Shot in 1996 by the then high-school student Michael Lucid on a handheld camera at his school in Santa Monica, California, Dirty Girls was released and screened around Los Angeles in 2000 before gaining popularity on the internet in 2013. The film centres on a group of teens deemed ‘dirty girls’ by their peers for their rejection of school social norms – especially their purposely unkempt, grunge-influenced style. Identifying as part of the Riot Grrrl feminist punk movement of the 1990s, the girls share their perspective on capitalism, feminism and rape culture in their self-published zine, mostly to the mockery of their classmates. A microcosm of the high-school social experience familiar to many, Lucid’s film is also a window into the early days of third-wave feminism, before many of the ideas that the ‘dirty girls’ embraced gained traction in mainstream culture.
By Aeon Video
The peacock’s dazzling tail feathers do not exist for them to carry out everyday activities such as eating or sleeping, but because their colourfulness is attractive to peahens: the more brilliant the feathers, the greater the chance the peacock has of finding a sexual partner. Tail feathers, to ...
By Tamsin Saxton
As of 2015, an estimated 93.5 per cent of Japan’s population live in cities, making it one of the most urbanised countries in the world, and the trend towards city living has been growing for decades. In Yadorigi: A Village in Portraits, the London- and Tokyo-based director Eiji Iwakawa profiles three inhabitants of a small, secluded farming village in southern Japan. Following the lives of an organic farmer, a junk collector and a circus trainer, each of them with his own distinct reasons for calling Yadorigi home, Iwakawa’s amiable short documentary discovers a small but enduring side of Japan rarely seen on television or in movies, or presumably, by the vast majority of Japanese people.
By Aeon Video
Before fathering psychoanalysis, Freud first slayed the dominant Cartesian intellectual tradition of mind-body dualism
By David Livingstone Smith
It is not always good to have the opportunity to make a choice. When we must decide to take one action rather than another, we also, ordinarily, become at least partly responsible for what we choose to do. Usually this is appropriate; it’s what makes us the kinds of creatures who can be expected ...
By Lisa Tessman
As far as we can tell, no other animal knows this. Did our understanding of baby-making change the course of human history?
By Holly Dunsworth & Anne Buchanan
Ballyhaunis is a traditional farming town in County Mayo in the west of Ireland with a population just over 3,000. Due to an immigration influx over the past several decades, it also happens to be the most ethnically diverse town in the country, with the majority of children speaking a language other than English or Gaelic at home. With Irish nationals leaving Ballyhaunis at a record rate following the economic recession, immigration has largely kept the community afloat. Pitching Up is an endearing portrait of the small town, focused on how introducing immigrants and first-generation Irish to traditional Gaelic sports has helped them integrate into the community, while at the same time preserving the region’s distinctive culture. Uplifting without being unduly idealistic, the film offers a more optimistic view of immigration and cultural integration in Europe than is usually seen in the reactive news cycle.
By Aeon Video
Immortality has gone secular. Unhooked from the realm of gods and angels, it’s now the subject of serious investment – both intellectual and financial – by philosophers, scientists and the Silicon Valley set. Several hundred people have already chosen to be ‘cryopreserved’ in preference to simply...
By Francesca Minerva & Adrian Rorheim
Psychedelics have a remarkable capacity to violate our ideas about ourselves. Is that why they make people better?
By Philip Gerrans & Chris Letheby
Mountain or valley? Concave or convex? Why is it so difficult to tell the difference when you’re viewing a surface from directly overhead? This short animation from MinutePhysics details how this perceptual illusion is explained by our natural conditioning to the Earth’s most powerful light source – the Sun – which has trained us to perceive light as always being on top and shadows as always being on the bottom.
By Aeon Video
In his essay The Machine-Tooled Happyland (1965), Ray Bradbury lays out his vision for the theme park of the future. Along with standard-issue attractions such as carousels and rollercoasters, tomorrow’s theme park must also contain an ‘audio-animatronic museum’, which features ‘Robot Vikings tre...
By Ben Thomas
Democracy, by nature, is a contest between clashing political desires. That is why the public square matters so much
By Saul Frampton
The bashoiri – the arrival of sumo wrestlers before a tournament – unfolds outside a venue in Tokyo. With the sumo lifestyle still dictated largely by tradition and the Japan Sumo Association, the wrestlers emerge from cars that they cannot drive, wearing robes that denote their rank, and sporting chonmage haircuts, looking splendidly anachronistic as they interact with mobile phones and pose for photos with fans. Colourful and carefully crafted to highlight the hierarchy of sumo wrestlers, Mari Shibata’s film is a brief glimpse at the unusual intersection of tradition and modern celebrity that this sport occupies in Japanese culture.
By Aeon Video
It’s a common enough scenario. A vegetarian has been invited to a friend’s place for dinner. The host forgets that the guest is a vegetarian, and places a pork chop in front of her. What is she to do? Probably her initial feelings will be disgust and repulsion. Vegetarians often develop these sor...
By Alberto Giubilini
Kerry Knudsen, curator of lichens at the University of California Riverside, is one of the world’s leading authorities on the composite organisms in which algae or cyanobacteria grow symbiotically inside a fungus. The Lichenologist finds Knudsen in the lab and on excursions to Santa Cruz Island and Joshua Tree National Park, where he describes his abiding love of nature, partially precipitated by experimentation with LSD, and of working in the field, a joy he attributes to ‘the intense feeling of reality, of just being here’. Shot and scored with an appropriately psychedelic flair, the UK director Matthew Killip’s film finds much to marvel at in both Knudsen and the lichens themselves.
By Aeon Video
Can novelists or psychologists better capture the strange multitude of realities in every human self?
By Carlin Flora
Research into biological ageing suggests that humans might one day be able to prolong youth and postpone death. When that time comes, extended youth could become a province of the wealthy, adding another devastating inequity to a world already separating the haves from the have-nots. This health...
By Christopher Wareham
A religious worldview cannot expect the same kinds of tolerance as racial, gender, or sexual identities. Here’s why
By Paul Russell
Working until the early morning hours in a Manhattan restaurant kitchen, Julio Sauce still finds the energy to train for and compete each year in the New York City Marathon – a gruelling 26-mile endurance test through the five boroughs. After moving to New York from his native Ecuador in search of job opportunities in 1994, Sauce was inspired to give the race a shot after watching it on television. Since finishing in 2,800th place in his first year, he has trained alongside other working-class immigrants to become an elite long-distance runner. Moving between Sauce’s day-to-day life – working, training and spending time with his family – and marathon day, when he hopes to finish at the top of his age group among New Yorkers, Marathon is a richly moving portrait of the US immigrant experience.
By Aeon Video
I am stranded on Mars. The fuel tanks on my return vessel ruptured, and no rescue team can possibly reach me before I run out of food. (And, unlike Matt Damon, I have no potatoes.) Luckily, my ship features a teleporter. It is an advanced bit of gadgetry, to be sure, but the underlying idea is si...
By Charlie Huenemann