Skip to main content

The Eightfold Dot: Light Night 2021

On display for Light Night 2021, The Eightfold Dot (2013) is a silent, single-screen projection by Dutch artist Melvin Moti.

The Eightfold Dot was commissioned by Leeds-based arts organisation Pavilion to coincide with the centenary of the discovery of X-ray crystallography in Leeds. William Henry Bragg built the first x-ray spectrometer at the University of Leeds in 1913, with his son W.L. Bragg. They were jointly awarded the 1915 Nobel Prize in Physics.  

The work shows a turning and transforming crystalline form. Deceptively simple, the film offers a meditative and mesmeric depiction of space and anti-space, atomic and cosmic forms, in search of a fourth dimension – a concept that has enthralled writers, artists, theosophists and mathematicians alike. The result is a serene, meditative yet compelling and thought-provoking short film. 

Moti described how a fourth-dimensional hypercube in this film becomes “a symbol of a transcendent spiritual fantasy that hides behind our familiar three dimensions.” The camera is the instrument that can “reveal atomic and cosmic forms” of “space and anti-space”, visualised through fluorite crystals. Fluorite was chosen for its transparency, as its crystalline geometry of stacked cubes is more visible. Originally produced on 35 mm film, the film has since been transferred into 4k digital video. 

About the Artist 

Melvin Moti (b.1977, Rotterdam) is an internationally renowned artist working primarily in film and multimedia. Moti explores themes of time, space, spirituality and consciousness through his works – which have been exhibited internationally in both solo and group exhibitions, from Canada to Korea.  He will soon be featured in the 2020 34th São Paulo Biennial, taking place in late 2021. 

Moti’s films are based on extensive archival research and often explore scientific or supernatural phenomena with enigmatic imagery, overlaid with historical references. His films aim to put our human perception into a broader context and to understand intangible concepts like time and space.   

Moti studied film design at the Academie voor Beeldende Vorming, Tilburg, from 1995 to 1999 and De Ateliers, Amsterdam from 1999 until 2001. In 2015, he was awarded the ABN AMRO Art Prize (Netherlands); the Prize jury described Moti as “one of the most idiosyncratic and talented Dutch artists of his generation.” 

Inspired by Bragg

The Eightfold Dot is projected on the side of the new Sir William Henry Bragg building. The University will formally open the new building in 2022, and will be the home of an integrated campus for Engineering and Physical Sciences, to build on a shared interaction between these disciplines.The building is named after Sir William Henry Bragg. Bragg, alongside his son Lawrence, changed the way we understand the world around us, all from a laboratory at the University of Leeds. Their revolutionary equation which allowed the position of atoms within crystals to be determined from X-ray photographs is still used today. 

The Eightfold Dot projection for Light Night 2021 is part of the Inspired by Bragg cultural programme. The programme is designed to showcase the interdisciplinary approach that underpins how we work at University of Leeds, taking as its inspiration the life and work of W. H. Bragg, and current Bragg Centre research. It is run by University of Leeds Cultural Institute, alongside the University of Leeds Poetry Centre, Public Engagement with Research, stage@leeds, School of Music, and Leeds University Library Galleries. 

This event is part of Light Night Leeds 2021, an annual free multi-arts and light festival that takes over Leeds City Centre for two nights in October.


The Eightfold Dot has been jointly acquired by Leeds University Art Collection and Leeds Museums and Galleries, purchased jointly with the support of The Art Fund, Leeds Art Fund, Leeds Philosophical and Literature Society and the Friends of University Art and Music (Leeds), 2021. This is the first work by this internationally recognised artist to enter a public collection in the UK.

Light night 2021 web image
Light night 2021 web image
Light night 2021 web image