Open-air Cinema :: Imagine Science Films

Event Photo

An evening of art + science+ film

The Quad has partnered with Southern Cross University’s LabX and Associate Professor Grayson Cooke to bring the Imagine Science Film Festival's (ISFF) first-ever Australian screening to Lismore to be screened in the Quadrangle. This event is part of the Quadrangle’s open-air residency series – Plein Air.

The ISFF produces annual science film festivals in New York, Paris and Abu Dhabi, as well as satellite events worldwide, and serves as a major venue for the release of new and experimental works bridging the worlds of science and film. The last Imagine Science Film Festival launch was held at Google headquarters - and now it’s coming to Lismore!

Associate Professor Grayson Cooke has curated ten short films that explore the intersection between the environment, arts and science. The films will be screened on a giant inflatable screen in the Quadrangle and will run for 94 minutes in total.

‘‘Using a wide range of approaches, the films in this screening promote an environmental sensibility that draws equally from the languages of art and science,” said Associate Professor Cooke.

“Art and science are natural neighbors in the world of the experiment; often separated by political and economic forces, the films in this program demonstrate art and science’s affinity in always pushing the boundaries of sensing, feeling and knowing.’’

 "This is the first ever Australian satellite screening from the Imagine Science Film Festival in New York, and I feel very privileged to be able to bring these films to be shown in Lismore." He said.

The night will be opened by a musical performance and digital sound work performed by three musicians and various electronics. The work Musicians and Light Data #1: Location Twilight is composed, directed and produced by Southern Cross University’s Dr Barry Hill, and features two of Australia’s premiere instrumentalists Shenzo Gregorio from Brisbane (strings, electronics) and Trevor Brown from Sydney (bass, clarinet, flute, electronics). The work includes Barry Hill’s Artohmik - an animated computer soundscape generator using a live digital data feed from the Sunflower Solar Energy Generator.

After the performance, Dr Barry Hill will present a talk and Q&A about the Sunflower and environmentally inspired music.

Bring your rugs and cushions and come and enjoy this very special event. Slate café will be serving food from 5pm and the bar will be selling mulled wine to keep everyone warm. They’ll also be open fires throughout the Quad precinct.

5pm – 6pm Musicians and Light Data #1: Location Twilight

7pm - 8.30pm Imagine Science Films

*Header image from Urth 02

Film Program


Dir. César Pacquera (Spain/France, 2014) 4 mins.

“Icarus” is an animated short documentary created using George Yoshitake’s voice. Yoshitake was the last survivor among the secret group of cameramen, who between 1945 and 1962, filmed the nuclear tests made by the US Army at the Nevada desert and the Pacific Ocean. “Icarus” is a film about the fascination of looking, the greedy impulse of capturing images, the essence of filmmaking itself. This group of cameramen represents the impulse of documenting and filming an event, no matter the consequences, risking their lives in order to capture a very precise moment.

Slow Life

Dir. Daniel Stoupin (Australia, 2014) 4 mins.

Colorful "slow" marine animals come to life with complex focus-stacking time-lapse techniques. Corals and sponges play crucial roles in the ocean ecosystems, yet our understanding of their daily lives is highly limited.

The Great Silence

Dir. Jennifer Allora, Guillermo Calzadilla (Puerto Rico, 2016) 16 mins.

Arecibo, the world’s largest radio telescope, is located in Esperanza, Puerto Rico, which is also home to a critically endangered species of parrots. The telescope functions as an ear that is capable of capturing signs of extraterrestrial intelligence. The witty messages from the parrots remain unnoticed.

Hope Island

Dir. Charles Lindsay (Canada, 2015) 7 mins.

Ctenophora / Comb Jellies are the oceanic species that recently initiated a radical re-drawing of the Tree of Life - from the bottom up. This video was captured during a full moon upwelling at Hope Island, British Columbia - as raw material for installations that consider alternate evolutionary paths and the idea of life elsewhere in the universe.


Dir. Noah Shulman (USA, 2014) 6 mins.

There is always movement, even in stillness. Things around us are constantly changing in tiny ways that we don’t notice, eventually building up to growth and death. In “Confluence,” a new film by director Noah Shulman, viewers look beyond what the human eye is capable of seeing to experience those moments in between the transformations that we perceive.  Noah Shulman shot an array of processes both natural and mechanical at incredibly close range and in a controlled environment, allowing to isolate the micro-movements that constantly occur around us in a nearly balletic way. The film includes extreme close-ups of everything from magnetic to chemical and heat reactions, but it’s up to the viewer to extrapolate out from what they can see to imagine the larger view that they can’t.  Created with specialty macro lenses and microscopes and shot in 4K resolution, the film reveals hauntingly beautiful movement at the microscopic level and reminds viewers that everything around them is in flux, even when the surface is calm.


