Jonathan Field

6 minutes

The evolution of cynicism

5 minutes

Unreal city

6 minutes

Kidnapper ants

5 minutes

A concerto is a conversation

14 minutes

Humane horse-training means understanding humans as predators and horses as prey

From the farm to the battlefield to the frontier, the bond between horses and humans has endured for thousands of years. However, the Canadian horse trainer Jonathan Field thinks that many riders have lost sight of horsemanship as a collaboration between horse and rider – a dynamic that he believes rests in understanding humans as predatory animals and horses as prey. In this short documentary from the Canada-based production company Salazar, Field recalls how a particularly challenging horse taught him to reconsider his harsh horse-breaking methods, and explains how he’s spreading his message of ‘observance, patience and understanding’ to the riding community.

Video by Salazar

Cynicism was born when Diogenes rejected materialism and manners

Plato once described the philosopher Diogenes of Sinope as ‘a Socrates gone mad!’ It’s a good comparison. Like Socrates, Diogenes gave the bird to respectable society. He undermined status and manners in the 4th century BCE with his bottomless reserve of shamelessness and irreverence, opting to live on the streets like a stray dog. But, of course, there was a method to his madness. In this short video by TED-Ed, the Irish philosopher William D Desmond explains how Diogenes lived an authentic and ascetic life in accordance with nature, and how in doing so he founded the philosophy of cynicism – an iconoclastic tradition that continues to illuminate and infuriate today.

Video by TED-Ed

Director: Avi Ofer

Writer: William D Desmond

How an augmented reality app transformed London into an immersive art gallery

If you ever hopped on the Pokémon GO craze, you’ll have an inkling of how digital technology is increasingly capable of adding rich new slices to everyday life. The public exhibition ‘Unreal City’, which ran from 8 December 2020 to 5 January 2021 on the River Thames in London – and is, until 9 February 2021, available for at-home viewing – similarly superimposed digital layers on to reality, but with an aim to transform the city into an immersive augmented reality (AR) art gallery. An initiative from the AR app Acute Art and Dazed Media, the exhibition featured 36 digital sculptures from artists around the globe, and was arranged as a riverside walking tour at a time when indoor museums had become mostly inaccessible due to COVID-19. Featuring images of some of the sculptures and words from artists including Olafur Eliasson, Tomás Saraceno, Cao Fei and KAWS, this trailer for the ‘Unreal City’ exhibition is an exciting glimpse into the potential for AR as it continues to transform cities in strange and surprising ways.

Director: Kate Villevoye

Website: Dazed

Incredible footage captures the ants that transform other species into loyal servants

You might assume that a creature incapable of feeding itself would have a one-way ticket off the food chain and into the dustbin of extinction. But some ant species with mandibles that are ill-equipped for eating have developed a clever – if not quite mutual – means of finding sustenance and perpetuating. Known as ‘kidnapper’ or ‘slave-making’ ants, these parasitic creatures raid the nests of other ant species, capture their young and carry them to their home nest. Using scents to keep the new arrivals oblivious to the fact that they’re far from home, the kidnappers deploy their captors to tend to their young, forage for their food, and even chew and feed it to them in a process known as trophallaxis. Captured in stunning high definition by the science documentary series Deep Look, this short video tracks red kidnapper ants in the Sierra Nevada mountain range in California as they raid, kidnap and brainwash the young from a nearby black ant species’ nest. You can learn more about this video at KQED Science.

Video by KQED Science

Producer and Writer: Josh Cassidy

Narrator and Writer: Lauren Sommer

A piano virtuoso traces and scores the contours of his grandfather’s inspiring life story

The award-winning pianist Kris Bowers and his grandfather Horace Bowers, Sr were born on opposite sides of the United States, and some 60 years apart. Growing up in Los Angeles, Kris aspired to be a musician and composer from a young age – and had the natural talent to match. Raised in Florida amid Jim Crow, Horace wanted, above all else, to get out of the South, hitchhiking West as a teenager, where he would later start a successful small business in California. But, as the short documentary A Concerto Is a Conversation explores, what they share – including personal struggles with race and discrimination, ambitions to rise above the circumstances of their birth, and indistinguishable spirits – transcends the years between them. Featuring intimate cinematography from the Canadian director Ben Proudfoot and a stirring score provided by Kris Bowers himself, the film tracks the musical rhythms of a conversation between loved ones, and across the generations, with grace and heart.

Directors: Ben Proudfoot, Kris Bowers

Producer: Jeremy Lambert

Website: Breakwater Studios

Humane horse-training means understanding humans as predators and horses as prey

From the farm to the battlefield to the frontier, the bond between horses and humans has endured for thousands of years. However, the Canadian horse trainer Jonathan Field thinks that many riders have lost sight of horsemanship as a collaboration between horse and rider – a dynamic that he believes rests in understanding humans as predatory animals and horses as prey. In this short documentary from the Canada-based production company Salazar, Field recalls how a particularly challenging horse taught him to reconsider his harsh horse-breaking methods, and explains how he’s spreading his message of ‘observance, patience and understanding’ to the riding community.

Video by Salazar

Aeon is not-for-profit
and free for everyone
Make a donation
Get Aeon straight
to your inbox
Join our newsletter

Ginseng root. Photo by Sina Schuldt/picture alliance via Getty

Essay/
Illness and disease
Natural and unnatural

‘Natural’ remedies are metaphysically inconsistent and unscientific. Yet they offer something that modern medicine cannot

Alan Jay Levinovitz

Charles Boyer plays opposite Ingrid Bergman in the 1944 film adaptation of Patrick Hamilton’s novel Gaslight. Photo by Getty

Essay/
Mental health
Turn off the gaslight

The skilled manipulator casts a shadow of doubt over everything that you feel or think. Therapy can bring the daylight in

Ramani Durvasula