
developments
hidden
in
 extreme
slowness"
may
have
long
been
with
us.
 "The
sages,"
said
the
Taoist
philosopher
Chuang‐tzu,
"contemplate
ten
 thousand
years
and
count
them
as
a
pure
complete
oneness"
(Chang
73).
The
final
 effect
of
the
acquisition
of
an
evolutionary
sense,
from
cosmology
through
biology,
 might
be
to
make
men
into
such
sages.
 
 In
Woman
Warrior,
in
the
chapter
entitled
"White
Tigers,"
Maxine
Hong
Kingston,
 enthralled
by
her
mother's
"talkstory"
versions
of
ancient
Chinese
myths,
imagines


The
Collected
Works
of
David
Lavery
10


herself
as
Fa
Mu
Lan,
a
fabled
woman
who
apprenticed
herself
to
an
elderly
man
and
 woman
in
a
mountain
sanctuary
in
order
to
become
a
woman
of
power.
As
part
of
her
 archetypal
training
as
a
warrior,
she
learns
from
her
mentors
the
distinctly
Taoist
 aptitude
for
seeing
"the
Dragon,"
always,
in
ancient
Taoist
lore,
a
figure
for
the
 living
Earth
and
its
ways.
 "After
I
returned
from
my
survival
test,"
Kingston
recalls,
"the
two
old
people
 trained
me
in
dragon
ways,
which
took
another
eight
years.
.
.
.
 
 You
have
to
infer
the
whole
dragon
from
the
parts
you
can
see
and
touch,"
 the
old
people
would
say.
.
.
.
dragons
are
so
immense,
I
would
never
see
one
 in
its
entirety.
But
I
could
explore
the
mountains,
which
are
the
top
of
its
 head.
"These
mountains
are
also
like
the
tops
of
other
dragons'
heads,"
the
 old
people
would
tell
me.
When
climbing
the
slopes,
I
could
understand
that
I
 was
a
bug
riding
on
a
dragon's
forehead
as
it
roams
through
space,
its
speed
 so
different
from
my
speed
that
I
feel
the
dragon
solid
and
immobile.
 
 But
she
expands
her
moment
to
encompass
that
of
the
dragon.
 
 In
quarries
I
could
see
its
strata,
the
dragon's
veins
and
muscles;
the
 minerals,
its
teeth
and
bone.
I
could
touch
the
stones
the
old
woman
wore— its
bone
marrow.
I
had
worked
the
soil,
which
is
its
flesh,
and
harvested
the
 plants
and
climbed
the
trees,
which
are
its
hairs.
I
could
listen
to
its
voice
in
 the
thunder
and
feel
its
breathing
in
the
winds,
see
its
breathing
in
the
 clouds.
Its
tongue
is
the
lightning.
And
the
red
that
the
lightning
gives
to
the
 world
is
strong
and
lucky—in
blood,
poppies,
roses,
rubies,
the
red
feathers
 of
birds,
the
red
carp,
the
cherry
tree,
the
peony,
the
line
alongside
the
 turtle's
eyes
and
the
mallard's.
In
the
spring
when
the
dragon
awakes,
I
 watched
its
turnings
in
the
rivers.
 
 "The
closest
I
came
to
seeing
a
dragon
whole,"
Kingston
notes
in
passing,
 "was
when
the
old
people
cut
away
a
small
strip
of
bark
on
a
pine
that
was
over
 three
thousand
years
old.
The
resin
underneath
flows
in
the
swirling
shapes
of
 dragons."
 So
far
advanced,
in
fact,
is
our
current
awareness
of
the
"the
entirely
new
 insinuating
itself
into
the
heart
of
the
monotonous
repetition
of
the
same
things,"
so


The
Collected
Works
of
David
Lavery
11


close
have
we
come
to
contemplating
nature
and
time
as
a
"pure
complete
oneness,"
 that
at
least
one
contemporary
physicist
has
argued
that
we
can
no
longer
even
be
 certain
that
"rocks,
and
even
mountain
ranges,
do
not
react
as
living
organisms
with
 a
reaction
time
so
slow
that
to
catch
it
with
time‐lapse
photography
would
require
 millennia
between
exposures
.
.
.
"
(Zukav
46‐47).
 
 Einstein
himself,
the
father
of
such
relativistic
thinking,
was
fascinated
with
the
 prospect
offered
man
by
the
potential
acquisition
of
new
senses
like
Teilhard
 described.
In
his
conversation
with
Alexander
Moszykowski
he
speculated
about
the
 biological
implications
of
his
own
theory
of
relativity
and
their
effect
on
our
 perception.
Since
every
creature's
internal
clock—its
moment—gives
it
only
a
 relative,
subjective
perception
and
orientation
toward
the
multiplicity
of
tempos
in
 the
world,
a
drastic
change
in
man's
clock,
Einstein
hypothesized,
would
presumably
 alter
our
very
measure
of
relativity;
for
as
Moszykowski
explains
(paraphrasing
 Einstein):
 
 Only
when
compared
with
our
own
measure
of
time
does
an
organic
 individual,
say,
a
plant,
appear
as
something
permanent
in
size
and
shape,
at
 least
within
a
short
interval.
For
we
may
look
at
it
a
hundred
times
and
more
 in
a
minute,
and
yet
notice
no
external
change
in
it.
Now,
if
we
suppose
the
 pulse‐beat,
the
rate
of
perception,
the
external
course
of
life,
and
the
mental
 process
of
Man,
very
considerably
accelerated
or
retarded,
the
state
of
affairs
 becomes
greatly
changed,
and
phenomena
then
occur
which
we,
fettered
by
 our
physiological
structure,
should
have
to
reject
as
being
fantastic
and
 supernatural,
although
on
the
supposition
of
a
new
structure
they
would
be
 quite
logical
and
necessary.
(163‐64)
 
 If,
for
example,
our
pulse
beat
were
a
thousand
times
faster,
Einstein
 predicted,
we
would
be
able
to
see
a
bullet
at
each
point
of
its
flight
as
easily
as
we
 now
follow
the
course
of
a
butterfly's
movement.
Or,
if
our
pulse
were
increased
by
 a
thousand
times
again,
a
flower
would
appear
as
rigid
and
immutable
to
us
as
the
 earth's
crust
now
seems;
and
the
motions
of
animals
would
be
too
slow
to
be
 witnessed
and
would
have
to
be
inferred,
as
the
motions
of
stars
are
now.
At
an
even
 greater
acceleration,
Einstein
speculated,
light
would
become
audible.


The
Collected
Works
of
David
Lavery
12


But
if
the
human
moment
were,
conversely,
slowed
1000
times—if
we
 acquired
a
time‐lapse
vision
of
things—a
year
at
present
would
become
a
third
of
a
 day:
growth
would
spring
up
so
rapidly
that
it
would
be
scarcely
perceptible;
the
sun
 would
flash
rapidly
across
the
sky.
Another
slowing
by
a
thousand
times
would
result
 in
the
total
elimination
of
the
difference
between
day
and
night,
and
all
changes
of
 form
would
melt
into
a
"wild
stream
of
happening
engulfed
in
its
onward
rush.
("In
 reality,"
Henri
Bergson
writes
in
Matter
and
Memory,
"there
is
no
one
rhythm
of
 duration;
it
is
possible
to
imagine
many
different
rhythms
which,
slower
or
faster,
 measure
the
degree
of
tension
or
relaxation
of
different
kinds
of
consciousness,
and
 thereby
fix
their
places
in
the
scale
of
being
.
.
."
[xxx].)
 These
breathtaking
flights
of
Einstein's
imagination—are
they
not,
in
a
sense,
 the
very
accelerations
and
retardations
of
the
human
moment
the
"real"
existence
of
 which
he
took
to
be
merely
hypothetical,
a
"thought
experiment"?
For
is
not
the
 human
imagination
the
means
by
which
man
escapes,
through
the
gate
of
the
 imagination,
the
biologically
given
boundaries
of
his
own
moment
in
order
to
explore
 and
to
understand,
and
even
to
empathize
with,
all
possible
moments—those
of
 other
creatures,
for
example,
and
the
realm
of
time‐in‐the‐abstract
which
contains
 them
all,
what
we
might
call
"the
momentous"—thereby
discovering
such
momentous
 new
perspectives
on
the
world
(new
senses,
Teilhard
would
call
them)
as
the
theory
 of
relativity,
or
the
idea
of
evolution?
 
 In
this
century,
"the
age
of
Einstein"
and
of
relativity,
in
a
time
in
which
van
den
 Berg
detects
"the
mutability
of
things
again
[gaining]
the
upper‐hand"
(117),
when
 "we
even
hear
of
a
discovery
of
time
.
.
.
held
to
be
the
essential
mark
of
modern
 thought,"
when
time
has
even
come
to
be
"recognized
as
the
foundation
of
all
 existence,"
and
"to
renounce
temporality
is
not
to
renounce
imperfection
but
rather
 to
renounce
true
being"
(Zuckenkandl
xxxx),
art's
faithful
remembrance
of
 phusis/poiesis
has
been
aided
by
the
advent
of
a
new
art
form:
the
movies,
the
art
of
 the
20th
century
and
an
art
seemingly
well
suited
to
reminding
us
that
things
do
 change
in
reality.
The
"prison‐world"
of
the
known,
Walter
Benjamin
wrote
in
"The
 Work
of
Art
in
the
Age
of
Mechanical
Reproduction"
(1936),
was
"locked‐up."
But
 "then
came
the
film
and
burst
the
prison‐world
asunder
by
the
dynamite
of
the
tenth
 of
a
second."
 And
along
with
the
invention
of
this
new
technology
of
artistic
seeing
came
 the
perfection
of
a
specialized
kind
of
"dynamite,"
a
photographic
technique
which,


The
Collected
Works
of
David
Lavery
13


it
might
be
said,
seemed
virtually
a
modern
reincarnation,
a
second
coming,
of
the
 ancient
consciousness
of
metamorphosis:
time‐lapse
photography.
 


T im e ‐L a p se 
P h o to g ra p h y :
H isto ry 
a n d 
P ra c tic e 


When
we
were
children,
and
were
taught
natural
history,
we
were
told
about
bees
 and
how
they
lived.
We
looked
at
the
motionless
images
in
our
books
but
all
of
that
 was
very
distant
for
us,
a
land
open
only
to
the
imagination.
With
cinema,
no
more
 unexplored
countries.
No
more
barriers
between
us
and
things!
No
more
barrier
 between
our
spirit
and
truth
in
its
subtlety!
Moreover,
scientifically,
cinema
casts
 upon
everything
it
records
a
clear
light
which
banishes
errors
and
distortions.
 The
cinema
is
an
eye
wide
open
on
life,
an
eye
more
powerful
than
our
own
 and
which
sees
things
we
cannot
see.
 Germaine
Dulac



 In
"The
Conquest
of
Ubiquity"
(1928),
a
brief
but
suggestive
essay
on
the
response
of
 the
arts
of
this
century
to
new
technology,
Paul
Valéry
argued
that
the
future
will
 see
successful,
and
hitherto
unforeseen,
new
marriages
of
form
and
technique.
"Our
 fine
arts
were
developed,
their
types
and
uses
were
established,"
Valéry
reminds,
"in
 times
very
different
from
the
present,
by
men
whose
power
of
action
upon
things
 was
insignificant
in
comparison
with
ours.
But
the
amazing
growth
of
our
technique,
 the
adaptability
and
precision
they
have
attained,
the
ideas
and
habits
they
are
 creating,
make
it
a
certainty
that
profound
changes
are
impending
in
the
ancient
 craft
of
the
beautiful"
(225;
my
italics).
 Keenly
aware
of
developments
in
modern
science—Einsteinian
relativity,
for
 example,
or
quantum
physics—Valéry
predicted
that
man's
burgeoning
scientific
 knowledge
and
technological
command
would,
in
altering
the
customary
"sensorium"
 of
the
species
(Ong
1‐16),
bring
about
a
kind
of
aesthetic
future
shock.
"In
all
the
 arts
there
is
a
physical
component
which
cannot
remain
unaffected
by
our
modern
 knowledge
and
power,"
writes
Valéry
(continuing
a
century‐long
meditation,
begun
in
 earnest
by
the
romantics,
on
science's
impact
on
poetry). 
"For
the
last
twenty
years

6

In
a
central
early
text
of
this
tradition,
the
“Preface
to
Lyrical
Ballads,”
Wordsworth
had
declared
the
fond
 hope
that
“If
the
labours
of
Men
of
science
should
ever
create
any
material
revolution,
direct
or
indirect,
in
our
 conditions
and
in
the
impressions
which
we
habitually
receive,
the
Poet
will
skeep
then
no
more
than
at
present;
he
 will
be
ready
to
follow
the
steps
of
the
Man
of
science,
not
only
in
those
general
indirect
effects,
but
he
will
be
at
his
 side,
carrying
sensation
into
the
midst
of
the
objects
of
science
itself.”
By
the
time
of
Valéry,
the
question
had
 become
not
whether
poetry
will
actively
follow
science,
but
rather
in
what
way
poetry
(and
all
the
arts)
are


6

The
Collected
Works
of
David
Lavery
14


neither
matter
nor
space
nor
time
has
been
what
it
was
from
time
immemorial.
We
 must
expect
great
innovations
to
transform
the
entire
technique
of
the
arts,
thereby
 affecting
artistic
invention
itself
and
perhaps
even
bringing
about
an
amazing
change
 in
our
very
notion
of
art."
 The
subsequent
history
of
the
arts
in
this
century
has
certainly
proven
Valéry
 correct.
The
well‐documented
impact
of
sound
recording
on
music,
or
the
influence
 of
cinematic
narrative
on
fiction
might
be
cited
as
prominent
examples.
And
yet
not
 all
the
changes
inspired
(forced?)
by
new
technique
have
brought
about
radically
 new
notions
of
art.
In
at
least
one
instance—the
specialized
photographic
technique
 known
as
time‐lapse
photography—the
result
has
been
the
atavistic
re‐emergence
of
 seemingly
lost
powers
of
human
consciousness
and
imagination.
 
 Time‐lapse
photography
is
a
cinematic
technique,
similar
in
principle
to
animation,
 in
which
the
exposure
of
“individual
frames
of
film
at
pre‐determined
intervals”
 results
in
a
“compressed
visual
record
of
events
occurring
over
long
periods
of
time”
 when
these
frames
are
later
projected
at
normal
speed
(Katz
1135).
Ordinarily,
film
 is
projected
on
a
screen
at
the
rate
of
twenty
four
frames
per
second:
the
same
rate
 at
which
the
photographs
are
recorded.
But
a
time‐lapse
camera
modifies
this
 tempo—as
Field
and
Smith,
themselves
time‐lapse
pioneers,
explain.
 
 Supposing,
now,
that
we
modify
our
taking
camera
to
photograph
one
picture
 per
second
instead
of
twenty‐four;
it
is
obvious
that
the
whole
of
the
 incidents
of
a
twenty‐four
second
period
will
be
crowded
on
to
a
length
of
 film
which
will
pass
through
the
projector
in
a
single
second.
We
therefore
 have
movement
depicted
on
the
screen
at
twenty‐four
times
its
actual
rate
of
 speed.
If
we
take
one
picture
per
minute
we
increase
the
speed
in
proportion,
 that
is
to
say
to
1440
times.
 
 (While
climbing
plants—peas,
beans,
etc.—can
be
captured
through
acceleration
of
 only
one
hundred
times,
most
plants
require
much
more;
an
average
of
one
picture
 per
hour
is
common:
a
speed‐magnification
of
96,000
times
[Smith
and
Field
137‐ 38].)
A
second
example:
in
order
to
show
the
unfolding
of
a
rose—a
roughly
twenty
 hour
process—in
time‐lapse,
it
would
be
necessary
to
"sample"
its
progress
by


transformed,
almost
against
their
will,
but
technology.
Stephen
Kern’s
The
Culture
of
Space
and
Time
1880‐1918
 presents
an
excellent
oveerview
of
the
historical
development
of
which
Valéry
speaks.


The
Collected
Works
of
David
Lavery
15


exposing
one
frame
every
fifteen
minutes.
The
ninety
six
frames
thus
photographed
 would
take
only
about
four
seconds
to
project.
 According
to
Herbert
Zittl,
time‐lapse
as
a
photographic
technique
has
several
 distinctive
aesthetic
features.
Time‐lapse
has
"relatively
few
'at'
positions."
"Much
 like
strobe
photography,"
Zittl
explains,
"film
photography
also
seems
to
validate
his
 theory.
For
film
photography
involves
taking
a
great
number
of
snapshots
of
a
 moving
object.
Each
of
the
snapshots,
or
frames,
shows
the
object
at
rest,
so
that
 when
you
hold
and
enlarge
a
single
film
frame,
you
cannot
tell
whether
the
object
 was
in
motion
when
the
picture
was
taken
or
was
stationary"
(259).
Every
frame
of
a
 film—each
showing
an
object
seemingly
at
rest—captures
"an
'at'
position
of
the
 time
continuum,
a
snapshot
of
part
of
the
motion"
(260).
As
"at‐at"
positions
 increase
in
number,
the
faster
the
movement
we
perceive
as
viewers.
The
less
 "position
change,"
the
slower
the
movement.
While
in
slow
motion
the
frame
density
 is
quite
high,
in
time‐lapse
(and
other
forms
of
accelerated
motion)
the
frame
 density
is
low"
(Zittl
270).
Movement
revealed
by
time‐lapse
is
thus
more
erratic
and
 "jumpy."
Objects
shown
in
accelerated
motion,
Zittl
observes,
"objects
sometimes
 seem
to
be
self‐propelled,
shooting
unpredictably
through
the
low‐density
 atmosphere
that
offers
little,
if
any,
resistance
to
their
movement"
(271).
 Watching
time‐lapse,
the
viewer,
fascinated
by
the
sudden
concreteness
of
an
 invisibility
to
which
he
has
miraculously
become
an
eye‐witness,
feels
his
own
 thinking
aesthetically
transformed
into
something
like
"a
blossoming
flower
that
is
 still
moist,
alive,
in
movement,
becoming"
(Steiner
xxx).
It
is
as
if,
with
the
"uncanny
 discovery
of
a
new
living
world
in
a
sphere
in
which
one
had
of
course
always
 admitted
life
existed
but
had
never
been
able
to
see
.
.
.
in
action"
(Arnheim
115),
 the
"implicate
order"
of
nature,
into
which—as
physicist
David
Bohm
informs
us—all
 existing
and
potential
phenomena
are
infolded,
were
suddenly
unfolding
before
us,
 displayed. 
 In
the
imaginal
science
of
Leo
Lionni's
delightful
Parallel
Botany,
we
learn
of
a
 type
of
plant
which
"grow[s]
in
the
rhythm
of
our
subjective
time
and
eventually
 take[s]
the
form
of
a
long
and
intricate
conceptual
process."
Having
long
ago
lost
 their
existentiality,
these
plants
can
now
be
perceived,
Lionni
explains,
only
by
"the
 principles
and
methods
of
phenomenology"
(13‐14).
The
revelations
of
time‐lapse

7

Bohm
has
argued
that
the
word
“display”
should,
in
fact,
replace
the
word
“imagine”
in
our
understanding
 of
mental
functioning.
See
Ted
Peters,
“David
Bohm,
Postmodernism,
and
the
Divine”
and,
as
well,
Reneé
Weber’s
 interview
with
Bohm,
“Of
Matter
and
Meaning:
The
Superimplicate
Order.”


