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Monsieur oyster

5 minutes

Cosmologist Pedro Ferreira on dark energy

3 minutes

ORIGINAL

What fat is for

4 minutes

The big city

6 minutes

Spacesavers

4 minutes

The best way to eat an oyster is the way you like it at the moment you crave it

Part of a family with a deep, abiding connection to the sea, the French oyster farmer Joël Dupuch finds joy in every step of the four-year cultivation process, from nurturing the peppercorn-sized newborn oysters, to – bien sûr – tasting the result of his hard work. While each harvest is subject to the unpredictable whims of nature, Dupuch embodies the lessons of working ‘from the sea and through the sea’, finding meaning in both the successes and failures. Featuring breathtaking photography from Arcachon Bay in southwest France, Monsieur Oyster by the French director Douglas Guillot is a sensuous dive into how work and pleasure occasionally intertwine in profoundly satisfying ways.

Director: Douglas Guillot

Creative Director: Sergio Penzo

Production: Panthalassa Content

The mysterious ‘something’ behind the accelerating expansion of the Universe

Dark energy is the term that scientists have given to the mysterious ‘something’ deemed responsible for the accelerating expansion of the Universe. However, unlike gravity, which pulls things together, physicists and cosmologists still can’t explain what dark energy really is or how it does what it does, despite the fact that it theoretically makes up a substantial part of everything. In this upbeat animation, Pedro Ferreira, professor of astrophysics at the University of Oxford, points to the scenarios that his field faces – the ‘incredibly exciting’ one and the ‘doomsday’ one – perhaps taking solace in knowing that there are only two. 

Produced by Massive and Pioneer Works

Animation and Direction by Daniel Stankler

Sound by Zing Audio

Words by Pedro Ferreira

Created by Nadja Oertelt

Published in association with
SAPIENS
an Aeon Partner

Abundance has made fat an enemy, but it’s been a friend to humans for millennia

Despite the modern Western obsession with bodyweight, the idea that fat bodies are unsightly and unhealthy is largely unprecedented in human history. Nevertheless, the thin ideal is spreading, permeating societies where ‘a little extra’ has been celebrated, even until very recently. But, as this short video collaboration between Aeon and SAPIENS explains, the idea of fat as something we should get rid of is a historical outlier. Playfully visualised by the London-based Kazakh animator Ermina Takenova, What Fat Is For probes the complex role of fat across human society, from mysterious Palaeolithic figurines to Jamaican dance halls, treating this vital component of our bodies with the complexity, even reverence, it deserves.

Director and Animator: Ermina Takenova

Producer: Kellen Quinn

Writer: Nicola Williams

Associate Producer: Adam D'Arpino

Sound Design: Adam D'Arpino, Eli Cohn

Meet your single-celled neighbours – a microbial tour of a metropolis

From an anthropocentric point of view, big cities are one of humanity’s most majestic achievements: massive, self-contained ecosystems built by, catering to, and inhabited by huge numbers of people. But you could forgive microorganisms for claiming that cities are actually theirs. After all, they outnumber humans in urban environments by the trillions. They also affect cityscapes in a far more tangible way: city planners and epidemiologists shape urban environments with pathogenic threats in mind. 

For his experimental short film The Big City, the Canadian filmmaker Evan Luchkow put the hidden lifeforms of downtown Vancouver’s main roads under the literal microscope, documenting the various microbes he found to reveal, in his words, ‘the blurry boundary between human society and the natural world’. The result is an extraordinary and enlightening glimpse of the vast biodiversity with which we share our cities. 

Director: Evan Luchkow

The peculiar Boston tradition that (mostly) keeps the winter parking peace

After snowstorms in Boston, street parking tensions tend to rise, especially when car owners clear out spaces near their residences only to later find another driver has swiped their hard-earned spot. But walk the city’s streets in the wake of a blizzard, and you’ll notice a uniquely Bostonian visual language that aims to keep the parking peace – even if it isn’t always successful. In a decades-old winter tradition codified by a former mayor, residents in most Boston neighbourhoods are allowed to hold their spaces for up to 48 hours using everyday objects. The formerly Boston-based director Sarah Ginsburg explores the peculiar practice in her film Spacesavers. Shot during the winter of 2015 – a record-breaking season for snowfall – the wry observational short offers a distinctive vision of Boston’s winter streets where everything from lawn chairs to walkers and golf bags become ‘keep out’ signs.

Director: Sarah Ginsburg

Producer: Will Lennon

The best way to eat an oyster is the way you like it at the moment you crave it

Part of a family with a deep, abiding connection to the sea, the French oyster farmer Joël Dupuch finds joy in every step of the four-year cultivation process, from nurturing the peppercorn-sized newborn oysters, to – bien sûr – tasting the result of his hard work. While each harvest is subject to the unpredictable whims of nature, Dupuch embodies the lessons of working ‘from the sea and through the sea’, finding meaning in both the successes and failures. Featuring breathtaking photography from Arcachon Bay in southwest France, Monsieur Oyster by the French director Douglas Guillot is a sensuous dive into how work and pleasure occasionally intertwine in profoundly satisfying ways.

Director: Douglas Guillot

Creative Director: Sergio Penzo

Production: Panthalassa Content

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Essay/
Cultures & Languages
Who decides what words mean

Bound by rules, yet constantly changing, language might be the ultimate self-regulating system, with nobody in charge

Lane Greene

Essay/
Stories & Literature
What War of the Worlds did

The uncanny realism of Orson Welles’s radio play crystallised a fear of communication technology that haunts us today

Benjamin Naddaff-Hafrey