18 March 2018

The Clock and the Compass

America in the near future: Islam has been banned and all Muslims are kept under close surveillance and a sundown curfew.  One family prepares for the evening meal – only to have it interrupted by a zealous security guard.  Yet the daughter of her family is this evening to face something which she always expected but for which she is not yet ready.  The Clock and the Compass is a short film by FWD Stance.

If You Have Never Wanted to Visit Moscow, You Will After You Watch This

Moscow as the sun goes down is something to behold but like any other city in the world, when the stars come out so do those who want to have a great time. Alex Soloviev captures the Russian capital beautifully in this short film, Moscow Moves.  There is a lot to see in this grand old city, the very old; yet there is also a vibrancy to the youth culture which puts Moscow on a par with any other capital.

For a Handful of Chanterelles

Has an animation ever made you feel hungry? No? Then this one might.  Created by Julien Grande for his final project at Belgium’s ENSAV La Cambre it tells the story of an extended family’s preparation for lunch – and in particular the trials and  tribulations of the pater familias in his search for his favorite culinary delicacy, a handful of chanterelles (the “une poignée de girolles” of the title).  This is beautifully made, a quiet, understated pleasure.

Light Pillar – Nature’s Beautiful Special Effect

Light pillars scrape the night sky over Alaska.  It may look as if an alien invasion force is beaming down to overrun our little planet but, in fact, this is a purely natural phenomenon.  Light and water is all that is needed to produce this remarkable special effect.

10 March 2018

The Swimming Pool that Turned into a Museum

In the last few years of the twentieth century the Mayor of Lille in northern France had a quandary. The old swimming pool in the small town of Roubaix had been closed in 1985 due to safety problems. 

So, why not simply knock the old building down? What was the problem?

The swimming pool just happened to be a stunningly beautiful example of Art Deco architecture. Time for a peculiarly French solution.

The Kiosk

For years now, the kiosk has been Olga‘s little home simply because her sweet tooth and monotonous life has made her bigger than the exit. To distract herself, she reads travel magazines and dreams of being far away. An absurd incident starts the beginning of her journey. The Kiosk is written and directed by Anete Melece, a Latvian illustrator and animation filmmaker currently based in Zürich,

Emerald Rush – Jon Hopkins

Jon Hopkins should have made an appearance on Kuriositas at some point over the last ten years but hasn’t.  Fortunately we’re able to put that right with this video for his track Emerald Rush, directed by Robert Hunter and Elliot Dear.  I’m not quite sure what to make of it (and perhaps that’s the point) but it hooked me in very quickly - and fantastic combination of music and artwork.  See what you think of it!

Above the Clouds: The Yuanyang Rice Terraces in China

We have covered some of China’s extraordinary rice terraces before on Kuriositas but this needs to be included!  Henry Jun Wah Lee of Evosia Studios captured this amazing arial footage of the Yuanyang rice terraces with a drone and the results are incredible.  This extraordinary landscape has been cultivated for thousands of years yet I expect they have rarely been recorded in such a way as this.  Sit back and enjoy!

2 March 2018

Holi - Festival of Colors

If you live in a large, multi-ethnic city virtually anywhere in the world it is a possibility that in the next few weeks you will see groups of people in parks merrily spattering each other with paint. While you might be excused for thinking that it is a new form of corporate team building – and what a great one that would be – you would be wrong. The throwing of multi-colored water and powder is in fact the popular Hindu spring Festival of Colors, also known as Holi.

This festival has been conducted in India and Nepal for hundreds of years but as the Hindu diaspora grows other countries as far afield as the UK and the US are getting involved in the fun. It may be that outside of the Hindu communities, however, that is religious aspect has been somewhat diluted - some Holi celebrations look more like a rock concert! However, as a rite of spring, most agree it can hardly be beaten.

27 February 2018

Did You Know There is a Spaceport in Alaska?

Me neither.  I always associate American spaceports with sunnier climes but it seems that Kodiak Island in Alaska is pretty much the ideal place to launch great big things in to space.  This short documentary, Spaceport Somewhere,tells the story of the blue-collar and high technology employees who make space exploration possible.  It was created by Alaskan, award-winning filmmaker Brice Habeger.


A mixture of live action and animation is always something of a risk, but this animated short pulls off this tactic beautifully, using both forms of storytelling to take us inside the world of a man who has, it seems, lost almost everything that he ever held dear.  Written, directed and produced by Till Nowak, this is one of the most outstanding short films I have seen for a while. Do NOT be put off by the length – it will not seem like that once you reach the end.

Dolly Said No to Elvis

The title of this song by Mark Nevin with animation by Heather Colbert does sound like the King tried to take advantage of Ms Parton – and that is true but perhaps not quite in the way you might think.  In fact, Elvis’ manager Tommy Parker wanted to take 50% royalties from the sales of one of Dolly’s songs if she gave it to Elvis to record.  She, wisely, said no.  Years later a young singer by the name of Whitney Houston gave I Will Always Love You a new lease of life – and this song tells the tale.

