Fifth Annual

Imagine Science Abu Dhabi
Full Program
6:00PM | The Project Space

Join us for a first look at this year's wide-ranging sci-art show, SURVIVAL, featuring broken ecologies, cities of self-driving cars, the lives of sea slugs, CRISPR solutions for personality modification, the science of perception, and the end of the world. With all the artists in attendance to introduce their works.

7:30PM | The Black Box

Three Identical Strangers
(Tim Wardle | 86 min | 2018 | UK)

Three strangers are reunited by astonishing coincidence after being born identical triplets, separated at birth, and adopted by three different families. Their jaw-dropping, feel-good story instantly becomes a global sensation complete with fame and celebrity, however, the fairy-tale reunion sets in motion a series of events that unearth an unimaginable secret –– a secret with radical repercussions for us all.

Followed by a post-screening discussion expanding on the themes of identity and genetics with NYU Abu Dhabi Professor of Biology Kirsten Edepli, NYU Abu Dhabi Program Head of Social Research and Public Policy David Cook and artist/filmmaker Emilia Tikka, moderated by NYU Abu Dhabi Assistant Professor of Psychology Jaime Napier.

Preceded by:

(Amanda Tasse | 9 min | USA | 2017)

Mira is a magical realist short film that contemplates the relationship between the life cycle of galaxies, the immortal jellyfish, and a young marine biologist's own mind as she risks her life to pursue the work she loves.
5:00PM | The Project Space

Join the incredible artists and filmmakers of our art show this year in a conversation about interdisciplinary art-science creation and how they came to their own hybrid practices.

7:30PM | The Black Box

K2 and the Invisible Footmen
(Iara Lee | 54 min | 2015 | USA / Pakistan)

Located on the border between Pakistan and China, K2 is the second-highest mountain on Earth. For many climbers, it is an even greater prize than Everest, with limited routes, a steeper ascent, and a harder push to its summit. Nicknamed the 'Savage Mountain,' K2's peak juts unprotected into the atmosphere, regularly exposing climbers and porters to life-threatening weather conditions.

Despite being paid at rates far below those received by international expedition leaders, such porters—whether they provide critical supplies to expedition base camps or take on higher-altitude tasks in support of ascending climbers—do some of the most difficult and dangerous work and these efforts make them worthy of recognition as the true heroes of mountaineering.

Followed by a conversation with K2 cinematographer & editor Jawad Sharif and NYU Abu Dhabi Biology Department Head Stephane Boissinot, moderated by NYU Abu Dhabi Associate Director of the Office of Social Responsibility Liria Gjidija.

Preceded by:

Ex Nihilo
Timo Wright | 8 min | Finland | 2018

Ex Nihilo is an experimental short documentary about life, death and our attempts to control them. It tells the stories of an advanced humanoid robot, a cryonics facility, where the brains of deceased people are held and of a international seed vault, where crop seed from around the world are held frozen.

6:30PM | The Project Space

Join us in the Survival sci-art exhibition for a chat with artists Emilia Tikka, Franz Milec, and Alia El Kattan.

7:30 PM | The Black Box Theater

How we see the world shapes the world in turn. A change in perception may become a change in all of civilization. Our relationship with the universe around us, then, is one of constant flux, both personally and as a species. The far-reaching films in this program concern how we see and inhabit our reality -- past, future, and depths of the present -- as the human eye gives way to cameras and screens and we seek the partial immortalities offered by museum collections, robotics, and biological regeneration.

Followed by a conversation with filmmakers Ahmed Geaissa, Marleine van der Werf, Jad Sleiman, Amédée Sabra, and Alexa Mena.

Full film line-up:

The Last Job on Earth
(Moth Studio | 3 min | UK | 2016)

Meet Alice, holder of the last recognisable job on Earth, trying to make sense of her role in an automated world.

Changing the World: Bit by Bit
(Ahmed Geaissa | 13 min | UAE | 2017)

Aiming to educate about cryptocurrency technologies and potential, this documentary explores the mysterious world of Bitcoin.

The Prediction Machine
(Marleine van der Werf | 15 min | Netherlands | 2017)

In his 'Prediction lab', Neuroscientist Floris de Lange explores how expectations affect perception. Inspired by the film Robocop in his teens, De Lange became interested in reproducing the human brain. Understanding perception is the first step.

(Jad Sleiman | 13 min | Lebanon | 2018)

One night, a 30 year old Paleolithic man, living alone in the jungles, discovers a mysterious black liquid gurgling from inside his cave. At first contact, he finds himself immersed in a transcendent journey of exploration.

