Saturday, April 29, 8 pm at Millennium Film Workshop
(curated by Jennifer MacMillan and Bradley Eros)
In June 2005, Doug Warrick and his colleagues at Oregon State University published their research findings on the flight of the hummingbird. Their remarkable discovery revealed that the hummingbird’s wing movement is a hybrid between a bird and an insect, and that the insect-like aerodynamic tricks give the hummingbird its unique hovering ability. Inspired by this paper, published in Nature 453 (2005), we have created our own experiment to investigate the cross-pollination of scientific visualization and poetic document. Our materials and methods include star studies, satellite recordings, subaquatic and botanical investigations, liquid crystals, visual music performance generated from the scientific instrument, high speed motion studies, a discussion of subatomic physics, and readings of the 10 most beautiful experiments of science!
This visual demonstration is designed to test our hypothesis that cinema and science are alike in their approach to the investigation of nature, with both fields using the image as data. As Jean Painleve, the marine biologist & pioneering filmmaker revealed, “Filming a once invisible world with a once only imagined instrument . . .,” this show explores myriad ways of seeing through a spectrum of capturing devices and projections from super-8 to satellite. Like the other objects of study in this laboratory of poetics, the hummingbird can be viewed through visual kinematics, musical mathematics, or performative dynamics, illuminating the miniature nectivore’s refracting iridescent feathers, its wing movement of 200 times a minute, or its surprising flight patterns – backwards, sideways, & upside down. Hover like a hummingbird, flicker like a film! -JM & BE
NINETEEN DOTS AND A HUMMINGBIRD by Ramon Rivera Moret, with sound by Roland Vajs, video, duration variable (Intro loop)
Working with high-speed video data gathered by Doug Warrick et al. for their paper “Aerodynamics of the Hovering Hummingbird” Nature 453, 1094-1096 (2005), a digitally manipulated loop experiment has been created to slowly reveal the hummingbird flight through surprising perspectives.
EDGERTON’S HIGH SPEED MOTION STUDIES, courtesy of MovieMike Olshan, 16mm, b/w, with a new soundtrack by Eros, 10 min.
While studying electrical engineering at MIT, Harold Eugene Edgerton developed a strobe light technique, which led him to the invention of the electric flash. This advance in photography would enable him to capture a few of the fastest & smallest moments in time, including the flight of a bird, the movement of a fly, and the iconic milk drop splash as physical phenomenon. The ultimate pioneer of scientific photography!
ECLIPSE by Jeanne Liotta 2005 16mm film, color 3:30 minutes sound by BDF
A lunar eclipse event, 11.09.03, documented and translated via the light-sensitive medium of Kodachrome film. In the 4th c BCE Aristotle founded The Lyceum, a school for the study of all natural phenomena pursued without the aid of mathematics, which was considered too perfect for application on this imperfect terrestial sphere. This
film then, in the spirit of.
WITH: ECLIPSE/STARRY CAMERA ROLL. 3 minutes.
A sample of the 16mm field recordings for 'Observando el Cielo', an upcoming project
taking place in a constellation of mediums, witnessing the cosmos
from my own backyard. –JL
ACROSYNAXIS by Anthony Jay Ptak, Performance for Thereminvox, 10 min
Utilizing the theremin’s principle of interference to feed back into itself an exponential deconstruction of the instrument, the frequency of oscillation along a unified temporal axis, reflects a recursive bridging of distance in a soundscape of interference. Much like the 1000th of a second captured image of Warrick’s hovering hummingbird, or the Kino-Glaz reality 24 times per second delineated by Dziga Vertov, or John Cage’s Future of Music Credo which alludes to Beethoven as a material operating at 50 times per second and rejects imitative use of the theremin. This electro-acousmatic work concentrates on sound as a carrier of information. – AJP
LIQUID CRYSTALS by Jean Painleve, video, color, 6 min., with Bradley Eros reading poetry from Christian Bok's Crystallography
A pioneer of science films, Jean Painleve has managed both to fascinate men of science and move poets and cinephiles by revealing the once-hidden worlds of vampire bats, paramecia, water fleas, octopi, seahorses, and liquid crystals. Son of a mathematician and politician Paul Painleve, he has always been an independent thinker (a scientist once called him a “fantasist”), who teamed up with avant-gardists between the two world wars and cultivated anarchist opinions while at the wheel of his Lancia or Bugatti. –From “Jean Painleve Reveals the Invisible,” 1986.
THE GALILEAN SATELLITES: GANYMEDE by Courtney Hoskins (2003 (part 3 of 4 of The Galilean Satellites) 16mm, sound, color, 3 min.
Ganymede is the cup-bearer of the gods. Though he shows some superficial signs of age, the protection of Jupiter and his distance from the sun keep him in a state of eternal youth- his younger, liquid self cross-hatched with a cracked and ageing skin. This film is the third of a four-part series dedicated to filmmaker Stan Brakhage. The inspiration for these films came from the incredible images and sounds coming from the Galileo space probe. – CH
POLYMER by Courtney Hoskins & Carl Fuermann (2003- Digital files recorded onto 16mm film, silent, color, 23 sec.)
