If you’ve ever looked over a pond coated in green, sticky muck, then you’re familiar with the common freshwater algae volvox. But like many tiny organisms, these colony forming single celled critters, an unpleasant goop at the macro level, are a whole new kind of beautiful when viewed up close. At high magnifications and under the right conditions, these collections of cells seem to dance.

I’ve been working on a review of the new Criterion release Science Is Fiction, so I was in the right frame of mind to appreciate this when I ran into it – the footage wouldn’t be out of place in the work of director Jean Painleve. it’s really quite beautiful, and there’s something tremendously comforting about the notion that near it’s most basic levels, life engages in something like dancing.

I mean, that’s nice to think, isn’t it?

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