7

The
Collected
Works
of
David
Lavery
16


photography
are,
of
course,
quite
real,
technologically
enhanced
visions
of
palpable
 realities,
and
yet
for
the
viewer,
at
least,
it
would
be
easy
to
believe
they
share
a
 family
resemblance
to
the
chimeras
Lionni
describes.
 


H isto ry 

First
envisioned
theoretically
by
physicist
Ernst
Mach
in
1888
(Darius
18),
time‐lapse
 was
not
implemented
until
a
decade
later.
In
1898
the
first
time‐lapse
film,
a
record
 of
the
growth
of
beans
over
an
eleven
day
period,
telescoped
12,000
times
so
as
to
 last
but
a
few
seconds,
was
created
by
the
German
botanist
Wilhelm
Pfeffer.
The
new
 technique
was
soon
coupled
with
the
microscope
by
the
French
cinematic
innovator
 Jules
Etienne
Marey
in
order
to
capture,
by
means
of
"photographic
alchemy,"
the
 motion
of
blood
corpuscles.
 In
the
1890's
the
Biograph
studios
filmed
the
demolition
of
the
old
Star
 Theater
by
exposing
a
single
frame
of
film
every
thirty
minutes.
In
a
mere
thirty
 seconds,
the
audience
watched
amazed
as
the
building
disintegrated
before
their
 very
eyes
(Macgown
16).
In
1904,
Pizon
used
a
form
of
time‐lapse
he
deemed
 "biotachygrapy"
to
record
the
growth
and
development
of
a
colony
of
bacteria
 (Darius
18).
 By
1911
the
general
public
was
already
witnessing
theatrical
presentations
of
 the
"secret
life
of
plants"
by
means
of
time‐lapse
photography.
The
French
writer
 Colette
has
left
a
record
(in
an
essay
called
"The
Cinema")
of
a
1920
Parisian
 screening
of
such
films.
In
a
memorable
passage,
she
describes
her
fascination
with
 slow‐motion
photography:
 
 last
Thursday
at
the
Musee
Galliera,
there
were
two
moments
when
all
the
 young
hands
clapped,
when
the
mouths
exhaled
and
then
immediately
cut
 short
their
"Ahs"
of
respectful
ecstasy.
In
the
first
one,
a
"slow
motion"
shot
 rose
from
the
ground,
immobilized
itself
in
the
air,
then
held
on
a
sea
gull
 suspended
in
the
breeze.
The
undulation
and
the
flexing
of
the
wings,
the
 mechanism
of
guiding
and
direction
in
the
tail,
the
whole
secret
of
flight,
the
 whole
simple
mystery
of
aviation,
revealed
in
an
instant,
dazzled
everyone's
 eyes.
 
 But
it
was
time‐lapse
photography,
shown
on
the
same
program,
which
most
 captivated
her
poetic
imagination.


The
Collected
Works
of
David
Lavery
17



 A
bit
later,
a
"fast
motion"
documentary
documented
the
germination
of
a
 bean
[Pfeffer's
1898
film
perhaps?].
.
.
.
At
the
revelation
of
the
intentional
 and
intelligent
movement
of
the
plant,
I
saw
children
get
up,
imitate
the
 extraordinary
ascent
of
a
plant
climbing
in
a
spiral,
avoiding
an
obstacle,
 groping
over
its
trellis:
"It's
looking
for
something!
It's
looking
for
 something!"
cried
a
little
boy,
profoundly
affected.
He
dreamed
of
a
plant
 that
night,
and
so
did
I.
These
spectacles
are
never
forgotten
and
give
us
the
 thirst
for
further
knowledge.
(61)
 
 So
favorable
was
the
response
of
early
film
audiences,
in
fact,
that
in
one
recorded
 instance
a
crowd
in
Lewisham,
England
insisted
that
the
film
"The
Birth
of
a
Flower"
 be
rewound
and
re‐projected
for
their
enjoyment
(Field
139).
 In
the
first
half
of
the
century
time‐lapse
pioneers
like
the
British
naturalist
 Percy
Smith
and
the
American
inventor
John
Ott
continued
to
perfect
the
new
 technique.
In
a
series
of
films
made
before
the
First
World
War—The
World
Before
 Your
Eyes—and
in
two
later
series—Secrets
of
Nature
and
Secrets
of
Life,
Smith
and
 his
colleagues
developed
"cinebiology"
as
a
scientific
tool
that
allowed
audiences
to
 bear
witness
to
previously
invisible
and
yet
entirely
natural
zoological
and
botanical
 events.
 And
Ott,
who
as
a
teenager
had
re‐invented
time‐lapse
photography
in
order
 to
pursue
his
curiosity
about
the
exact
moment
when
the
buds
on
his
family's
apple
 tree
would
open,
further
refined
the
technique
for
use
in
the
precision
study
of
 effects
of
different
wave
lengths
of
light
on
the
process
of
photosynthesis. 
In
the
 early
days
of
television,
Ott
even
became
a
"personality"
regularly
appearing
(in
the
 same
way
that
zookeepers
do
today)
on
such
shows
as
"Today,"
"The
Home
Show,"
 "Out
on
the
Farm"
to
show
his
most
recent
time‐lapse
films,
many
of
which
had
been
 created
on
commission
as
advertisements.
His
time‐lapse
films
of
plant
growth—one
 of
the
most
famous
was
of
a
pumpkin's
gestation—were
a
special
feature
of
Disney's
 Secrets
of
Life
series.
Ott's
"show
stopper"
was
usually
his
film
of
blossoming
 primroses,
in
which
the
flowers
appear
to
dance—an
effect
created
through
the
use
 of
special,
synchronized
lighting
and
rotation
of
the
plants
to
emphasize
their
 natural
phototropism—a
film
that
lasts
only
two
minutes
but
which
took
five
years
to

8

8

For
an
account
of
Ott’s
achievements,
see
Thompkin’s
and
Bird’s
The
Secret
Life
of
Plants
(203‐205,
207)
 and
his
own
My
Ivory
Cellar.


The
Collected
Works
of
David
Lavery
18


complete
(Ott
23,
43).
In
the
1970s,
N.A.S.A.
used
Ott's
film
in
planning
horticulture
 for
the
first
space
station.
 Beginning
in
the
1960s
the
"wizards
of
odd"
at
Oxford
Scientific
Films—a
 private
company
founded
original
by
university
scientists—have
continued
to
perfect
 time‐lapse
technology
to
a
degree
a
Pfeffer
or
Marey
could
not
have
dreamed. 
In
 their
innovative
attempts
to
photograph
what
co‐founder
Sean
Morris
has
called— echoing
the
metaphor
of
Colette—the
"fairy
tale
land"
of
time‐lapse
photography,
 they
have
expanded
our
20th
century
consciousness
of
the
world's
tempos
by
 enabling
us
to
perceive,
through
their
photographic
"alchemy,"
such
events
and
 processes
as
(a
partial
list
merely):
 
 a) the
unforgettable
decimation
of
a
mouse's
corpse,
consumed
with
 telescoped,
disgustingly
vivid
rapidity
by
swarming
blow‐fly
maggots
—an
 event
of
several
days
duration,
captured
in
a
film
which
lasts
less
than
a
 minute;
 b) the
development
of
a
bird
embryo;
 c) a
year's
movement
in
the
Grindewald
Glacier;
 d) cell
division
in
a
rabbit
egg;
 e) the
swarming
life
in
a
pile
of
elephant
dung;
 f) sand
dollars
bedding
themselves
into
the
sea
bottom;
 g) the
comings
and
going
of
sea
creatures
like
limpets,
which
ordinarily
 appear
entirely
stationary;
 h) the
slow
progress
of
a
watch's
inner
workings;
 i) 
 In
a
time‐lapse
astronomical
photograph
(48
exposures
on
a
single
frame
of
 film)
which
won
several
major
awards
and
has
been
reproduced
world‐wide
over
ten
 millions
times,
Dennis
de
Cicco
captured
the
figure
eight—commonly
known
as
an
 "analemma"—traced
by
the
sun
in
the
sky
over
the
course
of
a
single
year:
February
 1978
to
February
1979.
(See
Darius
178‐79.)
 And,
using
time‐lapse,
photographer
Ted
Spagna
has
completed
ten
years
 worth
of
"sleep
portraits":
scientifically
valuable
records
of
the
sleep
behavior
of

Here
and
throughout
I
have
drawn
on
the
typescript
of
a
1980
Nova
episode
broadcast
on
PBS
entitled
 “Moving
Still,”
a
documentary
history
of
photographic
techniques
used
in
capturing
“behavior
and
processes
too
slow
 or
too
fast
for
the
human
eye
to
perceive.”
Unless
otherwise
noted,
references
to
the
history
of
time‐lapse
 photography
in
these
pages
are
drawn
from
this
pamplet,
published
by
WGBH,
Boston,
MA.

9

9

the
expansion
of
microscopic
yeast
cells.


The
Collected
Works
of
David
Lavery
19


men
and
women—individuals,
couples,
parents
with
babies—and
zoo
animals— gorillas,
flamingos,
bears.
(His
future
plans,
he
claims,
include
portraits
of
 schizophrenics,
sleepwalkers,
whales,
and
astronauts.)
In
the
late
1980s,
Spagna's
 work,
exhibited
in
galleries,
even
came
to
attract
the
attention
of
the
art
world
as
 well.
 
 Contemplating
(in
Pilgrim
at
Tinker
Creek)
a
17th
century
thought
experiment
in
 which
a
mirror
shot
into
space,
traveling
at
the
speed
of
light,
would
allow
us
to
 "watch
all
of
the
earth's
previous
history
unfolding
as
on
a
movie
screen,"
Annie
 Dillard
thinks
of
time‐lapse
photography.
 
 Those
people
who
shoot
endless
time‐lapse
films
of
unfurling
roses
and
tulips
 have
the
wrong
idea.
They
should
train
their
cameras
instead
on
the
melting
 of
pack
ice,
the
green
filling
of
ponds,
the
tidal
swing
of
the
Severn
Bore.
 They
film
the
glaciers
of
Greenland,
some
of
which
creak
along
at
such
a
fast
 clip
that
even
the
dogs
bark
at
them.
They
should
film
the
invasion
of
the
 southernmost
Canadian
tundra
by
the
northernmost
spruce‐fir‐forest,
which
is
 happening
right
now
at
the
rate
of
a
mile
every
ten
years.
When
the
last
ice
 sheet
receded
from
the
North
American
continent,
the
earth
rebounded
ten
 feet.
Wouldn't
that
have
been
a
sight
to
see?
(145).
 
 Time‐lapse
practitioners
have
not
yet
completed
all
of
Dillard's
agenda,
but
they
 have
hardly
limited
themselves
to
roses
and
tulips.
They
have
already
fulfilled
 Dillard's
request
for
a
glacier
portrait,
and
in
the
last
year
alone,
we
have
been
able
 to
watch
a
time‐lapse
film
of
the
Earth's
rotation
shot
from
space.
 


P ra c tic e 


 Despite
Walter
Benjamin's
fond
hope
that
in
the
art
of
film
a
new
unity
of
art
and
 science
might
be
engineered, 
time‐lapse
photography
has
remained
to
date

10

”Evidently
a
different
nature
opens
itself
to
the
camera
than
opens
to
the
naked
eye,”
Benjamin
writes.
 offering
us
an
“unconsciously
penetrated
space”
in
substitution
for
“a
space
consciously
explored
by
man,”
the
 movies
introduce
us—by
means
of
the
camera’s
“lowerings
and
liftings,
its
extensions
and
accelerations,
its
 enlargements
and
reductions”—”to
unconscious
optics
as
does
psychoanalysis
to
unconscious
impulses”
(236‐37).
 Time‐lapse
vision,
it
would
seem,
is
a
hidden
power
of
our
own
“unconscious
optics,”
a
power
released
through
 poetic
imagination
and
recreated
by
the
technique
of
time‐lapse
photography.


10

The
Collected
Works
of
David
Lavery
20


essentially
a
scientific
tool,
putting
in
only
an
occasional
appearance
in
films
for
 theatrical
release.
Jean
Renoir's
The
Little
Match
Girl
(1928),
with
its
time‐lapse
 footage
of
flowers
in
bloom,
was
one
of
the
first
to
demonstrate
(as
Arnheim
noted
 at
the
time)
"that
such
a
device
is
usable
for
the
artist"
(116).
But
the
response
was
 hardly
overwhelming
and
time‐lapse
was
rarely
used.
 In
his
Le
Tempestaire
(1947),
director
Epstein
employed
time‐lapse
to
show
 clouds
moving
at
a
magician's
command.
 The
Swedish
documentarist
Arne
Sucksdorff
(1917‐19xx),
in
The
Open
Road
 (1948),
juxtaposed
shots
of
gypsy
dancers
with
time‐lapse
close‐ups
of
blooming
 flowers.
 In
his
widely‐praised
Farrebique
(1948)
the
French
filmmaker
Georges
 Rouquier
(1909‐19xx)—a
disciple
of
the
American
pioneer
of
cinema
verite
Robert
 Flaherty—lyrically
portrayed
the
seasonal
round
of
a
French
farm
family,
counter‐ pointed
with
images
and
scenes
from
nature
captured
in
microphotography,
slow
 motion,
and
especially
time‐lapse.
 George
Pal's
science
fiction
film
The
Time
Machine
(1960)
employed
time‐ lapse
as
a
special
effect
in
its
depiction
of
a
journey
into
the
future.
As
the
Time
 Traveler
leaves
his
London
home
on
the
eve
of
the
20th
Century
on
his
way
to
the
 year
802,701,
we
witness
the
rapid
passage
of
clouds
overhead
and
the
accelerated
 transformation
of
day
into
night
among
the
signs
of
the
progress
of
time.
 Contemporary
avant‐garde
filmmakers,
not
surprisingly,
have
sometimes
 implemented
time‐lapse
techniques.
Andy
Warhol's
Empire
(1964,
for
example,
 telescopes
the
passing
of
day
into
night
in
an
eight
hour
filmic
record
of
the
Empire
 State
Building
shot
from
a
single,
stationary
camera.
(According
to
Gregory
Battock,
 Warhol
speeded
up
the
action
at
this
point
in
his
documentary,
despite
the
film's
 overall
commitment
to
distorting
time
by
not
distorting
it
in
expected
ways,
so
that
 "the
major
'event'
in
the
film"
could
be
"summarily
disposed
of
in
order
to
clear
the
 way
for
the
timeless
'real'
time
of
the
unchanging
image
of
the
building."
[236])
And
 Michael
Snow's
Wavelength
(1967),
a
forty
five
minute
long
excruciatingly
gradual
 zoom
journey
across
a
studio
loft,
utilizes
time‐lapse
to
reveal
the
passage
of
time
in
 a
film
designed
to
demonstrate
that
"motion
is
the
only
phenomenon
that
allows
 perception
of
time"
(Youngblood
122).
 Fred
G.
Sullivan's
whimsical,
independently
produced
autobiography,
The
 Beerdrinker's
Guide
to
Fitness
and
Filmmaking
(1989)
employs
a
time‐lapse
camera
 with
humorous
intent
to
capture
twenty
four
hours—"One
Day
in
the
Magical


The
Collected
Works
of
David
Lavery
21


Years"—of
the
director's
family's
hectic
life,
its
frenetic
to‐ings
and
fro‐ings,
from
a
 stationary
position
across
the
street
from
their
Saranac
Lake,
New
York
"bungalow."
 Time‐lapse
has
even
had
a
cameo
role
to
play
in
mainstream
Hollywood
fare.
 The
opening
credit
sequence
of
On
a
Clear
Day
You
Can
Say
Forever
(1970)
is
 comprised
of
stunning
time‐lapse
shots
of
blossoming
flowers
—created
especially
 for
the
film
by
none
other
than
the
time‐lapse
pioneer
John
Ott.
At
the
end
of
John
 Badham's
Saturday
Night
Fever
(1977),
a
time‐lapse
shot
of
clouds
moving
rapidly
 over
the
New
York
City
skyline
is
used
at
the
movie's
close
to
counterpoint
Tony
 Manero's
(John
Travolta)
dark
night
of
the
soul
after
the
accidental
death
of
his
 friend.
In
Philip
Kaufman's
Invasion
of
the
Body
Snatchers
(1978)
time‐lapse
is
used
 with
menacing
effect—again
in
the
credit
sequence—to
show
spores
from
outer
 space
gestating
into
parasitic
flowers
essential
to
the
invaders'
plot
to
conquer
the
 earth.
And
in
Steven
Spielberg's
E.T.,
the
top
grossing
film
in
the
history
of
the
 movies,
a
dead
flower
is
brought
back
to
vibrant
life
in
time‐lapse
by
an
extra‐ terrestrial's
magical
powers.
More
recently,
the
credit
sequence
of
Brian
De
Palma's
 Bonfire
of
the
Vanities
(1990)
used
a
Robert
Greenberg
designed
time‐lapse,
morning
 to
night,
panorama
of
New
York,
with
the
Chrysler
building's
famous
gargoyles
screen
 center,
as
its
credit
sequence/establishing
shot.
 
