Umwelt

3 minutes

What can pairing fast-blooming flowers with crawling insects reveal about cognition?

A term introduced by the Baltic German biologist Jakob von Uexküll in 1909, Umwelt refers to an organism’s internal and limited perceptual experience of the external world. This stunning experimental exploration of the concept from the Japanese artist Yoshiyuki Katayama contrasts flowers blooming at time-lapse speeds with insects and spiders atop them, captured in real time. As these two organisms move at what appear to be similar speeds, the viewer is reminded of the disparate timescales on which they usually operate, and the very different evolutionary goals that they pursue even as they interact with one another.

Director: Yoshiyuki Katayama

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