Like birds and flowers, humans go to all kinds of technological trouble to stay in the light

Michael Langan

3 minutes


  • By pairing a series of beautiful images with just a few lines of poetry, Heliotropes shows how patterns repeat themselves at different levels of nature, whether we know it or not. Sunflower seeds and petals are known to follow the Fibonacci sequence, a mathematical formula that makes their structure maximally efficient, but they don’t do it consciously. Likewise, humans go to great lengths to mathematically optimise flight patterns to maximise profit for airlines. And yet, we sometimes get too caught up in talk of data and the algorithms. We don’t always realise that we are acting on an impulse common to many of nature’s organisms: a desire to stay in the light.

  • Director Biography:

    Michael Langan is an award-winning American filmmaker. His short films have screened at more than 100 film festivals worldwide garnering top awards, including a Student Academy Award nomination for Doxology (2007). Langan’s innovation at the boundary of live action and animation has been praised as ‘confounding and fascinating’ by The New York Times and ‘inventive’ by The Atlantic. He is an IFC Icon and was featured as one of ‘10 animators poised to become household names’ by Variety. He has directed commercials for Nike, Samsung, and Pepsi.

  • Director: Michael Langan
  • Writer: Based on the poem by Brian Christian
  • Narrated by: Michael Hanson

  • Running Time: 3 minutes
  • Language: English
  • Website: langanfilms.com

Add your own review…

  • Louis Morelli

    Sunflowers doesn’t know the Golden Ratio but applies it because it is registered at their DNA, which is the biological shape of the universal formula called Matrix/DNA. Phi is the number measuring the point of any shape of the universal natural system, thepoint responsible for reproduction of the left face into right face or replication of existing systems. All creatures search for light and are imprisoned at its orbits because that is registered at our ancestrals: eletrons orbits the light of protons, planets orbits the light of stars, etc. See the Matrix formula and you will see discovers surprising patterns in nature

  • Meher

    All, everything and I! This reminded me of a Vonnegut poem, ” Tiger got to hunt, bird got to fly; Man got to sit and wonder ‘why, why, why?’
    Tiger got to sleep, bird got to land;
    Man got to tell himself he understand.”
    Only poetry could make the red eye beautiful!

  • Susan Abraham

    A quiet and moving piece. The art of symmetry is unseen grace. It is magic. Our planet could never be truly lawless even if it wanted to.

  • Nancy Vedder-Shults

    How lovely! Not knowing I was listening to a poem until the final statement, I was entranced by the words as much as by the visuals. More poetic films, please!

  • AceSophia

    I’ve never been able to download your films from my university. I can view videos from virtually every other site, but not yours; why?