 Time‐Lapse
in
Koyaanisqatsi.
Certainly
time‐lapse's
most
prominent
contemporary
 film
role—at
least
"best
supporting"
if
not
"leading"—is
in
Koyaanisqatsi
(1983).
A
 wordless
documentary
film,
sometimes
described
as
a
cinematic
tone‐poem,
 Koyaanisqatsi
is
the
collaborative
creation
of
Godfrey
Reggio,
a
former
Catholic
 monk
(once
a
member
of
the
Christian
Brotherhood),
cinematographer
Ron
Fricke,
 and
minimalist
composer
Philip
Glass.
Originally
Reggio's
brainchild,
the
film
was
 twenty
years
in
the
making
and
finally
saw
the
light
of
day
only
after
Francis
Ford
 Coppola
lent
it
his
financial
support.
Since
its
release
it
has
gone
on
to
attain
cult
 status
and
Reggio
has
continued
work
on
a
trilogy
of
documentaries
about
the
 modern
world.
 The
film's
title
comes
from
the
language
of
the
Hopi
Indians
of
the
American
 Southwest,
perhaps
the
most
visionary
of
all
Native
American
tribes,
whose
ancient
 prophecies
foresaw
the
coming
of
the
United
States,
the
creation
of
space
stations,
 and
the
eventual
death
of
white
civilization.
As
we
are
informed
at
the
movie's
close,
 Koyaanisqatsi
means:
 


The
Collected
Works
of
David
Lavery
22


1.
crazy
life,
2.
life
in
turmoil,
3.
life
out
of
balance,
4.
life
disintegrating,
5.
a
 state
of
life
that
calls
for
another
way
of
living.
 
 And
the
film
is
best
understood
as
an
extended
description
of
this
insanity.
 "According
to
one
Hindu
legend,"
The
Romanian
essayist
E.
M.
Cioran
has
written,
 "Shiva,
at
a
particular
moment,
will
begin
to
dance,
at
first
slowly,
then
faster
and
 faster,
and
will
not
stop
before
having
imposed
upon
the
world
a
frenzied
cadence,
 in
every
respect
opposed
to
that
of
Creation."
"This
legend,"
Cioran
notes,
"includes
 no
commentary,
history
having
assumed
the
task
of
illustrating
its
obvious
truth."
 This
dance
is
Koyaanisqatsi's
subject.
 Koyaanisqatsi
has
been
criticized
as
hypocritical.
The
film's
"double
vanity,"
 as
one
commentator
puts
it,
is
"that
it
partakes
of
the
very
hysteria
it
decries."
 Another
has
complained
that
though
"it
may
invoke
the
spirit
of
Hopi
belief,
.
.
.
it's
 as
much
a
contemporary
artifact
as
a
video
game."
Reggio
has
defended
himself
 against
the
charge
by
insisting
that
he
deliberately
chose
to
avoid
the
ugly
in
his
 depiction
of
our
"crazy
life."
As
David
Sterritt
has
noted,
summarizing
Reggio's
 justification,
"In
the
Bible
and
elsewhere,
.
.
.
the
message
is
plain:
The
most
 dangerous
tendencies
in
modern
life
may
seem
to
be
the
most
seductive."
The
film's
 primary
objective
was
thus
to
depict
"'the
beauty
of
the
beast'";
to
convince
us
that
 "what
we
consider
our
crowning
jewels—our
technologies
and
machines—may
be
the
 very
things
that
cause
all
our
difficulties."
The
oblivion
of
Being,
after
all,
is
itself
 terribly
seductive.
 In
the
"fascinating
images"
of
the
opening
sequence
of
Koyaanisqatsi,
the
eye
 of
the
camera
opens
on
an
Earth
without
man.
Although
as
viewers
we
are
aware
of
 the
artifice—conscious
of
the
helicopter
in
which
the
camera
rides,
of
the
use
of
 slow
motion
and
time‐lapse
photography,
and
the
special
filters—still
the
images—of
 clouds,
caves,
light,
flowing
water,
steam,
sand,
and
geological
wonders—haunt
us,
 we
who
have
convinced
ourselves
in
the
modern
age
that
the
world
would
be
devoid
 of
all
quality
if
it
were
not
for
man's
consciousness,
by
their
seeming
lack
of
a
human
 presence.
They
offer
us
the
opportunity
to
imagine
the
Earth
as
it
might
have
been
 before
we
emerged
from
it,
or
after
we
have
been
extinquished,
or
departed.
 If,
as
Lewis
Thomas's
conception
of
the
Earth
as
a
single
cell
and
Lovelock's
 "Gaia
hypothesis"
suggest,
the
Earth
itself
is
a
kind
of
giant
organism,
with
its
own
 metabolism,
respiration,
and
atmosphere,
Koyaanisqatsi's
first
sequence
offers
us
a
 portrait
of
this
being
in
all
its
wonders.


The
Collected
Works
of
David
Lavery
23


A
geo‐logic,
not
a
human
logos,
governs
this
world.
We
see
a
river
(the
 Colorado)
meander
through
a
chasm
(the
Grand
Canyon)
which
it
has
itself
cut.
We
 explore
a
deep
cave
out
of
which
birds
and
bats
move
at
random.
We
watch
the
sun
 glisten
across
the
waves
of
the
ocean.
We
witness
cloud
banks
mounting
up
in
such
 density
and
turbulence
that
the
very
sky
seems
an
ungovernable
ocean.
We
peer
 down
over
a
waterfall
as
it
plummets
to
the
depths
below.
We
are
present
as
night
 and
day
in
quick
succession
move
rapidly—captured
in
time‐lapse
photography— across
the
face
of
an
immense
cliff.
Mesmerized,
we
look
on
as
sand
undulates
in
 timeless
patterning.
And
none
of
these
comings
and
goings,
toings
and
froings
—the
 "sensitive
chaos,"
as
Theodore
Schwenk
has
described
it—of
the
being
called
Gaia
 need
us
in
the
least
for
their
enactment;
none
take
place
in
a
time
we
would
 recognize
as
human.
This
is
phusis
we
watch,
not
nature.
 But
beginning
with
images
of
explosions
and
then,
in
rapid
montage,
shots
of
 an
earth
mover,
a
long
pipeline,
electric
lines,
a
power
station,
a
huge
dam,
an
 immense
crane,
oil
rigs,
a
tank
farm,
a
mushroom
cloud,
and,
finally,
women
and
 children
sunbathing
in
the
shadow
of
a
nuclear
power
plant,
Koyaanisqatsi
moves
 abruptly
into
the
realm
of
the
stored‐away.
The
remainder
of
the
film
memorably
 portrays
this
new
"setting
to
order"
of
things.
 If
Koyaanisqatsi's
first
sequence
captures
a
world
without
man,
the
 remainder—especially
a
key
central
sequence
known
on
the
Glass
soundtrack
as
"The
 Grid"—depicts
a
world
filled
to
overflowing
with
men
and
their
things,
a
modern
city
 world.
Exploding
buildings;
the
South
Bronx
in
decay;
immense
glass
skyscrapers
that
 mirror
the
sky
above;
boulevards,
malls,
bowling
alleys
overrun
with
human
beings;
 impossible
intersections,
criss‐crossed
by
thousands
and
thousands
of
cars
and
 people
choreographed
by
some
invisible
hand;
interlocking
freeways
which,
shot
 from
above
and
in
time‐lapse
photography,
appear
to
be
some
kind
of
circulatory
 system
for
the
city;
human
beings
by
the
thousands
crossing
Grand
Central
Station
 and
entering
and
exiting
escalators
with
the
determination
of
ants,
and
hot
dogs,
 automobiles,
TVs,
computers,
jeans,
and
Twinkies
in
counter‐pointed,
match‐cut
 mass
production.
The
world
of
Koyaanisqatsi
is
clearly
one
in
which
"all
that
is
solid
 melts
into
air."
 Near
the
end
of
Koyaanisqatsi,
as
a
transition
to
its
last
somber
sequence,
we
 find
ourselves,
after
a
jump
cut,
looking
down
upon
a
city
from
above.
Experienced
 air
travelers
immediately
recognize
the
image.
In
another
cut,
the
camera
moves
to
 an
even
higher
altitude,
and
it
takes
the
viewer
but
a
moment
to
discern
exactly


The
Collected
Works
of
David
Lavery
24


what
he
or
she
is
seeing.
The
world
of
urban
sprawl,
eight‐lane
highways,
grid‐lock,
 and
skyscrapers
to
which
the
early
scenes
had
so
accustomed
us
becomes
 momentarily
disorienting,
seen
from
this
high
perspective,
but
some
recognizable
 forms
are
still
apparent:
highways,
bodies
of
water,
parks,
stadia.
But
then,
in
fairly
 rapid
montage
(a
total
of
over
a
dozen
shots),
this
extreme
aerial
long
shot
view
is
 match‐cut
with
extreme
close‐ups
of
what
appear
to
be
computer
circuit
boards
and
 the
intricate
weave
of
Hopi
Indian
blankets.
 This
montage
brings
to
a
culmination
a
theme
that
has
run
throughout.
For
 much
of
the
film,
we
have
looked
down
upon
the
world.
In
the
early
natural
scenes,
 such
a
point
of
view
had
expanded
our
vision
of
the
immensity
of
the
world,
of
its
 geological
and
meteorological
sweep.
But
in
these
aerial
views
of
cityscapes,
the
 effect
is
to
offer
us
an
Archimedean
perspective
on
human
affairs,
a
perspective
 which,
as
Arendt
foresaw,
actually
belittles
human
achievement.
For
as
Arendt
writes
 in
"The
Conquest
of
Space
and
the
Stature
of
Man,"
 
 If
we
look
down
from
this
point
[of
Einstein's
"observer
freely
poised
in
 space"]
at
what
is
going
on
Earth
and
upon
the
various
activities
of
men,
that
 is,
if
we
apply
the
Archimedean
point
to
ourselves,
then
these
activities
will
 indeed
appear
to
ourselves
as
no
more
than
"overt
behavior,"
which
we
can
 study
with
the
same
methods
we
use
to
study
the
behavior
of
rats.
 
 "Seen
from
a
sufficient
distance,"
Arendt
writes,
"the
cars
in
which
we
travel
and
 which
we
know
we
built
ourselves
.
.
.
look
as
though
they
were,
as
Heisenberg
once
 put
it,
'as
inescapable
a
part
of
ourselves
as
the
snail's
shell
is
to
its
occupant.'"
 Consequently,
Arendt
insists,
"the
overview
effect"
decreases
human
stature:
 "All
our
pride
in
what
we
can
do
.
.
.
disappears
into
some
kind
of
mutation
of
the
 human
race;
the
whole
of
technology,
seen
from
this
point,
in
fact
no
longer
appears
 as
the
result
of
a
conscious
human
effort
to
extend
man's
material
power,
but
rather
 as
a
large‐scale
biological
process."
From
such
a
perspective,
simulation
seems
 inevitable,
seems
almost
to
be
God's
will.
(From
such
a
perspective,
it
is
possible
for
 Freeman
Dyson
to
hallucinate
today's
purely
technological
spacecraft
transformed,
 less
than
three
decades
hence,
into
a
living
creature
able
to
explore
the
cosmos.
"It
 is
reasonable
to
think
of
the
micro‐spacecraft
of
the
year
2010,"
Dyson
claims
in
his
 Gifford
Lectures
[Infinite
in
All
Directions],
"not
as
a
structure
of
metal
and
glass
and
 silicon,
but
as
a
living
creature,
fed
on
Earth
like
a
caterpillar,
launched
into
space


The
Collected
Works
of
David
Lavery
25


like
a
chrysalis,
riding
a
laser
beam
into
orbit,
and
metamorphosing
in
space
like
a
 butterfly.")
 Much
of
Koyaanisqatsi
is
shot
from
the
Archimedean
point.
As
we
watch
the
 transformation
of
rivers
into
pipelines,
sheer
cliffs
into
skyscrapers,
river
canyons
 into
the
valley
boulevards
between
New
York's
mammoth
buildings,
superhighways
 into
the
circulatory
system
of
the
megalopolis,
and
Indian
blankets
become
cities,
 become
circuit
boards,
we
recognize
that
we
are
witness
to
an
quantum
 metamorphosis
in
the
conception
of
human
destiny
enacted
by
the
adoption
of
an
 Archimedean
perspective.
 But
in
the
end
the
film
does
not
sanction
the
Archmidean
perspective.
Its
 closing
shot
is
of
a
missile
launch,
the
same
missile
we
had
witnessed
during
the
 film's
title
sequence
as
it
slowly
lifted
off
from
its
pad.
As
it
soars
skyward,
it
 explodes
in
mid‐air,
and
for
over
two
minutes
we
watch
a
large
piece
of
its
hull
fall
 slowly,
slowly
back
to
Earth
before
the
final
credits
remind
us
of
the
Hopi
prophecy
 of
White
civilization's
inevitable
collapse.
 
 Time‐lapse
photography
was
the
product
of
what
intellectual
historian
Stephen
Kern
 has
called
"the
culture
of
space
and
time."
"From
around
1880
to
the
outbreak
of
 World
War
I,"
Kern
shows,
 
 a
series
of
sweeping
changes
in
technology
and
culture
created
distinctive
 new
modes
of
thinking
about
and
experiencing
time
and
space.
Technological
 innovations
including
the
telephone,
wireless
telegraph,
x‐ray,
cinema,
 bicycle,
automobile,
and
airplane
established
the
material
foundation
for
 reorientation;
independent
cultural
developments
such
as
the
stream‐of‐ consciousness
novel,
psychoanalysis,
Cubism,
and
theory
of
relativity
shaped
 consciousness
directly.
The
result
was
a
transformation
of
the
dimensions
of
 life
and
thought.
(2)
 
 As
a
prime
agent
of
the
"culture
of
space
and
time,"
motion
pictures,
Kern
observes,
 "thickened
the
present."
"Any
moment
could
be
pried
open
and
expanded
at
will,
 giving
the
audience
seemingly
at
once
a
vision
of
the
motives
for
an
actions,
its
 appearance
from
any
number
of
perspectives,
and
a
multitude
of
responses.
A
man
is
 shot
in
an
instant,
but
moviegoers
saw
the
event
prolonged
and
analyzed
like
a
 detailed
case
history.
The
present
was
thus
thickened
by
directors
who
spliced
time


The
Collected
Works
of
David
Lavery
26


as
they
cut
their
film"
(88).
Time‐lapse
photography
thickened
becoming,
made
it
 visible.
 


T h e 
T h e o ry 
o f
T im e ‐L a p se 


The
cinema
is
an
eye
wide
open
on
life,
an
eye
more
powerful
than
our
own
and
 which
sees
things
we
cannot
see.
 Germaine
Dulac



The
cinema
is
substantially
and
naturally
poetic.
.
.
.
it
is
dreamlike,
because
it
is
 close
to
dreams,
because
a
cinema
sequence
and
a
sequence
of
memory
or
of
a
 dream—and
not
only
that
but
things
in
themselves
are
profoundly
poetic:
a
tree
 photographed
is
poetic,
a
human
face
photographed
is
poetic
because
physicity
is
 poetic
in
itself,
because
it
is
an
apparition,
because
it
is
full
of
mystery,
because
it
is
 full
of
ambiguity,
because
it
is
full
of
polyvalent
meaning,
because
even
a
tree
is
a
 sign
of
a
linguistic
system.
But
who
talks
through
a
tree?
God,
or
reality
itself.
 Therefore
the
tree
as
a
sign
puts
us
in
communication
with
a
mysterious
speaker.
 Therefore,
the
cinema
by
directly
reproducing
objects
physically
.
.
.
is
substantially
 poetic.
This
is
one
aspect
of
the
problem,
let's
say
pre‐historic,
almost
pre‐ cinematographic.
 Pier
Paolo
Pasolini



 Theoreticians,
historians,
and
scholars
of
the
film
have
usually
noted—but
only
 noted—the
intriguing
nature
of
time‐lapse
photography.
Had
not
Benjamin
stated
 that
"To
demonstrate
the
identity
of
the
artistic
and
scientific
use
of
photography
 which
heretofore
were
separated
will
be
one
of
the
revolutionary
functions
of
the
 film"?
(236).
For
the
few
who
contemplated
its
meaning
at
all,
time‐lapse
seemed
to
 promise
just
such
a
fusion
of
the
"two
cultures."
 Convinced
that
"the
modifications
of
spatial
and
temporal
experience
 provided
by
slow,
accelerated,
or
reverse
motion
will
provide
fresh
access
to
the
 true,
concealed
nature
of
the
phenomenal
world"
(Michelson
xliii),
Jean
Epstein
 (1897‐1953),
French
pioneer
of
the
avant‐garde,
praised
time‐lapse
as
one
means
of
 preserving
the
medium's
early,
phenomenal
sense
of
wonder
against
the
stultifying
 development
of
narrative
cinema.
But
a
technique
like
time‐lapse
was
for
him
as
well
 the
tool
for
scientific
revelation.
"The
revisions
of
perception
and
judgment
impelled
 by
that
access"
Epstein
was
convinced,
"would
confirm
scientific
discovery
and
 redirect
epistemological
inquiry"
(Michelson
xliii).
Despite
"its
startling
physics
and


The
Collected
Works
of
David
Lavery
27


strange
mechanics,"
time‐lapse,
Epstein
hastened
to
remind,
should
be
understood
 as
"but
a
portrait—seen
in
a
certain
perspective—of
the
world
in
which
we
live"
 (quoted
by
Kracauer
53).
 Writing
in
1925,
Bauhaus
designer
Laszlo
Moholy‐Nagy,
while
praising
 cinema's
aptitude
for
scientific
research
into
the
metamorphosis
of
"zoological,
 botanical
and
mineral
form"
and
condemning
its
lazy
utilization
for
dramatic
 purposes,
spoke
most
eloquently
of
time‐lapse
as
a
wonderful
vehicle
for
the
 revelation
of
character.
Imagining
a
time‐lapse
film
of
"a
man
daily
from
birth
to
his
 death
in
old
age,"
he
describes
the
probable
effects
of
such
a
film:
 It
would
be
most
unnerving
even
to
be
able
to
watch
only
his
face
with
the
slowly
 changing
expression
of
a
long
life
and
his
growing
beard,
etc.,
all
in
five
minutes;
or
 the
statesman,
the
musician,
the
poet
in
conversation
and
in
action;
.
.
.
Even
with
a
 proper
understanding
of
the
material,
speed
and
breath
of
thought
do
not
suffice
to
 predict
all
the
obvious
potentialities.
(36)
 In
her
essay
on
"Visual
and
Anti‐Visual
Films,"
Germaine
Dulac
(1882‐1942)
 contemplating
the
ability
of
film
to
"decompose"
movement,
thought
of
time‐lapse
 as
a
quintessential
example.
 
