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Scott Portingale’s Infinitude (2015)

Portingale’s film is all about the emergence of complex matter, the birth of the universe as we know it.

orange and red watercolour background, silhouette of a hand holding an eclipse on the left side of the screen. Text reads, "infinitude a handmade cosmos"

This Monday Short was originally published on August 21, 2017. We are uploading Peter Hemminger's extensive Monday Short archive until it is exhausted.

Apologies for the gap in Monday Short reposts, now that the reunion weekend has been finished, we should be back to our regular schedule!

If there’s ever been a day for fully throwing yourself into the cosmic, the day of the solar eclipse is it. Millions of people took a break today to look at the sky through improvised optical devices, for a glimpse of something transcendent.

Alberta experimental filmmaker Scott Portingale created his own handmade cosmos for his 2015 short, Infinitude. Impressively, every element of the film is captured under camera, using a mix of practical effects, long exposures, stop-motion animation, fluid dynamics and more. That used to be the only way to put together a stellar sequence (CG wasn’t around to help with the Star Gate sequence in 2001, say) but it has become increasingly rare, even though it’s still to my mind the most evocative way of depicting deep space. 

Portingale’s film is all about the emergence of complex matter, the birth of the universe as we know it. But beyond the subject matter, it’s a stunning voyage—and one that’s made even better by watching how he pieced it together.

syn. Infinitude is a meditation on the cosmic evolution of matter and energy over time.
Experimental filmmaking techniques such as time-lapse, high-speed, and stop-motion photography were used to photograph handmade props, fluid dynamics, and angular momentum. Infinitude is a handmade representation of the exponential growth of complexity in the cosmos.