Laboratory Rituals — May 2018 Issue

30 films from the Science New Wave

Following our expedition into the field for the start of spring last month, it’s now time to return to the lab for a closer analysis of our samples and new experiments. The laboratory is a unique space, where protocols involving hundreds of precise steps may unfold over days, on equipment arcane to the uninitiated, to reveal startling results. In the intense focus of the lab, such protocols take on aspects of art and performance, of precise motions and total attention, a dance of intuition and technique where even a small variation can have great consequences or lead to a surprise discovery. This month we examine the laboratory as imaginative and creative arena, where the unexpected gleams in rigorously orchestrated processes, a site of ritual and invention.

On Being a Scientist

On Being a Scientist

An eminent professor navigates family life and the academic world as his work pushes against the limits of scientific integrity. He faces difficult dilemmas when old choices comes back to haunt him.

Root Tip Regeneration in Arabidopsis

Root Tip Regeneration in Arabidopsis

Plants display a remarkable degree of plasticity, able to completely regenerate from dissociated single cells. The root tip of the model laboratory plant, Arabidopsis thaliana, houses a group of stem cells that constantly divide to allow growth. Remarkably, if the tip of the root (including all stem cells) is cut away, Arabidopsis is able to regenerate it completely from the remnant cells. This time lapse captures the first three days of this process, tracking cells’ nuclei using a fluorescent protein fusion.

The Diatom

The Diatom

For the last 30 years renowned Utah-based botanist and environmental activist Sam Rushforth has been contracted with the state of Utah to protect its water supply. Every 4 to 6 weeks he drives hundreds of miles from his home to several remote reservoirs in Utah’s Wasatch mountain range. He collects an ornate microscopic organism called the diatom. The diatom is one of the most numerous and diverse organisms on the planet, the basis of the aquatic food chain, produces much of the oxygen on earth, and is a key scientific indicator of the health of a water system. In order to philosophically understand a deeper, hidden connection to our natural environment, this 18-minute experimental mixed-mode ‘science film’ focuses on Sam’s engagement with a vast isolated landscape, then travels through the microscope to the diatom itself.

The Fly Room

The Fly Room

When a wide-eyed 10-year-old girl visits her fathers insect laboratory, she receives an unorthodox education in genetics.

The Strange Eyes of Dr. Myes

The Strange Eyes of Dr. Myes

Brain scientist Dr. Sheri Myes lives through a bombing that changes her forever. She is on the verge of a scientific breakthrough to revolutionize human understanding of the world, when she is fired from her job and must climb up from the bottom. In a home lab, she develops drugs and body augmentations that elevate consciousness by allowing humans to go beyond the normal human range of vision, hearing, smell and touch. Her nemesis, Dr. Evelyn White, plots to steal her research for military use. Isolated by her obsessions and blind to the love, hate and self-interest that surrounds her, she is arrested, jailed, and escapes into the unknown. A live-action, musical, animation, science-fiction, magic-realist, afro-futurist film.

Amy Karle’s Biofeedback Artwork

Amy Karle’s Biofeedback Artwork

We all have this energy that we can feel, a vital life force inside of us… what would it look like if we could see it? Amy Karle connects her body and consciousness to technology to create art, repurposing a Sandin Image Processor as an electrophysiological visualization device. While meditating, Amy Karle inputs her biofeedback into the historically significant Sandin IP analog computer to generate the output of image and sound. The artwork is both the long-duration performance art as well as the artwork that is created in the process. To learn more visit www.amykarle.com.

Applied Metacinema

Applied Metacinema

There has not yet been any applied work of Metacinema. It was necessary to give the path to methodological problems. That is the reason why I decided to choose the purest subject to analyze. That is a subject composed of a single “substance”.

Benchwork

Benchwork

Students at UW Madison spend their summer in the wetlab preparing for the 2010 International Genetically Engineered Machine Competition.

Gobbledigook

Gobbledigook

Experimental short video in which guanine flakes in solution reflect light to allow the observational turbidity around a fictional elemental symbol. Flow visualisation is a fast-evolving field that often sees the merging of technology and scientific endeavour. For this work, a sans-serif logo was designed and 3D-printed, before being placed in rheoscopic fluid — a substance traditionally used to investigate liquid-flow in engineering research. Rheoscopic fluid was designed to exploit the optical properties of guanine flakes — as they move amongst vortices created by the flow of the liquid they are suspended in, they reflect light in a way that elucidates those patterns of fluidic flow. High-speed videography was used to document the dynamic nature of the fluidic movement around the typography, which illuminated unusual vortices and turbulent flow specific to the fictional chemical Gobbledigook symbol. Rheoscopic fluid is no longer made, disregarded in favour of digital modelling techniques, and this short film is a paean to this soon-to-be-lost interaction of light and liquid.

Loop

Loop

Loop is about what can be seen and what cannot, how scientists imagine their work and how they describe it. The film is based on the work done in Dr Serge Mostowy’s lab on septin assembly in cells, using a zebrafish model. Lab members describe the intricate sub-cellular septin dynamics and structure. Their explanatory drawings, and discussion with the filmmaker about how they see the research, are incorporated into the animation. Each person’s unique and idiosyncratic vision of the process brings a different facet to the complex and secret world of septin cytoskeleton dynamics. The scientists’ different theories of assembly reveal the creative and discursive nature of science. The scientists’ original sketches, included at the end of the film, emphasises how closely they worked with the filmmaker to translate their individual vision to the whole.

95%

95%

A poetic soaring within a laboratory of genetics.

