“Dissolution” at Museum of the Moving Image. A jewel-box, sculptural hologram created by artist David Levine that captures the experience of a person trapped inside a machine. This hypnotic volumetric projection—a hologram viewable from any angle—functions as a kind of digital zoetrope, beaming colorful pixels at 30 frames per second onto an oscillating glass plate that clatters like a 16mm film projector. Presented with an accompanying film series featuring a selection of films that depict humans reconstituted into computerized worlds, as well as a limited-edition broadsheet by PPP Editions. On view October 27, 2023–March 2024.
“Twitch, Pop, Bloom: Science in Action” at Museum of the Moving Image. This exhibition presents films produced for scientific education and entertainment between 1904 and 1936 that demonstrate a unique aesthetic sensibility on the part of their makers. Among the work selected are some of the first films utilizing time-lapse, slow motion, and micro-cinematography; one of the earliest color films; one critical to the rapid diagnosis of disease; and popular early nature films. On view May 5–September 18, 2022.
June 16, 2022: Live improvised score performed by Will Epstein, Shahzad Ismaily, and Sarah Pedinotti accompanied the opening of Twitch, Pop, Bloom: Program II.
Science on Screen at Museum of the Moving Image, begun by Sonia Epstein in 2017, pairs special screenings with conversations, introductions, and new writing including scientists and filmmakers to offer new perspectives on both film and scientific subject matter. Films span from the silent era through those made for the Internet; subjects range from seahorses to robotic clones. The series has featured the work of such filmmakers as Isabella Rossellini, Lynn Hershman Leeson, Agnieszka Holland, and Alex Rivera, who have discussed topics including marine organisms, reproductive biology, epidemiology, and human-robot interactions with scientists including Mandë Holford, Fabien Cousteau, and Maria Gloria Dominguez-Bello.
Science on Screen programs have taken place in the Museum’s theaters, online, and at the Queens Drive-in. Events have featured live music, a laser light show, and even a baking demonstration. In addition to one-time screenings, the series presents thematic series including: “Proceed with Caution,” showcasing films and speakers focused on public health; “Outer Space Speculators,” which included films from as early as 1925 that were set in outer space but grounded in scientific research of their time; and “Extinction and Otherwise,” with scripted and non-scripted films that depict extinction, survival, and life as it might be.
Sonia Epstein also participates in the selection of projects for the Museum’s annual First Look Festival, presenting adventurous new international cinema, including films that fall under the banner of Science on Screen.
Computer Chess. Screening and discussion with actor Robin Schwartz and computer scientist and AI researcher Suresh Venkatasubramanian. 2023.
Geographies of Solitude. Introduction by director Jacquelyn Mills. 2023.
Utama. Advanced screening presented in collaboration with the Imagine Science Film Festival. 2022.
“Extinction and Otherwise” film series. Featuring scripted and non-scripted films that depict extinction, survival, and life as it might be, paired with writing by scientists, scholars, and filmmakers examining the ways extinction is perpetuated and yet life persists within new landscapes. 2022.
Science on Screen at First Look, 2022.
Son of Monarchs. Preview screening and Q&A with director Alexis Gambis. 2021.
“Talking Like a Robot: HAL 9000, Her, and a History of Voice Synthesis.” Presentation by Amherst Cultural Historian Christopher Grobe, followed by a screening. 2021.
Proceed with Caution: Science on Screen at the Queens Drive-In. Film series. 2021.
My Zoe. Preview screening and conversation with Julie Delpy. 2021.
New Nature Shorts. Online screening of 12 short films co-presented by MoMI and the Goethe-Institut. Co-curated with Samara Chadwick. 2020.
Bile. Screening and conversation with director Ira A. Goryainova. Presented in collaboration with the Imagine Science Film Festival. 2020.
Double Feature: The Thing and Videodrome. At Queens Drive-in, a partnership between MoMI, Rooftop Films, and NYSCI. 2020.
Double Feature: Back to the Future and Rick and Morty. At Queens Drive-in, a partnership between MoMI, Rooftop Films, and NYSCI. 2020.
Night of the Living Dead. Preceded by three short films: The Deepest Hole, Sniffles and Sneezes, Wood Child and Hidden Forest Mother. At Queens Drive-in, a partnership between MoMI, Rooftop Films, and NYSCI. 2020.
Radioactive with Rosamund Pike and Marjane Satrapi. Screening and conversation. online 2020.
Fantastic Voyage and Representing COVID-19. With CDC medical illustrator Alissa Eckert and UC San Diego historian David Serlin in conversation. online 2020.
Dirty in the Kitchen: Yeast and Breadmaking. With baker Avery Ruzicka and botanist Nicholas Money for a screening, kitchen demo, and conversation. online 2020.
Spaceship Earth: Reimagining the Future. With Matt Wolf, director of Spaceship Earth, environmental scientist Andrew Reid Bell, and biospherians Linda Leigh and Mark Nelson in conversation. online 2020.
