Get curated editors’ picks, peeks behind the scenes, film recommendations and more.
Part of an art experiment conducted in Thailand’s mangrove forests by the Swiss artists Robin Meier and André Gwerder, this short film documents a stunning display of fireflies flashing in manipulated patterns. In 1992, researchers solved what was once a scientific mystery, figuring out that certain species of fireflies synchronised their flashing not by following a leader, as was suspected, but by coordinating their internal clocks to match the group. In Synchronising Fireflies, Meier and Gwerder manipulate this natural mechanism by using LEDs to coax the fireflies into creating coordinated displays. The piece is hardly just an exercise in crafting ecological eye candy, though; in creating it, the artists set out to ‘explore the idea of free will and transform a machine into a living actor inside a colony of insects’.
For those who want to be that living actor inside a colony of insects, the US-based games developer Nicky Case created ‘Fireflies’.
Directors: Robin Meier, André Gwerder
Producer: Audemars Piguet Art Commission, Le Brassus
Raw solar-storm footage is the punk-rock antidote to sleek James Webb imagery
Dazzling timelapse shows how microbes spoil our food – and sometimes enrich it
Inside the unique London community built by residents to defy housing discrimination
Film and visual culture
With human help, AIs are generating a new aesthetics. The results are trippy
From manners to mud – two women recall coming of age in Victorian London
Gender and identity
The joys and complications of raising a baby without gender in a binary world
Sports and games
Bodies, bikes and groovy music propel this stylish classic film from 1965
Can art in a swanky restaurant ever be transcendent? On Rothko’s Seagram Murals
Like pop music, humpback whale songs spread, mutate, and fall out of fashion