Living hundreds of miles apart, but drawn to collaborate on a film, the two needed to be creative. Carl hatched an idea: he sent the first image- a simple jpeg attachment to an e-mail message. Courtney downloaded the image, manipulated it, and sent it back. The end result was a chain of 45 individual frames consisting of a sort of "Universal Magic-" images of hurricanes as seen from space juxtaposed with spiral galaxies, jellyfish, single-cell organisms, microscopic images of liquid crystals and various other images gleaned from the world of science. All of these images were captured on scales separated by thousands of orders of magnitude (as Carl and I were) and through various wavelengths of light to be re-imagined through the artist's eye. – CH
VOID RATIO by Ray Sweeten, oscilloscope/video, sound, 7 min.
As humans we perpetually attempt to understand the unknown in ourselves and the physical world. Modern Science continues to stand out as an almost primal instinct which can be traced back not only to ancient polymorphic conceptions of natural forces, but also points indirectly to the tremulous relationship with and deeply embedded awe we experience surrounding our own mortality. The first in a series, Void Ratio 1 begins to explore the idea of the limits of knowledge, the space between speculation and truth and
our ability, if any, to access it. -- RS
VISIONS IN COLLISIONS, a presentation by Peter Steinberg, Brookhaven National Laboratory, 15 min
I am a staff physicist at Brookhaven National Laboratory, currently serving as Project Manager for PHOBOS, one of the four experiments studying particle interactions at the Relativistic Heavy Icon Collider (RHIC.) At RHIC, we study collisions of nuclei in an attempt to create a super-hot and super-dense state of matter that has not been accessible in any quantity since the big bang 13.7 billion years ago. The collisions create thousands of particles, which we study with a set of sophisticated detectors... the field right now is trying to determine its most important questions for the future, and where to answer them. – PS
Excerpt from A BRIEF HISTORY OF TIME, documentary on Stephen Hawking, video, 5 min.
What do we know about the universe, and how do we know it? Where did the universe come from, and where is it going? Did the universe have a beginning, and if so, what happened before then? What is the nature of time? Will it ever come to an end? Can we go back in time? Recent breakthroughs in physics, made possible in part by fantastic new technologies, suggest answers to some of these long standing questions. Someday these answers may seem as obvious to us as the earth orbiting the sun – or perhaps as ridiculous as a tower of tortoises. Only time (whatever that may be) will tell. – Stephen Hawking
PRESEPE (2004) by Bruce McClure, modified, multiple projection, 12 min.
Part one and on this side of the punched plate scenics, darkness is shaped and zippered-up in the flicker shuffle between two machines hurling out syncopated flash and bump projectiles like unnumbered sheep materialized as electric traces in friendly in-betweens. . . . Within certain limits each projector meters out the light according to a standard frequency established in a concordat between physiological psychology and an economy of practice . . . It is here that the noisy Cyclops with its first light critical flicker is rejoined by a broadcast of sound that agitates the hegemony reigning over the binocular guests who share its cave. –BM
AURORA BOREALIS by Bradley Eros, 16mm, color, sound 10 min.
An homage to two lyrical surrealists of the cinematic collage, Joseph Cornell and Jean Painleve. Made entirely of science & nature footage, through a process of subtracting the original expository devices, and emphasizing the oneiric beauty and confusion of scale, where the microscopic is analogous to the astrologic, and the insertion of unexpected diversions and creatures creates nocturnal associations and uncanny perceptions. A work more alchemical than clinical, focused on decay and regeneration, with a hypnotic sountrack by Messiaen. -- BE
ELECTROENCEPHALOGRAPH FUNCTIONS (BRAINWAVE MANIFESTATION) by Zach Layton, audio and video generated through brainwave activity, 8 min.
Zach Layton is a New York-based composer and improviser versed in biofeedback techniques, psychoacoustics and perception. His work investigates complex relationships created through the interaction of simple core elements such as sine waves. His interest in biofeedback led him into the research of music produced by the human brain and the construction of a homemade Electroencephalograph (EEG), which he now uses in performance. Tonight's performance will also feature realtime manipulation of 2 and 3 dimensional contour maps that morph according to data received from the brainwaves – ZL
THE GARDEN DISSOLVES INTO AIR by Jennifer MacMillan, super 8 to 16mm to video, color, sound, 6 min.
A cinematic exploration through the Brooklyn Botanic Garden, using a super-8 camera and the simple power of observation; a document of flowers, butterflies, dragonflies, and goldfish has been captured and analyzed through the optical printer and Final Cut Pro. A true film/video hybrid of science & imagination, this digitally manipulated 16mm film in some small way approaches the marsh flowers of Odilon Redon, where the marvels of nature become part of the dream world! – JM
Millennium Film Workshop
66 E. 4th St. (between Bowery & 2nd Ave.)
New York, NY