 A
grain
of
wheat
sprouts;
it
is
synthetically,
again,
that
we
judge
its
growth.
 Cinema,
by
decomposing
movement,
makes
us
see,
analytically,
the
beauty
of
 the
leap
in
a
series
of
minor
rhythms
which
accomplish
the
major
rhythm,
 and,
if
we
look
at
the
sprouting
grain,
thanks
to
film,
we
will
no
longer
have
 only
the
synthesis
of
the
moment
of
growth,
but
the
psychology
of
this
 movement.
We
feel,
visually,
the
painful
effort
a
stalk
expends
in
coming
out
 of
the
ground
and
blooming.
The
cinema
makes
us
spectators
of
its
bursts
 toward
light
and
air,
by
capturing
its
unconscious,
instinctive
and
mechanical
 movements.
(32)
 
 And
in
"The
Essence
of
the
Cinema:
The
Visual
Idea,"
Dulac
again
returned
to
time‐ lapse
in
a
consideration
of
the
"educational
and
instructive
power"
of
film
as
a
"sort
 of
microscope":
 
 In
a
documentary,
in
a
scientific
film,
life
appears
before
us
in
its
infinite
 detail,
its
evolution,
all
that
the
eye
is
normally
unable
to
follow.


The
Collected
Works
of
David
Lavery
28


Among
others,
there
is
a
slow‐motion
study
of
the
blooming
of
 flowers.
Flowers,
whose
stage
of
life
appear
to
us
brutal
and
defined,
birth,
 blooming,
death,
and
whose
infinitesimal
development,
whose
movements
 equivalent
to
suffering
and
joy
are
unknown
to
us,
appear
before
us
in
cinema
 in
the
fullness
of
their
existence
 
 Benjamin,
in
his
"A
Brief
History
of
Photography"
(1931),
noted
that
it
is
"a
 different
nature
which
speaks
to
the
camera
than
speaks
to
the
eye:
so
different
that
 in
place
of
a
space
consciously
woven
together
by
a
man
on
the
spot
there
enters
a
 space
held
together
unconsciously."
We
know,
or
think
we
know
how
people
walk,
 but
our
common
sense
knowledge,
Benjamin
insists,
is
always
inexact,
for
"we
know
 nothing
definite
of
the
positions
involved
in
the
fraction
of
a
second
when
the
step
is
 taken."
Photography,
however,
offers
us
a
new
knowledge.
Through
its
"methods
 [time
lapses,
enlargements,
etc.]
one
first
learns
of
[the]
optical
unconscious,
just
as
 one
learns
of
the
drives
of
the
unconscious
through
psychoanalysis."
The
camera,
 Benjamin
suggests,
is
in
fact
"more
closely
related"
to
concerns
with
structure,
to
 the
forms
of
cells,
to
microscopic
revelations
than
its
to
"the
moody
landscape
or
the
 soulful
portrait"
(202).
 Rudolf
Arnheim
(xxxx‐xxxx),
in
his
seminal
study
The
Film
as
Art
(1933),
 provided
a
definitive
phenomenology
of
the
viewer's
experience
of
a
time‐lapse
film
 (with
I.
G.
Farben's
Miracle
of
Flowers
(xxxx)—a
film
he
judged
to
be
"certainly
the
 most
fantastic,
thrilling,
and
beautiful
ever
made"—as
his
test
case):
 
 The
swaying
rhythmic
breathing
motions
of
the
leaves,
the
excited
dance
of
 the
leaves
around
the
blossom,
the
almost
voluptuous
abandon
with
which
 the
flower
opens—the
plants
all
at
once
come
alive
and
show
that
they
use
 expressive
gestures
like
those
to
which
we
are
accustomed
in
men
and
 animals.
Watching
a
climbing
plant
anxiously
groping,
uncertainly
seeking
a
 hold,
as
its
tendrils
twine
around
a
trellis,
or
a
fading
cactus
bloom
bowing
its
 head
and
collapsing
almost
with
a
sigh,
was
an
uncanny
discovery
of
a
new
 living
world
in
a
sphere
in
which
one
had
of
course
always
admitted
life
 existed
but
had
never
been
able
to
see
it
in
action.
Plants
were
suddenly
and
 visibly
enrolled
in
the
ranks
of
living
beings.
One
saw
that
the
same
principles
 applied
to
everything,
the
same
code
of
behavior,
the
same
difficulties,
the
 same
desires.
(115)


The
Collected
Works
of
David
Lavery
29



 Remarking
on
the
ability
of
the
cinema
to
"extend
.
.
.
certain
of
our
means
of
 perception
and
.
.
.
throw
out
bridges
beyond
the
impassable
zones
of
our
senses
and
 our
skills,"
the
great
modernist
architect
Le
Corbusier
singles
out
scientific
 documentary's
"miraculous
films
on
the
growth
of
seeds
and
plants"
as
proof
that
 "nature
and
human
consciousness
are
.
.
.
two
terms
of
the
[same]
equation"
(112‐ 13).
 In
his
Theory
of
Film:
Growth
and
Character
of
a
New
Art
(1952),
the
 Hungarian
cineaste
Bela
Balazs
noted
that
while
"only
pictures
of
nature
without
 men
bear
the
convincing
stamp
of
unquestionable,
authentic
reality,"
such
films
 "often
appear
fantastic."
And
"nothing
could
be
more
like
fairy
tales,"
writes
Balazs,
 with
time‐lapse
photography
in
mind,
than
"the
scientific
films
which
show
the
 growth
of
crystals
or
the
wars
of
infusoria
living
in
a
drop
of
water."
He
even
goes
on
 to
briefly
develop
a
theoretical
explanation
of
the
uncanny
nature
of
such
 cinematography.
 
 the
farther
away
the
existence
presented
.
.
.
is
from
the
possibility
of
human
 interference,
the
less
it
the
possibility
of
its
being
artificial,
faked,
stage‐ managed.
.
.
.
For
although
what
we
see
is
a
natural
phenomenon,
the
fact
 that
we
can
see
it
at
all
strikes
us
as
unnatural.
.
.
.
In
watching
such
things
 we
feel
as
if
we
had
entered
a
territory
closed
to
man
(172‐73)
 
 When
a
technique
like
time‐lapse
photography
shows
us
"something
that
human
 beings
cannot
see
in
normal
circumstances,"
Balazs
concludes,
suggestively,
"then,
as
 we
nevertheless
see
it,
we
have
the
feeling
of
being
invisible
ourselves.
.
.
."
 Siegfried
Kracauer,
in
his
Theory
of
Film
(1960),
likewise
praises
the
technique
 as
contributing
to
what
he
saw
as
the
project
of
film:
"the
redemption
of
physical
 reality."
"Pictures
of
stalks
piercing
the
soil
in
the
process
of
growing
up
open
up
 imaginary
areas"
for
the
human
mind,
Kracauer
argues,
and
he
includes
time‐lapse
as
 a
cinematic
approach
which
"lead[s]
straight
into
'reality
of
another
dimension'"
(52‐ 53).
 And
Stephenson
and
Debrix,
in
The
Art
of
the
Cinema
(1965),
note
that
time‐ lapse
photography
seems
especially
well
suited
to
this
age
of
Einstein,
for
it
 "demonstrates
in
the
most
forceful
way
the
relativity
of
time":
"a
speeded
up
 documentary
on
plant
growth
may
introduce
us
to
a
universe
whose
rate
of


The
Collected
Works
of
David
Lavery
30


movement
is
fifty
thousand
times
faster
than
the
one
we
know,
a
temporal
universe
 as
incommensurable
with
solar
time
as
ultra‐microscopic
worlds
are
 incommensurable
with
visible
space"
(92‐93).
 Though
time‐lapse
photography
has
no
doubt
helped
to
develop
our
 characteristic
modern
sense
of
time,
making
us
alert
in
new
ways
to
the
world's
 varying
tempos,
ever
effecting
"profound"—if
limited—"changes
.
.
.
in
the
ancient
 craft
of
the
Beautiful,"
it
has
nevertheless,
affected
its
native
medium
very
little.
 Even
Arnheim,
who
had
lavished
such
praise
on
Miracle
of
Flowers,
went
on
to
admit
 that
the
film
was
probably
a
"lucky
strike"
and
suggested,
quite
accurately
as
it
 turned
out,
that
"Not
much
more
is
to
be
expected
in
this
line"
(115).
Time‐lapse,
in
 fact,
has
never
really
been
assimilated
successfully
into
main‐stream
cinematic
 language.
Why?
 For
the
French
film
theorist
Edgar
Morin
"scientific"
techniques
like
time‐ lapse
lie
at
the
heart
of
all
contemporary
controversies
about
how
we
are
to
"read"
 movies.
In
Le
Cinema
ou
l'homme
imaginaire
(1958)
Morin
shows
how,
in
the
words
 of
J.
Dudley
Andrew
(on
whose
account
of
Morin's
book
I
have
relied
heavily),
 
 the
cinema
began
as
an
instrument
of
popular
science,
as
a
perceptual
 machine
he
calls
the
"cinematographe,"
whose
function
was
to
provide
views
 of
things
formerly
unseen
or
unseeable.
Hence
the
fascination
with
slow
and
 fast
motion,
with
extreme
close‐ups
and
unlimited
repetitions
giving
our
eyes
 access
to
the
world
of
nature.
(Concept
22)
 
 But
almost
simultaneously
the
movies
became
an
entertainment
industry
"catering
to
 a
voracious
public
appetite
for
'curiosities,'"
and,
in
the
hands
of
filmmakers
like
 Melies,
the
semiosis
of
the
movies
was
rapidly
transformed:
"the
cinematographe
 quickly
became
that
phantasmagoric
language
we
know
as
the
cinema."
The
"tension
 between
perception
and
signification"
which
still
lies
at
the
heart
of
our
experience
 of
film
began.
But
in
the
process,
the
cinematographe's
capacities
for
revelation
 have
been
largely
forgotten.
 


T h e 
M a n 
W h o 
S a w 
T h ro u g h 
T im e :
L o re n 
E ise le y ’s
T im e ‐L a p se 
V isio n 


We
can
make
fast‐motion
films
of
the
growth
of
plants
and
flowers
in
which
they
 seem
to
come
and
go
like
gestures
of
the
earth.
If
we
could
film
civilizations
and


The
Collected
Works
of
David
Lavery
31


cities,
mountains
and
stars,
in
the
same
way,
we
would
seem
them
as
frost
crystals
 forming
and
dissolving
and
as
sparks
on
the
back
of
a
fireplace.
The
faster
the
 tempo,
the
more
it
would
appear
that
we
were
watching,
not
so
much
a
succession
 of
things,
as
the
movement
and
transformation
of
one
thing—as
we
see
waves
on
the
 ocean
or
the
movements
of
a
dancer.
 Alan
Watts,
Tao:
The
Watercourse
Way
(94)



 In
an
intriguing
B‐movie
of
the
1950's,
The
Man
With
the
X‐Ray
Eyes,
an
individual
 becomes
miraculously
able,
due
to
a
freak
accident,
to
perceive
behind
the
visible;
 his
vision
penetrates
through
mere
appearances
and
probes
at
the
very
heart
of
 things.
Where
others
see
flesh,
he
sees
internal
organs.
Where
others
see
a
finished
 city,
he
sees
through
its
walls
to
the
girders
and
beams
and
rivets
which
uphold
its
 seeming
solidity.
Where
others
merely
gaze
in
wonder
at
the
night
sky
full
of
stars,
 his
vision,
knowing
no
limits,
reaches
to
the
heart
of
the
universe
and
beholds
the
 mysteries
of
the
cosmos.
His
"gift"
turns
him
into
a
near
mystic,
but
the
perspective
 on
reality
which
it
offers
to
him
becomes,
in
time,
a
curse.
For
the
world
as
it
is
 revealed
to
him
is
too
much
for
one
man:
he
feels
himself
lost
in
the
unfathomable
 immensity
of
space—a
sci‐fi
Pascal
who
has
come
to
know
the
terror
inherent
in
the
 silence
of
the
infinite—and
by
the
movie's
close
he
has
been
driven
to
the
edge
of
 madness.
 Like
the
"man
with
the
x‐ray
eyes,"
Loren
Eiseley
likewise
seemed
to
see
 behind
the
visible,
and
like
that
film's
hero,
his
powers
caused
him
torment,
but
to
 Eiseley's
x‐ray
eyes,
it
was
time,
not
space,
which
appeared
illusory.
"My
sense
of
 time,"
he
explained,
"is
so
heightened
that
I
can
feel
the
first
frost
at
work
in
stones,
 the
first
creeping
advance
of
grass
in
a
deserted
street
(NC
158). 
Eiseley
once
 claimed
to
have
known
a
distinguished
(but
unnamed)
20th
century
physicist
who
 took
his
discipline's
conception
of
the
nature
of
ultimate
reality
so
seriously
that
he
 began
wearing
oversized
rubber
boots
in
the
hope
they
would
somehow
keep
him
 from
falling
through
the
interstices
in
things
into
the
inner
"quantum"
space
of
 matter
(ST
280).
Eiseley
took
the
discoveries
of
modern
biology
and
anthropology
 with
equal
literalness,
and
his
frequent
sense
of
vertigo
before
the
phenomenal
 world
stemmed,
it
would
seem,
from
the
dizzying
prospect
on
physical
reality
offered

Eiseley
may
have
acquired
this
sensitivity
to
time,
in
part
at
least,
from
his
study
of
the
eighteenth
century
 Scottish
geologist
James
Hutton,
one
of
the
major
proponents
of
“uniformatarianism”
compare
the
following
 description
of
Hutton’s
world
view
to
the
above
quotation
from
Eiseley:
“Hutton’s
perception
of
the
minute
processes
 of
decay
is
as
keen
as
his
eye
for
the
movements
of
continental
upheavel.
So
preternaturally
acute
was
his
sense
of
 time
that
he
could
foretell
in
a
running
stream
the
final
doom
of
a
continent
.
.
.
(DC
72‐73).

11

11

The
Collected
Works
of
David
Lavery
32


him
by
evolutionary
time.
As
the
result
of
his
unceasing
exploration
and
 unquenchable,
Faustian
pursuit
of
ultimate
knowledge,
modern
man,
Eiseley
feared,
 has
finally
"intruded,"
with
the
discovery
of
the
true
immensity
of
time,
"upon
some
 gigantic
stage
not
devised
for
him"
(IP
12).
The
drama
of
Loren
Eiseley's
intellectual
 life,
however,
was
enacted
on
that
stage.
 "One
exists,"
Eiseley
explains,
"in
a
universe
convincingly
real,
where
the
 lines
are
sharply
drawn
in
black
and
white.
It
is
only
later,
if
at
all,
that
one
realizes
 the
lines
were
never
there
in
the
first
place.
But
they
are
necessary
in
every
human
 culture,
like
a
drill
sergeant’s
commands,
something
not
to
be
questioned"
(ASH
 100).
Yet
questions
remain,
foremost
among
them,
two
interrelated
ones:
"How
 should
we
see?
In
what
world
are
we?"
These
doubts
constituted
for
Eiseley
"the
 very
terror
of
our
age,"
for
"we
have
fallen
out
of
nature
and
see
sometimes
more
 and
sometimes
less"
(ST
249).
Eiseley
saw
more;
he
possessed
a
visionary
 "archaeological
eye"
(FT
168)
through
which
he
witnessed
everyday
reality
with
 "terrible
deja
vu
of
the
archaeologist"
(NC
156):
 
 a
man
who
has
once
looked
with
the
archaeological
eye
will
never
see
quite
 normally.
he
will
be
wounded
by
what
other
men
call
trifles.
It
is
possible
to
 refine
the
sense
of
time
until
an
old
shoe
in
the
bunch
grass
or
a
pile
of
 nineteenth‐century
beer
bottles
in
an
abandoned
mining
town
tolls
in
one's
 head
like
a
hall
clock.
This
is
the
price
one
pays
for
learning
to
read
time
from
 surfacces
other
than
an
illuminated
dial.
it
is
the
melancholy
secret
of
the
 artifact,
the
humanly
touched
thing.
(NC
81)
 
 The
effects
of
Eiseley’s
vision
are
thus
double‐edged.
Although
his
archaeological
eye
 is
a
medium
of
potential
revelation
capable
of
overpowering
the
attraction
of
the
 archaiological,
and
the
very
means
by
which
to
acquire
the
evolutionary
sense,
it
is
 also
the
wellspring
of
his
Mark
of
Cain
in
its
phylogenic
aspect;
for
it
provides
a
 profoundly
sobering
perspective
on
human
and
personal
destiny—one
to
which
 neither
he
nor
the
species
has
yet
become
accustomed—in
which
all
of
man’s
longing
 appears
to
be
for
nothing
and
all
hopes
of
establishing
faith
in
the
distance
seems
 futile.
 Because
the
archaeologist
uncovers
as
remnants
of
the
vanished
civilizations
 "both
our
grocery
bills
and
the
hymns
to
our
gods"
(UU
29),
he
looks
on
with
an
 acute
skepticism
at
human
endeavors,
knowing
that
all
projects,
whatever
their


The
Collected
Works
of
David
Lavery
33


momentary
efficacy,
will
one
day
become
merely
fodder
for
the
investigation
of
 future
archaeologists.
All
of
mankind's
good
and
all
of
our
evil,
the
archaeologist
 knows,
finally
amount
to
nothing;
for
they
are
all
swallowed
up
by
time
again
and
 again
in
"terrible
deja
vu."
As
a
result
of
his
archeological
eye,
therefore,
Eiseley
 seems
to
always
hear,
like
the
nomadic
people
of
Old
Testament
times,
behind
all
 ordinary
occurrences
that
“voice
howling
over
the
mounds
of
dead
and
vanished
 civilizations”
that
they
called
“Lillith—Adam’s
first
wife
and
a
scoffer
at
all
male
 vanities
(Thompson,
Darkness
and
Scattered
Light
46).
In
a
poem
entitled
 "Confrontation,"
Eiseley
explains
that
as
a
teacher
and
leader
of
men,
he
"had
no
 followers/but
the
wind
that
fills
abandoned
cities
with
dust
.
.
.
(NA
98).
He
found
it
 not
at
all
unusual
to
"in
some
unwary
instant
.
.
.
telescope
fifty
thousand
years,"
 but
often
his
archaeological
eye
saw
but
a
short
distance
into
the
past,
"looking
 through
a
little
window
in
time
.
.
."
(NC
85),
as
in
this
instance
recorded
in
All
the
 Strange
Hours
(150):
 
 Man
is
a
strange
creature.
I
look
upon
this
great
building
with
its
inner
 fountains
and
amenities
and
though
it
is
well
over
ten
years
since
it
was
 constructed,
I
see
right
through
it
to
the
bare
field
left
by
the
demolition
of
 the
slum.
 
