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Northern Lights

Magnetic Reconnection: Northern Lights over industrial landscapes


In Magnetic Reconnection two photographers show us some of the most beautiful images of northern lights ever captured on film.

The flashing green, violet and pink landscapes of the Northern Lights (Aurora borealis) have, over the last few years, invaded our collective imagination. The movements of the solar plasma in its interactions with the Earth’s magnetic field –generating the dancing veils of an ethereal goddess— have become an emblem of the beauty of the world we live in, as much as a reminder of how this world is intricately linked to the entire cosmos.

Northern Lights were long considered the manifestation of Usas, a Vedic goddess who slightly reveals her breasts and titillates men with her luminous chariot. In Nordic cultures, which are found close to the pole, the auroras have always been considered sacred. For modern Western civilization, on the other hand, it was not until recently when these geomagnetic phenomena begun their divine aesthetic invasion of its minds.

Over the last ten years, advances regarding photosensitivity in digital video technology have provided further definition, clarity and diffusion of the Northern Lights, bringing about a wonderful array of videos, particularly time lapses, on YouTube and Vimeo. But one of the more outstanding pieces due to its poetic and reflexive content is the recent documentary Magnetic Reconnection, produced by the cinematographers and Northern Light hunters Kyle Armstrong and Trond Trondsen in Manitoba, Canada, with a specially designed IMAX image resolution camera. This documentary also has an original soundtrack composed by Jim O’Rourke (from Sonic Youth) and is narrated by Will Oldhem.

The cutting-edge technical exploration of auroras used in the film renders some of the most spectacular images we’ve ever seen within this subtle aesthetic discipline. These images are also matched with that of industrial landscapes in northern Canada: the glorious multicolor blossoming of the sky contrasted with the inherent decadence of human constructions. The project is a call to reconnect with the ancient magnetic machinery of the cosmos.

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