Human bodies mercilessly jiggled by gravity at 2000fps [NSFW]

LA video artist Michael Haussman recorded human bodies bouncing up and down at 2000 fps, synching the camera to the movement so that the people appear to be standing still while gravity mercilessly attempts to separate their meat from their bones. Add in some spooky music and it's like watching someone in the first stages of being torn to shreds by angry, invisible poltergeists.

This slow motion study reveals the shocking effects of gravity upon our body. What is normally missed in the blink of an eye, is poetically recorded in extreme slow motion, as gravity takes hold and pulls the body down to earth, causing the skin, cellulite, muscles and facial expression to sag down, with a weariness, as if the subject has suddenly aged thirty years. It appears like a special effect, the force ripples from the legs up, turning the body wrinkled and saggy, with a worn, older face that is defeated and depressed. Then the exact opposite effect and emotion overcomes the subject as they are made weightless and set free. We observe the body becoming youthful, rejoicing in it’s expression and flawless skin texture, as it sores away from the earth. All physical and emotional expressions seem to float effortlessly upward in a positive, beautiful direction.



  1. Would you mind fixing that video so that the screen shot that shows up on the main page isn’t NSFW? or perhaps linking the video after the jump instead?


        1. Well, but at the same time they are moving into the arena of appealing to families and kids with the “Family” link up top and “Family” tagged posts.  I’ve found it to be kind of an odd mix, unless the intent is for parents to be the only readers of the site and to have them pass any finds on to their kids.

          1.  ‘not Safe For Work’, fine, cos companies can become ensnared in all sorts of nonsense (and not-nonsense, depending on content and context), but ‘think of the cheeeeldren’? Puh-lease. It’s a piece of video art, not a five minute clip of bloody gonzo porn.

    1. Guys, don’t be such prudes. What shows up on the front page is a small picture of a woman which you can see countless other places. It looks like an art photo, no kind of p*** involved or implied.

      1. Some people work at places which, during downtime, allow surfing on the Internet, as long as it’s not questionable content.  “Questionable” is subjective.

        Though personally I learned years ago that BoingBoing should be considered NSFW. 

        1. Hey! Everyone!

          Maybe BoingBoing isn’t appropriate for work?  There is a huge internet out there.

          1. If my bosses thought that I wasn’t ogling cocks in between comments, they’d probably suggest a visit to the doctor to see what’s wrong.

      2. I think it’s more akin to when people post *SPOILER ALERT* then immediately proceed to ruin it for you on the next line.
        It’s a courtesy to your audience if you know they’re not all of the same mind. Boing boing posts on a wide range of topics. I’m sure there’s people who only come here to see activist posts, or science posts, or maybe just to see bananas.

  2.  IIRC, that image is set by the uploader of the video at youtube. Nothing they could do to change it (other than putting it behind a cut which I find to be a childish response to a subject matter that deserves to be seen on the front page)

    1. Tell that to my boss when he walks in on me looking at a SFW website with an overweight naked woman on top of the front page.

      1.  So your boss is ok with you wasting company time and resources looking at random stuff on the web but if a naked person is displayed you are going to be in trouble?

        1. Yeah, he is alright with me surfing the internet at work during down time, which is what I have right now on a Friday during the middle of winter. I don’t think he would be alright with me checking out a woman’s tits, however.

          It’s not terribly uncommon for people to surf the internet at work with permission. I just think it’s shitty to log onto and see that kind of thing on the front page. Make a hyperlink to the video or something, but don’t display it on the front page. I don’t find it offensive I just don’t want to get in trouble at work, and it’s not unreasonable to think that others want the same thing.

          1. No one is saying it is, buy why post a video featuring a naked woman and then put NSFW in the headline? If it’s not safe for work, you don’t put the NSFW image right directly under the headline, you put it in a hyperlink.

            It’s just rude in my opinion to set it up like that.

          2.  Well, some people do view the site in an rss reader or such so all they are going to see at first glance is the headline so sure, adding NSFW there is logical. Allows then the user to choose to click on it. But on the main page? Cuts should only be used on the main page if the post is too long.

          3. “Well, some people do view the site in an rss reader or such so all they are going to see at first glance is the headline so sure, adding NSFW there is logical”

            Actually the image shows up in RSS as well (at least in Google Reader).

            Edit: Never mind, I see now that the NSFW tag is visible before opening the article in RSS.