Woman In The Dunes: Living With Disaster. With economist Sonali Deraniyagala and writer Emily Raboteau in conversation. planned 2020.
Outer Space Speculators series. With researchers introducing each film. 2020.
Bird’s-Eye View: The Films of Mikael Kristersson series. With Mikael Kristersson in conversation with different scientists following each film. 2019.
Tuning Into The Sound of Silence. With director Michael Tyburski and physicist Janna Levin in conversation. 2019.
Circle to Sphere: Origins of the Laser Light Show. With physicist Elsa Garmire, filmmaker Joshua White, and collector AJ Epstein in conversation, plus special laser and liquid light live demonstrations. 2019.
The Bit Player. With filmmaker Mark Levinson and electrical engineer Robert Gallager in conversation. Presented in collaboration with the World Science Festival. 2019.
Wild Lives: Ming of Harlem and Meshie, Child of a Chimpanzee. With director Phillip Warnell (Ming of Harlem) and animal cognition researcher Diana Reiss in conversation, and including a special appearance by Meshie film subject Harry Raven. 2019.
The Best Years of Our Lives: Engineering the Body. With historian David Serlin and assistive technology expert Anita Perr in conversation. 2019.
To Dust: Death and the Necrobiome. Introduced by producers Emily Mortimer and Alessandro Nivola. With director Shawn Snyder, actor Géza Röhrig, and microbiologist Maria Gloria Dominguez-Bello in conversation. 2019.
Rhinoceros: The Decline of Civilization. With political scientist Ester Fuchs and playwright Theresa Rebeck in conversation. 2018.
Agnieszka Holland’s Spoor. With environmental scientist Eyal Frank and critic Amy Taubin in conversation. 2018.
Searching: What Happens When We Disappear into Our Screens? With filmmakers Aneesh Chaganty and Sev Ohanian, marketing professor Adam Alter, and neuroscientist Heather Berlin in conversation. Presented in collaboration with the World Science Festival. 2018.
John Frankenheimer’s Seconds: Starting Over in America. With economist Darrick Hamilton and film critic Michael Atkinson in conversation. 2018.
Of the Deep: Films by the Department of Tropical Research. Introduced by Director of the New York Aquarium Jon Forrest Dohlin. With oceanographic explorer Fabien Cousteau and marine mammal researcher Howard Rosenbaum in conversation. Films presented with live musical accompaniment by High Water. 2018.
Downsizing. With screenwriter Jim Taylor and bioethicist S. Matthew Liao in conversation. 2017.
Remote Work: Alex Rivera’s Sleep Dealer. With filmmaker Alex Rivera and human-robot interaction researcher Wendy Ju in conversation. 2017.
InVisible: Films by Barbara Hammer, Oxford University, and James Sibley Watson. With filmmaker Barbara Hammer and surgical oncologist Elisa Port in conversation. Screening accompanied by a live score by High Water. 2017.
Somnambulism, When Dreams Come True: The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari. Followed by a conversation with sleep disorder specialist Carl Bazil. Film accompanied by a live score by High Water. 2017.
Love Lives of Sea Creatures: Films by Jean Painlevé, Isabella Rossellini, and Roberto Rossellini. With actress and filmmaker Isabella Rossellini and marine chemical biologist Mandë Holford in conversation. 2017.
Craving the Y Chromosome: Teknolust. With filmmaker Lynn Hershman Leeson and biologist Stuart Firestein in conversation. 2017.
Partner. “New Nature,” an immersive media and climate science exchange between Germany, Canada, U.S.A., and Mexico. In partnership with the National Film Board of Canada, the Phi Centre Montreal, Concordia University–Milieux Institute, Retune–Creative Technology Laboratory, Massive Science, Museum of the Moving Image’s Science on Screen program. 2020.
Curator. Science at a Slant. Open Borders Books. Bookshop.org. 2020.
Curator. Cathode Ray Tube Projections: Films by Billy Klüver, Julie Martin, Stan VanDerBeek, and Joan Jonas. Introduced by television historian Mark Schubin and Julie Martin, director of Experiments in Art and Technology. Imagine Science Film Festival, Rooftop Reds, Brooklyn. 2017.
Curator. (In)Visible: An Evening of Moving Image X Rays. Films by Barbara Hammer, James Sibley Watson and Melville Webber, and Oxford University Medical School. Presented with a live score by High Water. Spectacle Theater, Brooklyn. 2016.
Best International Documentary Feature Juror. Silbersalz Science & Media Festival, Halle, Germany. 2020.
Short Film Juror. International Festival of Science Documentary Films, Olomouc, Czech Republic. planned 2020.
Reviewer. Creative Capital Awards, New York. 2020.
Festival Juror. Imagine Science Film Festival, Brooklyn. 2018.
Juror. International Contemporary Science Film Festival 360°, Polytechnic Museum, Moscow. 2017.