On July 7th, 2012 a unique selection of films addressing the subject of consciousness and imagination screened at The Lighthouse in Dublin, Ireland as part of the program Imagine Consciousness at the UCD Imagine Science Film Festival. Collectively, the films explore the age-old struggle to define what makes us human and the role of imagination in propelling conscious thought.
The groundbreaking new film abNormal by Barry J. Gibb, Film and Multimedia Director at the Wellcome Trust, headlined the line-up and challenged audience members to redefine what it means to be “normal.” Watch the video posted above to hear filmmaker Barry J. Gibb answer questions from audience members and reveal his own creative process.
“Are you normal? What does it mean to be normal? Is it a good thing, or does it mean you’re just plain dull. Is being abnormal more fun, does it make us seem more kooky, quirky, individual – or could it mean we’re cut off from society, perceived as odd or even mentally ill? “
abNormal is an exploration and celebration of what it means to be normal. Examined through the eyes of several very different minds, with their own unique talents and perspectives, abNormal points a microscope at human behaviour, asking viewers to question their perceptions of others, and themselves. Beyond individuals, as society marches inevitably towards a suburban future, the film asks: Is society itself destined to slide into a bland state of normality – or are we instead threatening our mental health by the way we live our lives?
Direction, camera, editor, sound & colour | Barry J Gibb
Psychiatrist | Professor Peter Fonagy
Chess player | Alexandros Ethelontis
Dancer | Bret ‘Downroc’ Syfert
Architect | Claire Weldin
Artist | Yuewei Zhang
Taxi driver | Dawn Cooper
Musician | Eric Biondo
Consultant neuroscientist | Emeritus Professor Chris Frith
Music | Eric Biondo and Forrest GetEmGump
Executive Producer | Sam Hill
Barry Gibb originally trained as a molecular biologist & neuroscientist. After completing his PhD in 1996, he then spent around eight years exploring various aspects of neurological illness before deciding his future lay in more overtly creative terrain. In 2005, he left academic research to start his own company, digitalis media – a means of exploring science through words and film – stories.
His book, The Rough Guide to the Brain, was released by Penguin in 2007, the second edition of which was released in June this year. His 3 Minute Wonder’s, ‘Life After Coma’ (Mosaic Films, Channel 4, 2009) were broadcast on Channel 4 in 2009. In the same year, he filmed, directed and edited eight short documentaries for a project called ‘Routes’ (Oil, Channel 4 and The Wellcome Trust), a BIMA winning online fusion of genetics, drama, documentary and gaming. He is now working with the Wellcome Trust as their Science Multimedia Producer where he constantly attempts to bring humanity to scientific research. In 2011, a documentary he made for the Trust to explore the science of ageing, Until, won an award at the Imagine Science Film Festival, New York. He has no idea what the future holds (and prefers it that way).