Microcosm: An Evening of Science, Art, and Inquiry on Oct 17

Hoffman portraitThis past spring SUST faculty member Michele Hoffman Trotter (pictured at right) began a journey into documentary film-making in partnership with Annie Crawley and Dive Into Your Imagination. Their upcoming film Microcosm will take viewers on a ninety-minute journey into an unseen universe in the ocean through the lens of a microscope.

An important element of Microcosm is its emphasis on using art to inspire social awareness and change. To that end, October 17th is a special event for the public to engage in this important intellectual discussion. Join the filmmakers at Columbia College of Chicago, 618 South Michigan Avenue in downtown Chicago on Stage Two (2nd Floor) for an evening of entertaining keynote presentations (more below), great conversation, a raffle with great prizes, and a silent art auction.

Tickets are on sale now for $20.00 each on the Microcosm website and will be sold for $25.00 at the door. Some of the Raffle Prizes include membership to Lincoln Park Zoo, four all-access tickets to the Shedd Aquarium, a Ravinia picnic package valued at $200, a one night stay at Hotel Dana and more. Raffle tickets cost $10.00 apiece or be available in packs of five for $40.

Schedule of Events

6:00-7:30pm — Welcome Reception including appetizers, open bar, and time to bid on pieces for offer in the silent art auction.

7:30 – 8:30pm — Keynote Speakers including fashion designer Shelby Steiner, muralist Buddy Rivara, and Microcosm Director Michele Hoffman Trotter.

8:30pm to finish — Announcement of silent auction winners and drawing for raffle prizes.

Film Synopsis (from the film-makers)

What is Microcosm?

Microcosm will take viewers on a spectacular ninety-minute visual and intellectual journey of the micro-universe to explore the secrets of the unseen ocean world. The story begins with a glimpse at the astounding beauty of the micro-ocean and discovery of the diverse life that can be seen through the microscope. Many familiar life forms such as fish and crabs begin life as microplankton adrift on the great ocean highway. In fact, coral reefs large enough to be seen from outer space start out no bigger than the period at the end of this sentence. The film-makers join researchers from the John G. Shedd aquarium to learn why understanding the microplanktonic phase of coral is a critical first step toward rehabilitating damaged reefs globally.

PlanktonThe greatest oxygen production occurs in the ocean, facilitated by phytoplankton. As climate continues to shift, scientists at Dalhousie University in Canada will share their research that explores how these changes will impact critical plankton masses around the globe, and what this means with respect to the sustainability of fisheries, production of oxygen, and the broader human condition. In Washington and Alaska viewers will learn from leading researchers about how increasing amounts of carbon dioxide in the ocean is impacting water chemistry, and what this means for the microcosmic world.

Plankton 2This phenomenon, known as ocean acidification, is one of the least talked about byproducts of climate change, but potentially the most alarming of them all. With the conceivable power to decimate the delicate shells used by many sea creatures for structure and protection and the calcium carbonate base of coral reefs, ocean acidification has the potential to cause unparalleled harm to global seafood supplies.

Above all, Microcosm is a story of hope. Scientists from around the globe will discuss how their research is leading to new and innovative ways to restore clean water, substitute algae for many petroleum-based applications, and seek pharmaceutical development opportunities. A key focus of this film is to impress viewers with the powerful potential at our doorstep for a cleaner, healthier world.

This film will also shine a light on the role of corporate responsibility. By showcasing examples of companies that have chosen to invest in the health of the environment, it will become clearer that these actions serve both social and economic interests.  The story to be told is one of diversity, resilience, and hope — and the time to tell it is now.

Stay tuned for stories and images from the road, be sure to “like” Microcosm on Facebook, and visit the movie’s website at www.microcosmfilm.com.

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