      1.  If you don’t want to get fired for looking at an art installation on the internet, don’t waste company time being on the internet.

        1. And if you work someplace that has occasional downtime, and allows Web surfing during that downtime, but the boss is a prude…meh, we should just advocate that people not visit BoingBoing, I’m sure they don’t want the ad revenue, you’re right.

          1.  For my own blog my opninion is that people who take offense at that kind of images should look away and zap on, if I decide to post images in that style.

          2. Could you please stop pretending that this is about readers taking offense, as opposed to readers’ bosses? You know, the “W” in “NSFW”. This has been explained to you already in this very thread, so I can only assume you’re trolling now.

            Ditto for “you shouldn’t be surfing at work then LOLOL,” since I assume someone’s planning to deploy that one again as we speak.

    2. Which brings up the question: does the video fit YouTube’s criteria? I thought they had a thing against nudity. (Haven’t watched this one in particular yet but plan to after work.)

      1. They seem to have exceptions for videos of prostate exams and whatnot, but I’m surprised that they would allow this.

        1. From YouTube’s community guidelines:

          Most nudity is not allowed, particularly if it is in a sexual context. Generally if a video is intended to be sexually provocative, it is less likely to be acceptable for YouTube. There are exceptions for some educational, documentary, scientific, and artistic content, but only if that is the sole purpose of the video and it is not gratuitously graphic. For example, a documentary on breast cancer would be appropriate, but posting clips out of context from the documentary might not be.

          So, this falls under the “artistic content” exception.

  3. I agree- it would be nice to have a film with this content to have a different screen displayed.

  4. It was indeed fascinating, although I wish I could have seen more. It appears to only show them being jiggled up or down, once, and you don’t get to see them go the other direction. The clips are all so short and in some of them I struggle to even see the changes. It’s more artistic and less demonstrative, which is fine, although personally I want to see the latter.

    1. Same here. Just as I was getting used to an image, it was all over. 

      I suppose in the gallery, though, a viewer can spend as long as she likes with each image, and hopefully, they go up and down and then up again, and so on.

    2. I think it is on purpose: begin in weightlessness, then show how this body comes under the effect of full gravity. The artist might not want to loop it, just show that effect. That is what I took from it at least.

  5. 1. Why make the clips of women more revealing than those of men?
    2. Bodies do not “rejoicing in it’s expression and flawless skin texture”. People in LA may care about skin texture. The rest of us have lives.

    1.  Re revealing shots of the women – I was going to ask the same thing. I guess, with the child of indeterminate age, you toe a fine line in showing them fully nude. The second male was, insofar as I could tell, completely nude, but it’s not as if it made a difference. I don’t know, still seems a bit odd to me – what’s wrong with a nude penis? Especially for something like this – it would show off the effects of gravity rather well, I would think.

  6. Well, at least I’ll know what the single post was that got BoingBoing permanently banned at work. It wasn’t really worth it to me, but maybe it was for Cory. :(

    1.  inorite?  especially when speaking about the bodies’ “flawless skin texture, as it sores,” makes it sound like we’re about to watch them decompose in slow motion.

    1. My first thought was “I wonder how tonally different this video would be with a completely different soundtrack”.

      Unfortunately the video on that link played with no sound for me, but I can imagine the effect.

  7. There’s another artist, can’t remember the name, who has been doing this super slow-mo type video installation work for years. Usually with dancers, occasionally with actors- there was a clip of Alan Rickman knocking over tea or something that went viral. He had a big installation at the Met awhile back.

    I must say I find the whole thing a little bit vapid and unremarkable. It’s slow, yes. What else does it show me?  Simply appropriating the style of realistic painting and/or fine art photography and adding motion without context is essentially the fine art version of the animated GIF. GIFs are great sure, but their quality is fundamentally dependent on the action represented, IMO.

    It’s really simply the fact that these slowmo cameras are widely available now, so they’re being used a ton for a “hey, that’s cool” effect.

    1. I agree. The music is very pretentious as is the artist’ statement. I also found the statements regarding the women’s bodies to be problematic, and there was a different tone/content regarding the male models. The male models are doing things ie pulling a gun, holding a child, whereas the women are what – bouncing (their action is never explained), and as gravity takes hold their bodies are described as old, a young woman looking like she is is from the noir classic “Sunset Boulevard”, the comparison between the red lingerie in the model’s hand and the withering of her body. I think Mr.Artist needs to do some thinking , and maybe, uh, talk to some women to understand they are more than bodies used as his raw canvas.

