Friends of Aeon donate as little as US$5
a month and enjoy exclusive benefits.

Save and annotate your favourite articles, engage with Aeon
editors and receive our monthly ebook for easy offline reading.

Become a Friend now

Aeon is not-for-profit and needs
your support.

Become a Friend now

Ibasyo: a photographer’s response to self-harm in Japan

6 minutes

Being 97

18 minutes

20 Hz

5 minutes

What do your dreams look like?

2 minutes

Disorientation

4 minutes

Aeon for Friends

Find out more

A photographer seeks dignity in his series on self-harm among Japanese women

The Japanese photographer Kosuke Okahara documented self-harm among young Japanese women for six years, culminating in his acclaimed photo documentary project Ibasyo. ‘Ibasyo’ means ‘inner peace’ or ‘the physical and emotional space in which people exist’, and this interview with Okahara grounds his powerful images in their very specific context – despair, violence and the ‘culture of shame’ from which these women are seeking some release. Despite the undeniably grim subject of his project, Okahara sees it as a ‘story of recognising the existence of people’, and thus a means of helping these young women connect with people in their lives who might be able to offer help.

Producer: Morlene Chin

Aeon for Friends

Find out more

An ageing philosopher returns to the essential question: ‘What is the point of it all?’

‘Being 97 has been an interesting experience.’

By the time of his death, the US philosopher Herbert Fingarette (1921-2018) had lived what most would consider a full and meaningful life. His marriage to his wife, Leslie, was long and happy. His career as professor of philosophy at the University of California, Santa Barbara was both accomplished and controversial – his book Heavy Drinking (1988), which challenged the popular understanding of alcoholism as a progressive disease, was met with criticism in the medical and academic communities. In a later book, Death: Philosophical Soundings (1999), Fingarette contemplated mortality, bringing him to a conclusion that echoed the Epicureans: in non-existence, there is nothing to fear. But as Being 97 makes evident, grappling with death can be quite different when the thoughts are personal rather than theoretical. Filmed during some of the final months of Fingarette’s life, the elegiac short documentary profiles the late philosopher as he reflects on life, loss, the many challenges of old age, and those lingering questions that might just be unanswerable.

Director: Andrew Hasse

Producer: Megan Brooks

Website: FTRMGC

Aeon for Friends

Find out more

Magnetic and majestic: visualising the powerful storms hidden from human view

Violent plasma explosions from the Sun’s surface – known as coronal mass ejections – reverberate to the farthest reaches of our solar system. However, due to the Earth’s protective magnetosphere, most people don’t take note of these events unless a particularly powerful solar flare disrupts radio signals or produces colourful aurorae near the poles. Created as part of an art installation, this inventive, visceral short uses data collected from the University of Alberta’s CARISMA radio array to sonically and visually interpret a geomagnetic storm high in Earth’s atmosphere. Manifesting the data as a dynamic sculpture, the digital rendering captures the volatility of these usually unseen and unheard phenomena, hinting at their potentially destructive powers.

Directors: Ruth Jarman, Joe Gerhardt

Website: Semiconductor Films

Aeon for Friends

Find out more

Chocolate, monsters and mothers – surreal glimpses of our most common dreams

While your dreams might feel strange or random, and unique to you (if you even remember them at all), an ongoing project by the US psychologist Kelly Bulkeley offers some insight into our most common dream experiences. Since 2009, Bulkeley has encouraged people around the world to submit the contents of their dreams to his searchable online Sleep and Dream Database, which has thus far collected accounts of some 30,000 dreams. This appropriately surreal short video imagines a composite dream as it divulges some of the fascinating insights from the database, including the food you’re most likely to encounter while sleeping (chocolate), and the person you’re most likely to come across (mother, of course).

Video by Kolja Haaf

Website: BBC Reel

Aeon for Friends

Find out more

‘I want you to live forward, but see backward’: a theoretical astrophysicist’s manifesto

The theoretical astrophysicist Katie Mack at North Carolina State University is known for her work on dark matter, as well as her science-outreach efforts. In this short video essay, Mack weaves together cosmology and poetry as she details her personal mission to make her work enhance and challenge our understanding of the Universe, and by extension, ourselves. She writes: ‘I want to make you wonder what is out there; what dreams may come in waves of radiation across the breadth of an endless expanse; what we may know given time; and what splendors might never, ever reach us.’

Aeon for Friends

Find out more

A photographer seeks dignity in his series on self-harm among Japanese women

The Japanese photographer Kosuke Okahara documented self-harm among young Japanese women for six years, culminating in his acclaimed photo documentary project Ibasyo. ‘Ibasyo’ means ‘inner peace’ or ‘the physical and emotional space in which people exist’, and this interview with Okahara grounds his powerful images in their very specific context – despair, violence and the ‘culture of shame’ from which these women are seeking some release. Despite the undeniably grim subject of his project, Okahara sees it as a ‘story of recognising the existence of people’, and thus a means of helping these young women connect with people in their lives who might be able to offer help.

Producer: Morlene Chin

Get Aeon straight
to your inbox
Join our newsletter
Aeon is not-for-profit
and free for everyone
Make a donation
Essay/
Fertility, Pregnancy & Childbirth
The macho sperm myth

The idea that millions of sperm are on an Olympian race to reach the egg is yet another male fantasy of human reproduction

Robert D Martin

Essay/
Illness & Disease
Chronic

For big pharma, the perfect patient is wealthy, permanently ill and a daily pill-popper. Will medicine ever recover?

Clayton Dalton