A Tour Through Maria Ferreira’s Crystal Gardens

In her studio in Santa Barbara, CA, experimental video artist Maria Constanza Ferreira is growing tiny gardens made of crystals. Her workstation brims with technicolor petri dishes filled with mineralizing chemicals, and the walls are decorated with seemingly transparent boxes.

To the naked eye, these frames look like mistakes—a twinkly smudge or an accidental yellow splotch—but when viewed with a polarized lens, vibrant crystalline landscapes of geometric mountain slopes, iridescent waves, and spiraling sand dunes appear.

Ferreira, who comes from an animation and design background, captures these gardens as they blossom using time lapse photography, and pieces together the images to reveal wondrous geometries as they crystallize. And while her videos and installations highlight the obvious parallels between the microscope landscapes and those you might see from Google Earth, Ferreira’s work is primarily an exploration of perception itself—the sensations of discovery and unseen beauty.


Produced by Luke Groskin
Filmed by Christian Baker
Music by Audio Network
Additional Footage and Stills Provided by Maria Constanza Ferriera, Pond5.com, Shutterstock, Physics Reimagined group (LPS, CNRS Universite Paris-Sud) with funding of Labex PALM

Meet the Producer

About Luke Groskin

Luke Groskin is Science Friday’s video producer. He’s on a mission to make you love spiders and other odd creatures.

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