      1. Well the thin woman is holding her panties. So apparently she’s stripping for us.

        Yeah, this is one of those things graduating from art school ruined for me. 

        What’s challenging about this, other than whether or not you’re allowed to look at naked people while you work? 

        1. The challenge is the ability to overlook these obvious issues, and to accept the artist’s statement without rolling your eyes and slowly shaking your head…

          1. And try to imagine how our perceptions of the piece might change if it was a woman firing the gun, a woman holding a man’s(not child’s) body, and a man standing there with red lingerie in his hand. Plus a soundtrack from the 1910 Fruitgum Company (aka the Archies).

        2. Yes, I’m happy to see that discussing the video itself and not the NSFW-ness of it is not off topic.

          I enjoyed the video.  The pretentious art speak descriptions . . . not so much.

    2. LA video artist Bill Viola is the original here – this is basically a knock-off sans clothing.

    3. The other artist @boingboing-72aed01b5716b53dcd4db1b89fd1d41d:disqus is thinking of, is David Michalek. I only just saw his Alan Rickman video for the first time this week, as the “long short” at the most recent Seminar About Long-term Thinking. I came in late, and only caught the artist’s name in the end credits, so I looked it up when I got home, and was surprised to find that it was silent: at the seminar, it had a soundtrack, which works really well with it (and which also turns out to be a meme I was heretofore unaware of).

    4. Yeah, as I said to someone above, it’s art, not porn, for fuck’s sake, but as to whether it’s good art, well…

  8. Two things came to my mind as I watched the video:

    1) There really isn’t that much jiggling involved. With the power of 2000FPS camera, one would hope to see significant acceleration.

    2) If you slow down anything down to this level, all I can think of is science. Look at that wave propagation!

  9. I don’t think I’m alone in feeling that the video falls well short of the hype in the description? I often find this with art projects, and I think it’s something that turns people off. There’s simply not much going on, although I do believe it’s possible to show more movement. Maybe by inducing more oscillation and then dealing the frames to find the ‘sweet spot’ in terms of fps. Also a few short edits between wider shots and close ups. Sort of an examination of wave propagation in human flesh . . . It’s a great concept – but the resultant effect is pretty subtle.

    1. It’s particularly frustrating when they talk and talk and never say why that should be relevant or interesting to ANYBODY.

      “The lighting and color palette is created by a strong heavenly top light, used by Renaissance masters, which dramatically exposes the flesh as if it were moving brush strokes and reemphasizes the relation with the heavens, gravity and sheer weight of the world”

      Weird to reference the Renaissance, where smoothness, amazingly wrought muscles, and transcendent perfection were the ideals. They also used a lot of color. It’s not their fault stuff tends to get a layer of yellow sludge on it over time.

      And if a contrast between those was intentional, why not say so? It’s way more interesting than “exposes the flesh” because why on earth would you light something that is all about boobs and tummy jiggle from the front so the flesh doesn’t show. You’d use short lighting or overhead because… duh… shadows.

      1. Weird to reference the Renaissance, where smoothness, amazingly wrought muscles, and transcendent perfection were the ideals.

        Maybe the artist was lumping the Baroque in with the Renaissance–the lighting is reminiscent of Rembrandt, and Rembrandt wasn’t so concerned with smoothness/perfection.

  10. Great video, very poignant.

    Sidenote: As a boss, all the prudes above me need to either lighten up or stop reading BB on their lunch breaks. What a bunch of assholes.

          1. I’m not sure what the relevance is. Is looking at artistic nudes sexual harassment?

            If you’re that worried you should close your browser and step away from the internet, ’cause there’s boobs everywhere.

          2. Ahh yes, the old “there’s boobs everywhere” defense.  I see you’re ready for court Attorney Hornby.

            Look, I don’t necessarily agree with the precedence, but displaying pictures of nudes or viewing nudes on a computer screen (artful or otherwise)  can contribute to a hostile work environment in the eyes of the law.  That’s just the reality in some states.

          3. That’s Barrister Hornby to you!

            Although I’d question the mental stability of anyone offended by the naked human form, I do appreciate that some find it a bit naughty. Because of this I wouldn’t nudge my employees, turn my monitor, and play this video at them. That would be wrong. Equally I’d do what I could to avoid printing out a still from the video and stapling it to their chair.
            However if a co-worker happens to glance over at the exact moment that some artistic nudity happens to be on my screen and find that they’ve been in some way violated, then I would do the honourable thing and tell them to stop being a nosey parker.