 It
is
essential
to
understand
that
Eiseley
does
not
mean
here
that
he
remembered
the
 vacant
lot.
He
insisted
that
he
saw
it,
as
if
he
were,
like
Sir
Francis
Bacon
in
the
 ambiguous
title
of
his
book
on
him,
a
"man
who
saw
through
time."
Through
the
 power
of
his
archaeological
eye,
the
"long
centuries
wavering
past"
are
never
 entirely
lost.
For
to
his
vision
they
still
retain
a
sense
of
presence,
"with
the
curious
 distortion
of
things
seen
through
deep
sea
water"
(NC
154).
As
the
epigraph
of
his
 first
published
book,
The
Immense
Journey,
Eiseley
had
quoted
the
words
of
Henry
 David
Thoreau:
"Man
can
not
afford
to
be
a
naturalist,
too
look
at
Nature
directly,
 but
only
with
the
side
of
his
eye.
He
must
look
through
and
beyond
her"
(2).
Eiseley's
 archaeological
eye
made
it
possible
for
him
to
heed
Thoreau's
admonition.
 Bacon,
a
man
Eiseley
admired
above
all
others,
once
noted
that
"He
that
 cannot
contract
the
sight
of
the
mind
as
well
as
disperse
and
dilate
it,
wanteth
a
 great
faculty"
(TMWSTT
76‐77).
Able
to
contract
and
dilate
his
vision
and
 understanding
to
an
extraordinary
degree,
Eiseley
possessed
as
a
result
an
 instrument
whose
unique
power
enabled
him
to
"see"
with
an
almost
mystical
clarity


The
Collected
Works
of
David
Lavery
34


the
interconnectedness
of
man,
consciousness,
and
history
with
cosmic,
geological,
 and
biological
evolution.
"That
which
exceeds
a
single
life
span,"
customarily
only
 available
to
man
in
the
eye
of
collective
memory,
became
for
Eiseley
an
ordinary
 object
of
his
vision.
 Even
as
a
child,
Eiseley
insists,
he
had
already
learned
the
ultimate
lesson
 which
the
study
of
time
could
teach:
that
time
is
in
reality
"a
series
of
planes
existed
 superficially
in
the
same
universe,"
that
the
tempo
which
we
perceive
"is
a
human
 illusion,
a
subjective
clock
ticking
in
our
own
kind
of
protoplasm"
(IJ
183).
But
 experience,
and
his
knowledge
of
evolution,
taught
him
as
his
mind
matured
that
 although
man
is,
in
a
sense,
only
one
"subjective
clock,"
one
moment,
among
many,
 "he
is
the
most
curious
of
all;
he
fits
no
plane,
no
visible
island"
(UU
161).
For
in
 man
all
the
planes
interpenetrate;
he
dwells
in
the
momentous;
that
he
does
so
is
 part
of
his
mandate
as
a
Primate
Autobiographer.
 As
the
result
of
his
archaeological
eye,
Eiseley
is
like
Billy
Pilgrim
in
Kurt
 Vonnegut,
Jr.'s
Slaughterhouse
Five,
a
"time
tripper."
But
while
Vonnegut's
anti‐hero
 can
only
jump
back
and
forth
between
the
events
of
his
own
life
span,
Eiseley
often
 found
himself
transported
out
of
the
present
moment
into
past
and
future
eons.
In
 its
simplest
form,
Eiseley's
time‐tripping
merely
catapulted
him
back
into
moments
 of
his
past
life
so
vividly
real
in
long‐term
memory
that
they
eclipse
the
incident
 triggering
them
in
the
present.
In
“The
Rat
That
Danced”
in
All
the
Strange
Hours,
for
 example,
the
flash
of
camera
lights
during
a
lecture
he
is
trying
to
deliver
becomes
a
 railroad
switchlight
and
triggers
a
memory
of
a
time
during
Eiseley’s
hobo
days
in
the
 1920s
when
a
security
guard
tried
to
push
him
from
moving
train.
As
a
result,
the
 talk
he
intends
to
deliver
becomes
confused,
“lost
in
the
incoherence
of
a
split
 personality
.
.
.
(ASH
12)—split
between
past
and
present.
 The
human
mind,
Eiseley
recognizes,
is
an
unfathomable
compendium
of
 experience,
memory,
and
instinctual
knowledge.
It
is
an
artist's
loft,
where
"pictures
 .
.
.
hang
askew,
pictures
with
outlines
barely
chalked
in,
pictures
torn,
pictures
the
 artist
has
striven
unsuccessfully
to
erase,
pictures
that
only
emerge
and
glow
in
a
 certain
light."
During
Eiseley's
time‐tripping
this
light
becomes,
for
the
moment,
 constant,
and
pictures
which
have
been
"teleported,
stolen,
as
it
were,
out
of
time,"
 become
vivid.
It
is,
he
senses,
his
duty
as
a
writer
to
give
these
pictures
a
voice—to
 "drag
them
about,
magnify
or
reduce
them
as
.
.
.
artistic
sense
dictates."
But
he
 cannot
destroy
them
(ASH
151).
Their
presentation
to
his
mind
remains
random;
his
 time‐tripping
is
uncontrollable:



The
Collected
Works
of
David
Lavery
35



 Make
no
mistake.
Everything
in
the
mind
is
in
rat's
country.
It
doesn't
die.
 They
are
merely
carried,
these
disparate
memories,
back
and
forth
in
the
 desert
of
a
billion
neurons,
set
down,
picked
up,
and
dropped
again
by
mental
 pack
rats.
Nothing
perishes,
it
is
merely
lost
till
a
surgeon's
electrode
starts
 the
music
of
an
old
player
piano
who
scrolls
are
dust
Or
you
yourself
do
it,
 tossing
in
the
restless
night,
or
even
in
the
day
on
a
strange
street
when
a
 hurdy‐gurdy
plays.
Nothing
is
lost,
but
it
can
never
be
again
as
it
was.
You
will
 only
find
the
bits
and
cry
out
because
they
were
yourself.
(ASH
3).
 
 But
among
those
"billions
of
neurons"
Eiseley
sometimes
finds
stored
pictures
that
 teleport
him
far
beyond
the
few
decades
of
his
own
actual
experience
of
time.
 In
"The
Crevice
and
the
Eye”
(also
in
All
the
Strange
Hours),
Eiseley
tells
of
an
 archaeological
expedition
into
an
underground
cave
in
New
Mexico,
during
which
 Eiseley
and
a
companion
descended
into
a
hidden
subterranean
chamber
and
nearly
 became
lost
without
a
light.
But
this
journey
down
through
geological
strata
is
to
 Eiseley
(as
is
a
similar
adventure
in
“The
Slit"
in
The
Immense
Journey)
really
a
 journey
back
into
time,
for
as
he
emerges
from
the
mouth
of
the
cave
into
the
open
 air,
he
realizes
that
his
"angle
of
vision"
has
somehow
become
twisted
underground,
 and
he
finds
himself
"time‐tripping"
over
thousands
of
years,
not
decades:
 
 I
was
looking
at
life
[Eiseley
realizes],
at
my
companions
at
the
traffic
below
 on
the
road,
as
though
I
had
just
arisen,
a
frozen
man
from
a
torrent
of
 melting
ice.
I
wiped
a
muddy
hand
across
my
brow.
The
hand
was
ten
 thousand
years
away.
So
were
my
eyes,
so
would
they
always
be.
.
.
.
(104;
my
 italics)
 
 So
distant
does
the
present
moment
then
seem
to
him,
so
dwarfed
by
the
 awesomeness
of
time,
that
he
remembers
the
experience
as
being
"like
a
glimpse
 through
the
slitted
bone
with
which
Eskimos
protect
their
eyes
from
snow
blindness"
 (ASH
105).
 Yet,
among
Eiseley's
forays
into
time,
even
this
"trip"
cannot
count
as
his
 longest.
In
"The
Cosmic
Prison"
in
The
Invisible
Pyramid
he
recounts
yet
another
 time‐trip,
this
time
into
the
future.
While
attending
a
lecture
in
a
planetarium
he
 falls
asleep
in
a
seat
in
the
back
of
the
room,
eventually
awakening
to
an
empty


The
Collected
Works
of
David
Lavery
36


auditorium.
On
the
planetarium's
ceiling,
however,
a
last
image
from
the
lecture
 remains:
a
picture
of
“the
conformation
of
the
heavens
as
they
might
exist
in
the
 remote
future
of
the
expanding
universe.”
Like
a
cosmic
Rip
Van
Winkle,
Eiseley
at
 first
wonders
how
long
he
has
slept;
thinking
that
he
is
really
out‐of‐doors
and
 gazing
at
a
real
night
sky,
he
feels
a
"queer
sense
of
panic"
come
over
him,
"as
 though
transported
out
of
time.
n
Even
after
he
realizes
what
has
actually
happened,
 he
remains
under
the
spell
of
the
illusion,
lost
in
reverie,
"waiting
upon
the
 inevitable,
the
great
drama
and
surrender
of
the
inward
fall,
the
heart
contraction
of
 the
cosmos."
Like
H.G.
Wells'
time
traveler,
he
finds
himself
a
witness
to
the
end
of
 the
universe,
watching
in
his
archaeological
eye
stretched
to
the
limit
of
its
capacity,
 the
"first
faint
galaxy
of
a
billion
suns
race
like
a
silverfish
across
the
night
and
 vanish"
with
no
more
commotion
than
"the
slightest
leaf
movement
on
a
flooding
 stream
.
.
.
(IP
37).
 Often
Eiseley's
journeys
through
time
took
on
another
less
disorienting,
less
 alienating
form
in
which
things
appear,
as
in
time‐lapse
photography,
as
if
they
are
 "gestures
of
the
earth”—as
part
of
an
unbreakable
unity,
an
unfolding
which
is
time.
 Eiseley
often
tends
to
envision
any
given
objects
as
if
it
were
the
last
frame
of
a
 moving
series
of
images
in
which
the
object's
entire
emergence
into
being
is
 somehow
instantaneously
revealed.
 In
its
simplest
form,
this
time‐lapse
vision
caused
him
to
see
a
childhood
 episode
(recalled
in
All
the
Strange
Hours)—in
which
a
nearly
dead
woodpecker
 comes
back
to
life
under
his
care—as
his
"first
glimpse
of
unconsciousness,
 resurrection,
and
time‐lapse
presented
in
bright
colors"
(151‐52).
But
more
often
 this
unique
capacity
of
his
archaeological
eye
alters
the
very
appearance
of
things,
 so
that
the
"scratched
pebble"
beneath
his
feet
comes
to
denote
an
"ice
age,
n
and
 an
ordinary
summer
cloud
"changes
form
in
one
afternoon
as
an
animal
might
do
in
 ten
million
years"
(UU
106).
 The
possibility
of
such
time‐lapse
vision
always
lay
implicit
in
the
theory
of
 evolution.
George
Bernard
Shaw
noted
long
ago
in
Back
to
Methusaleh
that
inherent
 in
evolution
is
the
startling
realization
that
species
are
 
 an
illusion
produced
by
the
shortness
of
our
individual
lives,
and
that
they
are
 constantly
changing
and
melting
into
one
another
and
into
new
forms
as
 surely
as
the
hand
of
a
clock
is
continually
moving,
though
it
moves
so
slowly
 that
it
looks
stationary
to
us.13


The
Collected
Works
of
David
Lavery
37



 And
so,
like
Einstein,
he
recognized,
"if
our
tempo
of
seeing
could
be
speeded,
life
 would
appear
and
disappear
as
a
chaos
of
evanescent
.
.
.
forms,
possessing
the
 impermanence
of
the
fairy
mushroom
circles
that
spring
up
on
our
lawns
at
 midnight"
(UU
134).
Because
he
possessed
an
evolutionary
sense,
there
were
times
 when
Eiseley
was,
in
fact,
a
witness
in
the
flesh
to
such
chaos.
 
Eiseley's
visionary
gift,
I
hasten
to
add,
need
not
be
thought
of
as
a
solely
 "mystical"
power
(although
Eiseley,
it
is
true,
did
trace
its
source
back
to
the
 "clairvoyant"
artistic
eye
of
his
mother);
his
time‐lapse
eye
was,
in
a
sense,
a
natural
 outgrowth
of
his
scholarship,
especially
his
study
of
evolution,
as
the
above
passages
 make
clear.
“Certain
knowledges,”
Hugh
Kenner
has
observed,
“have
simply
become
 so
central
we
need
to
stop
evading
them,
so
as
to
get
free
from
not
knowing
what
we
 are
doing.
.
.
.
We
need
to
know
all
the
time
certain
things
we
know
doing.
some
of
 the
time”
(9).
Because
Eiseley
knew
all
of
the
time
what
many
other
evolutionary
 thinkers
have
taken
to
be
only
"idols
of
the
study,”
he
saw
differently.
Once,
 Geoffrey
Hartman
notes
in
The
Unmediated
Vision,
mysticism
was
believed
to
be
 excessus
menti;
now,
it
seems
clear,
it
is
instead
an
accessus
menti,
the
product
of
a
 panentheism
in
which
the
mind
becomes
fully
conscious
of
its
own
life
(172).
 Eiseley's
mysticism
was,
clearly,
an
accessus
menti,
but
it
accessed
not
just
his
own
 subjectivity
but
the
external
world,
the
physical
reality
that
science
knows.
His
 understanding
of
evolution,
as
it
colored
his
quotidian
perception
of
things,
brought
 him
to
understand
privately
a
truth
which,
lamentably,
has
not
become
common
 knowledge
for
either
Darwin's
contemporaries
or
for
us:
the
realization
that,
as
a
 result
of
the
discovery
of
evolutionary
emergence
and
descent
through
modification,
 
 creation
and
its
mystery
[can]
no
longer
be
safely
relegated
to
the
past
 behind
us.
It
might
now
reveal
itself
to
man
at
any
moment
in
a
farmer's
 pasture
or
a
willow
thicket.
.
.
.
The
common
day
had
turned
marvelous.
‐ willow
thicket.
Creation—whether
seen
or
unseen—must
be
even
now
about
 us
everywhere
in
the
prosaic
world
of
the
present.
(FT
58;
my
italics)
 
 This
peculiar
capability
of
Eiseley's
vision
can
be
thought
of
as
having,
moreover,
a
 physiological
source.
 Like
Karl
Marx,
Eiseley
knew
that
"the
development
of
the
five
senses
is
the
 work
of
the
entire
history
of
the
world
up
to
now
(quoted
in
Rothenberg,
America


The
Collected
Works
of
David
Lavery
38


486),
and
thus
within
those
senses
must
lie—potentially
recoverable
by
the
mind— the
record
of
that
history.
Eiseley's
time‐laspe
vision
resulted
in
part
from
his
ability
 to
raise
this
buried
record
to
the
level
of
consciousness.
Man,
Eiseley
knew,
has
 brought
"almost
the
same
body
through
two
realms"
(IP
151)—the
natural
and
the
 cultural—and
the
primordial
knowledge
the
body
thus
contains
came
to
provide
for
 him
a
major
source
of
insight.
The
paths
which
his
perception,
and
consequently
his
 thinking,
followed
were
not
those
of
his
contemporaries.
Because
“the
roots
of
our
 phylogenetic
tree
pierce
deep
into
the
earth's
past,"
human
consciousness
in
 general,
and
his
own
consciousness
in
particular,
are,
Eiseley
recognizes,
"similarly
 embedded
in,
and
in
part
constructed
of,
pathways
which
were
laid
down
before
man
 in
his
present
form
existed"
(IP
22);
as
Eiseley
was
fond
of
saying,
man
is,
in
reality,
 a
“palimpsest,”
on
which
the
marks
left
by
the
history
of
his
and
life's
evolution
have
 not
been
and
can
not
be
entirely
erased.
His
own
eye
remained
faithful
to
these
 prehistoric
paths
and
not
to
the
routes
of
the
present.
 Following
these
paths
to
their
source,
Eiseley
was
able
to
see,
as
he
did
once
 in
the
Badlands
of
South
Dakota,
that
the
birds
he
observed
flying
over
such
a
 lifeless
place
are,
like
all
living
things,
the
miraculous
reincarnation
of
chemicals— carbon,
calcium,
and
iron—which
lie
on
the
ground
around
him
devoid
of
the
spirit
 which
then
animated
their
flight
(IJ
171‐72);
to
imagine
himself
able
to
"drift
into
 the
lower
cadences
of
the
frost,
or
the
crystalline
life
that
glistens
in
pebbles,
or
shi‐ nes
in
a
snowflake,
or
dreams
in
the
meteoric
iron
between
the
worlds"
(IJ
185);
to
 realize
that
a
museum
hall
of
various
Crustacea,
all
with
the
"sea
change"
upon
 them,
are
really
"one,
one
great
plan
that
flamed
there
on
its
pedestal
in
the
sinister
 evening
light,
but
.
.
.
also
many
and
the
touch
of
Maya,
of
evening
light,
but
illusion,
 lay
on
them"
(FT
82‐83);
to
grasp
that
"birds
are
intense,
fast
living
creatures— reptiles,
I
suppose
one
might
say,
that
have
escaped
out
of
the
heavy
sleep
of
time,
 transformed
fairy
creatures
dancing
over
sunlit
meadows"
(IJ
185);
to
notice
that,
"if
 you
look
closely,"
you
can
not
only
"see
the
singing
reptile
in
the
bird"
but
"some
 ancient
amphibian
fondness
for
the
ooze
where
the
child
wades
in
the
mud"
(FT
57);
 to
understand
that
although
one
billion
years
of
evolutionary
development
have
gone
 into
the
construction
of
the
technological
eye
of
Mount
Palomar's
200
inch
reflector
 telescope,
its
function
may
really
be
no
different,
as
the
ultimate
eye
of
the
slime
 mold
colony
of
human
history,
from
the
primitive
eye
of
the
Philobus
fungus:
both
 scan
the
territory
ahead
into
which
the
"spores"
are
about
to
fly
as
the
"spore
cities"
 die—for
somehow,
Eiseley
sees,
"in
the
mysterium
behind
genetics,
the
tiny


