‘Pseudotachylyte’ is a feature documentary film, filmed in the Arctic landscape of the LofotenIslands, Norway, and in the University of Plymouth’s Electron Microscopy Centre. It portrays a team of international geo-scientists investigating rock formations for evidence of earthquakes originating deep below the Earth's surface. Morstang collaborated with a cinematographer, sound designer and geo-scientists from the Universities of Plymouth, Liverpool, Cardiff, UK and University of Padua, Italy.
Investigating observational documentary cinematic and audio methodologies, the film intentionally amplifies gestures, collaboration and visual skills of scientists at work and aspects of scientific knowledge production and research methods that are not generally accessible outside scientific communities.
Through unfolding observational documentary cinematic techniques, Arctic location and Electron Microscope footage explore nuanced collaborative practices of geo-scientists during fieldwork; how they explore landscape through the microscopic view of the world to an understanding of deep time; consequently, how these investigations define geological narratives.
Its originality lies in its focus on what is overlooked in the interplay between field work in landscape as a 'natural laboratory' and laboratory practices. The articulation of cinematic and audio expression shift attention from verbal narrative to key importance of tactile and spatial understanding of geology as landscape.McPhee's literature on geology expeditions, Herzog and Kossakovsky's cinematic methodologies influence the portrayal of landscape as protagonist.
‘Pseudotachylyte’ had its premiere screening at Bergen International Film Festival 2019, and entered two competition programmes: Norwegian Documentaries Competition and the Golden Owl Competition (awarded to best science documentary by University of Bergen). It was presented at Njord Research Centre, University of Oslo and is currently part of a University of Plymouth research project aiming to explore novel and innovative ways of communicating research and developing a portfolio of case studies of the different creative approaches possible.