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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).
Why making if-then connections might be the key to consciousness
Thinkers and theories
Bernard Williams on Descartes’s audacious endeavour to prove knowledge is possible
The cast of ‘misfit toys’ who keep life on an idyllic tourist island afloat
Ageing and death
When his elderly parents make a suicide pact, Doron struggles to accept their choice
Biography and memoir
What Akiko saw at the centre of the Hiroshima blast, and the indelible mark it left
To understand the limits of human senses, look to the wild world of animal cognition
Design and fashion
From sheep to sea – an ode to the iconic sweater that warms Cornish sailors
The revolutionary artist who propelled the Black Panther movement with imagery
Yes, the Inuit have dozens of words for snow – but what does each one mean exactly?