Growing crystals fascinated me as a kid. I remember my parents buying me an Introduction to Chemistry experiment kit – which actually contained a “flexidisc” (a flexible album, basically) of Johnny Ball narrating and guiding you through the experiments. There were a bunch of different crystal growing experiments contained within that I just had to try. In fact, they might actually have been the only experiments in the kit that I did try.
So, you can imagine my eyes widening when I saw this music video for Sébastien Guérive’s Bellatrix, shot and directed by French video artist Thomas Blanchard, which is four solid minutes of crystal growing, shot in glorious 8K on the RED Helium 8K with the Canon MP-E 65mm f/2.8 1-5x macro lens.
The experimental film is absolutely mesmerising with a style that suits the growing crystals extremely well. Some shots really do look like a vast icy wasteland. One shot, in particular, even reminds me of elements of Superman’s Fortress of Solitude. Thomas tells DIYP that the crystals are made with sodium acetate. These crystals are created in relative warmth, although it is cooling the liquid to an unstable state that causes the exothermic crystallisation reaction to begin. It’s no wonder they’re often referred to as “hot ice“.
It’s a beautifully put together piece with visuals that match the music perfectly! If you recognise the name Thomas Blanchard, it might be from a previous video of his we featured containing carnivorous plants!