Within the human struggle to live and work, and with the materials for survival available for exploitation, seemingly foreign worlds are intertwined in the modern battlefield of patents, ownership, and colonialism. Delving into labor and science practices, A Common Sequence examines who gets to work with the essentials of life — saving animals from extinction, researching medicine, harvesting food, coding the genome — in our modern world controlled by data.
Filmmakers Mary Helena Clark and Mike Gibisser take us to the areas and people involved in these physical and political worlds with an intuitive visual style, letting the audience experience each location’s atmosphere. Take the achoque salamander, which can regenerate limbs and even its heart, the intellectual property rights of apple trees, and the commodification of human DNA. The film eloquently guides us through the philosophy of what is “common” to everyone in nature and the complicated pursuits of owning materials of the planet and even our bodies, whether for conservation or for sale. The resulting discussion could change all our lives!