The ability to begin something new, from growing new skin over an injury to remodelling of tissues by plants to new societal beginnings. This month’s issue will take you on a journey in “Regeneration.” Explore different cinematic forms, ideas and understanding of birthing, rebirthing and new beginnings through cinema.
Everything that is alive is hungry. A seed is hungry for light, a bird is hungry for flight, man is hungry for the touch of another. The seed of longing grows into what feeds us.
Amy Karle is an artist who has always been fascinated with mysteries of the body. (http://www.amykarle.com) Her most recent work uses the building blocks of life: cells. As an Artist in Residence at Pier 9, Amy collaborated with Autodesk to create “Regenerative Reliquary,” a sculpture consisting of 3D printed scaffolds for cell growth in a bioreactor. The intention is that stem cells seeded onto these scaffolds will grow into bone. She hopes that this project serves as a foundation for further exploration and opens conversations about the awe and mystery of life, transhumanism, synthetic biology, the future of medicine and implants, and things that could be made from the building blocks of life. For those who wish to experiment, Amy has shared her workflow with open source instructions @ (instructables.com/id/3D-Printed-Scaffolds-for-Cell-Culture).
Arabidopsis thaliana juxtaposes the implications of injury, development and regeneration for plants, humans and cities, with a nod to one of the most popular plant model organisms in biology and genetics.
Narrated by Selima Smith-Dell
Cinematography by Toma Peiu & Luiza Pârvu
Microscope imagery & graphics by Nicholas DelRose
Editing & sound design by Luiza Pârvu
Location sound by Toma Peiu
Produced by Nicholas DelRose, Toma Peiu, Luiza Pârvu
Research of Dr. Kenneth Birnbaum’s Lab
Shot on location in New York, October 2016
Shot on Panasonic GH4, iPhone 6, 16 mm Kodak Vision 3 film
Made as part of the Imagine Science Symbiosis Film Competition 2016
‘Herbarium’ is a cinematographic observation based on the changes in the classification of plants. Going from classical taxonomy to genetic data-storage, Visser wonders what is left when the plant its separated from its physical features. What is a plant to us, without the sensation of smell, texture and its visual appearance?
In a long abandoned tropical greenhouse formerly used by the biology faculty of Wageningen University, during a full moon night, the dry plants are reanimated, in a visual language where nature is shown as an artefact, devoid of any natural context.
Director: Barbara Visser
Research & script & production: Barbara Visser & Bart Haensel
Camera: Jean Counet
Light: Roel Ypma
Editing: Alexander Goekjian
Set animators: Gunnar Daan, Pablo Pinkus, Tom Wagenaar
Music: Jeroen van Veen Minimal Piano Collection, Vol. 6 & 7, Prelude nr.21 in B Flat, Prelude nr.11 in B
A new documentary explores the strange new world of the contemporary cyborg movement, and the people that add electronics to their body to decorate themselves or give themselves extra “senses.”
The slow metamorphosis of a man into machine.
Mosaic explores evolution in its natural and artificial forms — the deliberate and random modifications of an organism. As a mixed genre, science-driven anthology film, Mosaic is the first of its kind featuring ten visionary, international filmmakers and stories from the most influential scientists of our time.
The Mask Task — Josephine Decker
With documentary audio material and Butoh dance, the multi-age performers are invited to take shapes, organize themselves in nightmare poses and free-form improvisations and create moving tapestries that allow our audience to create its own interpretation of the mysteries of human emotion, stress and fear.
The Mask Task
Orfeo Nel Canale Alimentare — Rachel Mayeri
In this animated opera, Orpheus attempts to rescue Eurydice from a bout of indigestion by crossing the river of her inner-under world. But in the alimentary canal there are no heroes, only the multitudes.
Orfeo Nel Canale Alimentare
Insān — Alexis Gambis
A young man with a stutter shares with us the story of the first speaking Arabian Oryx “Mozaik” that changed the course of his life and for that matter the future of humankind.
Random Legal Move — Noah Hutton
For years Clarice has kept her father’s work hidden, as she works a menial job at the local rec centre. But after a renowned neuroscientist makes her a tempting offer, Clarice must make a decision whether to guard his secret or give the last piece of her father’s genius away.