24 February 2018

10 Spectacular Radio Telescopes around the World

Take a whistle stop tour of some of the most spectacular radio telescopes in the world and find out about what actually goes on there. On almost all of the continents these giants command the landscape as they survey the skies.

18 February 2018

Man and Woman Sculpture Reunites Lost Lovers Daily

Sculptor Tamara Kvesitadze (who is also an architect and a painter) created Man and Woman to remember a pair of star-crossed lovers that many of us have not hear of.  It was installed in the seaside town of Batumi in Georgia to represent Ali and Nino from the 1937 novel by Azerbaijani writer Kurban Said.

In the novel the two are separated not only by nationality and religion but by the First World War and the Russian Revolution.  Yet Kvesitadze has ensured that the two meet each day with her creation of this monumental 8 meter tall steel sculpture.  Each day at 7pm the two separate sculptures move closer together, as if preparing for a kiss…

…and then they merge, one passing through the other until they are once more separate.  Although the sculpture was originally called Man and Woman most people now call it Ali and Nino.  It’s simply mesmerizing.  To find out whether the fictional Ali and Nino were reunited you will have to read the novel but to have their love commemorated in this particular way, you may have already guessed what becomes of them!

The Fleet – London’s Underground River

If you listen carefully just above this unassuming grate you can hear the ripple and splash of flowing water. This is the sound of the River Fleet, London’s largest subterranean river. Forced underground by the city’s burgeoning populace the river still flows from its source to its mouth where it joins London’s main waterway, the Thames. Yet what lies beneath?

Below the ground there is a remarkable network of tunnels and chambers, put in to place by Victorian engineers, the final step in a process which took centuries.  For over a thousand years there had been a shipping dock at the mouth of the river – its name comes from the Anglo-Saxon fleot which means a tidal inlet. Yet it was not destined to persevere as a river in its own right.

Three Generations after The Holocaust, How Do Young Jews and Germans See Each Other?

This short animated documentary is based on interviews with young people from Germany and Israel. They are all relatives of the third generation with people who experienced the Holocaust during the Second World War. As such what they say about each other is revelatory and occasionally disturbing, to say the least. It was created by Gil Leron, Elad Izen and Shahar Madmon of Animation Forest.

How Do Cranberries Grow?

One of the few intensively farmed indigenous fruits in the US, the cranberry outranks almost every other fruit and vegetable for anti-oxidants.  However, many people think that cranberries grow under water but that isn’t the case at all!  Here the good people at How Does it Grow? give us some cranberry secrets and explode one or two myths about this marvelous fruit at the same time (plus there is a killer recipe for cranberry sauce in the video!).

Interesting Facts about The Stars

If you are looking for some accessible facts about the stars then you have come to the right place, courtesy of this fascinating and elegant animation about those balls of gas burning billions of miles away as Pumbaa from The Lion King once described them.  Created by data design agency After The Flood for the BBC this will suit most tastes from idle curiosity to those of you with homework to do for tomorrow!

Peacock Spider – Australia’s Show Off Super Hero Spider

This is the peacock spider – and it knows how to show off. Featured today on our sibling site, the Ark in Space, this species wave their legs when first in courtship mode – and you might think that bizarre enough. Yet when he raises a pair of patterned flaps this elaborate courtship process goes from the comically strange to the extraordinary. There is little wonder why its common name is the peacock spider – pop over to Ark in Space to see more amazing pictures and videos.

Image Jurgen Otto

17 February 2018

The Ancient Salt Ponds of Maras, Peru

Before the rise of the Inca Empire, those with an eye to make money but no aversion to hard work, made their way to Maras.  There, a subterranean stream surfaced and its waters were rich with salt.  Deep underground there is a vast deposit of salt, perhaps the remnant of some prehistoric ocean. Hundreds of miles from the sea, this led to a small but important local industry supplying indigenous communities with salt.  The ponds which were created to evaporate the water, leaving the salt behind, still exist and are worked to this day in the same way.


In a time where the digital glimpse into a relationship is usually a picture perfect happy couple, appearances can be more deceiving than ever. A youthful romance turns from heart emojis to jealousy and control before your eyes in an impactful animated short film, “Sunshine,” for nonprofit Day One from global creative studio Lobo and BBDO. February is Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month.

The Zoetrope begat the Caketrope and Gâteau Gato is Born

The zoetrope continues to evolve in to the twenty first century – and this particular twist on the art form is known as the caketrope.   This example by Alexandre Dubosc is the domestic "cake" of the felidae family (in other words it's a caketrope of cats!). Otherwise known as Gâteau Gato it is a majestic example of what you can do with flour, eggs and the imagination. And if you are raising your eyebrows thinking that this is CGI then take a look at Dubosc’s Flickr sets where previous projects are shown in the making.

