Edvard Munch: what a cigarette means

8 minutes

When is art a better tool for understanding mental illness than science?

The Norwegian artist Edvard Munch (1863-1944) – best-known for his painting The Scream (1893) – was a key figure in the expressionist movement, which emphasised subjective experiences over the natural world. Part of a rising bohemian class that rejected conventions in society and art, Munch’s unsettling work often reflected and refracted his personal struggles with mental illness, much to the alarm of Oslo’s prevailing conservative class. In this video essay, Evan Puschak (also known as The Nerdwriter) uses a short cultural history of the cigarette to explore how Munch’s Self-Portrait with Cigarette (1895) signified an impending revolt in both art and society – and how art allows for a ‘probing and nuanced understanding’ of mental illness that often eludes medical science.

Video by The Nerdwriter

Video/Digital Culture

A transfixing audiovisual dive into varieties of emergence

4 minutes

ORIGINAL
Video/Ethics

If soldiers act with unjust aggression they are as culpable as civilian criminals

6 minutes

Video/Nature & Environment

A Herculean fish and the fight against a $6 billion mega-dam project in Alaska

25 minutes

Idea/Death

Ghosts and ghouls haunt the living with a message about life

Thomas W Laqueur

Video/Travel

Rail workers battle winter’s worst in this kinetic, Oscar®-nominated classic

8 minutes

Essay/Digital Culture

Shame on you

Unburdening ourselves online can feel radical and liberating. But is baring and sharing all as emancipatory as it seems?

Firmin deBrabander

Idea/Art

Why the dandy is a subversive work of public art

Tara Isabella Burton

Video/Stories & Literature

How E E Cummings’s most famous love poem reaches towards transcendence of self

9 minutes

Essay/Stories & Literature

When robots read books

Artificial intelligence sheds new light on classic texts. Literary theorists who don’t embrace it face obsolescence

Inderjeet Mani