Alya Red: a computational heart

Alya Red: a computational heart

Alya Red is a project of the Barcelona Supercomputing Center for simulating a human heart. In this video we explain the scientific background of the project, and show scientific visualizations of simulations using the computational electromechanical model applied to a rabbit heart.

Inscapes

Inscapes

The film Inscapes was created to help solve an immediate, practical problem inherent to a branch of neuroimaging research called “resting state” functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI). Usually for these scans, subjects lay inside the MRI magnet and look at what we call a fixation cross (a static plus sign) for about 6–10 minutes. They are asked to keep still and to try and stay awake. The absence of a task enables us to study brain activity that occurs “at rest” and has greatly expanded our understanding of how the brain is functionally organized into networks. But for children, this supposedly task-free state is actually a very difficult task.

Twenty-One Percent

Twenty-One Percent

In this small formation history of atmospheric chemistry, flying and thinking beings emerge as the result of high levels of oxygen in the air which is owed to earth’s forest and plant cover. In the midst of the oxygenic forest, a science-fictional performer manipulates a multitude of ingredients–minerals, forest fruits, liquids and substances–some of which are recognized as potential human foods, others not. Ranging in scale from the cosmos to the kitchen, the video undertakes an empirical inquiry into the capacity of chemical elements.

Mouse Embryo Prep for 3D Imaging

Mouse Embryo Prep for 3D Imaging

Nico shows us the sequential stages for staining and image mouse embryos in Marc Tessier-Lavigne’s Laboratory of Brain Development and Repair at The Rockefeller University.

Squid: Coming to Life

Squid: Coming to Life

Microscopy, timelapse, and observation beautifully captures a lab’s full study of squid embyonic development.

Edge of Alchemy

Edge of Alchemy

Using over 6,000 collages, actors Mary Pickford and Janet Gaynor are appropriated from their early silent features and cast into a surreal epic.

MINIPOND

MINIPOND

A petri dish is like a small pond in the lab. Take a journey with our imagination we will find that trembling bubbles look like the unveiling of new life, blooming droplets look like flowers, and there are still waves and ripples…

Finding a large space under a microscope at 100x

Finding a large space under a microscope at 100x

These little moments were made by mixing drops of supravital stains like Brilliant Cresyl Blue, Crystal Violet, Congo Red, Methlyene Blue, Neutral Red, Safranin, Janus Green, Eosin and recording the interactions and phase changes at a perspective of 40x and 100x. There is no manipulation to color or form but some footage is slowed down 2x to be longer.

foundfootagexx100n.s.1

foundfootagexx100n.s.1

We take a poor human person, like you, and treat them like a pawn in our game. Watch as neuroscientist, Wallace L. Graybill, attempts to receive money coins from grants for his important research. It will be candy for your tum tum.

Biotextile Craft

Biotextile Craft

“Future craft” is an emerging genre of research-creation that encompasses a number of traditional maker methodologies, merged with the tools and methods of scientific, technological advance. This video forms a didactic visual narrative about processes of mammalian tissue engineering on hand-woven protein fibre scaffolds. This process, newly developed as part of an artistic project and named “Biotextile Craft”, sits at the intersection of art and science in the transdisciplinary application of traditional craft processes to biotechnological laboratory protocols. Specifically shown is the “wet weaving” process followed by seeding cells onto the woven horsehair scaffolds. The invention and performance of new tools, new protocols, the subsequent long-term growth of new hybrid “life” forms, as well as the presentation and display of these processes and experimental results are unconventional, yet significant outputs for both science and craft.

Unknown Energies, Unidentified Emotions

Unknown Energies, Unidentified Emotions

A Foundation reporter, Isidor Dukas comes to the Institute to make a report. For the purpose of objective reporting, the Foundation uses agents with induced, synthetic identities. In confrontation with one of the test subjects, what was supposed to be a routine control turns into a never ending maze.

DIY Embryology

DIY Embryology

Observing development conjures in even the least fantastic mind wild analogies and metaphors which are then built into the explanatory language of developmental anatomy, in this case of heart formation. Stemming from heart fields, come the insinuations of certain intercellular communication:appearing, clustering, joining, creating networks, becoming tubes even investing in destiny.

Time Travel

Time Travel

Anna Vasof’s patented “Non-Stop Stop-Motion” technique creates an unusual time loop which leaves every type of virtual reality far behind.

Cross Section

Cross Section

In this visual and sonic environment, the machines dictate the phase of life in order for the translation and digitalization of the organic body to take place. Cross Section shows health practice from machinic perspectives to make explicit the human pursuit of diagnosis and treatment of cancer to prolong life on earth.

Nanopolymerosomes

Nanopolymerosomes

People have always been building things. We often marvel at the huge, and tallest constructions we achieved to make. But what about the tiniest of scales?

Rhinospider — An Operation In Three Acts

Rhinospider — An Operation In Three Acts

Highly complex ideas from medicine and research are embedded into experimental storytelling. The result: a kind of artistic performative “Activity” gameplay. A non-verbal explanation attempt. Illuminated Point and Click inside a human brain. Dancing science!

Pepto Bismuth

Pepto Bismuth

The process of chemically isolating bismuth from Pepto Bismol.

Simulation Beach

Simulation Beach

Simulation Beach depicts the paradox of our intensifying search for control over the elements in an era in which we have recognized ourselves as a geological force, “the anthropocene.”

The Voynich code

The Voynich code

Brazilian physicists used their own text analysis technique to study the Voynich manuscript, a mysterious book supposedly written in early 15th century in an unknown alphabet. The expectation is to help deciphering this text, one of the most enigmatic known.

Labocine is an Imagine Science Films initiative to extend our film programming to a broader and more diverse audience. We have over 1,500 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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