Through The Glass Lightly
(Alexis Gambis | 3 min | UAE | 2018)

An older man meets his younger self in a timeless desert and tells him what the future holds.

(Amédée Sabra | 20 min | Lebanon | 2017)

Jamil Salhab, a young man, is admitted to a rehab center for social media addicts due to his FOMO. Denied his phone, how will he get connected again?

(Ali Cherri | 14 min | France / Lebanon | 2017)

Filmed inside a series of empty museum galleries across Paris, Ali Cherri's Somniculus (the Latin word for "light sleep") articulates the tension between the lives of objects and the living world that surrounds them.

Total running time: 81 minutes
2:00PM | The Project Space

Join us in the Survival sci-art exhibition for a chat with artists Emily Scaife and Marleine van der Werf.

3:00PM | Black Box Theater

Sensations of plants! Oryxes going home! Unique human-animal bonds! The exquisite development of the newt! This is our nature program and it's full of astonishing images and surprising viewpoints. Because, after all, human survival is bound to that of our natural environment, and the better we can understand and defend that environment the better off we will be.

Followed by a conversation filmmakers, Bashir Wagih, Emily Scaife, Maryam Moustafa, Volkan Budak, and Alexa Mena.

Full film line-up:

(Emily Scaife | 5 min | UK | 2017)

Urges in the undergrowth, erupting fungal fantasies, bursting botanicals; the dust and desires of a tiny alternative universe. A mixed media, experimental animation imagining attraction and pleasure in insects, and the seduction methods of the plants and fungi that beckon.

Back to the Wild
(Veronica Iacono | 34 min | UAE | 2018)

We share our planet with over 2 million species, but upto two thousand become extinct every year. What if we could turn back the clock for one of them? Back to the Wild explores this question, tracing the journey of Nya and her fellow Scimitar-horned Oryx as they travel from Abu Dhabi and return home to Chad after being extinct in the wild for over 25 years. The film follows the Scimitar-horned Oryx Reintroduction Project—the largest mammalian re-introduction effort in history. It aims to serve as a blueprint for the re-introduction of species all over the world, and is a testament to the need to nurture and protect our natural environment for generations to come.

(Jessica Beshir | 7 min | Ethiopia / Mexico / USA | 2016)

Yussuf Mume Saleh journeys nightly into the outskirts of the walled city of Harar to bond with his beloved hyenas, a ritual he has practiced for over thirty-five years. Shot in Black & White, Hairat is a meditation on this uniquely symbiotic relationship between man and wild beast.

From A to Bee
(Maryam Moustafa | 8 min | UAE | 2017)

Follow the journey of one honey company in the UAE, as they struggle to keep their bees alive.

Anthropology of the Future
(Alexis Gambis | 7 min | UAE | 2018)

A series of six chapters that explores the future of humanity through the embodiment of the future in evolving creatures.

(Volkan Budak | 9 min | Turkey | 2017)

The film explores human / animal antagonism through buffalo and other animals living in the Red River Delta. The freedoms of the mandalas, which spend a long period of the year in the delta, end with their owners taking them to the stables, a cultural product.

(Jan van IJken | 6 min | Netherlands | 2017)

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.

Total Running Time: 72 minutes
6:30PM | The Project Space

Join us in the Survival sci-art exhibition for a chat with speculative architect Liam Young.

7:30PM | The Black Box Theater

The Experimental City
(Chad Freidrichs | 96 min | 2017 | USA)

Alarmed by the growing environmental crisis in 1960's America, a visionary scientist and a team of committed experts plan a domed city for 250,000 people whose futuristic technology and innovative design will eradicate the pollution and waste of the modern city, and lead the way toward a new, 21st-Century way of urban life. But before the city of the future breaks ground on a virgin site in isolated northern Minnesota, rural citizens and mistrustful environmentalists rise up in protest, doubtful of its pollution-free promises.

Followed by a conversation with Maha Al Dhaheri (Abu Dhabi Department of Planning and Municipalities Research and Development Unit), Omar al Hashimi (Director of Services Quality Assurance Department at The Municipality of Abu Dhabi City), and Liam Young (architect and filmmaker), moderated by Monica Menendez (NYUAD Associate Professor of Civil Engineering)

Preceded by:

Seoul Machine City
(Liam Young | 8 min | UK / South Korea | 2017)

Based around the 20's avante garde cinema genre of the City Symphony, Seoul City Machine is a filmic poem for the urban landscape of tomorrow. The film is a portrait of a city where machines and technology are now the dominant inhabitants of space. Our guide to the city is the disembodied voice of its urban operating system software. Scripted and narrated by an AI chatbot the city machine voices its own creation story and explains itself to the citizens it affectionately manages.

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