Events / film screening: “Grid”

film screening: “Grid”

April 7, 2023
4:00 PM - 6:00 PM

111 Levin Building

“Grid” Film Screening and Discussion




Drinks and donuts will be provided!



You are invited to a special screening of “Grid,” directed by Julia Ongchoco and featuring Joan Ongchoco and Cynthia Zhou. The screening will take place in the SAIL Room, and will be followed by a lively panel discussion with Julia and Joan, moderated by Penn documentary film professor Mike Crane.


Be among the first to witness this exciting new film as it continues to take shape. As a work in progress, your feedback is not only welcomed but encouraged. This is your chance to provide valuable input that will help shape the final version of the film.


Join us for an afternoon of film, cognitive science, art, and thoughtful discussion (Drinks and donuts will be provided!). Discover the inspiration behind Grid and engage in a stimulating conversation with Julia, Joan, and Mike. See you there!


Synopsis: This short film explores the possibility of two unlikely worlds of – art and science – colliding, and the stories of two powerful creative minds grappling with the truths they seek. Cognitive scientist Joan Ongchoco’s research explores “everyday” hallucinations via a phenomenon she is calling scaffolded attention – where one might stare at a grid and begin to see shapes and patterns that are not actually there. Separately, artist Cynthia Zhou is also fascinated by the use of grids in art to create new visual experiences and experiment with figure and ground. Both these women share a common admiration for the artist, Agnes Martin, who utilizes grids in her art to embody ‘innocence’, and to grapple with her own mental well-being.


About the panelists:

Joan Ongchoco
Joan is currently a postdoctoral fellow in the Department of Psychology at Yale University, where she also got her PhD with Brian Scholl at the Perception & Cognition Lab. After Yale, she’ll be spending a year in Berlin, where she will work with Martin Rolfs at the Active Perception and Cognition Lab — afterwhich, she will begin building her own lab as an Assistant Professor in the University of British Columbia.
Her research at a glance: The raw material of perception is intrinsically continuous — undifferentiated washes of light, sound, space, and time. In stark contrast, what we consciously experience are discrete individuals — objects and events.

Julia Ongchoco
Julia is a current senior, majoring in Cognitive Science with a concentration in Language and Mind and minoring in Theatre. She is fascinated by the power of words, what makes a good story, and how words make stories and how stories in turn help us make sense of our experiences. In the fall of her junior year, she took a documentary video class as an elective, and that reignited her passion for filmmaking and storytelling. She has since served as a production assistant for numerous film projects across Philly and New York. This short film has been a work in progress for Julia as an intersection of all her interests in cognitive science, theatre, art, and filmmaking. It combines her knowledge of the field of cognitive science and the research work being done with my love for art through the medium of film.