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16th International Film Festival of Popular Science and Educational Films World of Knowledge

12/02/2021 - 12/15/2021


December 2–5

For the first time, New Holland Island will host screenings of the international festival World of Knowledge, one of the oldest in Russia and the only festival of popular science and educational cinema in St. Petersburg. The World of Knowledge today is a large-scale interdisciplinary project at the intersection of science and art that explores the possibilities of interpreting scientific knowledge into the language of cinema and looks for connections between artistic and research practices.

The New Holland Island event will include the programmes Hallucination of Artificial Life by curator Karina Karaeva and a special programme Orphans in Space: Forgotten Films from the Final Frontier by American historian and film researcher Dan Streible. Screenings will be presented by curators and followed by Q&A sessions with the directors of the films.

Admission to screenings is possible only upon presentation of a QR code and a passport. Admission is free. Preliminary registration is required. The films are in the original language with Russian subtitles.

December 2, 7:30 pm, Pavillion

Hallucination of Artificial Life. Programme 1

Actions of nature, changes in the surrounding landscape and other transformations of the post-humanistic world more frequently send us warning signals about the impossibility of communication between nature and man, about his displacement by nature, which provokes the fear of changes in man’s body and the way he views the world. The films included in the programme reflect on the theme of the new man and his capabilities, or superpowers, as well as communicate a certain sense of disappointment in the historical, anthropological and research sense.

Curator of the programme — Karina Karaeva.

Free admission. Places are limited: please register in advance (link in Russian). Please keep a safe distance, wear a mask for the duration of the lecture, and stay home if you feel sick. 18+


Under the influence of a hallucinogenic cactus, a couple of French comes to introduce, like a virus, into a Mexican landscape whose practices, codes and uses they do not know. Without knowing it, Agathe and Mehdi will upset, by their presence and their clumsy acts, the balance in which lives a family of villagers of the desert. Two worlds meet, without understanding each other. With alcohol and drugs, this misunderstanding drifts towards violence.

Clarisse Hahn, France, 2018, 46 min.

Notes for les Sanlglières

Notes for les Sanglières is an essay-film gathering researches, experiments and tracks of fiction related to a film to come — situated in the french region of Les Cévennes, it is digging the question of possible alliances between wild boars and humans.

Elsa Brès, France, 2021, 17 min.

Spectral Gaze

Spectral Gaze is a journey in time, and the search for a lost friend. Victoria Verseau and Meril met when they were about to undergo gender confirmation surgery in Thailand. They comforted each other in this very uncertain time. Three years after the operation Meril decided to end her life. A few years later Victoria travelled back to the town where they met, hoping that she could capture the memories of Meril with her camera, but instead she found a void. The people she knew were all gone, only the familiar landscape, buildings and vegetation remained. Repressed memories return as ghosts in a dissolved condition between life and death.

Victoria Verseau, Sweden, 2021, 20 min.

Approaching a Ghost

A mental and physical journey from man to woman. Victoria Verseau returns to the hotel in Thailand where she underwent gender reassignment surgery in 2012. She recalls her friend Merill and reflects on the emptiness her lost life has created. The quiet hotel, the swamp surrounding the town, the packages of used hormone pills, the cosmetics — all depicted in a state between life and death. Here memory is juxtaposed with oblivion, dreams and disappointments.

Victoria Verseau, Sweden, 2021, 20 min.

Body All Eyes

Body All Eyes is a requiem to the skies, in which archaic myths of flying through time and space collide with the technological world. A firmament that once belonged only to Gods and their messengers, the birds, is now dominated by flying machines and satellite surveillance.

Saara Ekstrom, Finland, 2018, 15 min.

December 3, 7:30 pm, Pavillion

Hallucination of Artificial Life. Programme 2

Free admission. Places are limited: please register in advance. Please keep a safe distance, wear a mask for the duration of the lecture, and stay home if you feel sick.

Water with out Water

After being burnt by hot water on both thighs and being bedridden for several months, Water with out Water paints a 2 months walking performance through the Alps and the Carpathians ountains in search of water sources in order to heal myself from the water-trauma.

Nicolas Gerber, France, 2021, 40 min.

Inspector Sorrow

The short film, Inspector Sorrow is one piece of the puzzle to Negin’s interactive exhibition. The ephemera of an imagined film, a detective story entangled in quantum-level simulations. The viewer is drawn into this entangled narrative—in the future and the present, via a psychotic break or a manipulation of a criminal mastermind.

Negin Moss, USA, 2016, 6 min.

Conscience Fiction

This film is an exercise of fiction on the psychological consequences that would affect a society where virtual reality was implanted in our bodies, that is, a hyper connected society that would not require the use of our eyes or ears. A peculiar extended family lives in a luxurious flat without ever going out or having any contact among each other, talking to themselves with their eyes closed about incomprehensible banalities. Only the dog can see out of the windows how a crowd tries to cross the security gates and the police controls that surround the building.

Dionis Escorsa, Spain, Germany, 2014, 15 min.

