In 1923 Arthur Compton shone X-rays onto a block of graphite and found that they bounced off with their energy reduced exactly as would be expected if they were composed of particles colliding with electrons in the graphite. This was the first indication of radiation’s particle-like nature.
SHORTLISTED | Quantum Shorts 2022
Inspired by Zeno’s Paradox and the recursive subdivision of space and time, Director Toni Mitjanit presents an experimental audiovisual piece of colour and tessellation.
For more about Zeno’s Paradox and the quantum Zeno Effect, check out this video by PBS Space Time: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SMPid7Sh0EE
Please tell us about yourself and the team that made the film.
I produced the visuals for the film and Daniele Carmosino produced the music. Since 2010, I’ve worked in media, video art, computational art, generative design and experimental animation. Daniele is the founder of Danca, and a music producer, composer and sound designer who lives and works between London and Barcelona.
How did you make the film?
It started during an experimental studio session with Daniele and composer and pianist Mark Aanderud. During the session they modified the piano adding a layer of tissue paper between the piano hammers and the strings, creating a beautiful percussive crispy sound that inspired a very rhythmic improvisation by Mark. That was the base on which Daniele created the rest of the track, recording an opera singer and live horns and manipulating the sound through analogue gear. The track was then mixed and mastered by Juan Ribes at Ribes Mastering.
Later, I generated the visuals with the use of different algorithms of recursive subdivision of polygons, motion graphics techniques, computational complexity and randomness, audio-reactivity based on the analysis of the fast Fourier transform (FFT), and a touch of human-machine interaction. Different geometric patterns emerge chaotically in the audiovisual piece as they are recursively decomposed and subdivided using randomness, noise and data extracted from the audio to determine the polygonal subdivision technique to apply, the colour palette to use, 3D transformation properties and many other visual details.
What is the quantum inspiration?
I have always been fascinated by physics since I was a child. I usually try to incorporate physics in my audiovisual pieces, either by using kinematics or forces of attraction and repulsion to move the abstract elements of a scene in a realistic way, or by applying attractors, reactions or simulations to generate more interesting and vivid textures and colours.
In this film, we wanted to explore the concept of quantum, moving from the macro scale of classical physics to the micro scale of quantum physics, from particles to sub-particles. We visually explored the subdivision of polygons using different recursion algorithms as a metaphor for the step between the macro and micro scales, just as Zeno's paradoxes philosophically explore the infinite division of space-time.
Please share with us an interesting detail about how you made the move.
In the visual design I was inspired by the mosaics of the pop artist Eduardo Paolozzi and the tapestries of Gunta Stölzl and the Bauhaus school.
For the production of Clockwise, I learnt a lot of geometry, math and algorithms I didn’t know before. Coding polygon subdivision algorithms for animation was really hard until I mastered the recursive subdivision technique, then everything was easier and fun. Most of the visual elements depend on the audio spectrum: colours, shapes, and many other choices. For example, the colour palettes used to fill or shade polygons are chosen according to the sound frequencies extracted from the audio.
What reaction do you hope for from viewers?
I hope viewers will explore every pixel of the footage with plenty of curiosity and enjoy the audio-reactive animation of abstract elements moving in sync with the beautiful music composed by Daniele.
What is your favourite sci-fi movie?
Interstellar (2014). It is an incredibly emotional film where people can appreciate the science and visuals at work at the same time.
What does being a Quantum Shorts finalist mean to you?
I am very pleased. From the very first stages of the film's creation, we thought that Clockwise could be a good example of an abstract experimental film that creatively explores the fields of physics, philosophy, experimentation, technology and the arts. And we are very happy that it was so. As a computer scientist and artist, I consider it essential to reduce the distance between science and art. And the Quantum Shorts Festival is a great opportunity to enjoy wonderful short films that cover both fields.
TONI MITJANIT (VISUALS)
Toni Mitjanit was born in Manacor (Spain) in 1977. He lives and works in Spain. He is Bachelor in Computer Science in 2002 by Universitat de les Illes Balears (UIB), PhD in Computer Graphics on Internet in 2002 by FUEIB, Master in Multimedia Production & Creation in 2007 by Universitat Oberta de Catalunya (UOC), Degree in Photography in 2010 by Escola Superior de Disseny de Palma (ESD). He works at the level of media, video art, computational art, generative design and experimental animation regularly since 2010. He explores innovative audiovisual expressive ways through creative coding using data visualization, human/machine interaction, autonomous agents, physics and randomness.
DANIELE CARMOSINO (MUSIC)
He is the founder of DANCA, music producer, composer, and sound designer who lives and works between London and Barcelona. His musical training started in London where he received a host of bachelors, masters, and scholarships from the University of Arts, University of Westminster, and the music department of Fabrica respectively. He then went on to become the in-house musician, sound designer, and music consultant for Ferdinando Arnò’s music production facility, Quiet, Please! (According to Daniele, “quiet” it wasn’t.) In 2015 he started DANCA, partly to reduce mispronunciations of his name, but mainly because he saw a better way to produce music for clients. He quite recently won Best Original Composition at the Music & Sound Awards for a short film he made for Bose.