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A crystalline structure against a black backdrop

MMoCA Cinema: Last Things | Optimism

October 26, 2023

7:00 pm

227 State Street Madison, Wisconsin, 53719


$7 for nonmembers • Free for MMoCA members (including the free membership tier Friends of MMoCA) and ages 18 and younger • Museum Lecture Hall

Last Things | Deborah Stratman | 2023 | 50 minutes
Optimism | Deborah Stratman | 2018 | 15 minutes

Last Things explores evolution and extinction from the point of view of rocks and various future others. The geo-biosphere is introduced as a place of evolutionary possibility, where humans disappear but life endures. (

“Talk about rejecting empathy: Stratman’s haunting, iridescent work of science-nonfiction actively decenters the human perspective, narrating the history and the speculative future of the universe with rocks as its protagonists. The idea that minerals evolve over time—and preserve records of our world’s many lives—drives Stratman’s inquiry, which, as is often the case with her work, is at once dryly analytical, politically urgent, and cinematically riveting.” 
– Devika Girish, Film Comment

Deborah Stratman is an artist and filmmaker who investigates issues of power, control, and belief and explores how places, ideas, and society are intertwined. She is currently an Associate Professor in the School of Art & Art History at the University of Illinois at Chicago.

Last Things was selected for the Sundance Film Festival and Berlinale in 2023, and was awarded the New Cinema Award at the Berwick Film and Media Art Festival. It will be preceded by the short film Optimism, a portrait of Dawson City. 

This screening is presented in conjunction with the Wisconsin Science Festival.