Continuum

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SHORTLISTED | Quantum Shorts 2022
 

About the Film: 

In this audiovisual film, the StoryBursts team give a creative response to research on gravitational waves by Dr Linqing Wen at the ARC Centre of Excellence for Gravitational Wave Discovery (OzGrav).

Scientists are seeing if treating black holes like quantum particles can help predict their behaviour: https://www.quantamagazine.org/massive-black-holes-shown-to-act-like-quantum-particles-20220329/

INTERVIEW

Please tell us about yourself and the team that made the film.

Claire Bowen: Continuum was created in three different locations! In Australia it was produced and recorded on Wurundjeri Woiwurrung Country, Boonwurrung Country and Whadjuk Nyoongar Boodjar, and we also had three Singaporean team members who worked with us online.

Aiv Puglielli: Continuum was born from a respect for science and how to creatively interpret it. I conceptualised the idea of information and noise with Cheryl delivering spoken verbatim information via excerpts of Dr Wen’s interviews. The background of industrial, electronic beats provided by Singapore artist Germaine Png would reflect the extraneous cosmic noise scientists have to filter out to get to the actual detection.

Cheryl Chitty Tan: Once you hear about gravitational waves it’s quite remarkable as it’s one of the biggest events in physics in the last 100 years – the idea that time can be bent and the fact that it is real, not science fiction. I have always understood that art and science are two sides of the same coin — sharing similarities in creative understanding of the abstract. The fact that the producers are OK with the art being a lot more abstract and free is really cool! In most cases, it would be more for kids or presenting things in a box with a bow.

Rina Freiberg: The choice for me to visually respond on my first listening to the score/sound was so we could capture the electricity of a spontaneous reaction to the information. I like to work at pace - the work becomes instinctive. The delight of working digitally is that there is a limitless colour palette instantly available. The effects and tools essentially replace a paintbrush with a wand of texture, distortion and symphony. I went into this project with the intention to ride towards the frontier, surrendering the flow, the hum and the percussive crackles of the track. Infinities, depth, expanse and time can be conceptually daunting to visually capture - (Where do you start? When does it end?)

What is the science behind the film?

Aiv Puglielli: The film is an audio response to the cosmic phenomenon of binary coalescence, which occurs when two objects with strong gravity such as black holes or neutron stars spin and move closer to eventually collide. This merger phase produces gravitational waves that travel billions of light-years to be detected on the audio spectrum by observatories and supercomputers here on Earth. The visual elements were provided by an artist responding directly to the track. Continuum, as well as the other two parts of the ‘Binary Coalescence Project’, were endorsed by Dr Wen.

What makes you interested in quantum physics?

Claire Bowen: I find quantum physics has immense storytelling capacity as it is trying to tell us about the things that we cannot see, and I think that art does the same thing. StoryBursts as a writing program believes that artists and scientists speak the same language when it comes to the possibilities of communicating the unknown and newly discovered.

What reaction do you hope for from viewers?

Claire Bowen: I would like audiences, especially young people, to be invited to think about the future they want and what science may do for them in that future - and then be able to approach scientists with their own questions to create their own peer-to-peer interpretations of the knowledge they need.

Aiv Puglielli: Dr Wen and I agree that this kind of project impacts not only the creatives and scientists involved but also the audience differently to an outreach presentation. There is a lasting impression on the artists who have engaged with and created their own understanding of the science to collectively arrive at the final artwork, and we hope the audiences are inspired to participate in that process too.

What does being a Quantum Shorts finalist mean to you?

Claire Bowen: We are thrilled! Continuum has been very hard to place in film festivals. But the excitement in the team is because Quantum Shorts is our first laurel, and a film doesn’t really exist until its first selection by a festival that understands it, and its first audience, it’s like quantum observation! Your audiences view our film and thus it exists …

Aiv Puglielli: Continuum has entered the real world in many ways; it has been played on Hope St Radio and I presented it to Gaming composers at Melbourne International Games Week. It is thrilling to know that somewhere in the world, a selection of film lovers watched it and thought it belonged to their film festival.

Is there anything else you would like to tell us about you or your film?

Claire Bowen: Everyone who is a part of Continuum is a long-term artist who has always been interested in science. The film is a genuine expression of their ongoing artistic practice. I’m happy and proud that the team came together to make something that has spoken to the Quantum Shorts audience.

 

 

About the filmmaker(s): 

Claire Bowen is the Creator and Executive Producer of StoryBursts and Aiv Puglielli is the Creative Lead of the three-part ‘Binary Coalescence Project’, which includes Continuum. For Continuum Cheryl Chitty Tan (Singapore) provided spoken verbatim information via excerpts of an interview with astrophysicist Dr Linqing Wen while sound artist Germaine Png (Singapore/Berlin) crafted the synthetic manipulations of real-time gravitational wave detections. The music was co-produced, mixed and mastered in Australia by Theo Carbo, with accompanying visuals created by Australian visual artist Rina Freiberg and edited by 3D artist and illustrator Carl Knox.

‘Binary Coalescence Project’ on Bandcamp: https://aivpuglielli.bandcamp.com/album/binary-coalescence-project

Space+Time on YouTube: https://youtu.be/qPkB4HLix2s

P O N D on YouTube: https://youtu.be/-ewIuThhCTs

Artists

Aiv Puglielli: https://traktorbeam.org/

Germaine Png: https://germainepng.com/

Cheryl Chitty Tan: https://www.imdb.com/name/nm6515471/

Rina Freiberg: https://www.rinafreiberg.com/

 

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