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Magnetic Fluids and Paint Combine to Form Psychedelic Visuals

See the surreal, macro beauty of fluids reacting to magnetic fields in filmmaker Karl Fenton's 'Fluorescent.'
October 27, 2015, 1:05pm
Screencaps via

In the right hands, the physical world is just as adept as CGI at creating surreal moving images involving complex, intricate patterns. Look no further than the work of artists Susi Sie and Fabian Oefner for examples. Their work looks to the natural world and highlights the endless palettes of color and form present in the science of the reactions between ferrofluids, paints, oils, and light.

Inspired by these artists, Karl Fenton has created his own spin on that genre of filmmaking, exploring the hidden shapes present in the mathematics of the macro.


His video, Fluorescent, isset to the music of German musician Nils Frahm. Fenton used ferrofluid, fluorescent watercolors, paints, inks, and oils lit by UV lights to show that nature's patterns—with the right lighting and editing, of course—can be pure, if fleeting, psychedelia.

FLUORESCENT from Karl Fenton on Vimeo.

"With the presence of a magnetic field, ferrofluid and kaleidoscopic substances form mesmerising and surreal patterns," Fenton notes. "Using a HFR camera and macro lens, I captured these visuals before they vanished back into darkness."

Check out some of the captivating patterns in the screenshots below.

Visit Karl Fenton's website for more.


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