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/Life Stages

Harlem’s over-55s synchronised swimming team thinks ageing is better in the pool

4 minutes

ORIGINAL
Video/Cognition & Intelligence

There’s a lot more to conversation than words. What really happens when we talk

6 minutes

Video/Demography & Migration

The island where 50 million crabs roam free and refugees are trapped in limbo

21 minutes

volume_up
play_arrow
pause
Idea/Stories & Literature

So I exaggerate a little – am I wrong to jazz up my stories?

Andrea Askowitz

Video/Travel

Castles, croquet and kilts: on the tour bus from China through the photo ops of Britain

10 minutes

volume_up
play_arrow
pause
Essay/Stories & Literature

The truth about tarot

Whether divining ancient wisdoms or elevating the art of cold reading, tarot is a form of therapy, much like psychoanalysis

James McConnachie

Idea/Art

Why does contemporary art make for wildly popular blockbusters?

Judith H Dobrzynski

Video/Subcultures

Utopian communities rarely last. How have the Hutterites done it over four centuries?

28 minutes

Essay/Stories & Literature

Sands of time

The North Sea is rich in signs of what made the modern world. It's also a monument to what awaits us in the Anthropocene

David Farrier