            Anyway, more importantly if I were in court I’d point out that glancing at a video preview by accident removes so much liability from the situation that it’s farcical. And if I were the prosecutor, I’d question why all these people shocked and awed by NSFW content are commenting on a page labelled as NSFW.

          4. I’m not sure what the relevance is. Is looking at artistic nudes sexual harassment?

            Google is your friend. There have been well-publicized lawsuits on this issue.

    1.  Thanks Nathan, next time you have a few minutes to devote to art in between projects at work, check out other artists featured by MOH Online. We have a slew of excellent work, both artistic and documentary, coming this Spring.

  11. Watching the blonde woman age as gravity took hold was worth the price of admission for me, but I’ve got to agree with some of the other commenters:  needs more weiners.

  12. If it helps, I’m pretty sure the plump redhead is the porn star April Flores. 

    I thought this was cool though and don’t really care about the cover image.  

  13. I was listening to Horizons by Puscifer while that played with the sound muted. Absolutely Amazing!

  14. meh.  not as cool as the description sounded, and OY!  that music (*・_・)ノ⌒*

    [movie preview voiceover]
    “in a world gone topsy-turvy
    unbound by time and gravity
    two men
    two women
    have become…

    jeez, can you tell this is from LA?

  15. Interesting visuals, but I thought the ‘blonde woman’ description sounded rather mean-spirited, especially next to the other more ‘ethereal’ statements. To me, it translated as “Ah, yes; the blonde bimbo. You know she thought she was soooo hot and she was a total whore with her red panties and jewellery… Well now she’s getting old and it’s going to totally ruin her. HA!!” And there is no way she looks ’40 years older’ in the second shot. Seems to me the other descriptions were a tad less judgemental.

    I’m probably reading too much into it, but then again isn’t it the very point of artist’s statements?

    1.  Hi, I’m the editor of MOH Online where this work is featured:

      At first I was also unnerved by the gender stereotypes. But then I thought about those two years I spent in LA, and the sad fact that there is something transcendental about the banal emotional experience of beauty, and beauty lost, that is utterly integral to that unforgiving place called “the West Side.” I think Haussman gets close to the brutality and moral vacuity of the culture of vanity.

      Anyways, thanks for engaging with the work. Cheers!

      1. Hi! I really appreciate your response and putting it more in context. Thank you. I am indeed remote from that particular environment so my interpretation- and expectations- of the work didn’t account for that. I saw the image first and my impression of the person and her body was quite different from what I read thereafter.

        From the initial images, I was expecting the kind of installation that portrays the human form as at once fascinating, odd and mesmerizing, for its own sake. So the social/sexual subtext was jarring to me.

        Not sure why I felt so immediately defensive on behalf of the subject, but that’s exactly what it was: I felt this human body was in an utmost vulnerable, exposed situation (in both its nudity and ‘stressed’ position) so the additional judgement or baggage implied in the caption was disturbing to me. I can’t really express anything beyond that, I guess; an instant desire for compassion in front of vulnerability.

  16. Haha, christ. Enough of this moralistic shit, (americans?). This is horrible, but looking at a news channel displaying severed limbs and shit is SFW? If you´re mistaking this for porn, you´re just wrong. Cool vid!

  17. Frankly, the thing that was most interesting to me was the large guy with the gun. What was going on with his belly? Is that a bariatric surgery scar? 

  18. Michelangelo’s David would be considered not safe for work if it was made today.  We live in a dark age.

  19. So how was it made? People jumping up and then free falling?
    The blonde was an execellent demonstration, and what is wrong with that guy’s bellybutton?

      1. thanks

        edit: the expression “sad relic” seems kinda harsh.
        I wonder how would it seem on the rotating G force machines the astronauts train.
        Also would be quite interesting to know the real age of the people shown, just for reference

        1. Hi Marlos, I’ll let the artist know that boingboing readers found the language he chose for the blonde model rather extreme. I have a feeling, however, that this theatricality is intentional. Spend a day walking around Sunset Blvd and you’ll see how cruel that micro-world is, and how cruel its inhabitants often are to themselves. Personally, I see the blonde as a pomo Hollywood tragedy.

          Ha, yes. That would be a great art piece – GRAVITY II: G-Force Machine. !

          Rachel Kennedy

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