32 films from the science new wave
Our skin is a complex organ. It is a membrane, a thin dividing surface between our bodies and all that lies within us and the exterior world without, a protective container for the fluid memory of the seas we carry within us. It is also a direct interface between the two: it conveys tactile information to our nervous systems and identifying information to others around us. Thus it both partitions and connects. Though the skin is undeniably of vital importance, the ways in which it is important shift with social changes: the meanings attached to skin and physical attributes are not fixed. And where lies identity, then, within or on our surfaces? In the brain, the consciousness, or even the microbiome? The films in this issue seek out identity and body as they move back and forth across the barrier of the skin, from our sun-buffering melanocytes to our particular neurochemistries, visiting in the process the many other meanings invested in our bodies: desire and reproduction, health and disease, life and death, yoga class and beach.
What would the world be like if biometrics was used everywhere? Would life really be simpler? Would it be more complicated at times? Here is the story of Little Red Riding Hood reinterpreted for exhibition in a biometric world.
The film shows a new life waking up as well as the anxiety that accompanies the transformation of a female body which loses its former shape responding to the internal force affecting it. The physical sensation of another human being inside the body becomes increasingly more distinct until the moment when he leaves the boundaries of the woman’s body to finally mark his independence. Ab Ovo is an extremely visual animation that illustrates the power of fertility lying dormant in every woman.
“limbic” is a Visual Music clip which reflects the emotional processing of music in the limbic system and the resulting reactions of the body (the so-called “chills”). It has been proved that musical attributes like the violation of expectations, the beginning of something new, a new cue or a recurring pattern are more often leading to chills. Those can be expressed, among other things, through a higher heart rate, twitching facial muscles, sweaty hands or even the well-known goose bumps. The film discusses how far chill-experiences are part of the evolutionary and/or the cultural development.
Two actresses are rehearsing a play over a weekend in a country house. While walking in the woods, one unearths something unusual. The creature becomes an object of desire for both women, desperate to own the thing. But what they don’t realize is that they’ve just found “Our lady of hormones.”
Our skin both exposes and protects us: it is part of our sense of identity, a witness, like it or not, to the events in our lives, a tool of communication, and plays an important role in how we relate to the world.
This documentary tells the story of nine parts of the body of persons who have suffered irrevocable changes during the year. Animations of body transformations — through growth, aesthetic or pathological changes — are illustrated with testimonies and images of some of the spaces that surrounded each character.
A vast expanse littered with stones, a mountain on the horizon. Amidst it all, an earthen figure constantly moving through various topographies and passing bogs, lakes, rivers and moss. In between, the portrait of a woman whose mouth is visited by bumble-bees, and that of a man, whose skin is first wet and then cracked.
Wandering through the body puzzling out a system of symbols. The trouble is, affect resists signification outright. The inside and outside become muddled when you start to feel your body in relation to the image. This film is an exploration of the body, specifically the affective register of bodily experience. It seeks to muddle the phenomenological analogies between the viewer’s body and the image on screen. This film reminds us that at the molecular level, we are not so separate from what we consider to exist outside of us.
Skin takes us below the surface as we go on the journey with a young American teacher that is finally coming to terms with how she feels about the way she looks by showing her true self 10 years later.
Before there was L’Oreal, there was kohl.
2065. Convinced that sex was “better in the old days”, a group of teenagers sets out looking for “Retrosex.”
In Bogotá, Colombia, a charismatic eleven year old named Maria Alejandra struggles to maintain a normal childhood despite the limitations imposed by a rare skin disease. Conflict between mother and daughter arises when Maria refuses to attend school early one morning.
Growing a multispecies image of our body-subject. Hybridities: Almost Other seeks to present revealing “biometric auto portraits” evoking both our human face and our invisible evolutionary counterpart, our microbiota, in order to re-evaluate what being human really means.
Jessica explores the inner-workings of our sister planet. Examining the atmospheric composition of Venus, this piece, narrated by Jackie Reynal, exposes a reminder of what could happen on Earth.
Bird Watch is a mockumentary mini-series that documents Kuwait and the mean-region from the perspective of peripheral and/or minorities. The second episode, titled “Health”, is about a child’s point of view of a healthful lifestyle.
Bittersweet is a half-hour documentary which follows the personal stories of young people who are living with diabetes and their daily struggle to manage it. Over the course of the documentary, we also discover ground breaking research and development in pharmacology and biomedical science, capturing the important work of CÚRAM’s Prof David Brayden and his team at UCD’s School of Veterinary Medicine, where they are developing new ways of delivering insulin to the body.
“What Happens to the Mountain” draws upon literary sources, late night radio, and ancient legends to conjure the experience of an afterlife in the sacred landscape of Devil’s Tower. A long-distance driver, a drifter, journeys from his tenuous reality into a vision of the afterlife, called forth by the spirit of the mountain.
