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The Creators Project: Microscopic Art Of Jon Hopkins’ Immunity

Time-lapse photography of crystal growth and chemical reactions form the visuals for a new album.

Creators Project
Creators Project on June 7, 2013.

For his latest album Immunity, electronic musician Jon Hopkins collaborated with biochemist turned artist Linden Gledhill and art director Craig Ward. Together Ward and Gledhill created a series of images for the album artwork which then grew to become a video, which was created in partnership with The Creators Project. The images and video were created using microscopic chemical reactions. Splashes and shards of crystalized color and foaming forms wash across the screen or appear frozen in an image. It’s a perfect fit to the sounds of Hopkins’ music and a chance for these types of biochemical reactions to aid the immersive experience of listening to an album.

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To create the visuals Gledhill experimented with food dyes, filming the crystallization process using a Canon 5D Mark II fitted onto an Olympus BH-2 research microscope. Creating the visuals this way added a tangibility to them, you might not know exactly what it is you’re looking at but you can tell it’s real. “I always wanted to have access to the microscope because of the creative potential.” Gledhill notes in the video above ”I’m fascinated with microscopic organisms and the world around me in terms of the image scales.”

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To look at the images is to see a world of spiked abstractions and rich, otherworldly colors, created using commonplace and everyday materials. The beautiful colors and intricate movements of the crystals were heightened further by putting them through a spectral microscope and time-lapsing the footage. This sense of unearthing the extraordinary in the everyday is what makes the images so fascinating, their movements so captivating.

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One of the most remarkable things about the idea, as Gledhill remarks, is that no one has previously explored the audiovisual potential of these crystals. It was imagery that fitted perfectly with Hopkins’ whole philosophy on how he creates music. “The way I make sounds is to investigate microscopic levels within sounds.” he says. “I’ll record something and then quite often boost the treble loads to find out what’s lurking in the top end that you can’t actually hear and then drop the speed so that becomes the sound. You end up exploring sounds at an unrealistically microscopic level, so it sort of resonated with everything I was trying to do.”

To find out more about the collaboration watch the video below.

Originally published on The Creators Project. Republished with kind permission.

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