Random Legal Move
Lichen — Sally Warring
The journey of the Fungus on its hunt for the perfect Algal mate punctuated by events that occur in the Lichen lifecycle.
The Fortress — Miryam Charles
Four days after being declared dead, a young girl miraculously finds a way to communicate with her mother leading her to find a way to save her. With the help of a mad scientist, she and her husband will embark a journey to Haïti.
Caroni — Ian Harnarine
An immigrant in New York tries to become a Scarlet Ibis (Eudocimus rubber) bird so that she can travel back to the Caribbean for her child’s birthday party.
Mother, a fairy tale — Barry J Gibb
How far would you go to get what you want? In the near future, Jill is a rare survivor in a world nature tore apart, a woman whose powerful maternal urges are thwarted by a scarcity of men.
Mother, a fairy tale
Realm of An Inner Child — Jeannette Louie
In a tale about fetal microchimerism, a woman experiences the persistent loss of her child who died in utero many years earlier. Her sadness is eased by the knowledge of their molecular bond as the child’s fetal cells were absorbed by her body and a microchimera was created. During a brief interlude, they share a discourse that reveals their enduring physiological attachment.
Realm of an Inner Child
The Breeder — Demelza Kooij
Always wanted an extra fluffy rabbit, a dog on two legs, or a legless cat? Dr Schönbacher’s new app makes it easy for you to design and order your own!
Animation by Maya Edelman
Assistant Editor: Gergo Varga
Co-produced by Imaginal Disc
Walking up to the Berkeley Pit viewing stand in Butte, Montana is like experiencing a strange, sterile birth. You enter a long, white tunnel lit with fluorescent tubes. A woman’s voice laid over innocuous country music echoes against the smooth walls. The recorded voice describes the history of this bizarre vestige of rabid industrialization.
Director/Producer | Anna Sagatov
Camera Operator | Nick Hill
Drone Operator | Hugo Sindelar
Traveling through the seas among the playful fish and jelly fish, a man slowly realizes that his surroundings are changing into a darker and bleaker environment. Life is quickly seeping away and only one of his companions is left among the ruins. He desperately tries to save it, but all is in vain until he learns that a sacrifice has to be made.
I am a botanist. It took me two years to complete this video. Two years of watching and analysing mesmerizing movements and metamorphoses of plants. We can describe them using the language of biology, mathematics, or physics, but I now know there might be another way too…
Becoming is a short film about the miraculous genesis of animal life. In great microscopic detail, we see the ‘making of’ an Alpine Newt in its transparent egg from the first cell division to hatching. A single cell is transformed into a complete, complex living organism with a beating heart and running bloodstream.
The first stages of embryonic development are roughly the same for all animals, including humans. In the film, we can observe a universal process which normally is invisible: the very beginning of an animal’s life.
Featuring beautiful hand-drawn animations and interviews with leading stem cell scientists, STEM CELL REVOLUTIONS charts the history and scientific evolution of stem cell research — from the earliest experiments that first revealed stem cells in the body, to leading current scientific and clinical developments.
Siegfried A. Fruhauf´s Exterior Extended is a prime example of an artistic strategy whereby a maximum effect is achieved through the combination of a minimum of individual elements. A 35mm film with thirty–six photos on it suffices as starting material for a stringent study on the theme of spatial perception in film. As motif, Fruhauf takes a dilapidated ruin of a house in the countryside wildly overgrown with plants. He photographs exclusively from the inside to the outside, ground level, through frameless window openings, which are consistently visible in the photos. This hereby frames the individual landscape photos, and clearly defines the border between inside and outside.
Fruhauf worked out the photo series digitally, layering the photos systematically, both positive as well as negative, multiply on top of one another. The result of this working process can be experienced twice in a row in Exterior Extended, separated by a shot of a human birth, which appears briefly. The sharp contrast black–and–white film develops a strong vacuum effect due to the image layering and montage, which is additionally highlighted by the rhythmic, synthetic, minimal soundtrack. In his work, Fruhauf continues concepts of structural film by combining the classical, historical mediums of film and photography with digital image processing methods. In Exterior Extended the filmmaker drafts an experimental battle painting by allowing the opponents to appear on screen: black vs. white, positive vs. negative, inside vs. outside, nature vs. architecture, analogue vs. digital, freeze frame vs. motion picture, and 2D vs. 3D.
