Alice Dunseath


on crystals

I love crystals – the way they grow and form and suggest life but aren't technically alive. they are beautiful and unpredictable to work with and they grow well in plaster and colour nicely with inks. it was great to be able to work at Imperial college. I co-directed 'Where To Go' with Annlin Chao and we both went and worked in the chemistry labs for some of the shots. it was the summer term so none of the students were around but the lab technician was there to help whenever we needed him. we used a specially adapted microscope which allowed us to attach a digital stills camera to it to shoot high-res timelapse footage of crystals forming

the whole process was very playful, experimental and unscientific (although we wore lab coats, goggles and used petri dishes and syringes). we had a vision of the sort of imagery we wanted and worked backwards to try and create it. sometimes we'd use the liquid from a Magic Garden set and add different inks to it. other times we would use a copper sulphate solution with different inks. once I accidentally spilt a bit of apple juice into the dish and it created the most beautiful results. there was no real system to our process – our desk in the lab definitely looked more like a desk in an artists studio - with paint brushes, ink and paints mixed in with chemicals and scientific equipment scattered all over the placea. artists and scientist are both trying to come up with new ideas and yet their approaches to doing so are often so different

on animation with crystals and liquids

traditional animation allows you to have complete control over every single frame but I enjoy the lack of control that comes with using materials that move by themselves. it allows for unexpected, unpredictable and often surprising results. I like to work with what they give me and then alter the footage in post production – manipulating the speed and movement, choreographing them around the screen to music or sound


on experimentations with science

I will generally look up some basic science experiments and then attempt to recreate them at home. I'm not very accurate or scientific with my process. sometimes this approach has good results and sometimes it doesn't

on sound

I was always taught that a film is 51% sound. sound has so much power over how we interpret an image. I have dabbled in sound art but I also really enjoy working with sound designers and musicians. my favourite musicians to work with are Lucy Railton, Jake Chudnow and Tom Rosenthal and Dan Larkin is a great sound designer

on making and play

there is a huge element of play in my work and my hands are always dirty. my last film, 'You Could Sunbathe in this Storm' is basically a series of experiments with different materials. I like the way using real world objects allow the audience to connect with the film on a haptic level – which means they know when something is from the 'real world' as they can tell how it would feel and this increases their connection with the piece. there is a distance if they can't imagine what it feels like

on ecology

I grew up in the countryside and have always been aware of the importance of looking after the planet. I try to avoid using plastic whenever I can as I am very aware of the damage it is doing, particularly to our oceans. it upsets me that the individual has very little power to avoid using it though and I wish more would be done at a higher level to stop this being the case


on space

I grew up in a village in Somerset with few street lights and therefore very dark skies and would often look at the stars through a telescope with my dad (Chris Dunseath). he told me that by the time I was an adult we'd all be flying to the moon and I totally believed him. maybe one day soon... he's a sculptor and a lot of his work is inspired by the night sky and on theories of quantum physics and I see a similar pattern in my work. I have definitely been inspired by his work. I still enjoy how looking up at the stars can make you see the bigger picture and make you feel so small and insignificant and yet so very connected to everyone and everything around you - I find it very reassuring. I have a similar feeling when I look at something through a microscope or when filming something on a macro lens, as it can make something everyday resemble something huge like the universe

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three of Alice's animations about plastic pollution for the feature length documentary Plastic Shores are screening in the HERE TODAY... exhibition until 17 December in The Old Sorting Office, 21-31 New Oxford Street, London, WC1