Monday, January 29, 2018

"The Art Of Flying" by Jan van IJken

Filmmaker and photographer Jan van IJken filmed starlings murmurating (flying and swooping in a dense flock).

His website describes the film:
"Short film about 'murmurations': the mysterious flights of the Common Starling. It is still unknown how the thousands of birds are able to fly in such dense swarms without colliding. Every night the starlings gather at dusk to perform their stunning air show. Because of the relatively warm winter of 2014/2015, the starlings stayed in the Netherlands instead of migrating southwards. This gave filmmaker Jan van IJken the opportunity to film one of the most spectacular and amazing natural phenomena on earth. The film has been screened at more than 50 international film festivals, galleries, etc."

Watching this enormous flock is hypnotizing. There has been much debate and recent scientific breakthroughs about how they do it. But I am left wondering why they do it. It must be thrilling to be part of the flock and let go to a larger system, a larger body, moving simply to feel movement, to feel alive. My heart is beating faster just thinking of it: the transcendent feeling, the sense of being out of your body but in control at the same time, a peak experience, like a dream. Of course I am reminded of Kate Bush's musical masterpiece "Aerial," a song cycle about birds, the sun, the moon, and the sky,...and in particular the final song of that cycle called "Aerial" where Kate joins birds on a roof at sunrise in a cacophonous, thundering, heart-stopping event. Just like this video trailer. Watch...but listen, too. I bet if we could map out the patterns of their movements, we would see they are flying in fractals.

No comments: