Richard

5 minutes

20 Hz

5 minutes

What do your dreams look like?

2 minutes

Disorientation

4 minutes

Erica: man made

14 minutes

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The nomadic life of London piano tuner who values freedom over possessions

Londoner Richard Roberts is a man who chooses to live outside. Not knowing where he might sleep on any given night he nevertheless gets up each day and goes to work as a piano tuner. He sees his unconventional lifestyle choice as an experiment in economics, convenience and environmental impact. ‘Once I realized I didn’t need my possessions,’ he says, ‘I felt like a free man.’

Director: Matt Hopkins

Producer: Progress Films

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Magnetic and majestic: visualising the powerful storms hidden from human view

Violent plasma explosions from the Sun’s surface – known as coronal mass ejections – reverberate to the farthest reaches of our solar system. However, due to the Earth’s protective magnetosphere, most people don’t take note of these events unless a particularly powerful solar flare disrupts radio signals or produces colourful aurorae near the poles. Created as part of an art installation, this inventive, visceral short uses data collected from the University of Alberta’s CARISMA radio array to sonically and visually interpret a geomagnetic storm high in Earth’s atmosphere. Manifesting the data as a dynamic sculpture, the digital rendering captures the volatility of these usually unseen and unheard phenomena, hinting at their potentially destructive powers.

Directors: Ruth Jarman, Joe Gerhardt

Website: Semiconductor Films

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Chocolate, monsters and mothers – surreal glimpses of our most common dreams

While your dreams might feel strange or random, and unique to you (if you even remember them at all), an ongoing project by the US psychologist Kelly Bulkeley offers some insight into our most common dream experiences. Since 2009, Bulkeley has encouraged people around the world to submit the contents of their dreams to his searchable online Sleep and Dream Database, which has thus far collected accounts of some 30,000 dreams. This appropriately surreal short video imagines a composite dream as it divulges some of the fascinating insights from the database, including the food you’re most likely to encounter while sleeping (chocolate), and the person you’re most likely to come across (mother, of course).

Video by Kolja Haaf

Website: BBC Reel

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‘I want you to live forward, but see backward’: a theoretical astrophysicist’s manifesto

The theoretical astrophysicist Katie Mack at North Carolina State University is known for her work on dark matter, as well as her science-outreach efforts. In this short video essay, Mack weaves together cosmology and poetry as she details her personal mission to make her work enhance and challenge our understanding of the Universe, and by extension, ourselves. She writes: ‘I want to make you wonder what is out there; what dreams may come in waves of radiation across the breadth of an endless expanse; what we may know given time; and what splendors might never, ever reach us.’

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Uncanny! Is this humanoid robot a curiosity, or a preview of a post-human world?

The Japanese engineer Hiroshi Ishiguro has spent much of his life building robots to simulate human behaviours as closely as possible. And with Erica, a female humanoid that Ishiguro created with scientists from the universities of Kyoto University and Osaka, and the Advanced Telecommunications Research Institute (ATR), he believes he’s built the ‘most human-like, autonomous android in this world’. In Erica: Man Made, the Romanian director Ilinca Calugareanu profiles Ishiguro and his prized creation, which has been built and programmed to simulate a ‘beautiful’ 23-year-old woman from Kyoto – and one that, as Erica mentions, is still patiently awaiting the ability to move its arms and legs. Surreal and thought-provoking, Calugareanu’s film raises many challenging questions about our potentially post-human future: are robot servants really on the near horizon? Is any attempt to simulate humanity bound to hit an uncanny valley? And to what extent will the human attitudes, intentions and desires of engineers shape the AI landscape?

Director: Ilinca Calugareanu

Producer: Mara Adina

Website: Guardian Documentaries

Aeon for Friends

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The nomadic life of London piano tuner who values freedom over possessions

Londoner Richard Roberts is a man who chooses to live outside. Not knowing where he might sleep on any given night he nevertheless gets up each day and goes to work as a piano tuner. He sees his unconventional lifestyle choice as an experiment in economics, convenience and environmental impact. ‘Once I realized I didn’t need my possessions,’ he says, ‘I felt like a free man.’

Director: Matt Hopkins

Producer: Progress Films

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Essay/
Childhood & Adolescence
The telling

When a parent dies by suicide, how the children are told casts a permanent shadow on their understanding of life and loss

Jesse Bering

Essay/
Self-Improvement
The creed of compromise

Don’t throw in the day job to follow your dream. Join the bifurcators who juggle work-for-pay and their work-for-love

Thomas Maloney