National disintegrations

11 minutes

Julian Barbour: what is time?

8 minutes

The driver is red

15 minutes

Making an agate teapot

7 minutes

Black sheep

16 minutes

The Swiss warehouse where the rich hide assets and wealth leaves no trace

Many believe that the art stashed within the Geneva Freeport’s walls – reportedly including around a thousand pieces by Picasso – would make it one of the world’s largest and most exquisite museums… if the work was on display. Instead, masterworks sit unseen and untouched in high-security vaults, alongside archaeological treasures, gold bars, diamonds, weapons and rare vintage wines – their owners waiting for them to appreciate in value, or, in less savoury cases, to hide them for a time. Because the freeport is exempt from import taxes or duties, and operates under the famous secrecy of Switzerland’s banking system, it is thought to be a hotbed of black market activity (although in 2016 the Swiss government took new measures to crack down on illegal freeport holdings). National Disintegrations contrasts the mysterious inner life of the Geneva Freeport – where untold billions in riches come and go with little regulation – with scenes of a nearby complex, where asylum seekers are subjected to endless waiting and bureaucracy. What does this disparity in freedom say about Swiss society and the global movement of people and goods?

Director: Braden King

Producer: Cynthia Reschke

Website: Field of Vision

From sky charts to atomic clocks, time is a mysterious story that humans keep inventing

The standardisation and accuracy of human timekeeping has improved by leaps and bounds over the millennia – from tracing the stars, to the invention of timepieces, to the atomic ‘clocks’ of today. But for all our efforts, the concept of time, including whether it’s little more than an illusion of human psychology, remains deeply puzzling. In this interview with Robert Lawrence Kuhn for the PBS series Closer to Truth, the independent British physicist Julian Barbour endeavours to distinguish between our experience of time and its scientific underpinnings, including what has and hasn’t changed about our conception of time since we first looked to the skies to measure it.

Video by Closer to Truth

A spy thriller for an era in which the Holocaust risks being forgotten

‘The noose that had hung his friends after the war for what they had done, the noose that he thought he had escaped, had found him.’

In the wake of the Second World War, former SS officials and Nazi collaborators fled Europe, hoping to evade prosecution and knowing that South American governments were sympathetic to the Nazi cause. Adolf Eichmann, the chief ‘architect’ of the Holocaust, was the highest ranking member of the Third Reich to escape to the continent, where he made Buenos Aires his new home and ‘Ricardo Klement’ his new name.

The US artist Randall Christopher’s animation The Driver Is Red follows the Israeli mission that captured Eichmann on 11 May 1960, forcing him to finally stand trial for his crimes. With the pace and tension of a spy thriller, the short documentary frames the fervour for justice as a tribute to those who committed themselves to tracking down Nazi war criminals long after the Second World War’s end. Now that very few people with memories of Nazism’s rise are still alive, Christopher made the film freely available online, warning of the ominous spectre of ‘extreme nationalism, open racism, attacks on the press [and] reckless talk of war’ in our own era.

Director: Randall Christopher

Producers: Jared Callahan, Randall Christopher, Spencer Rabin

Website: The Driver Is Red

How do you bring an 18th-century ceramic teapot to life? An artist puzzles it out

Agateware is a distinctive style of ceramics that became popular in England during the 18th century. Crafting it calls for an intricate process of moulding and layering clay materials, culminating in a marbleised, multicoloured glow on each piece after glaze firing. In this short video from the Victoria and Albert Museum in London, Michelle Erickson – an American ceramic artist who was a ceramics resident there in 2012 – attempts to recreate an 18th-century agateware teapot from the museum’s collection. Combining historical expertise with educated guesswork and artistic dexterity, she works out how to duplicate the original. While her final product is an impressive display of artistic mimicry, the true marvel of her work is the way that her thinking shapes and is shaped by the act of her making.

What ultranationalism offers working-class teens in England’s north

The British filmmaker Christian Cerami knows firsthand how easily white working-class teens in the north of England can succumb to racist and Islamophobic ideologies. His short documentary Black Sheep (2015) follows Sam and Jack, two teenage brothers in the same town where Cerami was raised, who feel the pull of the far-Right anti-Muslim organisation the English Defence League (EDL). With their parents seemingly absent, the two brothers set out to attend an EDL protest in Bradford, West Yorkshire, on 12 October 2013. The march marked the group’s first demonstration since its controversial leader Tommy Robinson resigned, claiming that the organisation he’d co-founded had grown too extreme. While the older brother Sam finds fraternity and a sense of purpose amid the mob, 13-year-old Jack waivers between naive enthusiasm and skepticism. With a raw but purposeful observational style, Cerami skilfully traces both distressing and poignant moments to convey the deep contradictions of ultranationalism.

Director: Christian Cerami

Producer: Alex Sedgley

Director of Production: Simon Plunket

The Swiss warehouse where the rich hide assets and wealth leaves no trace

Many believe that the art stashed within the Geneva Freeport’s walls – reportedly including around a thousand pieces by Picasso – would make it one of the world’s largest and most exquisite museums… if the work was on display. Instead, masterworks sit unseen and untouched in high-security vaults, alongside archaeological treasures, gold bars, diamonds, weapons and rare vintage wines – their owners waiting for them to appreciate in value, or, in less savoury cases, to hide them for a time. Because the freeport is exempt from import taxes or duties, and operates under the famous secrecy of Switzerland’s banking system, it is thought to be a hotbed of black market activity (although in 2016 the Swiss government took new measures to crack down on illegal freeport holdings). National Disintegrations contrasts the mysterious inner life of the Geneva Freeport – where untold billions in riches come and go with little regulation – with scenes of a nearby complex, where asylum seekers are subjected to endless waiting and bureaucracy. What does this disparity in freedom say about Swiss society and the global movement of people and goods?

Director: Braden King

Producer: Cynthia Reschke

Website: Field of Vision

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