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Artist: Cory McAbee

Project Title: Deep Astronomy and the Romantic Sciences 

Project Discipline: Moving Image: Non-traditional Narrative

Estimated Completion Date: 01/01/20

In a crowded nightclub a mysterious looking woman sits alone at a table sipping from an empty glass. Her movements are mechanical. She is a robot incognito. Her name is Grace.

Conspiring near a wall, a group of young partygoers coax a member of their party, a young man named Rudy, into speaking with the unusual woman sitting alone. In an attempt to amuse his friends Rudy approaches Grace and begins a conversation. The conversation quickly becomes personal as Rudy discovers her primary function, to represent humanity based on a generalization created from all social media and wireless communications. To verify her calculations Grace needs to participate in an unprepared conversation with a wireless communicator, after which she will be shot into space as the immortal spokesperson of humanity. Rudy is put on trial for the superficiality of his times. To defend himself he must first prove to himself that Grace is wrong.

Grace is more informative than inquisitive. She draws Rudy into a conversation by explaining the history of the Romantic Sciences, a field in which she is both an expert and a product. Her stories are focused on lectures and performances given by various Romantic Scientists as she explains their theories and the trajectory of their careers. While highlighting such topics as time-travel, multiple dimensions, the colonization of other planets and human waste disposal she is able to address ideas such as truth vs. facts, the real vs. the imagined, and what it means to be human.

This project has been developed in part through the Sundance Film Festival’s New Frontier Story Lab. Events have been featured and documented at the New York Film Festival, Reykjavik International Film Festival, 36th Stage Songs Review (Wroclaw, Poland), Séance Magazine Festival (Saint Petersburg, RU), Unknown Pleasures Festival (Berlin), Marfa Film Festival (TX), and at theaters, museums, galleries, night clubs, pubs and universities throughout the world.

DEEP ASTRONOMY AND THE ROMANTIC SCIENCES has been developed in part through the Sundance Film Festival’s New Frontier Story Lab. Live events have been documented by local filmmakers in countries throughout the world including Russia, Australia, Poland, Iceland, The Netherlands, Denmark, Germany, Switzerland, the UK and throughout the US. Elements have been independently generated in these and other countries as well.