Into the Gyre & Out of Our Minds – A Trip to the SCINEMA
The night kicked off with an enthusiastic crowd being taken on a road trip of a different kind. Film maker, Kate Webbink, took us on a journey that followed the trails of thought of a number of different researchers in the field of comparative cognition. In part inspired by the information visualisation work by Chaomei Chen, ‘Out of Our Minds’ was a lushly beautiful and thought-provoking attempt at better understanding scientific thinking.
After stopping briefly for a coffee – and viewing the fascinating and quick fire ‘coffee ring effect’, we then travelled to the African desert.
Reflector, set in Africa in 1977 against a background of political unrest, tells the story of an amateur astronomer travelling to count the rings of Uranus. Ultimately, the film attempted to use a mixture of shock, intrigue and humour to tell the story. For a lover of astronomy, I would have preferred a story that focused more on a fascination with the stars, than on the backdrop for the event. After all, the story of the discovery of these rings begins a long time ago and there is much that could have been told.
The night ended with the crowd all at sea, viewing a more classic-style documentary, Into the Gyre. This film gave us an insight into the true nature of ‘the great Pacific garbage patch‘. The documentary followed the crew of the Corwith Cramer on a scientific expedition to study the location, extent and effect of plastic pollution in the North Atlantic. This film was awarded best film in 2012 and it’s easy to see why. The documentary provided new insights into the nature of this plastic pollution, including the fact that the Pacific garbage patch is far more insidious than one big floating mass. The very term ‘garbage patch’ is misleading, as the majority of the plastic fragments found during the expedition were less than 1 cm in size – so small that they were not even visible from the deck of the ship. Aside from the remote location of this plastic pollution, the size of the fragments means there is no practical way to clean this mess up. The way to avoid the pollution is to not put it there in the first place.
To end the story of SCINEMA 2012 on an enjoyable note, I think you can do no better than to turn to musical heroes of the night. Let the Robot Quardotors speak for themselves:
By Rose Wodecki