Phenomena: art meets science in spectacular and in-depth mini documentary series

D.Director Josef Gatti blurs the road between creative expression and scientific experiment in the visually gorgeous Phenomena – or maybe makes the purpose that they are often the identical in sure circumstances. In this nine-part quick YouTube series for ABC Science, displaying one other 28-minute compilation episode ABC iview, his art is science and his scientific art, and he conducts experiments that create eye-catching ocular results by manipulating matter and power somewhat than the magic of filmmaking.

In different phrases: no digital methods besides primary modifying strategies comparable to chopping and modifying. An elaborate electro soundtrack from Kim Moyes of The Presets provides a touring, exploratory ingredient to the present, enriching a kaleidoscopic and nothing in need of astonishing expertise that jogged my memory of a night a few years in the past once I ate magic mushrooms and stared at a fireplace for hours.

The core of the series (produced by Rob Innes and created in session with scientist Dr Niraj Lal) is a sensation much like leisure drug use, derived from the fun of observing issues of on a regular basis life from a special perspective, revealing the extraordinary. in the peculiar. The present’s assertion that “the story of the universe is seen throughout us, written in the patterns of nature” may have learn in itself as a light-hearted assertion scribbled down by a stoned philosophy pupil. But after testing Phenomena, you may be satisfied that it’s nice.

Phenomena: chemical as an alternative of narrative trigger and impact. Photo: Josef Gatti and Rob Innes

Each episode is split into a special discipline of science, comparable to power, matter, electrical energy and magnetism. A narrator offers a short overview of the subject – so you do not really feel like an fool when you neglect all the pieces you realized in highschool – plus an evidence of the following experiment.

The first episode reveals power at work by way of the interplay of alcohols, oils and inks, which trigger molecular bonds to be damaged and “the fluid swirls and swirls and adjustments composition”. The visible splendor begins with a single drop, which lands on a floor and creates a surprising pink-purple circle form, which from above seems to be a bit like a human mind, pulsating and shifting and dancing, lovely shapes increasing and contracting like Moyes ‘uplifting electronica blasts off the soundtrack. The digicam information all of the fantastic particulars (all episodes are viewable in Ultra HD / 4K) together with tiny circles and inkblot-like blobs that bounce round and tackle a lifetime of their very own. The easy additions of different colours (Green! Blue! Orange!) Feel like triumphant improvements.

Electric particular results that appear like stars crossed with timber. Photo: Josef Gatti and Rob Innes

Episode 5 visualizes the movement of electrical energy in actual time, utilizing a bit of wooden “linked to {an electrical} circuit”, which is “made conductive with a saline resolution”, making a present “alongside the trail of least resistance”. flows. Aesthetically, this takes the type of two components extending throughout the brown floor, coming in the direction of one another from each ends, trying like stars crossed with timber, firing branch-like components that fizzle and catch hearth and come to life earlier than they nearly fade. instantaneous – ephemeral art (science?) at its purest.

There’s much more the place that got here from – together with reworking matter that appears like ice-covered leaves (episode two), sound waves visualized in geometric patterns (episode three), and psychedelic colours bouncing off the floor of bubbles (episode 4).

Transform matter. Photo: Josef Gatti and Rob Innes

Writing a few program like this empowers critics like myself, and extra typically, the best way the viewers understands shifting image productions. They problem the concepts we have been conditioned to simply accept as necessary features of the viewing expertise and add new which means to the language we use to explain them.

Take the idea of realism, for instance: is not this completely out-of-date present, by the character of its content material, essentially the most real looking, lifelike expertise doable? Or take the idea of narrative trigger and impact – an outdated manner of understanding storylines, the place one dramatic motion offers rise to a different to create a causal sequence. In Phenomena we now have chemical compounds as an alternative of narrative trigger and impact, changing made-up actions in an imaginative universe with factual components from our personal.

As the influential literary theorist Roland Barthes has identified, tales come in numerous kinds – from the apparent (films, performs, novels, and so forth.) to varieties which are missed, comparable to stained-glass home windows, information bulletins , conversations and … take a look at tubes? Liquid formations? Mountain ranges? Barthes will surely agree, given his opinion that there are tales “in all ages, in each place”; that they exist in an “nearly infinite number of kinds” and “simply exist, like life itself.”

When I hear or learn these phrases – “life itself” – I generally suppose that the speaker / author has thrown up his arms and resorted to generalism, as if to say, “This is simply too troublesome to explain; it’s life itself. “Phenomena presents a special mind-set about these phrases. There is nothing common about it: this illustration of life itself is completely particular, right down to small molecular particulars.

It raises fascinating questions on language ideas, not in written or spoken type, however in the formation itself: of order and construction, of the patterns of nature – from particular person grains of sand to oceans, mountain ranges, even (as proven in the mirror final episode ) in the composition of the planet itself. There’s nothing prefer it – however the components that make this wonderful series doable are throughout us, on a regular basis.


Episodes of Phenomena are Released weekly on YouTube from ABC Science and is a 28 minute compilation now out there to stream on ABC iView


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Derek specializes in writing celeb gossips and TV Shows. He used to watch latest movies and reality shows and write about them.


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