Projects > Cellule

2015, Cel Animation

"Cellule" explores plant cells as physical manifestations of time: individual increments that build to a larger whole, much like the pictures that compose an animation. This was prompted by the English homophone of “cell” and “cel” – short for “celluloid”, the clear plastic sheet used in production of traditional cartoons.

Thale Cress is a tiny mustard green which grows wild in Geneva, Switzerland, where I completed the animation. Its seeds are smaller than a millimeter wide, yet each consists of approximately 5,500 cells. So, I created an animation with 5,500 drawings.

Seeds experience dormancy. It is a period of time when a seed is receiving the proper amount of light, water, and warmth for germination, but still does not grow - a static anticipation. Anticipation is also an animation technique: the movement before the main action. Paradoxically, I attempted to animate the seed only with anticipatory movements.

Special thanks to Sylvan Loubéry & Michel Goldschmidt-Clermont at the Department of Botany and Plant Biology, Univeristy of Geneva, for providing the opportunity to count the number of cells in an Arabidopsis seed, and aiding in many other ways as well.

Cellule was made possible by a grant and residency from Utopiana, Geneva, Switzerland.

Cel Animation