The
Collected
Works
of
David
Lavery
39


pigmented
eye
of
the
Philobus
and
the
rocket
capsule
were
evolved
together"
(IJ
45;
 IP
76);
to
think
of
the
impersonality
and
general
confusion
of
a
modern
bureaucracy
 as
"merely
the
giant
background
noise
of
the
universe
.
.
.”
in
its
present
earthly
 manifestation
(ASH
203);
to
accept
the
humbling
realization
that
"someone
in
 another
galaxy,
watching
the
evolution
of
the
Earth
would
have
observed
only
one
 significant
change
in
the
color
of
light
emanating
from
it—with
the
advent
of
plants,
 the
light
turned
green"
(IJ
61‐62);
to
perceive
boulders
as
"beasts
.
.
.
of
a
kind
man
 ordinarily
lived
too
fast
to
understand"
which
appear
inanimate
because
the
tempo
 of
the
life
in
them
[is]
slow"
(FT
173);
to
be
always
aware
of
"some
dark
and
passing
 shadow
within
matter,
[which]
cups
out
the
eyes'
small
windows
or
spaces
the
notes
 of
a
meadow
lark's
song
in
the
interior
of
a
mottled
egg,"
a
"principle
.
.
.
[that]
was
 there
before
the
living
in
the
deeps
of
water"
(IJ
26).
 Perhaps
the
most
stunning
instance
of
Eiseley's
time‐lapse
vision
appears
in
 "The
Flow
of
the
River"
in
The
Immense
Journey.
There
Eiseley
tells
how
on
a
 scientific
expedition
in
Nebraska
he
became
possessed
by
a
spirit
of
adventure
and
 began
to
float,
lying
on
his
back,
down
the
Platte
River.
But
in
his
time‐lapse
vision
 the
scene
is
transformed
and
he
feels
himself
becoming
one
with
the
river
itself.
He
 identifies
himself
with
"the
meandering
roots
of
a
whole
watershed,"
senses
his
 "outstretched
fingers
touching,
by
some
kind
of
clairvoyant
extension,
the
brooks
of
 snow‐lined
glaciers,
n
while
he
flows
"toward
the
Gulf
over
the
eroded
debris
of
 worn‐down
mountains"
(IJ
16):
 
 I
was
streaming
alive
through
the
hot
and
working
ferment
of
the
sun,
or
 oozing
secretively
through
shady
thickets.
I
was
water
and
the
unspeakable
 alchemies
that
gestate
and
take
shape
in
water.
(19)
 
 And
he
begins
to
realize
that
 
 Turtle
and
fish
and
the
pinpoint
chirping
of
individual
frogs
are
all
watery
 projections,
concentrations—as
man
himself
is
a
concentration—of
the
 indescribable
and
liquid
brew
which
is
compounded
in
varying
proportions
of
 salt
and
sun
and
time.
 
 Finally
emerging
from
the
river,
he
feels
 


The
Collected
Works
of
David
Lavery
40


the
body's
revolt
against
emergence
into
the
harsh
and
unsupporting
air,
its
 reluctance
to
break
contact
with
that
mother
element
which
still,
at
this
late
 point
in
time,
shelters
and
brings
into
being
nine
tenths
of
everything
alive.
 (20)
 
 But
man,
Eiseley
knows,
has
not
really
left
the
water;
men,
he
perceives,
are
really
 "myriad
detached
ponds
with
their
own
swarming
corpuscular
life,"
and
he
himself
 remains
"a
microcosm
of
pouring
rivulets
and
floating
driftwood
gnawed
by
the
 mystery
of
his
own
creation"
(IJ
20).
He
under‐
ious
animulcules
of
my
stands,
like
 the
Italian
fiction
writer
Italo
Calvino,
that
"once
we
swam,
now
we
are
swum”
(T‐ zero
49)
that,
like
the
pickerel
Thoreau
observed
in
Walden
Pond,
we
are
only
 "animalized
water.”
 Eiseley's
time‐lapse
vision
thus
made
it
impossible
for
him
to
see
himself
as
 permanently
separate
from
the
natural
order,
his
emergence
from
it
being
an
 everyday
perceptual
fact;
through
it
he
sees,
in
effect.
his
previous
reincarnations.
 But
it
reveals
to
him
more
than
just
ceaseless
change
in
a
world
of
total
flux.
For
at
 the
heart
of
the
writhing,
metamorphosing,
seemingly
chaotic
forms
of
Earth
he
 detects,
in
the
"subcellars
of
the
mind,"
an
underlying
unity:
 
 a
little
green
in
a
fulminating
spring,
some
strange
objects
floundering
and
 helpless
in
the
ooze
on
the
tide
line,
something
beating,
beating,
like
a
heart
 until
a
mounting
thunder
goes
up
through
the
towering
drum
that
ever
was
 can
produce
its
strata,
until
no
rhythm,
until
no
mind
can
contain
it,
until
it
 rises,
wet
and
seaweed‐crowned,
an
apparition
from
marsh
and
tide‐pool,
 gross
with
matter,
gurgling
and
inarticulate,
ape
and
man‐ape,
grisly
and
 fang‐scarred,
until
the
thunder
is
in
oneself
and
is
passing—to
the
ages
 beyond—to
a
world
unknown,
forever
being
born.
(FT
55‐56)
 
 The
world
revealed
in
his
archaeological
repetition"
(NC
154).
For
there
exists,

 as
"Mendel
had
learned
from
those
tiny
intricate
units
that
shape
a
flower's
heart
.
.
 .
[an]
elemental
patience
that
holds
a
living
organism
to
its
Seeing
through
course
 while
mountains
wear
away"
(DC
231).
time,
Eiseley
sought
to
discover
this
 "elemental
patience,"
but
not
just
for
scientific
purposes;
he
sought
to
emulate
it.
 And
this
stability,
this
timelessness,
he
knew,
is
exemplified
best
not
by
the
organic
 world
but
by
the
geological.



The
Collected
Works
of
David
Lavery
41


T h e 
P o e try 
o f
T im e ‐L a p se 


As
their
talent
develops
guide
your
pupils
toward
Nature—into
Nature.
Make
them
 experience
how
a
bud
is
born,
how
a
tree
grows,
how
a
butterfly
unfolds
so
that
they
 may
become
just
as
resourceful,
flexible,
and
determined
as
great
Nature.
Seeing
is
 believing—is
insight
into
the
workshop
of
God.
There,
in
Nature's
womb,
lies
the
 secret
of
creation.
 Paul
Klee
 
 For
the
sake
of
a
single
poem,
you
must
see
many
cities,
many
people
and
Things,
 you
must
understand
animals,
must
feel
how
birds
fly,
and
know
the
gestures
which
 small
flowers
make
when
they
open
in
the
morning.
 Rainer
Maria
Rilke
 


"Every
great
writer,"
Borges
has
noted
enigmatically
in
an
essay
on
Franz
Kafka,
 "creates
his
precursors"
(108).
But
does
not
every
new
art
as
well?
If
it
can
be
shown
 that
time‐lapse
photography
has
contributed
to
poetic
inspiration
in
our
time,
 expanding
and
deepening
the
consciousness
of
poets,
enriching
the
possibilities
of
 metaphor,
it
likewise
might
be
argued
that
the
particular
"door
of
perception"
known
 as
time‐lapse
photography
may
have
opened
long
before
this
century
and
that
the
 writers
I
have
discussed
are
in
fact
the
second
generation
of
time‐lapse
poets.
For
 the
Romantics
likewise
seem
to
have
possessed
time‐lapse
consciousness,
a
vision
 which
was
instrumental
to
formulation
of
that
organic
poetics
which
has
been
their
 greatest
legacy
to
modern
thought.
Any
complete
"psychic
archaeology"
(the
phrase
 is
Theodore
Roszak's,
in
Where
the
Wasteland
Ends)
of
time‐lapse
should
really
 include
them
as
well
(though
space
permits
here
only
a
brief,
preliminary
survey).
 
 I.
The
Romantics
 
 When
William
Blake,
in
Jerusalem,
imagines
the
emanation
of
the
cosmos
(as
if
 foreseeing
the
Big
Bang
of
20th
Century
cosmologists),
he
describes
it
in
time‐lapse
 fashion:
 
 The
Vegetative
Universe
opens
like
a
flower
from
the
Earth's
center
 In
which
is
Eternity.
It
expands
in
Stars
to
the
Mundane
Shell.


The
Collected
Works
of
David
Lavery
42


And
there
it
meets
Eternity
again,
both
within
and
without.
.
.
.
(633;
 Plate
13,
ll.
34‐36)
 
 And
in
Milton
does
not
Blake
suggest
that
all
poetry
is
in
fact
the
product
of
a
new
 orientation
in
time,
the
transcendence
of
normal
biological
rhythms
and
an
ordinary
 metabolism,
made
possible
through
poetic
imagination's
time‐lapse
photography?
 
 Every
time
less
than
the
pulsation
of
the
artery
 Is
equal
in
its
period
and
value
to
Six
Thousand
Years.
 For
in
this
Period
the
Poet's
Work
is
done.
(Keynes,
p.
516;
Plates
28
 [ll.
62‐63]
and
29
[l.
1]
 
 The
work,
that
is,
of
cleansing
the
"doors
of
perception"
so
man
can
see
every
thing
 "as
it
is,
infinite."
 In
the
work
of
Samuel
Taylor
Coleridge—both
his
poetry
and
poetics
and
his
 natural
philosophy—we
find
a
vivid
second
example.
The
theory
of
creative
 imagination,
for
which
Coleridge
was
a
major
progenitor,
held
(according
to
James
 Engell's
recent
authoritative
study)
that
"it
is
not
simply
that
the
imagination
 perceives
the
development
of
nature;
it
generates
a
similar
process
in
the
self."
It
 was
grounded
in
the
faith
that
the
"imagination
contains
within
itself
a
potential
 which,
uniting
with
external
influences
of
nature,
leads
the
mind
to
a
new
stage
of
 growth"
(Engell
347).
(Nature,
as
Goethe
put
it
succinctly,
is
"a
model
of
everything
 artistic"
[quoted
in
Verdi
225].)
And
Coleridge's
conception
of
the
origin
of
such
 imagination
in
the
individual
suggest
a
knowledge
of
metamorphosis
of
form
which
 (as
Owen
Barfield
has
argued
in
his
interpretation
of
Romanticism's
place
in
the
 evolution
of
consciousness)
harkens
back
to
the
Greek
awareness
of
phusis,
and
 ahead
(as
I
would
like
to
suggest)
to
becoming
as
revealed
in
time‐lapse
 photography.
 In
Biographia
Literaria,
for
example,
Coleridge
writes:
 
 They
and
only
they
can
acquire
the
philosophic
imagination,
the
sacred
power
 of
self‐intuition,
who
within
themselves
can
interpret
and
understand
the
 symbol,
that
the
wings
of
the
air‐sylph
are
forming
within
the
skin
of
the
 caterpillar;
those
only,
who
feel
in
their
own
spirits
the
same
instinct,
which
 impels
the
chrysalis
of
the
horned
fly
to
leave
room
in
its
involucrum
for


The
Collected
Works
of
David
Lavery
43


antennae
yet
to
come.
They
know
and
feel,
that
potential
works
in
them,
even
 as
the
actual
works
on
them!
(Chapter
XII) 
 
 In
time‐lapse
photography's
latter‐day
organicism,
the
potential
and
the
actual— natura
naturans
and
natura
naturata
(in
Coleridge's
terminology)
are
revealed
 intertwined:
what
to
Coleridge
are
poles
in
man's
organic
relation
to
nature
 become—in
a
marriage
enacted
via
technology—a
living
unity.
 Both
Wordsworth
and
Shelley
also
seem
to
have
possessed
time‐lapse
vision.
 The
many
"spots
of
time"
passages
in
The
Prelude,
for
example,
suggest
a
momentous
 sense
of
the
world's
becoming,
a
becoming
which
seems
about
to
engulf
the
poet's
 growing
sensibility.
The
famous
account
of
crossing
the
Alps
in
Book
VI,
with
its
 mystical
revelation
of
the
natural
world
as
manifesting
the
"workings
of
one
mind,
 the
features/Of
the
same
face,
blossoms
upon
one
tree;/Characters
of
the
great
 Apocalypse,/The
types
and
symbols
of
Eternity,/Of
first
and
last,
and
midst,
and
 without
end,"
is
a
particularly
striking
example
(269).
 Is
not
Shelley's
"Mont
Blanc,"
in
its
similar
depiction
of
a
mind
which
"renders
 and
receives
fast
influencings,/Holding
an
unremitting
interchange/
With
the
clear
 universe
of
things
around,"
a
poetic
precursor
of
time‐lapse?
It
is,
after
all,
a
poem— redolent
with
images
of
a
nature
seemingly
still
and
yet
eternally
active,
of
a
world
 "Where
waterfalls
around
it
leap
forever,/Where
woods
and
winds
contend,
and
a
 vast
river/Over
its
rocks
ceaselessly
burns
and
raves"—which
presents
us
with
a
 perfect
scenario
for
a
time‐lapse
film.
In
a
time‐lapse
medium,
the
essentially
 geological
imagination
of
Shelley's
great
poem
would
no
longer
need
tax
the
limits
of
 language.

12

The
following
passage
(from
the
Statesman’s
Manual),
a
quintessentially
Coleridgian
description
of
a
 growing
plant,
also
demonstrates
well
Coleridge’s
time‐lapse
sensibility:
 
 Lo!—with
the
rising
sun
it
commences
its
outward
life
and
enters
into
communion
with
all
the
elements,
at
 once
assimilating
them
to
itself
and
to
each
other.
At
the
same
moment
it
strikes
its
roots
and
unfolds
its
 leaves,
absorbs
and
respires,
steams
forth
its
cooling
vapour
and
finer
fragrance,
and
breathes
a
repeairing
 spirit,
aat
once
the
food
and
tone
of
the
atmosphere,
into
the
atmosphere
that
feeds
it.
Lo!—at
the
touch
 of
light
how
it
returns
an
air
akin
to
light,
and
yet
with
the
same
pulse
effectuates
its
own
secret
growth,
 still
contracting
to
fix
what
expanding
it
had
defined.
Lo!—how
upholding
the
ceaseless
plastic
motion
of
 the
parts
in
the
profoundest
rest
of
the
whole
it
become
the
visible
organismus
of
the
entire
silent
o
 elementary
life
of
nature,
and
therefore,
in
incoporating
the
one
extremes
becomes
the
symbol
of
the
 other;
the
natural
symbol
of
that
higher
life
of
reason,
in
which
the
whole
series
(known
to
us
in
our
present
 state
of
being)
is
perfected,
in
which,
therefore,
all
the
subordinate
gradations
recur,
and
are
re‐ordained
in
 some
abundant
honor.
.
.
(quoted
from
I.
A.
Richards’
edition
of
The
Portable
Coleridge
[394]).
 


