Art and Science Collide in Operatic Film Shot at Large Hadron Collider

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A lot of unexpected things happen at the Large Hadron Collider, and perhaps the most surprising is this dance/opera/film shot in the enigmatic particle physics facility. The location, hardhatted performers and the very idea of subatomic particles interpreted through dance might suggest one of the many joke movies and music videos put out by otherwise serious researchers. But the artistic project, titled "Symmetry," is no parody or stress blow-off valve for pent-up interns.

"I didn't want to make a documentary to explain or understand modern physics in general, but rather interpret the complex material this institution is presenting," the director, Ruben van Leer, told The Creators Project. The story is about a worker at the LHC who experiences a sudden shift from the rational to the abstract and timeless.

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It was filmed in and around the LHC facility (a making-of video shows the process), and, as a wide-open counterpoint to those claustrophobic tunnels, on a massive salt flat in Bolivia; computer-generated imagery based on experimental data and theories fills in the gaps.

The film, starring Dutch choreographer and dancer Lukas Timulak, has been in production for some time but is having its public premiere this week at the Cinedans film festival in Amsterdam.



—Devin Coldewey