Lost world

16 minutes

Mercury in transit

1 minute

Romanticism: poetry and philosophy

20 minutes

Forms (process)

2 minutes

Men

17 minutes

Sand grab: how Singapore’s growth is taking the land out from under Cambodians’ feet

Singapore is a tiny country with outsized influence. The Southeast Asian island nation packs some 5.6 million people into just 278 square miles, making it the third most densely populated country in the world. Its wealth is mostly built on oil but, due to a growing population, a booming economy and rising sea levels brought on by climate change, land is quickly becoming its most precious resource. Uninterested in reining in expansion, the government has a plan: through what is known as ‘land reclamation’, Singapore has expanded its size by some 24 per cent since it first gained independence in 1965, and plans to expand another 8 per cent by 2030.

Between 2007 and 2017, much of the sand used for Singapore’s physical growth was dredged and shipped from Cambodia, with little say from the villagers who were most affected. Lost World follows Vy Phalla, a Cambodian woman whose way of life is stolen from beneath her feet, as the industrial dredging process damages the waterways and mangrove forests that she and her fishing community depend on. Tracing Phalla’s journey from her modest island home to Singapore’s lush Cloud Forest botanical gardens – a tourist attraction built on reclaimed soil – this short documentary offers a vital perspective on artificial land, which has emerged as an urgent environmental and geopolitical issue over the past decade. Read more about Lost World at Emergence Magazine.

Director: Kalyanee Mam

Producers: Emmanuel Vaughan-Lee, Adam Loften

Website: GO Project Films

Watch the rare, awesome spectacle as Mercury passes between the Earth and Sun

Although Mercury orbits the Sun once every 88 Earth days, the three bodies align only about 13 times a century due to the planets’ relative orbital planes. One such ‘Mercury transit’ occurred on 11 November 2019. This short video highlights the rare event as recorded by NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory in a variety of ultraviolet light wavelengths. The resulting celestial spectacle demonstrates the vast size differences between the Sun and its nearest-orbiting planet to awesome effect. For NASA, however, the observation is more than just public outreach eye candy: scientists use these events to help understand the gravitational interactions of planets and stars in hopes of discovering planets outside our solar system.

Video by NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center

Producer: Genna Duberstein

What can the Romantics teach us about confronting modern problems?

If this belief from heaven be sent,
If such be Nature’s holy plan,
Have I not reason to lament
What man has made of man?
From ‘Lines Written in Early Spring’ (1798) by William Wordsworth

The Romantic thinkers, poets, composers and artists valued emotion over reason. Reacting to the Enlightenment’s emphasis on rationalism, they embraced Jean-Jacques Rousseau’s dim view of modernity, expressed in The Social Contract (1762), that ‘Man is born free, but everywhere he is in chains.’ This analysis from the UK video essayist Lewis Waller uses three poems to trace Romanticism across three key movements – the writings of Francophone thinkers including Rousseau, the work of English poets such as Samuel Taylor Coleridge and William Wordsworth, and the ideas of German philosophers, including F W J von Schelling and Friedrich Schlegel. In examining this artistic and intellectual history, Walker draws out several ways in which Romanticism offers a valuable humanistic perspective on urgent contemporary questions, including the climate crisis and poverty. Read more on the need for a new Romanticism in the face of scientism here.

Director: Lewis Waller

Video by Then & Now

Behold the invisible swoosh and swirl of athletic movement in digital art

Forms is a collaboration between the London-based visual artists Memo Akten and Davide Quayolas, and it generates dynamic digital art from the bodies of world-class athletes at the 2010 Commonwealth Games. Inspired by modernist and early photographic interrogations of bodies in motion, such as Marcel Duchamp’s Nude Descending a Staircase, No 2 (1912), the project, in Akten’s words, plays with ‘abstract forms, visualising unseen relationships – power, balance, grace and conflict – between the body and its surroundings’. Forms (Process) demonstrates the relationship between the source video imagery and the project’s resulting animations. Watch an excerpt from the final version of Forms here, and learn more about the inspiration behind the piece in this Twitter thread from Akten.

Video by Memo Akten, Quayola

As a debauched weekend comes to its end, a strange grace settles over these young men

A group of young men head out to the woods. They dance around a fire. They ingest mind-altering substances. They shoot sparks into the night sky. They commune with each other. With his documentary Men, the US filmmaker Dane Mainella drops us into the midst of a ritual that is as ancient as it is banal – 20something-year-old male friends having fun. Mainella traces the hours with a suitably dizzying approach, using loose vérité camerawork and abrupt, time-jumping edits to careen through the revelry – or periodically pause on moments of fumbling towards expressions of friendship. The result is an immersive and unvarnished invitation to a party that is both an awkward American show of immature masculinity as it is a timeless tradition of bonding between men.

Director: Dane Mainella

Sand grab: how Singapore’s growth is taking the land out from under Cambodians’ feet

Singapore is a tiny country with outsized influence. The Southeast Asian island nation packs some 5.6 million people into just 278 square miles, making it the third most densely populated country in the world. Its wealth is mostly built on oil but, due to a growing population, a booming economy and rising sea levels brought on by climate change, land is quickly becoming its most precious resource. Uninterested in reining in expansion, the government has a plan: through what is known as ‘land reclamation’, Singapore has expanded its size by some 24 per cent since it first gained independence in 1965, and plans to expand another 8 per cent by 2030.

Between 2007 and 2017, much of the sand used for Singapore’s physical growth was dredged and shipped from Cambodia, with little say from the villagers who were most affected. Lost World follows Vy Phalla, a Cambodian woman whose way of life is stolen from beneath her feet, as the industrial dredging process damages the waterways and mangrove forests that she and her fishing community depend on. Tracing Phalla’s journey from her modest island home to Singapore’s lush Cloud Forest botanical gardens – a tourist attraction built on reclaimed soil – this short documentary offers a vital perspective on artificial land, which has emerged as an urgent environmental and geopolitical issue over the past decade. Read more about Lost World at Emergence Magazine.

Director: Kalyanee Mam

Producers: Emmanuel Vaughan-Lee, Adam Loften

Website: GO Project Films

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Black clothing, a distracted gaze: the height of Elizabethan fashion. Portrait of Henry Percy, 9th Earl of Northumberland (1590-1595), by Nicholas Hilliard. Photo courtesy the Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam

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