The Happiest Thought

  • Agnieszka Polska
  • Germany, Poland
  • 2019
  • 21 min
  • Linear, Immersive
  • International Premiere
  • DocLab Domesticating Reality, IDFA DocLab Competition for Digital Storytelling
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“The happiest thought” was how Albert Einstein described the insight that inspired him to write his General Theory of Relativity: the idea that from the perspective of someone in free-fall, gravity seems not to exist. Relativity is also the point of departure for this visual essay by Agnieszka Polska, in which she directs our gaze towards the world as it once was, in an utterly different context: 250 million years ago, when the Permian-Triassic extinction event occurred.

Perhaps our awareness that life on Earth has since thrived abundantly makes it easier to come to terms with the historical disaster. Instead of focusing on mass extinction and faunal change, the film presents the beauty of lost subterranean and marine life: swarms of dragonflies, the rippled surfaces of pools, light beams shining through water. The singing voice of performance artist Geo Wyeth leads us through this digital prehistory in a manner reminiscent of a hypnosis session, ultimately forging a link with our own bodies and the here and now.

This piece is part of the “The New Infinity” programme, co-produced with Berliner Festspiele / Immersion and Planetarium Hamburg.


The Happiest Thought (DocLab: A Night at the Planetarium #1)
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Sat 23 November - 20:00 - 21:30
ARTIS Planetarium


  • 21 min
  • Spoken languages: English
Created by
Agnieszka Polska
Agnieszka Polska
Berliner Festspiele / Immersion , Planetarium Hamburg
Agnieszka Polska, Nathan Gray
Sound Design
Agnieszka Polska, Igor Klaczynski
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IDFA history

International Premiere
DocLab Domesticating Reality
IDFA DocLab Competition for Digital Storytelling

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IDFA history