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The Big City, a microscopic tour of Vancouver

From high above planet Earth, humans can seem microscopically small. Busy highways and crowded cities, seen from far away, can quickly remind us of bustling ant hills filled with a colony of millions. Conversely, if you spend a few minutes observing microorganisms up close, they might start to resemble the unique personalities found in a busy metropolis.

In The Big City, Canadian filmmaker Evan Luchkow pairs the sounds of downtown Vancouver with the freshwater microorganisms which live there. Protozoa, algae, tardigrades, rotifers, and other tiny creatures are juxtaposed with the birdsong, breezes, trotting horses, horns, sirens, conversations, crying babies, the whirring subway, and other sounds from their neighborhoods. From Aeon, the combination helps to reveal, in Luchkow’s words, “the blurry boundary between human society and the natural world.”

What sounds and microorganisms might be found in your neighborhood?

Watch this next: Hunting for microbes in Central Park’s murkiest waters. Plus, watch Wim van Egmond’s award-winning microscopic videos, an up-close look at tardigrades and their poop, and this excellent DIY video: How do you find water bears (tardigrades) in the wild?

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