12

The
Collected
Works
of
David
Lavery
44


Shelley's
"The
Sensitive
Plant"
likewise
seems
a
fit
subject
for
time‐lapse,
 though
on
a
smaller
scale.
The
pathetic
fallacy
to
which
the
poem
so
often
succumbs
 as
Shelley
describes
the
life
of
a
garden
the
"lovely
mind,/
Which
dilating,
had
 molded
her
mien
and
motion/Like
a
sea‐flower
unfold
beneath
the
ocean
.
.
."
of
the
 lady
who
tends
it
would
not
seem
quite
so
precious
if
we
understood
it
to
be
the
 result
of
poetic
diction's
attempt
to
capture
in
progress
an
essentially
invisible
world
 of
transformation.
All
the
"sweet
shapes
and
odours"
of
the
garden,
as
Shelley
tells
 us
in
the
poem's
closing
stanza,
never
really
pass
away;
for
there
the
potential
and
 the
actual
ebb
and
flow.
And
"For
love,
and
beauty,
and
delight,/There
is
not
death
 nor
change."
But
men
forget
this
fact,
Shelley
explains,
because
"their
might/Exceeds
 our
organs,
which
endure/No
light,
being
themselves
obscure."
Time‐lapse
vision,
 poetic
or
photographic,
lessens
the
obscurity
and
brings
illumination
through
the
 imaginative
enhancement
of
merely
biological
organs.
 And
was
not
Goethe's
obsession—pursued
in
both
his
poetry
and
science— with
the
"metamorphosis
of
plants,"
his
discovery,
by
means
of
the
"exact
concrete
 imagination"
he
sought
to
perfect,
of
the
"Urpflanze"
(the
archetypal
Plant),
a
 longing
for
and
an
imagining
of
a
kind
of
time‐lapse
vision? 
When,
in
his
legendary
 1794
encounter
with
Schiller,
Goethe
was
told
by
his
fellow
poet
that
the
Urpflanze
 was
not
a
product
of
experience
at
all
(as
its
discoverer
claimed),
but
only
an
idea,
 he
had
replied,
"Well,
so
much
the
better;
it
means
that
I
have
ideas
without
 knowing
it,
and
can
even
see
them
with
my
eyes"
(quoted
by
Heller,
The
Disinherited
 Mind
7).
For
Goethe,
that
"Greek
born
in
the
North"
(as
Schiller
himself
called
him),
 phusis
was
evidently
still
a
reality.
 "Nature
has
neither
core/Nor
outer
rind,"
Goethe
was
convinced,
"Being
all
 things
at
once"
(from
"Allerdings:
Dem
Physiker"
["True
Enough:
To
the
Physicist"],
 Selected
Poems:
237).
This
conviction
lead
to
an
awareness
of
metamorphosis
in
 nature
(as
Erich
Heller
has
observed)
"far
nearer
to
Aristotle's
entelechy
than
to
 modern
genetics."
It
inspired
a
method
of
approach
toward
the
study
of
natural
 phenomena
which
(in
his
own
words)
did
not
"tackle
Nature
by
merely
dissecting
and
 particularizing,
but
shows
her
at
work
and
alive,
manifesting
herself
in
her
wholeness
 in
every
single
part
of
her
being"
(Heller
6).
Unlike
his
contemporary
Kant,
who

13

13

Of
Goethe’s
method,
Frederick
Amrine
has
written:
 
 Like
an
artist
painting
the
same
still‐life
day
after
day.
the
Goethean
scientist
gradually
restructures
his
 intentional
faculty
and
thereby
evolves
new
ways
of
seeing.
Goethe
goes
so
far
as
to
speak
of
awakening
 new
organs.”
(23)


The
Collected
Works
of
David
Lavery
45


denied
that
the
phenomenal
provided
access
to
the
noumenal,
Goethe
(like
 Coleridge)
found
the
two
forever
mated,
and
he
thus
never
lost
faith
that
through
 "our
contemplation
of
incessantly
creative
nature"
we
might
"become
worthy
of
 some
intellectual
participation
in
her
creativeness"
(Heller
29).
Thus
he
could
 counsel,
in
a
poem
which
distills
the
theory
of
organic
imagination
into
four
lines,
 
 If
it
is
the
greatest,
the
highest
you
seek,
the
plant
can
direct
you.
 Strive
to
become
through
your
will
what,
without
will,
it
is.
(The
 Eternal
Feminine
129)
 
 Goethe,
of
course,
had
derided
the
effect
of
microscopes
and
telescopes
on
 human
vision,
preferring
the
"true
illusion"
of
our
actual,
subjective
experience
of
 nature,
unaided
by
any
enhancement—save
that
provided
by
"exact,
concrete
 imagination."
But
surely
he
would
have
embraced
the
techne
of
time‐lapse
 photography
as
a
means,
at
once
scientific
and
poetic,
of
publicizing
the
 Urphanomena;
as
a
singular
revelation—both
idea
and
experience—of
that
"holy
 secret,
clear
as
day"
(from
"Epirrhema,”
Selected
Poems
159)
which
his
own
great
 work
had
discovered
and
celebrated.
 
 II.
20th
Century
Poetry
 
 Understandably,
given
the
ancient,
primordial
rapport
of
phusis
and
poiesis,
it
has
 been
20th
century
poetry
which,
it
would
seem,
has
taken
time‐lapse's
vision
of
 becoming
most
to
heart,
incorporating
its
methods
and
revelations
into
its
form
and
 substance
as
if
the
technique's
enhanced
revelation
of
phusis
were
"almost
a
 remembrance."
 When
the
French
poet
Cendrars
first
witnessed
time‐lapse
photography
in
a
 Parisian
theatre,
he
was
moved
to
exclaim,
flabbergasted
by
the
experience,
that
 "accelerated,
the
life
of
flowers
is
Shakespearean"
(quoted
by
Munier,
93).
In
the
 new
cinematic
technique
Cendrars
had
evidently
recognized
a
sister
art.
So,
too,
 have
other
20th
Century
poets.
 Like
many
of
his
contemporaries,
Cendrars
was
inspired
by
what
Monique
 Chefdor
has
called
"the
general
craze"
for
the
cinema.
"The
fragments
of
L'A
B
C
du
 cinema
(1926)
which
[Cendrars]
published
in
various
reviews
in
1919,"
Chefdor
 observes,
"testify
to
his
enthusiasm
for
the
seventh
art,
which
he
eulogized
at
times,


The
Collected
Works
of
David
Lavery
46


to
delirious
heights.
In
his
typical
blending
of
scholarly
erudition
and
fantasy
he
 proclaimed
with
prophetic
intensity
that
the
cinematographic
arts
were
to
become
 the
language
of
a
race
of
new
human
beings,
the
Gospel
of
tomorrow,
the
fourth
 revolution
after
the
three
previous
ones
of
the
importation
of
the
Phoenician
 alphabet
by
Cadmus
to
Greece,
the
discovery
of
printing
and
the
invention
of
the
 radio
.
.
."
(68).
 Cendrars'
enthusiasm
for
time‐lapse
was
pronounced.
In
a
side
excursion
into
 the
cinema
in
his
autobiographical
A
Night
in
the
Forest,
for
example,
time‐lapse
 figures
prominently
in
his
theorizing
and
in
his
metaphors.
Considering
the
manner
in
 which
film
reveals
the
mysteries
of
human
character,
he
insists
that
"There's
no
 reason
today
why
we
cannot
unravel
the
complex
skeins
of
a
human
character
on
the
 screen,
in
the
way
slow
motion
[sic]
shows
us
the
germination,
burgeoning,
budding,
 blooming,
and
death
of
plants."
And
though,
he
admits,
we
may
not
recognize
at
first
 the
portrait
of
man
which
would
thus
emerge,
we
will
come
to
accept
our
cinematic
 likeness
as
"second
nature,"
as
phylogeny
and
ontogeny,
phusis
and
nature,
poiesis
 and
techne.
 
 This
thick
blood,
this
suspended
flower,
this
diamond
ballet,
this
smile
full
of
 stops
and
starts
like
the
traffic
in
a
big
city,
this
new
shadow
in
the
light,
this
 kernel,
this
black
eye,
this
dark
streak,
this
crack
in
the
microscopic
analysis,
 this
bean—it's
you—it's
you.
Don't
hesitate;
move!
You
are
dead;
move!
You
 are
curled
in
a
spiral;
unwind!
You
are
born
into
the
reality
of
the
cinema;
 move!
Jump!
and
watch
out
for
the
matrix!
.
.
.
 You,
yourself,
you,
anonymous
as
you
are
to
yourself,
alive,
dead,
 living
dead,
wild
rose,
angelica,
hermaphrodite,
human,
too
human,
beast,
 mineral
vegetable,
chemistry,
rare
butterfly,
the
residue
in
a
crucible,
the
 root
of
the
voltaic
arc,
a
plummet
to
abysmal
depths,
two
fins,
an
air
hole,
 mechanical
and
spiritual,
full
of
gears
and
prayers,
aerobic,
thermogenic,
 winged
foot,
ion,
god,
automaton,
embryo,
seal
with
peyote
in
his
eyes.
 
 It
is
you
in
instaneity.
 It
is
you
in
eternity.
 In
full
becoming,
 You
in
the
flow
of
time.
 


The
Collected
Works
of
David
Lavery
47


The
"future
role
of
the
cinema,"
Cendrars
would
thus
prophecy,
"will
be
to
 rediscover
man,
ourselves,
to
show
us
up,
to
make
us
accept
ourselves
without
 resentment
and
without
disgust,
such
as
we
are,
with
the
lives
of
our
ancestors
and
 our
children
within
us,
with
no
humbug,
beyond
all
conventions,
in
all
fatality,
in
all
 atavism,
in
full
becoming,
like
animals,
whether
drunken
or
good
or
reasonable
or
 wicked."
 At
about
the
same
time
in
the
century
that
time‐lapse
photography
was
being
 developed
as
a
tool
in
the
study
of
organic
life
processes,
the
German
poet
Rainer
 Maria
Rilke
had
come
to
understand
the
poet's
true
task
to
be
as
witness
to
all
acts
 of
blossoming.
In
his
"Gesang
der
Frauen
an
den
Dichter,"
for
example,
a
group
of
 women
beseech
the
poet,
pleading
with
him
to
understand
and
describe
their
growth
 correctly
and
alluding
to
the
burgeoning
natural
world
of
which
they
are
inextricably
 a
part,
"Sieh,
wie
sich
alles,
aufut:
so
sind
wir"
("Look
how
everything
unfolds;
we
 are
like
that")
(quoted
in
Hartman
74).
 Rilke's
whole
poetic
achievement,
it
might
be
argued,
was
the
attainment
of
a
 means
for
capturing
such
unfoldings
in
progress—in
time‐lapse,
if
you
will.
The
 anemone
he
describes
in
Die
Sonnette
an
Orpheus,
II,
5
(1923),
a
flower
fully,
 synchronously
open
in
tropism
to
"das
polyphone/Licht
der
lauten
Himmel"
("the
 polyphonic
light
of
the
loud
skies")
in
a
way
Rilke
thought
man
himself
should
be
to
 earthly
experience,
was,
after
all,
a
central
symbol
for
Rilke
of
true
poetic
 consciousness.
 what
he
wanted
to
learn
to
be
a
poet
 allude
to
epigraph
 
 Rilke's
conception
of
time‐lapse
even
took
on
evolutionary
dimensions.
 "Alongside
of
the
most
rapid
movements,"
he
wrote
in
"The
Young
Workman's
 Letter,"
 
 there
will
always
be
slow
ones,
such,
indeed
as
are
of
so
extreme
a
 leisureliness
that
we
shall
not
live
to
see
the
course
they
take.
But
that
is
 what
humanity
is
for,
is
it
not,
to
await
the
realization
of
that
which
exceeds
 a
single
life‐span?—From
its
point
of
view
the
slowest
process
is
often
the
 quickest,
that
is
to
say,
we
find
that
we
called
it
slow
simply
because
it
could
 not
be
measured.
(Where
Silence
Reigns
74‐75)
 


The
Collected
Works
of
David
Lavery
48


We
find
the
Irish
poet
and
mystic
AE
(George
Russell)
thinking
of
his
 relationship
to
time
and
memory,
and
consequently
his
source
of
poetic
inspirations,
 in
terms
of
time‐lapse
photography.
In
Song
and
Its
Fountains
(1932),
a
book
which
is
 as
much
spiritual
autobiography
as
a
theory
of
poetry,
he
tells
of
a
form
of
 meditation
he
began
to
practice
as
an
aid
to
creation,
in
search
of
the
wellsprings
of
 poetry.
 
 I
began
to
practice
a
meditation
the
ancient
sages
spoke
of.
In
this
meditation
 we
start
from
where
we
are
and
go
backwards
through
the
day;
and
later,
as
 we
become
quicker
in
the
retracing
of
our
way,
through
weeks,
through
years,
 what
we
are
now
passing
into
what
we
did
or
thought:
and
so
we
recall
a
 linked
medley
of
action,
passion,
imagination
or
thought.
It
is
most
difficult
at
 first
to
retrace
our
way,
to
remember
what
we
thought
or
did
even
an
hour
 before.
But
if
we
persist
the
past
surrenders
to
us
and
we
can
race
back
 fleetly
over
days
or
months.
The
sages
enjoined
this
meditation
with
the
 intent
that
we
might,
where
we
had
been
weak,
conquer
in
imagination,
kill
 the
dragons
which
overcame
us
and
undo
what
evil
we
might
have
done.
 
 Able
to
see
his
life
whole,
to
understand
that
all
its
seemingly
disparate
events
are
 of
a
piece,
he
can
thus
see
it
as
a
becoming,
an
unfolding
in
time:
 
 I
found,
when
I
had
made
this
desire
for
retrospect
dominant
in
meditation,
 that
an
impulse
had
been
communicated
to
everything
in
my
nature
to
go
 back
to
origins.
IT
BECAME
OF
MYSELF
AS
IF
ONE
OF
THOSE
MOVING
PICTURES
 WE
SEE
IN
THE
THEATRES,
WHERE
IN
A
FEW
MOMENTS
A
PLANT
BURSTS
FORTH
 INTO
BUD,
LEAF,
AND
BLOSSOM
DWINDLING
INTO
THE
BUD.
MY
MOODS
BEGAN
 TO
HURRY
BACK
TO
THEIR
FIRST
FOUNTAINS.
(xxx;
my
italics)
 
 Could
AE
have
conceived
of
his
life,
imagined
the
unity
of
it,
in
this
way
without
 time‐lapse
photography
as
the
vehicle
of
his
metaphor?
 
 In
Hart
Crane's
"Repose
of
Rivers"
(1926),
an
account
of
the
poet
as
he
stand
 enraptured
before
the
Mississippi
delta—"That
seething
steady,
leveling
of
the
 marshes"—time‐lapse
is
again
the
controlling
metaphor.
Remembering
back
to
an
 earlier
time
when
his
present
visionary
state—a
kind
of
time‐lapse
view
of
geological


The
Collected
Works
of
David
Lavery
49


and
biological
processes
working
their
effects
over
great
expanses
of
time,
yet
seen
 in
the
imagination
as
instantaneous—was
an
everyday
occurrence
for
him,
the
poet
 recalls
how
his
mystical
vision
of
cypress
trees
as
they
"shared
the
noon's/Tyranny"
 once
had
the
power
to
fascinate
his
innocent
attention
so
totally
that
it
drew
him
 "into
Hades
almost."
He
summons
up
again
that
earlier
consciousness
in
which
he
 looked
on
possessed
as
"mammoth
turtles
climbing
sulphur
dreams/Yielded,
while
 sun‐silt
rippled
them/
Asunder."
This
difficult,
surreal,
drunken
imagery
is,
of
course,
 quintessential
Crane,
but
"Repose
of
Rivers"
is
not
merely
the
dregs
of
Crane's
now
 legendary
drinking
bouts
in
search
of
inspiration.
At
the
heart
of
the
poem's
 dreamlike,
vatic
vision
lies
a
time‐lapse
consciousness
of
nature,
as
the
poem's
 closing
lines
make
apparent.
Lost
in
that
"memory
all
things
nurse,"
Crane
equates
 his
former
vision
with
his
present
one—like
AE
finding
his
end
in
his
beginning—and,
 reclaiming
his
lost
powers
as
a
seer,
realizes
that
then
as
now
he
is
able,
in
a
kind
of
 time‐lapse
hearing,
to
listen
to
"wind
flaking
sapphire.
.
.
./
And
willows
could
not
 hold
more
steady
sound"
(xxx).
 Or
consider
Richard
Eberhardt's
often
anthologized
"The
Groundhog"
(1930).
 If
it
had
not
been
written
over
forty
years
earlier,
the
poem
might
be
misjudged
as
a
 poetic
plagiarism
of
Sean
Morris'
time‐lapse
record
of
a
mouse's
consummation.
For
 like
that
film,
Eberhardt's
poem
telescopes
time
(three
years)
to
present
a
vivid
 moving
picture
of
a
small
mammal's
corpse
eaten
by
maggots.
But
the
poem
is
no
 mere
recording;
it
is
not
a
disinterested,
scientifically
valid
account.
It
is
a
poet's
 subjective
eye,
not
an
objective,
time‐lapse
camera,
which
captures
the
unfolding
 scene.
 It
is
the
poet
who
in
mid‐summer,
"Half
with
loathing,
half
with
a
strange
love
 .
.
.",
bears
witness
to
"nature
ferocious
in
him
[the
groundhog]";
who
detects
"his
 maggots'
might/And
seething
cauldron
of
his
being
.
.
.";
who
experimentally
pokes
 him
"with
an
angry
stick,"
only
to
see
the
"fever"
of
the
maggots'
meal
become
"a
 flame."
It
is
the
poet
who
falls
to
his
knees,
"Praying
for
joy
in
the
sight
of
decay,"
 his
faith
in
the
meaning
of
things
momentarily
shaken
by
the
"senseless
change"
he
 confronts,
reminded
of
his
own
mortality
by
this
time‐lapse
momento
mori.
 It
is
the
poet
who
returns
in
autumn
to
discover,
in
a
year
which
has
"lost
its
 meaning,"
"The
sap
gone
out
of
the
groundhog"
and
only
the
"bony
sodden
hulk
 remaining";
who
comes
back
to
the
scene,
like
a
war
veteran
compulsively
attracted
 to
the
spot
where
he
lost
a
limb,
finding
only
a
"little
hair
left,/And
bone
bleaching
 in
the
sunlight/Beautiful
as
architecture."


