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Ars Natura: The Light of Life

  • Posted by karl burkart on March 30, 2010 in Art
  • ‘The Light of Life’

    Life is transparent, warm and swirls randomly like a soft light. And it constantly changes...

    Life illuminates itself and then it begins to illuminates a new life.

    A sprouted mass of innumerable lights become a flow before long, and then become the part of the life-throb of ages.

    That ties life, this moment now.

    The poetic words and the even more poetic imagery of the young photographer and motion graphics wunderkind Daihei Shibata only hint at the meaning that lies secretly encoded in the swirling biological references of ‘The Light of Life” an award-winning 4-1/2 minute animation sequence set very appropriately to Debussy’s “Claire de Lune.” (Watch it HERE.)

    More like a moving painting than a film, “Light of Life” takes us on a microscopic odyssey – from the birth of a single cell through its mitosis and dramatic growth as it unfolds to become a wooded glen wherein lies a beautiful sleeping girl.

    It sounds hopelessly romantic, and it would be were it not for Shibata’s masterful almost Rembrandt-esque handling of light which in a few instances actually takes your breath away. I’ve experienced so few cinematic experiences like this that I had to ask myself how the arist managed to so effortlessly pull the viewer into his photoluminescent world.

    The trick I think is that he starts with pure blackness. After the first strains of the music begin, we see a quick flash of what looks like a ripple of water and then 9 full seconds of pure black out of which emerges the shimmering, multi-faceted “cell” with its pollen-like tentacles.

    Sort of a cross between a jellyfish and a dandelion head, the cell identifies itself as the main character and we follow it is at floats up and out of its dark, primordial birth waters. Tiny sparks and particles create a mesmerizing sense of depth as they float by in its wake.

    After an explosive flash of light, mitosis occurs and our main character gains a new friend. Together they dance around each other and ultimately come together to form the nexus of a root structure which stretches upward, becoming more dense and complex as it grows.

    Finally our little cell enters something that looks like an organic space portal and emerges to the blinding light of day – set in perhaps the most bucolic forest glen ever depicted. Within the glen lies a sleeping girl who is literally woven into the tendrils of the root structure, revealing that our epic little journey has been nothing more than a dream – a very beautiful dream – that we are all literally woven into the scintillating fabric of nature.

    - Karl Burkart





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