What happens when you mix electromagnetic fields, sub-zero temperatures and 2,000 volts of electricity with artistic vision? Something enchanting, illuminating--just like British composer Ryan Teague's new "Cascades" music video.
The video, produced and directed by Craig Ward, features close-ups of tiny ice crystals forming in thin air. These ice "trees" seem to dance to the whimsical sounds of Teague's opus. It's captivating art--and captivating science.
The crystals are actually snowflakes that took weeks to grow in biochemist Linden Gledhill's homemade ice machine, according to Wired. Gledhill reportedly engineered the ice machine specifically for the music video production.
While anyone can easily grow ice crystals (just look at the kitchen freezer), creating snowflakes takes unusually stable conditions and a little charge. Gledhill drastically changed the shape of his ice crystals by adding electricity, Wired reported. Specifically, he used 2,000 volts, and carefully monitored temperature gradients as well as moisture supply in the machine. The ice crystals took shape in a couple of weeks.
"When I first heard 'Cascades' isolated from the rest of the album (Field Drawings by Ryan Teague), winter was very much in the air and the sharp, twinkling notes called to mind at once falling snow," Ward wrote on his vimeo page, where a "behind-the-scenes" video appears. He wrote that the music video took months of planning and was shot over four days in the basement of Gledhill's Pennsylvania home.
“From day one we had to overcome hurdles with the production, the cost, the feasibility of the project--some of this has never been done before, certainly not outside of a laboratory,” Ward told Co.Design. “[We] did numerous tests ahead of the shoot and even spoke with a chap in the employ of NASA to iron out problems but, when it came down to it, we didn’t really know exactly what we were going to get, tests or no tests.”