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A large island nation off the eastern coast of Africa, Madagascar is at once resource rich, highly biodiverse and poverty stricken. It has more endemic species than the whole of Africa, but according to USAID, it is also ‘the poorest non-conflict country on Earth, with 92 per cent of people living on less than $2/day’. In 2009, an uprising and subsequent military coup left the country in a state of disarray and largely isolated from the international community. While elections in 2013 relieved some political tensions, the country’s society and economy are still scarred by years of upheaval, with smuggling operations and other illicit trades operating largely unchecked. This innovative short made in 2013 by the UK filmmaker Toby Smith uses motion-tracking graphics to explore the legal and illegal corners of Madagascar’s economy, reflecting the entanglements between development and conservation, exploitation and luxury.
Water, salt and music form a mesmerising visualisation of sound waves
Film and visual culture
A Palme d’Or-winning animation toys with the way our eyes perceive light
Witness the majesty of moths taking flight at 6,000 frames per second
Jocelyn Bell discovered pulsars. The Nobel Prize went to her supervisor
Animals and humans
A bluesy ballad tells the story of Old Bet, the first circus elephant in the US
In this 1975 lecture, the maglev train’s inventor deconstructs his ingenious design
Meaning and the good life
To know or not to know? Lillian weighs the costs of a life-changing genetic test
Information and communication
There are many ways to make a flat map of the world – each of them a unique distortion
Liquid experiments show how beautiful things can happen when chemicals meet