"Momentum - Rachel Armstrong" is a documentary by Robert Styblo about "the amazing life of a real genius of today and her quest to develop a new living technology." (I emphaisis the quotes.)
The Canadian premiere of "Momentum - Rachel Armstrong" supposedly featured a 30 minute screening on her research on living architecture. However, it didn't take long to realise that the Red Bull TV documentary was instead a celebration of her accomplishments in life and the hubris of a researcher whose results and actual impacts are less important than the hype surrounding the person and ideas of protocells.
We had met her previously in 2008 at the 59th International Astronautical Congress in Glasgow, where she gave an interesting talk, titled "Human Reproduction in Space", highlighting various animal reproductive experiments performed in micro-gravity - calling into question whether humans can reproduce in space.
Rather, the Rachel we meet in this film made us question the publicity and celebrity status generated around her research (i.e. TED talks, books, and documentaries). Through the eyes of Momentum we find no humbleness nor critical outlook, and whilst the research offers a speculative and conceptual idea of utilising protocells to float Venice, the film remains a celebration of her persona by herself, family, friends and a gawking crowd of male researchers.
So, why the outrage? Was it the repeating scene of a microscope thriumpantly brought forward to us by Rachel - as if a goddess giving us the gift of science? Or the literal smoke and mirror of scientific fetishism seen as she and fellow researchers gallivant around a movie studio with cups of smoking dry ice? Was it her attempt to imply a personal attachement to Leonardo da Vinci? Or the constant reference to her medical degree, to paraphrase, why only help one person when I can save a city?
I guess we are shocked at a research community who so gladly applaud this type of narcissistic indulgent.