Category: Short film
Writer/director: Ruben van Leer
Producer: CTM Pictures
Genre: Experimental dance film
Duration: 20 minutes
Symmetry is a dance & opera film in which science and choreography in the personification of Lucas set out on an existential search. Quantum mechanical experiments are released upon dance and vice versa in order to form a parable about the building blocks of life in a new figurative language.
The film shows shots of three moments – at CERN, in an ice landscape and on a molecular level inside his body – during which Lucas gets acquainted with the symmetry that is formed by the building blocks of life.
After completing a pilgrimage around the world Lucas arrives in an ice landscape. There, on the serene ice fields, he meets Vala, an old and wise female shaman. She initiates a ritual dance that Lucas undergoes and that confronts him with his body and his past. In the visions evoked by the dance he makes a journey through his own memories and through his body, looking for truth and his own identity.
In his mind, Lucas returns to CERN, where as a young scientist he looked for the divine in the shape of the particle from which life originated during the Big Bang. He kept himself locked in a rational world that started weighing down on him more and more. Fearing his own destruction he abandoned his career and started looking for another truth than science.
The snow crystals falling from the sky in the ice landscape and data visualisations from the research at CERN represent his realm of ideas and are literally moved by his dance. Worlds that are invisible to the naked eye and that seem endlessly far apart from one another have gained a new and coherent meaning for Lucas. In a vision in which Lucas travels back to CERN he meets several reflections of himself in a group dance. By observing himself in different moments in time and space, Lucas realizes that life adopts uncontrollable manifestations. When he comes to himself again in the ice landscape, it is the first time for Lucas to see that he really consists of all possible forms of himself.
Ruben van Leer
I look through the microscope with a digital camera. I see beautiful crystallization processes that regenerate in my body every moment of the day. The camera becomes a true extension of my body. My eyes, so used to looking at the surface of big things in the world – a human body, a building, a spoon – now they can look at microscopic particles of myself.
I filmed dancer Lukas Timulak and soprano singer Claron McFadden in the world’s biggest machine 100 meters under the ground: CERN in Geneva. A delicate voice and a tiny movement surrounded by an incredible structure build by our Western knowledge economy. I want to stretch the in-between space within this overwhelming system we have build together.
My previous work with e.g. film maker Peter Greenaway, opera maker Michel van der Aa and pop-band The Black Eyed Peas gave me insight into the necessity of connecting different art and science disciplines. With the internet and growing embedded network systems, the power of many is taking a leap in our world. How we deal with Western technology is not solely a tool in my work, but becomes also the story.
For the coming year I will realize my visual opera ‘Symmetry’, a 20 min film (NTR, NL3) which deals with dance, music and quantum physical data-visuals. The medium film has become a starting point and a way to frame my explorations.