The
Collected
Works
of
David
Lavery
50


And
it
is
the
poet
who
comes
back
once
more,
three
years
later,
unable
then
 to
detect
even
a
trace
of
the
drama
to
which
all
along
he
has
been
the
only
witness.
 Eberhardt's
subjective,
poetic,
time‐lapse
record
of
the
groundhog's
recycling
 makes
vivid
for
the
reader
the
conjoined
feelings
of
awe
and
revulsion
provoked
by
 viewing
the
Morris
film.
For
Eberhardt
cannot
achieve
the
aesthetic
distance
 necessary
to
find
the
scene
beautiful,
nor
can
the
viewer
of
the
film
detach
himself
 sufficiently
to
appreciate
objectively
the
richly
patterned
transformation,
perhaps
 beautiful
in
and
of
itself.
Poetic
time‐lapse,
it
seems,
is
the
product
of
a
 consciousness
which
is
itself
still
within
time,
still
embodied,
still
sympathetically
 linked
in
imagination
with
all
that
it
perceives,
still
the
eye
and
the
voice
of
the
 natural
world's
coming‐into‐being,
its
"blooming,
buzzing,
confusion."
 The
poetry
of
Dylan
Thomas,
whose
synaesthetic,
hallucinatory
imagery
has
 often
been
called
surrealistic,
has
a
distinctly
time‐lapse
quality.
No
poet
of
our
time
 has
been
more
attuned
to
the
ongoing
flow
of
time
and
its
effects.
In
"Death
Shall
 Have
No
Dominion,"
for
example,
he
records
a
vision
of
the
transmigration
of
souls
 which
equates
it
with
the
water
cycle,
culminating
in
the
return
of
those
souls
to
 nature,
described
in
a
powerful
image:
 
 Heads
of
characters
hammer
through
daisies;
 Break
in
the
sun
till
the
sun
breaks
down.
 And
death
shall
have
no
dominion.
(77)
 
 And
it
is
a
time‐lapse
sensibility,
is
it
not,
which
allows
him
to
see
that,
in
the
midst
 of
the
world's
becoming,
creation
and
destruction
are
one:
"The
force
that
through
 the
green
fuse
drives
the
flower
/
Drives
my
green
age;
that
blasts
the
roots
of
 trees/Is
my
destroyer"
(10).
 In
Theodore
Roethke's
"Transplanting
(1948),"
the
poet's
vivid
description
of
 a
gardener's
act
becomes,
in
Roethke's
imagination,
a
time‐lapse
vision
of
the
plant's
 whole
burgeoning.
The
poem's
first
stanza
is
a
careful
record
of
a
greenhouse
 transplanting.
as
careful
hands
make
the
plants
"Ready
for
the
long
days
under
the
 sloped
glass."
But
the
second
stanza
is
witnessed
by
no
physical
eye.
 In
yet
another
poetic
return
to
time‐lapse's
primal
scene,
Roethke
grows
the
 plant,
sampling
moments
from
its
"long
days"
in
its
bed:
 
 The
sun
warming
the
fine
loam,


The
Collected
Works
of
David
Lavery
51


The
young
horns
winding
and
unwinding.
 Creaking
their
thin
spines,
 The
underleaves,
the
smallest
buds
 Breaking
into
nakedness,
 The
blossoms
extending
 Out
into
the
sweet
air,
 The
whole
flower
extending
outward,
 Stretching
and
reaching.
 
 Later
in
the
century,
time‐lapse
poetry
continued
to
be
written.
For
example,
 when
William
Carlos
Williams,
in
"Asphodel
that
Greeny
Flower"
(1955),
looks
back
 over
his
life,
his
marriage,
and
his
career
as
a
poet
from
the
vantage
point
of
his
 seventies
and
grasps
for
the
first
time
their
essential
reciprocity,
it
is
as
if
he
were
 watching
a
time‐lapse
film
of
his
own
individuation:
 
 As
I
think
of
it
now
 





after
a
lifetime
 








it
is
as
if
 a
sweet‐scented
flower
 





were
poised
 








and
for
me
did
open.
(182)
 
 Underpinning
W.
S.
Merwin's
"Unchopping
a
Tree"
(1970)
is
a
time‐lapse
 vision
of
natural
growth.
A
prose
poem,
written
in
the
form
of
an
instruction
manual
 intended
to
assist
in
the
reassembly
of
a
felled
tree,
Merwin's
ironic
lines
explores
 the
complexity
of
living
systems
and
man's
inadequacy
in
the
face
of
the
natural.
The
 poem's
voice
is
that
of
a
Swiftian,
cold‐hearted
expert,
who
speaks
matter‐of‐factly
 of
an
infinitely
complex,
step‐by‐step
process:
the
reattachment
of
each
leaf
and
 branch,
the
replacement
of
nuts
(he
instructs
the
reader
to
place
those
already
 opened
back
into
their
shells),
the
labyrinthine
reconstitution
of
each
spider
web.
 There
will,
he
admits,
be
some
difficulties
of
course:
"With
spider
webs,
you
must
 simply
do
the
best
you
can.
We
do
not
have
the
spider's
weaving
equipment."
Nor,
 lacking
"any
substitute
for
the
leaf's
living
bond
with
its
point
of
attachment
and
 nourishment,"
will
the
foliage
be
easily
put
back.


The
Collected
Works
of
David
Lavery
52


As
Merwin's
expert
goes
on
to
describe
the
rest
of
the
tree's
"resurrection"— the
replacement
of
the
bark,
the
gluing
in
of
innumerable
splinters,
the
erection
of
 the
trunk—it
becomes
clear
that
this
process,
which
the
speaker
proudly
calls
"men's
 work,"
is
in
fact
beyond
human
means.
The
work,
we
are
told
in
understatement,
may
 cause
us
to
wonder
"to
what
extent
it
should
be
described
as
natural,
to
what
extent
 man‐made."
 
 Indeed,
rechopping
a
tree
"will
lead
.
.
.
to
speculations
about
the
parentage
 of
beauty
itself,
to
which
you
will
return."
And
at
the
poem's
end,
we
learn,
the
 process
is
not
yet
finished.
 
 Others
are
waiting.
 Everything
is
going
to
have
to
be
put
back.
 
 In
effect
a
reverse‐motion
time‐lapse
prose
poem,
"Unchopping
a
Tree"
is
time‐lapse
 in
an
ironic
mode.
 Or
think
of
May
Swenson's
"July
4th"
(1972),
a
vivid
description
of
holiday
 fireworks
and
of
the
reactions
they
provoke
in
an
Independence
Day
audience,
but
a
 poem
for
which
time‐lapse
photography
is
again
clearly
the
vehicle.
Swenson's
 source
of
inspiration
is
apparent
in
the
poem's
first
lines:
 
 Gradual
bud
and
bloom
and
seedfall
speeded
up
are
 these
mute
explosions
in
slow
motion.
 From
vertical
shoots
above
the
sea,
the
fire
 flowers
open,
shedding
their
petals.
(xxx)
 
 The
poem
goes
on
to
develop
this
analogy
between
the
organic
growth
of
a
flower
in
 bloom
and
the
"fire
flowers"
opening‐out
above
her.
 For
A.
R.
Ammons,
a
time‐lapse
aesthetic
is
central
to
his
very
concept
of
his
 art
of
appearance
and
reality,
nature
and
culture,
as
is
apparent
in
his
"Poetics,"
one
 of
several
attempts
by
Ammons
at
an
"ars
poetica."
"I
look
for
the
way/things
will
 turn/out
spiraling
from
a
center,"
Ammons
explains.
Hoping
to
give
them
unselfish
 poetic
expression,
"being
available/to
any
shape
that
may
be/summoning
itself
 through
me/from
the
self
not
mine
but
ours,"
he
seeks,
without
interference,

for
the
 forms


The
Collected
Works
of
David
Lavery
53



 things
want
to
come
as
 
 from
what
black
wells
of
possibility,
 how
a
thing
will
unfold.
.
.
.
(61)
 
 Like
"The
Groundhog,"
Robert
Hayden's
"The
Night
Blooming
Cereus"
(1972)
 seems
almost
a
conscious
imitation
of
a
time‐lapse
film.
For
the
poem
is,
like
 Swenson's,
an
account
of
a
flower
coming
into
bloom—a
staple
of
the
time‐lapse
 repertoire,
part
of
its
Tudor
Code.
But
like
"Groundhog,"
"Cereus"
is
no
mere
record
 but
a
subjective
account
of
a
natural
process
as
experienced
by
a
particular
human
 consciousness.
 The
poet
tells,
in
a
first
person
narrative,
of
how
"for
nights/we
[the
speaker
 and
a
companion]
waited,
hoping
to
see/the
heavy
bud
[of
the
Cereus,
a
cactus]
 break
into
flower."
We
see
that
bud's
"neck‐like
tube/hooking
down
from
the
 edge/of
the
leaf‐branch/nearly
to
the
floor
.
.
."
and
take
notice
of
how
the
Cereus,
 "packed/tight
with
its
miracle
swayed
stiffly
on
breaths/
of
air,
moved/as
though
 impelled
by
stirrings
within
itself"—all‐in—all
as
accurate
a
picture
of
the
Cereus
as
 any
time‐lapse
camera
could
capture,
given
the
limits
of
specificity
always
inherent
 in
language.
 But
the
speaker
confesses—as
if
about
to
succumb
to
those
still‐alive
 pressures
of
natural
selection
which
teach
men
not
to
see
so
precisely—that,
face‐to‐ face
with
such
becoming,
he
feels
"repelled
as
much
as
.
.
.
fascinated."
As
if
before
 his
very
eyes
the
Cereus'
shape
mutates,
metaphorically,
into
something
else,
and
 the
speaker
sees
in
the
plant
"snake,/eyeless
bird
head,/beak
that
would
gape/with
 grotesque
life
squawk."
His
companion,
however,
more
impressed
than
the
poet
with
 "the
imminence
of
bloom,"
and
ready
to
celebrate
the
"archaic
mysteries"
they
are
 about
to
behold,
redirects
his
attention
to
the
"rigorous
design"
of
the
unfolding
the
 hold
of
that
vision
of
the
natural
grotesque
which
nearly
possesses
him.
 The
poet
recalls
recent
experiments
which
have
recorded
the
"secret
life
of
 plants"—a
"philodendron's
fear,"
for
example,
as
registered
on
a
polygraph
—and
 realizes
that
he
too
confronts
"tribal
sentience/In
the
cactus,
focused/
energy
of
 will."
But
he
needs
no
polygraph,
or
time‐lapse
camera,
to
capture
it.
For
thanks
to
 the
marvelous
technique
of
a
poet's
imagination,
he
has
access
to
a
process
no


The
Collected
Works
of
David
Lavery
54


technology
could
touch:
"That
belling
of/tropic
perfume
—that
signaling/not
meant
 for
us;/the
darkness
cloyed
with
summoning/
fragrance."
 Waiting
patiently
for
the
precise
moment
(for
a
Cereus'
bloom
lasts
only
a
 very
short
time),
the
time‐lapse
watcher
"marveling/
beheld
at
the
last
the
 achieved/flower."
And
even
then,
in
poetry's
faithful
commitment
to
becoming,
the
 blooming
does
not
stop,
is
not
terminated
in
freeze‐frame
last
words;
for
in
the
 poem's
closing
lines
we
learn
"Its
moonlight/petals
were/still
unfold‐/ing,
the
spike
 fringe
of
the
outer/perianth
recessing/as
we
watched"
(24‐26).
I
can
think
of
no
 better
demonstration
of
Archibald
MacLeish's
contention
that
poetry
"gives
 knowledge
of
the
chaos
and
confusion
of
the
world
by
imposing
order
upon
it
which
 leaves
it
still
the
chaos
and
confusion
which
it
really
is."
 Jorie
Graham's
"How
Morning
Glories
Could
Bloom
at
Dusk"
(1980)
will
serve
 as
a
final
example
of
20th
century
time‐lapse
poetry.
A
meditation
on
the
reasons
of
 the
heart,
Graham's
poem
takes
the
circadian
rhythm
of
blossoming
vegetation
as
its
 controlling
metaphor.
"Left
to
itself,"
the
poem
begins,
 
 




the
heart
continues,
as
the
tamarind
 folds
it
leaves
every
night
and
the
mimosa,
 even
in
perpetual
darkness,
opens
and
shuts
 with
the
sun.
 
 The
heart,
Graham
explains,
is
patient,
in
sympathy
with
natural
process,
well
aware
 (as
Rilke
knew)
that
"everything
unfolds,"
including
the
self.
 
 It
is
moved
by
such
delays:
 cat's
eyes
open
at
six,
african
marigolds,
lilies
 at
seven,
at
eight
the
passionflower.
 
 For
Graham,
the
"correspondences"
of
heart
and
nature
are
precise;
the
heart's
 growth,
the
coming
into
bloom
of
the
natural
world
are
homologies,
sharing
a
 common
bestiary,
transpiring
in
a
shared
geography.
The
heart's
"light
awaits
the
 souls
of
the
living";
its
"birds"
long
"for
the
branches
to
unfold
in
song";
 
 the
end
of
its
year
awaits
each
noon
the
opening
 of
the
chicory
of
the
meadow,
and
its
meadows


The
Collected
Works
of
David
Lavery
55


imagine
other
sleepless
flower
beds.
 
 Seen
in
time‐lapse,
taken
to
heart,
the
blossoming,
the
metamorphosis
which
 dominant
the
scene
satisfy
her
need
for
the
miraculous,
replace
the
need
for
the
 supernatural.
 
 If
there
is
another
world,
then
this
is
it:
 the
real,
the
virtual,
the
butterfly
 over
the
evening
primrose.
 
 In
a
June
13,
1871
journal
entry,
Hopkins
would
note
 
 The
Horned
Violet
is
a
pretty
thing,
gracefully
lashed.
Even
in
withering
the
 flower
ran
through
beautiful
inscapes
by
the
strewing
up
of
the
petals
into
 straight
little
barrels
or
tubes.
It
is
not
that
inscape
does
not
govern
the
 behavior
of
things
in
slack
and
decay
as
one
can
see
even
in
the
pining
of
the
 skin
of
the
old
and
even
in
a
skeleton
but
that
horror
possesses
the
mind,
but
 in
this
case
there
was
nothing
in
itself
to
show
whether
the
flower
were
 shutting
or
opening.
 


C o n c lu sio n :
T h e 
N e w 
P h u sis


True
imagination
actually
"sees"
the
"subtle"
processes
of
nature
and
their
angelic
 prototypes.
It
is
the
capability
to
reproduce
in
oneself
the
cosmogenic
unfolding,
the
 permanent
creation
of
the
world.
.
.
.
 Maurice
Aniane



 "To
perceive
consists
in
condensing
enormous
periods
of
an
infinitely
diluted
 existence
into
a
few
moments
of
an
intensive
life,
and
in
the
summing
up
of
a
very
 long
history,"
wrote
Henri
Bergson
at
the
beginning
of
this
century
(in
Matter
and
 Memory,
1911).
"To
perceive,"
Bergson
concludes,
thinking
of
the
Western
mind‐set
 under
the
auspices
of
science,
"means
to
immobilize."
Elsewhere
(in
Creative
 Evolution)
the
French
philosopher
had
wondered
aloud
why
another
alternative
kind
 of
perception
did
not
evolve:
 


The
Collected
Works
of
David
Lavery
56


parallel
to
this
physics
[in
which
perception
immobilizes
the
world‐in‐ process],
a
second
kind
of
knowledge
ought
to
have
grown
up,
which
could
 have
retained
what
physics
allowed
to
escape.
On
the
flux
of
duration
science
 neither
would
nor
could
lay
hold,
bound
as
it
was
to
the
cinematographical
 method.
 
 Bergson
goes
on
to
imagine
for
us
what
this
"second
kind
of
knowledge,"
free
 from
the
tendency
to
dissect
the
world
into
frames
of
thought,
conscious
instead
of
 the
"absolute
flow
of
becoming,"
might
have
been
like:
 
 It
would
have
called
upon
the
mind
to
renounce
its
most
cherished
habits.
It
 is
within
becoming
that
it
would
have
transported
us
by
an
effort
of
 sympathy.
We
should
no
longer
be
asking
where
a
moving
body
will
be,
what
 shape
a
system
will
take,
through
what
state
a
change
will
pass
at
a
given
 moment;
the
moments
of
time,
which
are
only
arrests
of
our
attention
would
 no
longer
exist;
it
is
the
flow
of
time,
it
is
the
very
flux
of
the
real
that
we
 should
be
trying
to
follow.
 
 Our
normal
knowledge
of
the
world,
Bergson
observes,
allows
us
to
be
"in
 some
measure
masters
of
events"
(a
fact
which
Nietzsche
comprehended
as
well);
it
 allows
the
world
to
be
manipulated,
to
be
used
as
an
instrument
of
human
action.
 But
we
pay
a
price
for
this
increase
in
power,
for
our
ordinary
knowledge
"retains
of
 the
moving
reality
only
eventual
immobilities,
that
is
to
say,
views
taken
of
it
 ["snapshots,"
as
Bergson
was
fond
of
calling
such
excerpts]
by
our
mind.
It
 symbolizes
the
real
and
transposes
it
into
the
human
rather
than
expresses
it."
 The
"other
knowledge"
which
Bergson
imagines,
would,
in
stark
contrast,
be
 "practically
useless";
would
not
"extend
our
empire
over
nature";
and
would
"even
 go
against
certain
natural
aspirations
of
the
intellect."
It
would,
in
fact,
offer
no
 advantage
to
an
evolving
being
but
one:
the
perception
of
"reality
itself
.
.
.
in
a
firm
 and
final
embrace."
Completing
the
rational
intellect
by
"install[ing]
itself
within
the
 moving,"
it
would
"open
a
perspective
on
the
other
half
of
the
real."
 Does
not
time‐lapse
photography,
paradoxically
enough,
offer
us,
through
use
 of
a
"cinematographical
method,"
a
glimpse
of
what
it
might
be
like
to
experience
 nature
through
this
anti‐cinematographical
"second
kind
of
knowledge"
for
which
 Bergson
longed?
Whatever
the
technological
basis
for
time‐lapse
photography,
our


The
Collected
Works
of
David
Lavery
57


experience
of
it
would
certainly
seem
to
be
phenomenologically
close
to
this
 sympathetic
vision
of
becoming.
It
is
as
if
evolution
were
once
again
an
experience
 for
us
and
not
merely
a
theory:
it
is
as
if
time‐lapse
photography
offers
us
our
initial
 lessons
in
"exact,
concrete,
imagination."
"In
biology
and
in
geology,"
writes
the
 historian
of
religions
Schwaller
de
Lubicz,
"Time
[under
the
hegemony
of
modern
 science]
is
made
to
intervene
as
the
factor
measuring
evolution,
when
in
reality,
 Time
is
this
evolution"
(91).
Does
not
the
world
seen
in
time‐lapse
hint
of
this
 ultimate,
yet
forgotten,
wisdom?
 In
the
"true
metaphors"
of
time‐lapse
photography's
visual
poetry
we
again
 see
phusis,
again
quicken
into
life
the
forgotten
relationship
between
the
mind
of
 man
and
the
"absolute
flow
of
becoming"
of
which
he,
his
imagination,
and
his
 poetry
are
both
the
momentary
expression
and
the
only
means
of
revelation.
Time‐ lapse
photography
reminds
us
that
we
are
momentous
beings.