Godfrey Reggio is an inventor of a film style which creates poetic images of extraordinary emotional impact for audiences worldwide. Reggio is prominent in the film world for his QATSI trilogy, essays of visual images and sound which chronicle the destructive impact of the modern world on the environment. Reggio, who spent 14 years in silence and prayer while studying to be a monk, has a history of service not only to the environment but to youth street gangs, the poor, and the community as well.
Born in New Orleans in 1940 and raised in southwest Louisiana, Reggio entered the Christian Brothers, a Roman Catholic pontifical order, at age 14. He spent 14 years of his adolescence and early adulthood in fasting, silence, and prayer.
Based in new Mexico during the sixties, Reggio taught grade school, secondary school and college. In 1963, he co-founded Young Citizens for Action, a community organization project that aided juvenile street gangs. Following this, Reggio co-founded La Clinica de la Gente, a facility that provided medical care to 12,000 community members in Santa Fe, and La Gente, a community organizing project in Northern New Mexico's barrios. In 1972, he co-founded the Institute for Regional Education in Santa Fe, a non-profit foundation focused on media development, the arts, community organization and research. In 1974 and 1975, with funding from the American Civil Liberties Union, Reggio co-organized a multi- media public interest campaign on the invasion of privacy and the use of technology to control behavior.
KOYAANISQATSI, Reggio's debut as a film director and producer, is the first film of the QATSI trilogy. The title is a Hopi Indian word meaning "life out of balance." Created between 1975 and 1982, the film is an apocalyptic vision of the collision of two different worlds -- urban life and technology versus the environment. The musical score was composed by Philip Glass.
POWAQQATSI, Reggio's second film, conveys a humanist philosophy about the earth, the encroachment of technology on nature and ancient cultures, and the splendor that disappears as a result. The film focuses on the modern way of life and the concept of the Global Village, entwining the distinctive textures of ancient and Third World cultures. POWAQQATSI was co-written, co-produced and directed by Reggio and composed by Philip Glass between 1985 and 1987.
In 1991 Reggio directed ANIMA MUNDI, a film commissioned by Bulgari, the Italian jewelry company, for the World Wide Fund for Nature which used the film for its Biological Diversity Program. Accompanied by the music of Philip Glass, the twenty-eight minute ANIMA MUNDI is a montage of intimate images of over seventy animal species that celebrates the magnificence and variety of the world's fauna.
In 1993, Reggio was invited to develop a new school of exploration and production in the arts, technology, and mass media being founded by the Benetton company. Called Fabrica - Future, Presente, it opened in May, 1995, in Treviso, Italy, just outside Venice. While service as the initial director of the school through 1995, Reggio co-authored the 7 minute film EVIDENCE which provides another point of view to observe the subtle but profound effects of modern living on children.
Godfrey Reggio is currently writing, co-producing and directing NAQOYQATSI, the final film of the QATSI trilogy, and is a frequent lecturer on philosophy, technology and film. He resides in Santa Fe, New Mexico.
KOYAANISQATSI attempts to reveal the beauty of the beast! We usually perceive our world, our way of living, as beautiful because there is nothing else to perceive. If one lives in this world, the globalized world of high technology, all one can see is one layer of commodity piled upon another. In our world the "original" is the proliferation of the standardized. Copies are copies of copies. There seems to be no ability to see beyond, to see that we have encased ourselves in an artificial environment that has remarkably replaced the original, nature itself. We do not live with nature any longer; we live above it, off of it as it were. Nature has become the resource to keep this artificial or new nature alive.
That being said, my intention in-other-words, let me describe the bigger picture. KOYAANISQATSI is not so much about something, nor does it have a specific meaning or value. KOYAANISQATSI is, after all, an animated object, an object in moving time, the meaning of which is up to the viewer. Art has no intrinsic meaning. This is its power, its mystery, and hence, its attraction. Art is free. It stimulates the viewer to insert their own meaning, their own value. So while I might have this or that intention in creating this film, I realize fully that any meaning or value KOYAANISQATSI might have comes exclusively from the beholder. The film's role is to provoke, to raise questions that only the audience can answer. This is the highest value of any work of art, not predetermined meaning, but meaning gleaned from the experience of the encounter. The encounter is my interest, not the meaning. If meaning is the point, than propaganda and advertising is the form. So in the sense of art, the meaning of KOYAANISQATSI is whatever you wish to make of it. This is its power.