Mary lives a lonely and isolated existence, meticulously documenting suspicious activity in the skies. When she connects with a fellow conspiracy theorist, she struggles to open up and reveal her secret: painful and mysterious fibres growing out of her skin. Unravel is a story about conspiracies, romance, and our powerful need to feel connected to the people around us.
A man desperately tries to scrape off his father’s birthmark.
Inspired by The International Museum of Surgical Science collection and the current political climate, this experimental 2 — channel video took its cue from a sign describing ‘A New Kind of Ray’, within the Museum’s X — ray exhibits . Documentation of found objects, simple animation and manipulation of light and colour set an oddly playful tone of an abstract journe y . The videos are combine d with a monologue reminiscent of absurdist theatre — and every bit as symbolically potent. The text gives clues to a metaphysical riddle of sorts, and ultimately asks the viewer to look inside themselves for answers.
Why does he say “swimwear” when he sees René Magritte’s painting of a naked woman? Is he too shy to say “breast”, “butt” or “vagina”? Perhaps he has mainly been exposed to product pictures and was never introduced to art? The film “I’m Not Sure” shows how an App, designed to be a vision-aid for the visually impaired, interprets art. By confronting the Neural Image Caption Generator with Surrealist paintings, “I’m Not Sure” explores the psychology of an Artificial Intelligence.
When future medicine allows people to live past the human body’s shelf life, a young woman visits her grandmother in the hospital and is forced to question the value of immortality when you still end up in a box.
Squame explores the body’s sensitive envelope, the skin. The ephemeral animated desquamations, created with the help of sugar casts, evoke fragile landscapes in a world at the edge of abstraction. Somewhere between archeological artifacts and macroscopic observations, the friable frontiers of these human bodies elude our gaze.
Jo is working as a trainer at the Fitness Company MIND YOUR BODY. His consciousness is slipping into the body of a customer and he is doing their sports programm for hem. During this session Jo is not allowed to make any contact to the customer’s environment. Otherwise the exchange of conciousness could be disturbed. Dreams can originate and they are strictly forbidden in this future world. One day when Jo traines the famous Eddie he meets Ery and suddenly for him everything changes.
Anka Schmid recounts her generation’s hairy stories. Whether as a body ornament, political statement or even in the soup, hair is omnipresent, even when shaven.
Miguel attends his first yoga class.
In the year 2076, a cyborg finds moving images made by their great-grandmother in the last years of celluloid. Looking at the images, they are struck by the past, causing them to dig into their own memories, history and identity.
Returning to the USA after losing both arms overseas, a young veteran battles phantom pains, prosthetics, and memories of his pre-war life while reaching for a sense of normalcy.
Gavrilov, who in theory manage to overcome death by embalming the body of Vladimir Iljitsh Lenin. Ever since the embalment their entire lives have been attached to Lenin’s corpse. The accomplishment makes Abrikosov “A hero of Socialist labor”, and as a result he has to live in a Kudrinskaja skyscraper with other heroes of socialist labor. Kudrinskaja’s residents are all heroes of Soviet society until one night they’re dragged down from the top floor into the basement for an execution due to luxurious lifestyle. One night Abrikosov receives a phone call from his apprentice Sasha that there is a problem with Lenin’s body just prior to the celebration of First of May. Apparently there is a fly inside Lenin’s sarcophagus. Welcome to Moscow of 1936 and into the world of Stalinist terror where no human is worthier than a fly.
Dead. Tissue. Love. is an intimate experimental documentary exploring the individual character of a female necrophile, as she recounts her life experiences and sexual awakening.
An experimental infrared (IR) short film about the hormonal transition of Menopause in an abstract approach to the transformation of the female body, as the energy cycle shifts from reproduction to a realization of a new spiritual power. Shot entirely with a military grade infrared rifle scope, the crosshairs are visible throughout the film, referencing the targeted feeling of radically shifting hormones experienced throughout perimenopause. Contrasting the stark, geological island landscape and ocean imagery of Maui, Hawai’i with primal movement, the lone Woman appears as a translucent human in a realm where the body possesses a simultaneous interiority/exteriority, as warm veins and cold or wet extremities are visible.
Penn State University anthropologist Dr. Nina Jablonski walks us through the evidence that the different shades of human skin color are evolutionary adaptations to the varying intensity of ultraviolet (UV) radiation in different parts of the world.
Labocine is an Imagine Science Films initiative to extend our film programming to a broader and more diverse audience. We have over 2,000 film titles from 200 countries for all ages brought to you by artists, scientists, filmmakers and educators.
By experimenting with cinematic form and style, we are committed to provoking scientific intrigue and understanding, always ensuring compelling and well-founded narratives. Periodically, we release Spotlights online. On the first Tuesday of every month, enjoy our issue selections which complement newsworthy science by proposing a surgically curated online festival. From documentary to fiction to lab footage, we hope to always challenge the way you understand, interpret and appreciate scientific ideas and perspectives.
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