Hydrology: Visions in Ice by Douglas Capron [Brain, Cities and more]

Hydrology: Visions in Ice, is a photographic project by Douglas Capron, with the goal to share the ephemeral mystery that occurs when water transforms into ice in a natural setting. As Capron says, “The resulting formations are surprisingly dynamic, organically expressive and complex, and pose more questions than are revealed beyond an aesthetic perspective in our relationship with the most basic element that sustains us all.”

The most common phase transition to ice occurs when liquid water is cooled below 0°C (273.15K, 32°F) at standard atmospheric pressure. It can also deposit from vapour with no intervening liquid phase, such as in the formation of frost.

Capron says about this work:

I was fascinated by the elaborate, unpredictable and beautiful shapes. These formed and morphed on a small lake in a city park over a few days as winter temperatures started to descend and the crystallization process began and then further, gradually evolving into mysterious patterns of solid ice announcing the arrival of winter.

Subjected to higher pressures and varying temperatures, ice can form in fifteen separate known phases. The types are differentiated by their crystalline structure, ordering and density. These are the characteristics that Capron captured with his camera and the beauty behind the images just drives us to think about brain cells or cities built in circular shape, like this one.

The similarities between crystallization process and cities it’s not casual. If we think about cities as “living structures”, we can see that they’re always changing, from one minute to another. Historically, first suggestions that quasi-organism analogies may help in understanding cities – including references to ‘metabolism’ – were made by the Chicago school of urban sociology (Burgess and others). Now, there are theories that talk about the city as a brain, saying that cities change to generate new forms and interactions. Brains and cities, as they get bigger, do so based on similar mathematical rules.

Crystallization process is also drived by mathemathical rules, as everything in nature. Water molecules has a nuclei looking for stability and the clusters need to reach a critical size in order to become stable nuclei… just like our cities, looked through the lens of urban metabolism.

Douglas Capron says that he hopes that his work travels beyond graphic emotional impact and that it will provoke and sustain a subtle dialogue with the viewer. That’s exactly what we felt when looking at these images and started speculating about cities, brains and neuronas while enjoying his artistic work.


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