Structures of Nature

Directed by Martin Gerigk | Review by Antonio Rozich

The scientific explanation of life and meaning through the camera eye.

If I were allowed only one sentence to summarize Structures of Nature by Martin Gerigk, that would be it. Luckily, I’m allowed to use more than a single sentence, so let’s dwell on the experimental film that Structures of Nature is.

We can confidently say that almost everything vital in the world was discovered by chance – from x-rays to microwave. And the closest humanity has ever come to engage in the perplexing laws of chance is by experimenting. Thus, it doesn’t come as a surprise that a film that lingers over the nature of science is an experimental one itself.

In Structures of Nature, Gerigk covers a broad scientific specter; starting with natural science such as physics and switching to sociology, a purely social science. And really, if you want to discover what humanity is about, you need to explore all the discoveries it has made thus far. No matter what happens, the laws that seem to be out of humanity’s reach, state that energy must be balanced; it can never disappear or increase. It’s a zero-sum game where if you take something, you must give something of equal value in return. This brings us to a logical conclusion that no matter if you are more dedicated to one type of science or the other; the fact is the value is equal as we create it. So, is the life always the same? Is it true that in a much higher sense, one that goes beyond what you or I find essential, every action we take is an equally important one? No matter if it’s trying to wake up in the morning or doing something we find “useful”?
Dynamic visuals combined with beautiful shots that last only a few seconds create an almost interactive experience for the audience. The attempt to present cold yet vigorous scientific facts through a camera’s lens is exhilarating. It has been attempted since the birth of cinema as cinema itself sprung out of science. But how to present the general truth in a way that’s more than just a trite definition?

The dynamic plays a vital role here. As a viewer, you have barely enough time to experience everything presented in a single shot. Nevertheless, it’s precisely the right amount to make you wonder what’s coming next. The film describes cohesion as an action to „move towards the center point of those that you see around“. If we imagine our eyes were the camera – this product of science made to create art – then in the case of Structures of Nature, our object is nature and science. Making it simple – our object is the subject of the film. The way Martin Gerigk manipulates the eyes of the audience is by creating an interactive connection and allowing us to see what we need to see. And thus, a successful cohesion between art and science is established.
When you think of science, you most likely picture it as something that’s stripped of emotions. On the other hand, when you think of art, you imagine is as something packed with emotions. Many philosophers, sociologists and psychologists have rightly asked if our actions are exclusively determined by our feelings or if us humans are free of these supposed shackles? Neuroscience has shown that brain makes decisions before we are even aware of them. In this scheme, emotions are just a single aspect that manipulates who we as individuals are. So, no matter if it is science, art or life in its entirety, does it even matter what we do?

Let’s end how we began; with a summary. “You don’t need more to become more“ and you can’t even have more; no matter how much many of us would like. Why? If we put it bluntly, it’s because someone or something more significant than us has decided so; simple as that. But no matter if this god, universe, laws of nature or however you want to call it, is really there, there’s that final, crucial fact. All we need is already here and everything else… Well, everything else is up to us. Nature doesn’t mind what we do as it will continue no matter if we’re here or not. A message you’ll receive with this film has a comforting yet bitter taste at the same time. Take it as you will.


Antonio Rozich is the Chief Editor for Cult Critic and enjoys anything has to do with filmmaking. Besides his usual copywriting work, he also helps filmmakers with their screenplays by editing them and finding the ways to improve the initial filmmaker’s idea. When the day’s work is done, he turns to his true & original love: writing flash fiction, which he posts on his site Syeta Stories.