Chimera Experiments


A Science-Driven Anthology Film
Chimera Experiments is a feature-length anthology film by ten visionary, international filmmakers featuring stories from the most influential scientists of our time.

The theme of Chimera Experiments is evolution in its natural and artificial forms — the deliberate and random modifications of an organism. It's a commentary about advances in genetics and transgenic materials. It also examines how interactions with other beings shape our existence.

As a mixed genre, science-driven anthology film, Chimera Experiments is the first of its kind.

The Rules of Chimera Experiments
All films must be collectively assembled in sequence into an exquisite corpse where the start and end of each piece are connected (visually or sonically) to the previous and next shorts.

An entity referred to as "MOSAIC" or a variations on this name will be present in each chapter morphing into different forms and shapes.

A visual or sonic motif will be present in all films and decided collectively by the filmmakers. This will be the birthmark of this chimera creature. Watch the final product to discover what this is.

Noah Hutton

Noah is a film director and founder of the website The Beautiful Brain. In 2015 he was named a Salzburg Global Fellow in Neuroscience and Art.He is in the seventh year of work on his film Bluebrain, a 10-year documentary-in-the-making about The Blue Brain Project.

Josephine Decker

Josephine Decker is a filmmaker who just premiered two of her narrative features at the Berlinale 2014. Recently named one of Filmmaker Magazine's 25 New Faces of Independent Film, Decker's work has been lauded everywhere from The New Yorker and New York Times to The Austin Chronicle. Her short films and music videos have played at MoMA, SXSW, Cucalorus, Maryland, and Austin Film Festival. Josephine is also an actor and performance art.

CHAPTER TITLE "Eudocimus sapiens"

Ian Harnarine

Ian is a Canadian film director and screenwriter. He is best known for his short film "Doubles with Slight Pepper," which won the Genie Award for Best Live Action Short Drama at the 32nd Genie Awards in 2012. Born and raised in Toronto to immigrant parents from Trinidad and Tobago, Harnarine studied physics and astronomy at York University and the University of Illinois before pursuing a film degree at New York University.

CHAPTER TITLE: "Sex, Death, and Kefir"

Rachel Mayeri

Rachel Mayeri is an artist who is fascinated by animal behavior, parasites, psychology experiments, and the biology of reproduction before cell theory. Her work mines the "cultural unconscious" of science — the imaginative, playful, spectacular, and bizarre — as well as the political. Mayeri's videos have shown at Sundance, Berlinale, and Ars Electronica and received grants from the Wellcome Trust, Creative Capital, and California Council for the Humanities. She lives in LA where she is professor of media studies at Harvey Mudd College.

CHAPTER TITLE: "The Symphony of the OryX"

Alexis Gambis

Alexis Gambis is a filmmaker and a biologist. His first feature film The Fly Room has toured festivals and academic institutions worldwide ending with a theatrical release in New York, Paris, and Berlin in the Fall of 2017. He has been featured in The New York Times, Forbes, Nature, Cell, TED, and WNYC. He is currently working on his second feature The Water Maze, an exploration of the science of memory and its reliance on animals and experimental design.


Sally Warring

Sally is the creative scientist behind the popular Instagram account Pondlife, which documents the fantastical unicellular microorganisms she discovers in wild bodies of water in and around New York City. She's currently working on getting her Ph.D. in Biology from New York University in the United States.


Barry J. Gibb

Barry J. Gibb first trained as a molecular biologist and neuroscientist. Following a decade of research, he swapped the microscope for a camera to pursue the dream of writing and making films about science. His award-winning book, The Rough Guide to the Brain, was first released by Penguin in 2007 (2nd edition, June 2012), winning him the short-lived accolade of 'Dr Sex' from the Sun newspaper and a mild look of disapproval from his wife.
Chapter Title: "Realm of An Inner Child"

Jeannette Louie

Jeannette Louie is an award-winning Asian American filmmaker and visual artist whose experimental films and installations delve deeply into the netherworld of consciousness. She magnifies the dystopic diaspora of human cognition by building a world filled with narratives. In this terrain, individual minds construct multiple realms of realities defined by molecular memory and reaction.

CHAPTER TITLE: "The Breeder"

Demelza Kooij

Demelza Kooij is a Dutch native based in Liverpool where she works as filmmaker and senior lecturer at Liverpool John Moores University (UK). Her research concerns hybrid film forms, animals and landscape in film, posthumanism, and the voice in documentary. She presented her work at conferences, art galleries, as well as BAFTA and Oscar accredited film festivals internationally with highlights such as Festival du Nouveau Cinéma, Ann Arbor, Hamptons, and Edinburgh International Film Festival.

