Cosmic Alchemy, a film by Lawrence Jordan


More alchemical collage animation, this time by one of the earliest practitioners of the form. Lawrence Jordan has been creating collage films since the 1950s, and is still doing so today. Cosmic Alchemy which dates from 2010, is a 24-minute piece that immediately attracted my attention for its use of cosmological charts and other maps of the heavens. The alchemy here is more astronomical (or astrological) than chemical, exploring a cosmos where the celestial spheres are populated by a variety of orbs and glittering stars, together with familiar figures from the Dover Publications Pictorial Archive. The droning soundtrack is by John Davis. There are more collaborations between Jordan and Davis at Davis’s Vimeo page.


Previously on { feuilleton }
Edge of Alchemy, a film by Stacey Steers
Still Life, a film by Connor Griffith
Hamfat Asar, a film by Lawrence Jordan
Carabosse, a film by Lawrence Jordan
Labirynt by Jan Lenica
Heaven and Earth Magic by Harry Smith

5 thoughts on “Cosmic Alchemy, a film by Lawrence Jordan”

  1. The Larry Jordan box set, along with the Jeff Keen one were big favourites chez nous on the occasions when we were too mentally impaired to follow the plot of “Yellow Submarine”.

  2. I found this one surprisingly soporific but I think that was more a result of the droning soundtrack than the visuals.

  3. Due to the lack of listenability, we always made a point of playing something more innervating over the top of them (the Jeff Keen films in particular, whilst great to gawp at, tend to be soundtracked by what sounds like two bits of sandpaper being rubbed together through a fuzz pedal which only goes so far…)

  4. John, on the subject of animation, I don’t know if you’ve seen this yet but it’s a great bit of Russian stop-motion, blending E.T.A. Hoffman’s life with some of his stories. Made by Stanislav Sokolov for Soyuzfilm in 2018, with english subtitles. Up there with Jiri Trnka perhaps.

  5. Thanks, that looks really good, I’ll give it a proper watch later this week. I was rewatching some of my Powell & Pressburger discs before Xmas, including Tales of Hoffmann so the background is familiar.

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