The latest developments in the Collapse of Cohesion series from filmmaker Levi van Veluw is a trio of hyper slowed-down thought experiment based on a set of drawings, deconstructing the moment in which order can devolve into absolute chaos. Named repectively Spheres, Room, and Archive, each short film depicts external factors completely demolishing every element of the frame.
Spheres subjects a desk, a chair, and a wall full of chairs to an onslaught of fist-sized wooden balls, but the thousand-frames-per-second shooting speed extends this process—which only took a few moments in real time—to a slow, steady trudge towards certain destruction. Room showcases a similar setting, which falls under the gale of an extremely powerful wind machine. Archive's titular stacks collide with one another like dominoes, filling the whole room with scattered icosahedrons. Each scene starts with tranquility but ends in a malestrom of flying objects.
The pencil drawings that inspired the Collapse of Cohesion series are integral to its monochrome aesthetic. "In the film, the drawing has been replicated life-size in wood," reads the artwork's accompanying press release. "All the visible surfaces are covered in carbon powder, and the setting acquires shape only through the reflection of the light."
The series also makes a statement on the contrast between control in a film versus control in a drawing. "After months of meticulous preparation, this is the only, and crucial, moment over which the artist has no control," the press release continues. "In contrast to the drawing in which the moment of chaos remains an interpretation by the artist – and is therefore inexorably linked to him–the film makes it possible to relinquish all and every form of control."
While Veluw's short films explore destruction and disorder, they don't seem to paint either in a bad light. With the violence and speed removed from such destructive sequences, they take on a serene quality that gently carries the viewer from one state of rest to another. When we're going this slowly, it's hard to tell where the order ends and the chaos begins.
Here are a couple of examples of the devastation Veluw wrought on his sets, behind the scenes shots from the shoot, plus some of the drawings that inspired the shorts:
To observe more of Veluw's film experiments, visit his website here.