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Culture

Essays and videos on the arts, literature, travel, rituals and celebrations
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Technology and the self

How the magic of photography brought Victorian England closer to the spirit realm

16 minutes

Yellow warning sign with a black palm tree bent over in strong wind, signifying severe weather or wind conditions.
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video

Information and communication

An animation built from road signs is a whirlwind study of flash communication

2 minutes

Two people with backpacks reach towards each other with extended arms but are not touching. The text on the image reads ‘How do we touch when we can’t?’
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Film and visual culture

‘Bags here are rarely innocent’ – how filmmakers work around censorship in Iran

8 minutes

A woman stands against a white wall, in a red top and blue jeans, extending an open hand forward. Subtitles at the bottom read ‘Let me show you.’
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Language and linguistics

Closed captions suck. Here’s one artist’s inventive project to make them better

8 minutes

Watercolour painting of a landscape with a vivid yellow sky, a band of orange clouds, and a purple mountain. The foreground is dark with indistinct foliage.
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Music

The peculiar beauty of a song caught between composition and improvisation

3 minutes

A woman is sitting at a table holding a knife at a chopping board, but her head is switch with the green onion she is cutting. Yellow blinds and a lamp are in the background.
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Technology and the self

An artist swaps her head with everyday objects in a musing on consumerism

4 minutes

Abstract night scene with vibrant colours; glowing trees line the horizon under a dark sky with a bright, distorted moon.
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Film and visual culture

An augmented-reality filter reveals the hidden movements all around us

7 minutes

Geometric shapes with triangular patterns in blue, purple, and yellow on a black background. Shapes include squares, triangles, cones, and other polyhedra.
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Film and visual culture

Stop-motion origami unfurls in a playful exploration of how senses overlap

3 minutes

People walking on stairs inside a modern industrial building, with someone standing below checking their phone; entrance to Lisson Gallery visible in the background.
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essay

Film and visual culture

The truth of photographs

It’s often said that a successful picture ‘captures the essence’ of a subject. But a great photograph does so much more

Daniel Star

Silhouetted figures stand beside a car looking up at a starry night sky
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essay

Space exploration

Uncertain contact

The detection of alien life won’t be obvious. It’ll be partial and inconclusive: a perfect task for the scientific method

Jaime Green

Two Asian film actors are fighting kung-fu style on the beach dressed in 1970s style casual clothes
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essay

Film and visual culture

Fighting kung fu

From chopsocky films to disco earworms, Asian caricatures have proliferated since the 1970s. Can Hollywood kick the habit?

Stephanie Wong

A foggy street in an old residential area with terraced houses, children playing and adults standing outside. A tall chimney is visible in the background.
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essay

Film and visual culture

Exposed

Slum photography was at the heart of progressive campaigns against urban poverty. And it was a weapon against poor people

Sadie Levy Gale

Three orange spheres create trails on a sparkling, metallic surface, casting long shadows. The background shimmers in shades of copper and gold.
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Physics

A dreamy tribute to the music of Brian Eno, rendered in paint, soap and water

2 minutes

Illustration of two people in traditional Arctic clothing facing a futuristic city with glowing lights under the aurora borealis in the night sky.
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Anthropology

A riveting collage portrays a century of Inuit history, and envisions a vibrant future

14 minutes

A group of people socialising at a restaurant, seated around a table adorned with flowers, wine glasses, and menus, with a bartender in the background.
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Food and drink

Crème de la crème

How French cuisine became beloved among status-hungry diners in the United States, from Thomas Jefferson to Kanye West

Kelly Alexander & Claire Bunschoten

Illustration of a man crawling through two orange-framed mirrors, making it appear as if he is going in one and coming out the other.
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Quantum theory

All possible worlds

Long a matter of philosophical speculation, the idea of multiple realities has been given new artistic licence by physics

Timothy Andersen

Close-up of wood grain with concentric rings and natural variations in colour and texture.
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Biology

A dazzling slice-by-slice exploration of wood exposes hidden patterns and hues

2 minutes

Illustration of a squid-like creature on the left and close-up of an eye and nose in profile on the right, both hand-drawn in black and white.
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Philosophy of mind

An enigmatic ‘story of consciousness’ told through 19th-century engravings

7 minutes

Two astronauts on the Moon, wearing white spacesuits with a US flag planted in the background, and the lunar module in the shadows.
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History of technology

Who owns history? How remarkable historical footage is hidden and monetised

18 minutes

A woman and two girls in blue dresses with cat-ear headbands, smiling and taking a selfie outdoors.
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Family life

Honey, I sold the kids

We have laws to protect children from factory work. Why aren’t they protected from parents who monetise their lives online?

Clarissa Sebag-Montefiore

An elderly man in chains suckles from a woman in a red dress while two guards observe through a barred window.
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Art

Milk, pity and power

Since antiquity, artists have depicted a perverse scene of a daughter breastfeeding her aged father. What does it mean?

Margie Orford

Several people are gathered around a vintage film projector, observing and photographing while an older man points at it.
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Film and visual culture

The old-time cinema experience endures in a quiet corner of Japan

5 minutes

A dramatic poster for “Dracula Has Risen” featuring a vampire with fangs and other characters in distress, with vibrant colours and bold expressions.
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Stories and literature

The key to a vampire’s immortality? Meeting the anxieties of the moment

15 minutes

Abstract image with a vibrant pink and purple swirling pattern, featuring a glowing orb in the lower right corner and organic, fluid shapes around it.
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Chemistry

A square inch in a Petri dish becomes a grand stage for chemical transformations

4 minutes