Return to Adriaport

In the 1960s Karel Žlábek came up with a project for a tunnel, several hundred kilometers long, that served to transport goods to the Adriatic and gave Czechoslovak citizens access to the sea. The excavated earth was used to build an island, but the comrades, headed by President Husák, soon made it off limits and even put the kibosh on the entire project. Strange animals disappeared, as did the memories of several local vacationers and the island’s grandiose structures. This multilevel mockumentary confirms the director’s penchant for events that actually might have happened — even if they didn’t.

Adéla Babanová, Czech Republic, 2018, 38 min.

December 4, 4 pm, Pavillion

Hallucination of Artificial Life. Programme 3

Free admission. Places are limited: please register in advance (link in Russian). Please keep a safe distance, wear a mask for the duration of the lecture, and stay home if you feel sick. 18+

Landscape of Resistance

Sonja was one of the first female partisans in Serbia and helped lead the resistance in Auschwitz. When we initially encounter her in Landscapes of Resistance, she is a friendly elderly lady with a playful cat on her lap. This is the start of an exceptional journey through her memories of revolutionary books from her student days, her wedding to a communist, the resistance against the German occupiers and her torture after capture as a communist and anti-fascist fighter, right the way through to her escape from the concentration camp.

Marta Popivoda, Serbia, 2021, 95 min.

December 5, 4 pm, Pavillion

Orphans in Space: Forgotten Films from the Final Frontier

This screening emerged from the curatorial project Orphans in Space: Forgotten Films from the Final Frontier. “Orphan films” are those either abandoned by their owners or neglected by the media marketplace. They inspire intellectual and artistic interests. The millions of orphan films needing preservation — home movies, amateur films, newsreel outtakes, industrial and educational films, government productions, student films, avant-garde cinema, science films, and many others — cover a wealth of subjects. Outer space is only one, but a big category indeed. Think of the hours of footage generated by every government space agency, scientific studies of celestial bodies, and creators of science fiction movies.

Curator of the programme — Dan Streible.

Free admission. Places are limited: please register in advance (link in Russian). Please keep a safe distance, wear a mask for the duration of the lecture, and stay home if you feel sick. 18+

Passage de Vénus

A French astronomer and Brazilian engineer invented a photographic gun to record a set of images of the planet passing before the Sun, as seen from Japan.

Jules Janssen and Francisco Antônio de Almeida, France, 1874, 5 sec.

The Transit of Venus

An American astronomer made 147 glass-plate photographs of the phenomenon as seen from a California observatory. Rediscovered and reanimated in 2003 by William Sheehan and Anthony Misch.

David P. Todd, USA, 1882, 15 sec.

The Comet

The New York theatrical showcase Ziegfeld Follies of 1910 commissioned the Edison film studio to create this curiosity. Projected only for the theater production, it shows the faces of stage stars Anna Held and Harry Watson sticking out from a canvas painted to resemble a comet. Halley’s comet was in the news due to its vivid appearance in the days before the show’s debut. A song written for the occasion, “The Comet and the Earth,” was sung live as the film appeared behind the live actors.

Edison Studios, USA, 1910, 2 min.


The craft of director, writer, cinematographer, and special effects master Pavel Vladimirovich Klushantsev (1910-1999) is on full display in this educational short film, made in 1947 at the Leningrad Popular Science Film Studio (Lennauchfilm). Film historian Sergei Kapterev, writing about Meteorites for the Orphans in Space DVD, praises its elegance and understated qualities, “rare in Soviet popular science cinema and virtually unique” in the late Stalin era.

Pavel Klushantsev, USSR, 1947, 10 min.

Beyond the Moon

Using beautiful Kodachrome 16mm stock, amateur filmmaker Robert Earl Barnes (1931-2009) shot miniatures, model kits, and tabletop sets, enacting the launch of a spacecraft that travels to Mars. His silent movie is presented here with a voice-over narration by historian Megan Prelinger and an original soundtrack by Agatha Kasprzyk and Rafaël Leloup in 2011.

R. E. Barnes, USA, 1961, 11 min.

Project Apollo

Before a thirty-year career in avant-garde film and video, Ed Emshwiller (1925-1990) illustrated science fiction magazines. He made this masterful and unconventional documentary Project Apollo for the United States Information Agency. With its modernist minimalist score, cool technical precision, and formalist design, Project Apollo was distinctive from most USIA propaganda films.

Ed Emshwiller, USA, 1968, 30 min.

Observando el Cielo

Although not an orphan film, Jeanne Liotta’s acclaimed experimental work Observando el Cielo is assembled from her 16mm footage of the night sky as seen across many places over seven years. With additional material from artists Barbara Ess (who passed in 2021) and Maile Cobert, Liotta’s Observando el Cielo was named by critics one of the best experimental films of the first decade of the twenty-first century.

Jeanne Liotta, USA, 2007, 19 min.


Starting January 2, QR-code confirming vaccination against COVID-19 and an ID is required to enter cafes and stores.

No QR-code is required to enter the Park, the Ice Rink, or public spaces of the Bottle House. Please, wear a mask, keep a safe distance and stay home if you feel ill.

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