Translation: Lisa Rosenblatt
Interior and exterior space blur in a frenzied staccato layering of digital imagery, creating the film’s distinctive sphere of subjective experience. The spectator penetrates the medium’s imaginary interior — drawn in by the undertow of glimmering pictures. A subtle game of perception assembled from 36 individual frames. (S. Fruhauf)
Mirrors takes us on a courageous journey inward toward the traumatic memories of a contemporary ballet dancer named Crimson. These memories are keeping her small, stuck, and far from participating in the joy of her own life. Each encounter reveals another source of her discontent and therefore brings to light what habitual ways of being have the potential for change. Crimson slowly and patiently begins untangling her past traumas so that she is able to emerge more present.
Directed and Animated by Eric Leiser
Original Score Jeffrey Leiser
Regeneration is a film about transformation. Starting in a dark place the character reaches toward the divine and breaks into the world of the spirit. Through this act representing an outstretched hand we see that the Holy Spirit represented as a dove is pursuing us even more urgently. The meeting of the two represents the freedom in flight found in trusting fully in the Holy Spirit and is completed with the return to the heart now fully regenerated. Eric Leiser ~ 2011
Alex a young designer and a dreamer falls for his new neighbor Lili, a beautiful Asian girl. Too shy to approach her, Alex secretly observes her and quickly discovers her secret: Lili does not come from China but from far far away…
A few days before her wedding, a young woman learns that her fiancé is accused of sexual assault. She goes to Haiti to confront the alleged victim
An old woman encounters a forest spirit.
A young woman investigates her neighbour and his wildly boring running route.
“My eyes are gone” is inspired by a real fact. After a traffic accident and the death of the woman he loved, Felix details the memories of his own rugged and sick body. His speech circumscribes a complex mental space constantly concerned by the obsession of organizing and staging his own disappearance.
In the beginning, ground, and sky. Snails move on the axis of the naked world, during a slow ascension where the commonplace meets the supernatural. In what flow are these both familiar and monstrous creatures drifting? There is no answer, but the images haunt.
The transmutation of mind and matter was a subject of research in the field of alchemy [Magnus Opus] and it continues nowadays through the sciences, which explore the nature of consciousness, the creation of A-life, synthetic and systems biology. ‘The Pursuit of Anomalous Mind Habitats’ is an attempt of the mind to expand, mutate and change its abode. This intelligence is constantly facing the desire and need to cross the boundaries of the human body in order to extend the possibilities of sensing and performing. It needs to adapt and survive in unknown conditions that it has never encountered before. The human body is not always able to perform the actions demanded by the mind. Consequently, intelligence enacts a transmutation of the body through the metamorphosis of organic and synthetic matter.
A wolf is taken down and brought back to the village as a trophey. But the animal is not dead and the bullet lodged in its skull and has repercussions on its psyche.
After a distressing abortion, Rosalie returns to her home village. She discovers her grand mother’s house and garden in a state of neglect; her old friends her first love and his new girlfriend. She endeavours to maintain her course not without causing a stir…
A mother finds herself sinking into a domestic violent relationship, until an influx of emotions is awakened within her.
‘Influx’ is a poetic short film that sinks into the themes of domestic violence, alcoholism, and love. Inspired by Leslie Morgan Steiner’s TED talk: ‘Why domestic violence victims don’t leave.’ And by the countless stories of mothers trapped in abusive relationships and the power of love for their children.
The ancient myth of the phoenix, the legendary bird with the amazing power of self-regeneration, is reborn with a modern twist. In this animated adaptation of a story by Sylvia Townsend Warner, we follow Lord Strawberry’s search for the fabled bird. He finds it in the deserts of Arabia and brings it home to his aviary. Upon Lord Stawberry’s death, however, the phoenix ends up as a sideshow in a fairground. This spirited satire of human foibles, with its timely message about our treatment of nature’s creatures, will appeal to young people and adults alike.
This short animation is a visual fantasy, a gripping tale that is “larger-than-life” in its themes: life, death and rebirth; creation and destruction; permanence and impermanence, spontaneity and control. Bold swoops of liquid colour surge with variations on Mozart’s Requiem to a startling denouement. Alchemists will provoke reflection on creativity, relationships and the environment. Without words.
