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In the short film Bead Game (1977) by the acclaimed Indian-Canadian filmmaker Ishu Patel, stopmotion animation of coloured glass beads offers a beautiful yet dark vision of life, characterised by brutal cycles of competition and consumption. Beginning with a single bead, a series of organisms – real and imagined – split, combine, transform and devour one another, yielding first the emergence of human forms, and eventually the horrors of nuclear war. Inspired by the beadwork of Inuit women, Patel’s dazzling and urgent response to the atomic age won critical acclaim upon its release, receiving a BAFTA award for Best Short Fictional Film and an Academy Award nomination for Best Short Film (Animated).
A song of ice, fire and jelly – exploring the physics and history of the trumpet
Tour the European architecture that dreamed of a wondrous, fictitious China
Trek alongside spiritual pilgrims on a treacherous journey across Pakistan
Thinkers and theories
Photographs offer a colonialist window to the past – one that must be challenged
Animals and humans
An artist and ants collaborate on an exhibit of ‘tiny Abstract Expressionist paintings’
How a curious question about colouring maps changed mathematics forever
Meaning and the good life
The world turns vivid, strange and philosophical for one plane crash survivor
The rise and fall of Kowloon Walled City, Hong Kong’s infamous urban monolith
Inside the unique creative space where ‘outsider’ artists find their form