Synchronicity (16mm)

16mm film, stereo sound. Robin Meier Wiratunga, 2022
Firefly Handler and Scientific Advisor: Tanthai Prasertkul
produced with the support of Northwestern University (Guy Amichay and Danny Abrams)
Thanks to Anchana Thancharoen, Bangkok University

16mm photographic film was directly exposed to the light of two captive fireflies (Pteroptyx malaccae). Inside a dark space, without camera or optics, the insects were simply placed on an analogue film strip. Using techniques described in some the earliest scientific publications on the study of fireflies the film aims to reveal traces and patterns in the most direct way possible.

The film is set to a soundtrack of field recordings made on location with ultrasound microphones. As the film progresses, the soundtrack gradually slows down and pulls the listener into the perceptual world of insects. Rhythmic patterns appear, previously hidden in the chirp of insects, bats and other sounds outside the human hearing range slowly become audible as flashes of light stimulate our optic nerve.

custom built setup to expose film to captive fireflies
collecting fireflies