Dir. Ben Rivers (UK, 2017) 19 mins.

“Urth” documents the failed and shut-down ecosystem Biosphere 2.0 in Arizona. A science-fiction-like, pyramidal building and a laboratory for the creation of an artificial Planet Earth to deal with climate change’s destruction of our own version.

Kaltes Tal

Dir. Johannes Krell, Florian Fischer (Germany, 2016) 12 mins.

Oscillating between aesthetic and documentary forms, “Kaltes Tal” describes the daily business of a strip mine harvesting lime. The material removed is processed and returned to nature through forest liming. This measure attempts to counteract acid rain that troubles the forest floor. A cycle like a Mobius strip – an irreversible consequence due to the mining materials in order to restore the fragile natural balance. Lime dust delicately dusts the forest floor. A white, spherical alternative world opens, questioning our ambivalent relationship to nature.

Open Field Delerium Error

Dir. Nate Dorr (USA, 2016) 1 min.

A mouse explores a clear Plexiglas enclosure, initially staying close to the walls but eventually venturing into the center. This is known as the "Open Field Test", a measure of the tension between two contradictory drives in most rodents -- the need to explore their environment versus the fear of open, exposed spaces. However, over the course of the ten minute test, nearly all subjects will venture into the center with increasing frequency, and for longer periods of time. The test is often videotaped and converted into digital files for later analysis. In this case, however, the footage was discovered to have been corrupted during capture or digital conversion. Each time it was played back, new and violently unexpected visual artifacts appeared. This film recomposes the open field test out of over 4000 individually-captured frames of the corrupted video. The mouse, doubtless, remained unaware of this unforeseen dimension of its test session.

Biosemiotic Borneo

Dir. Ursula Biemann (Switzerland/Borneo, 2016) 14 mins.

“Biosemiotic Borneo” ­– a more explicitly sonic than visual piece of art – lingers around a giant Banyan tree that stands in the Meratus Mountains in Southeast Borneo. Drawing attention to the semiotic processes of world-making in nature, the audio-visual work explores how artists and field biologists go about sensing and making sense of dense forest ecologies of Borneo using new methods that describe entire genetic assemblages as fluid text. The sensory richness of the forest inspired this piece to be a form of music in the way geophilosophy recasts natural selection as musical composition, which binds together the coevolution of a tree, birds, insects and symbiont microorganisms.

Quiet Zone

Dir. David Bryant & Karl Lemieux (Canada, 2015) 14 mins.

In “Quiet Zone,” the filmmakers take us deep into the world of those who suffer from electromagnetic hypersensitivity. These “wave refugees” settled in West Virginia around the Green Bank observatory, in an area known as the National Radio Quiet Zone. Combining elements of documentary, film essay and experimental film, “Quiet Zone” defies genres, weaving together an unusual story in which sound and image distort reality to make the distress and suffering of these people palpable. Through the use of complex imagery and sound, mind-blowing cinematic moments are born – moments of grace during which viewers witness electromagnetic waves take shape in the environment, travel through walls and invade spaces with their powerful vibrations. Known for their work in the musical group “Godspeed You! Black Emperor,”David Bryant and Karl Lemieux have produced a striking piece of sensory genius.


Dr Barry Hill bio

Barry Hill is an Australian contemporary musician who has developed his many musical performance projects around contemporary jazz and nonwestern music styles … playing acoustic bass and guitar with instrumental trio amphibian, the Bird and Indian Fusion Group Dha. His career includes performances at many different music festivals and  multiarts  projects throughout the world.

Barry completed a PhD in Music in 2010 and in 2012 he joined the academic team at  Southern Cross University's groundbreaking Contemporary Music program .   Since 2012, Barry has developed a passion for environmental arts and creative solar energy projects.  In 2012 he led the Southern Cross University design team that  built the Sunflower Mobile Solar Generator, one of the first mobile Solar offgrid systems in the world to use Lithium Batteries.  This project has since been installed and showcased as at 40 festivals throughout Australia including Vivid Sydney  The World Science Festival in Brisbane , Splendour in the Grass Festival and Woodford Folk festival.  

For more information on Imagination Science Film Festival visit