Miryam Charles

From Haitian descent, Miryam Charles studied Film Production at Concordia University. She produced and shot several shorts and feature films. She is the director of Fly, fly sadness (which has been shown at film festivals in New York, Scotland, Vienna, Spain and Montreal) and Towards the colonies (Imagine Science Film Festival 2016). Her films are a constant exploration of the repercussions of colonialism.
A wiser intelligence might now truthfully say of us at this point: here is a chimera, a new and very odd species come shambling into our universe, a mix of Stone Age emotion, medieval self-image, and godlike technology. The combination makes the species unresponsive to the forces that count most for its own long-term survival.
— EO Wilson
The Scientists
The chapters of Chimera Experiments are connected by stories from some of the most influential scientists of our time.
Eric Richard Kandel
Eric Richard Kandel is a recipient of the 2000 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for his research on the physiological basis of memory storage in neurons. Kandel is a University Professor of biochemistry and biophysics at the College of Physicians and Surgeons at Columbia University. He is a Senior Investigator in the Howard Hughes Medical Institute. He was also the founding director of the Center for Neurobiology and Behavior, which is now the Department of Neuroscience at Columbia University. He currently serves on the Scientific Council of the Brain & Behavior Research Foundation
Martin Lee Chalfie
Martin Lee Chalfie shared the 2008 Nobel Prize in Chemistry along with Osamu Shimomura and Roger Y. Tsien "for the discovery and development of the green fluorescent protein, GFP". He holds a Ph.D. in neurobiology from Harvard University and is a University Professor at Columbia University. His paper "Green fluorescent protein as a marker for gene expression" is among the 20 most-cited papers in the field of Molecular Biology & Genetics.
Heather Berlin
Heather Berlin conducts research to better understand the neural basis of impulsivity, compulsivity, and emotion with the goal of more targeted treatment. She employs neuroimaging and neuropsychological and psychopharmacological testing of brain lesion and compulsive, impulsive, and personality disorder patients. She is also interested in the neural basis of consciousness and dynamic unconscious processes. Dr. Berlin has conducted clinical research at hospitals in both the US and UK including Bellevue Hospital and the Institute of Psychiatry in London. She is a Visiting Scholar at the New York Psychoanalytic Society and Institute, and was a Visiting Assistant Professor at Vassar College, and a Visiting Lecturer at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH)/University of Zurich, and at The Hebrew University of Jerusalem.
Joseph LeDoux
Joseph LeDoux is the Henry and Lucy Moses Professor of Science, and a member of the Center for Neural Science and Department of Psychology at NYU. His work is focused on the brain mechanisms of emotion and memory. He is a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, Fellow of the New York Academy of Science, a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Science, and the recipient of the 2005 Fyssen International Prize in Cognitive Science.
Daniela Schiller
Daniela Schiller is a neuroscientist who leads the Schiller Lab for Affective Neuroscience at the Mount Sinai School of Medicine. She is best known for her work on memory reconsolidation, and on unlearning traumatic memories and addiction.
Leslie Vosshall
Leslie Vosshall is the Robin Chemers Neustein Professor and Head of the Laboratory of Neurogenetics and Behavior at Rockefeller University. Vosshall has won numerous awards. In 2001, she received a Beckman Young Investigators Award, and received a McKnight Neuroscience Scholar Award and a National Science Foundation CAREER Award. In 2010 Vosshall was awarded The Dart/NYU Biotechnology Achievement Award. In 2015 Voshall was elected to the National Academy of Sciences.
Ali Brivanlou
Ali Brivanlou is head of the Laboratory of Molecular Embryology at Rockefeller University. Much of the research of this developmental biologist focuses on the molecular events and cellular interactions that regulate the emergence of key structures in the early embryo. In the course of this research, he has made several influential discoveries. Dr. Brivanlou received a Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists. His other honors include an Irma T. Hirschl Trust Career Scientist Award, a Searle Scholar Award, a Klingenstein Fellowship, a McKnight Scholar Award, a Wilson S. Stone Memorial Award, and a John Merck Scholar Award.
Stuart Firestein
Stuart Firestein is a Professor at the Columbia University's Department of Biological Sciences. He studies the vertebrate olfactory receptor neuron as a model for investigating general principles and mechanisms of "signal transduction" — the ways in which chemicals, such as neurotransmitters, hormones, and peptides with membrane receptors, exert their influence in the brain and nervous system. Firestein has been elected as a fellow by the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) for his meritorious efforts to advance science. He is an adviser to the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation program for the Public Understanding of Science. Firestein's writing often advocates for better science writing. He has published articles in Wired (magazine), Huffington Post, and Scientific American. In 2011 he released the book Ignorance: How it Drives Science.
Diana Reiss
Diana Reiss studies animal cognition, and has found that bottlenose dolphins (and Asian elephants) can recognize themselves in the mirror. Diana Reiss's research focuses on the cognition and communication of marine animals, with an emphasis on comparative animal cognition.
Michael Purugganan
Michael Purugganan is the Silver Professor of Biology at New York University and Dean for Science of NYU. He is also on the affiliated faculty and the co-director of the Center for Genomics and Systems Biology at NYU Abu Dhabi. He also serves on the Biological Sciences Advisory Committee for the US National Science Foundation. Purugganan is a leading authority on plant molecular evolution and genomics, and has published over 100 research papers.
chi·me·ra / kīˈmirə
In genetics a chimera is an organism or tissue that contains at least two different sets of DNA.

The term is derived from the Chimera of Greek mythology, a fire-breathing monster part lion, part goat, and part dragon.

Chimeras are distinguished from mosaics, which are organisms that contain genetically different populations of cells originating from a single zygote, and from hybrids, organisms containing genetically identical populations of cells originating from a cross of two different species.
Chimera Experiments Launch
When: Thursday March 16, 2017 | Start time: 7pm

Where: Gerald D. Fischbach Auditorium, Simons Foundation
The Chimera Experiments project will be officially presented at the Simons Foundation on Thursday March 16, 2017 at 7pm and include a short presentation from participants, a film screening and a reception with influential scientists and artists.

This event also marks the first collaboration between the Simons Foundation and Imagine Science Films and will be programmed as part of the Science Matters monthly series.

7:00-7:15pm // Launch of Chimera Experiments. Official announcement of 10th anniversary film festival theme.

7:15-7:45pm // What is a Chimera? Short stories by contributing scientists Heather Berlin and Stuart Firestein.

7:45-8:45pm // Presentations of the 'Chimera Experiments' Filmmakers.

8:45pm // Reception
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