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Saturday Cinema: The Art + Science of Luminous Animations

Scene of a family and a howling wolf in a tipi from the animated film Wâhkôhtowin (All My Relations)
Saturday Cinema: The Art + Science of Luminous Animations
Presented by Cinema Arts

Celebrate the Exploratorium’s winter exhibition Glow: Discover the Art of Light with radiant animations, both meditative and kinetic. Five short films capture the holiday spirit, the translucent elements of nature, the radiance of winter’s starry skies and ancestral stories, and the science of salt crystals shaped like jeweled snowflakes.

These films shine light on the creative and diverse ways that individuals draw gleaming inspiration from nature, chemistry, manufactured materials, and mathematical forms.

Running time: 30 minutes
Wâhkôhtowin (All My Relations) by Barry Bilinsky (2022, 6 min.)
The filmmaker, of Cree Metis and Ukrainian descent, explores the power of stories as they are shaped over many nights and many years, through all languages across the world. This beautifully animated story unfolds in an intimate tipi setting between a grandmother and her children’s children on a clear winter night. Through an Indigenous worldview we learn of our relation to the stars and the spirit world and of our connection to our ancestors. Co-presented with the American Indian Film Institute. 

The Arctic by Wenting Zhu (2018, 3 min.)
This film captures crystallization, revealing radiant growth patterns of different salts. It serves as a reminder of the “stunning beauty of the ice worlds.” Produced by Yan Liang, founder of Beauty of Science. Co-presented with Beauty of Science.

White Out by Jeffrey Scher (2007, 3 min.)
More than two thousand individual watercolor paintings animate a celebratory world of winter play. Colorful images shimmer against the brightness of snow while capturing the frivolity of humans slipping and sliding in frosty cold. Jeffrey Scher is an Emmy Award winning animator who has made music videos for Bob Dylan, Graham Nash, Joan Baez, Paul Simon, and others.

Attraction by Emily Scaife (2017, 4 min.)
Take a peek into an alluring world of insect and plant life animated in a field of translucent colors, giving view to the dust and desires of an alternative tiny universe. Painting directly on film, the artist conjures an imagined landscape that shimmers with pulsating, lustrous forms such as erupting fungal fantasies and bursting botanicals.

Let Your Light Shine by Jodie Mack (2014, 4 min.)
In this exuberant handmade animation, optical polyrhythms and a thousand rainbows explode off the screen. The artist Jodie Mack’s playful nature is captured in this prismatic celluloid experience.  

40 years of cinema arts

The Cinema Arts film collection is made possible by the Louis Goldblatt Memorial Fund.

Still image from Wâhkôhtowin (All My Relations)