Chemical Somnia

A square inch in a Petri dish becomes a grand stage for chemical transformations.

In Chemical Somnia, the Canadian filmmaker Scott Portingale captures the beauty of chemical reactions in wondrous detail. Using time-lapse and macro photography, even a spot smaller than a square inch on a Petri dish springs to dazzling life, capturing processes of crystalisation, phase change and fluid dynamics at speeds and sizes that the human eye can relish.

Portingale sets these visuals to a dramatic string score from the Turkish composer Gorkem Sen – performed on an instrument called a yaybahar, which Sen himself invented. Through their inspired collaboration, the pair craft an otherworldly experience at the intersection of human and hidden scales, and the worlds of art and science.

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