A lonely man who lives and works at a train station for years, starts question his life and environment after a little mouse encounters his life. The mouse that becomes enemy for stealing his food, is perhaps the only living being who might be his true friend.
The documentary FtWTF is a precise encounter with the theme of gender transgression, whereby the gender border is crossed in the same direction each time: from a specific starting point (female/woman) to a temporarily open end point (“what the fuck”). The filmmakers portray six people who for different reasons take on a transgender identity and live it out in different and changing ways.
In talks that are serious yet nonetheless not anxious, which draw us in, the protagonists confront the conditions, consequences, and sometimes also bizarre circumstances of their decision. The way they do so is disarmingly open and often humorous, in a manner that is amazing to see. Due to the gorgeous images, deep insights into gender construction and sexuality are communicated with ease; and the protagonists´ obvious trust in the film project can be attributed to the directors´ impressive expertise.
FtWTF has posed the immense challenge of bringing gender transformations onto the screen without tragedy and pathos, crying parents or deeply saddened relatives; no voyeuristic gazes fixed on bodies and bedrooms. The film, which can be situated at the center of queer art production, succeeds in doing all of this and much more in a way still rarely seen: likeable and eloquent, engaging in political analysis and well-informed on feminism, the film´s protagonists become heroes of gender difference, heroes who bravely live their desire for masculinity, and constantly critically question it: Each in his own way. (Andrea B. Braidt)
In NavelFable Mara Mattuschka subject herself to a second birth through endless pairs of tights. Her body struggles so hard and in such a deformed manner from out of the layers of nylon that the sheer struggle for survival becomes visible.
Breaking the large and symmetrical with the small and singular; and vice versa — a principle continually applied in Josef Dabernig’s art. Here, too, in the film Zlaté Piesky Rocket Launch, which as a whole, can be interpreted as an allegory of the world’s (impossible to end) bipolarity. Large and small are embodied at first by parents (played by Dabernig’s son and daughter) and two small boys (one of them, Dabernig’s grandson), who check into a seemingly abandoned, somewhat run-down park hotel named Flóra (“played” by the eponymous complex in Bratislava’s Zlaté Piesky recreational area). Entirely true to his film’s wink-of-an-eye principle of family, Dabernig himself is there behind the reception desk and lets himself show, with exaggerated gestures, that he is shocked by the children’s gentle war games. But in the parallel montages that follow, the war, furthermore, the “cold” war or what is left of it as reminisces, takes on extremely unexpected features. While the adults switch on their laptops without exchanging a word in the sparse hotel room, and prepare for a simulated rocket start, the boys run around aimlessly in the expansive park grounds. Dressed as astronauts (or, rather, cosmonauts), they play with homemade rockets and flying objects. While this is going on, the camera’s gaze continuously turns searchingly skyward. Added to that are the sounds, likewise set parallel, of two earthy pieces by the Kattowitz hip hop group Kaliber 44: one assigned to the adults, one the kids. Only once does a camera pan combine inside and outside spaces, and while the analogue children’s game ends outdoors under a huge rocket-like pipe, the adults become lost in the digital orbit of their outer-space mission (playing out on the screen). Meanwhile, the electronic sci-fi sounds continue to bleep spiritedly. The refraction of two spheres falling into one another, yet somehow linked: charged to the full.
Story of Flowers was originally conceived by Japanese artist Azuma Makoto as an educational tool to teach his young daughter about the life cycles of plants. In the animation, flowers bloom and birds and insects pollinate a plethora of thriving exotic plants. Below ground, as roots spread to anchor into the soil, subterranean micro-organisms are magnified and fill the screen. The depiction of these complex ecosystems, in addition to the human backdrop of a grey cityscape, hint toward the environmental and social comments that the film arguably makes.
Story of Flowers is brought to life by the illustrations of Katie Scott. Azuma’s collaboration with the London-based illustrator, with animator James Paulley, brings a clean and accurate anatomical sheen to the project. Story of Flowers is a beautiful piece of narrative filmmaking, showing birth through to decay, while also being a vibrant and dynamically entertaining animation.
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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