I’ve always wondered what director Michel Gondry (Enternal Sunshine, Science of Sleep, Be Kind Rewind) worked on while being an artist-in-residence at MIT . In the new issue of WiReD Magazine,  Gondry talks about some of the crazy science experiments during his time serving as an MIT AIR.

Gondry spent 2005 as an artist-in-residence at Nerdland. That’s the name his 16-year-old son bestowed on MIT, which invited Gondry there to pursue his interest in neuroscience. “They understand the connection between science and the arts,” Gondry says of the school. “It’s very blurry. It was brainstorming all the time.” At MIT, Gondry tried out some unusual notions about special effects. His idea was to combine digital technology and chemistry. “People are always thinking to make everything digital,” Gondry says. “The key would be to do an interface between the digital, for the control, and the chemical, for the reaction. If you can get the two worlds together, you can make the best effects ever.” In one experiment, for instance, Gondry mixed up a paste of cornstarch and water. He placed the paste on a plate and wired it to a speaker, then added a strobe light. By changing the speaker’s frequency, he created reverb on the plate, and the concoction bubbled and spewed into strange and beautiful shapes.

Gondry also talks about a film which he wrote (but never shot).

It was one long special effect. “A single scene would be played twice, identically,” Gondry says. “But in the context of the beginning it would mean one thing, and in the context of the ending it would mean something completely different.” The film is a loop, a device Gondry used in Eternal Sunshine and which he draws on again in the structure of Be Kind. “I make a loop because when you reach the end, you come back to the beginning.” He grabs a scrap of yellow paper, tears off a long piece, and bends each end in a different direction, creating a Möbius strip. “You fold a 2-D space into a 3-D space,” he says, holding up the looped paper. “You create a depth that doesn’t exist. It becomes something much closer to what’s in your head.”

Sounds interesting, but could it work? With Gondry at the helm, anything is possible.

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