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Art and nature have long since been friendly foes, informing each other while remaining mutually exclusive. Paintings don’t exist in nature, but many paintings capture nature frozen in time, so would that scene itself, in your presence rather than on parchment, not be art? Let me remove my non-prescription monocle to admit to you that I’m trying to evoke pretentiousness, because I’m nowhere near as classy as this video is.
Spanish 3D illustrator and animator Cristóbal Vila, through his company Etérea Studios, recently released the beautiful short film Lux Aeterna, referred to as “a journey of light, from distant galaxies to small drops of water.” It seems to be so much more than that. With its superb visuals accompanied by the orchestral ambiance of Icelandic musician Jóhann Jóhannsson’s “The Gift,” this film is an exquisite tribute to many of the ways in which light penetrates the universe, from macro to micro, even stopping to name-check landmark books, such as Newton’s Opticks, in the process. Experience the beauty yourself.
Like a great piece of art, it is wildly successful in taking me out of myself for a while, taking my mind along a journey of refraction and solar flares. But instead of being inspired to use my imagination, I’m reminded of just how phenomenal the world around me is, and how I’ll never be capable of conceiving even the tiniest fraction of its wonder. If I had religious experiences, they would happen after hours of watching shit like this.
As he does for his other videos, Vila sources all of his references and subjects of Lux Aeterna, from the gaseous clouds to Antelope Canyon to The Church of the Light. A three-minute film and 10 minutes of reading were more interesting and informative than any science classes before high school. But I didn’t make this video while sitting behind a girl with big boobs, so you take the good with the bad.
If you have more time, check out the rest of Vila’s collection, which includes a magnificent tribute to artist M.C. Escher and a look at the ways math appears in nature. Even if the subject matter itself isn’t that interesting to you, it’s impressive just how well thought-out these things are before he takes them to the animation stage. Is it abundantly clear that I’m impressed by all this?