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Materia is an immersive film directed by Davide Bernardis and co-produced by Blaise Agüera y Arcas (2023). The production features data from the Max Planck Institute of Molecular Cell Biology and Genetics, Max Planck BioImaging Core Unit Network, Human Technopole and NASA Jet Propulsion Lab. The shape-shifting worlds of Materia were built combining satellite image processing from NASA (HiRISE) data; light and electron microscopy data of organic neural tissues; generative adversarial network (GAN) for image processing; and 3D animation. The immersive soundscape and visuals are accompanied by text adapted from Blaise Agüera y Arcas's novella Ubi Sunt, which incorporates dialogues with the controversial large language model LaMDA. Materia employs different technological and aesthetic conditions of perception belonging to the fields of art and science — in an effort to start excavating entangled, expanded vocabularies to re-imagine the relations between consciousness, technology and the natural world. By bringing these divergent methodologies and languages in conversation, the multi-scalar complexity of our planet and its temporalities collapses into a morphing vision of the contemporary landscape — in which the uncanniness of the real surpasses that of fiction.
Director / Producer
Blaise Agüera y Arcas
Satellite Image Processing
Neural Data Processing
Carmen Lael Hines
Max Planck Institute of Molecular Cell Biology and Genetics
Max Planck BioImaging Core Unit Network
NASA / Jet Propulsion Lab / UArizona
Davide Bernardis is a conceptual film director based in Berlin. His work combines documentary filmmaking with state-of-the-art image processing techniques applied in scientific research, film production and design. His research explores the intersections between the natural, the artificial and the symbolic. Davide is a former research fellow at Strelka Institute and creative director at VICE. He is currently consulting for the design and innovation studio Carlo Ratti Associati.