Watch the Story of the Dinosaurs through the Eyes of a Four Year Old

The story of dinosaurs spans millions of years so who better to encapsulate it, then, than a four year old? Nathan Mezquida gives us an insight in to the lives and demise of these creatures that fascinate children of all ages.  His dad Allen is an animator but gave Nathan full directorial control over this joint project and the result is both charming and, at times, bloodthirsty. This is a delight right here, right now: what better gift could a father give his son? Yet I’m sure the Mezquida family will cherish this for years and I can only hope that Nathan shares his first film with his own kids in a couple of decades.

15 February 2018

A Magical Mermaid Miscellany

The Little Mermaid statue in Copenhagen, Denmark, has entranced onlookers since it was erected in 1909. Yet there are statues of mermaids the world over – a testament to the way in which these alluring ladies of the sea have embedded themselves in global popular culture. Let’s take a tour around the world and visit some of the best.

Baltinore Easter Ross, Scotland

14 February 2018

Dance Dance – An Extraordinary Flower Timelapse

You might imagine that once you’ve seen one timelapse of a bunch of flowers then you have pretty much seen them all. Imagine again.  Dance Dance, by Thomas Blanchard, represents flowers throughout the four seasons.  The fire for the fall, ice for the winter, fast hatching (timelapses) for the spring and color inks for the summer.  The four come together to make something quite extraordinary.

Orbit Ever After

If this had been called “The Borrowers in Space” it would not have surprised me at all, such is the quirky feel that I get from Orbit Ever After.  A family of scavenger subsist on what they can find spinning past the wreckage of a spacecraft in which they live.  Yet son Nigel is smitten by a girl on another piece of barely life-sustaining debris.  The problem is, it’s going in the opposite direction! Orbit Ever After is a film by Jamie Stone.


On a distant ocean, two pirates, Redbeard and Bluebeard, share a bottle of rum, as well as the spoils from their latest haul of booty. A cheerful truce exists between the two men as they divide all the plunder exactly in half… that is until the cabin boy lifts the lid on an unusually long casket. Directed by Russell Haigh of Dark Barn Films, this piratical romp will have you chuckling.  And here’s a question – what is the longest letter in the pirate alphabet? [Why its rrrrr, of course!]

Jabuticaba – The Tree that Fruits on its Trunk

No, this is not a belated April Fool’s prank. They look as if they may have been pinned there by an over enthusiastic gardener to impress the neighbors but the fruit of the Jabuticaba really does grow off the trunk of the tree.

If You Have Never Wanted to Visit Zagreb, You Will After You Watch This

Zagreb, the capital city of Croatia, has always stood as a bridge between east and west.

This video by Kirill Neiezhmakov displays this city of a million souls at its best, reflecting the ebb and flow of history.

Many cultures have shaped this city over the course of the centuries and you will see all of this in the video, together with its people.

11 February 2018

Facts about Bismuth

Bismuth is quite amazing.  Slotted between lead and polonium on the periodic table you might not thing it would have any properties beneficial to health at all – yet it does.  It has quite an interesting history too, as you can gather from the video above (the second from our bespoke YouTube channel).  If you would like to learn some more interesting facts about bismuth then follow this link to our article on this most enigmatic of elements, replete with a lovely collection of photographs.

10 February 2018

The Tree-Kangaroo: Marsupial Climber Extraordinaire

There is cute and then there is just unspeakably, adorably cute.  This extremely photogenic guy is the tree-kangaroo, a native of both Australia and New Guinea. At one point in their evolutionary history, this branch (see what I did there?) of marsupials decided to go back whence they came – to the trees.  And there they persist, although all species of tree-kangaroos are sadly endangered.  The Ark in Space has their story together with some great photographs.

Image Credit the pitcher

Saturn’s Amazing Six-Sided Hurricane

At four times the size of our pale blue dot, there is a storm raging over Saturn’s north pole – and it is six-sided. That's right - a hexagonal hurricane. How did this geometric shape come to be, what caused it? This and other questions about Saturn (great footage of the planet’s own version of the northern lights) are answered in this great video, produced by: Dennis Overbye, Jason Drakeford and Jonathan Corum.

Here are some images of this incredible phenomenon.  First, a raw Cassini image acquired on Feb. 26, 2013 which shows the planet's hexagon structure around its polar latitudes, as well as the central spinning vortex over its pole.  There is an old Latin saying -  ordo ab chao - out of chaos, comes order.  Whoever it was who first said that probably didn't have Saturn in mind.

4 February 2018

Going Paperless

Have you ever run out of one color toner but need to print something in black and white?  Have you then been told by Customer "Support" that your printer is only designed to work when all the cartridges have some ink in them?  Have you then wanted to destroy your printer (and possibly bring down civilization for the hell of it, too)?  If so then this video by Dustin Farrell is for you.  Here is one man who dared do that which we all have dreamed about.  Ave, Dustin!

Little Thing

This little guy (or gal) is cute, at least once you get used to it.  However, this Little Thing cannot get used to the loneliness of being alone.  Around him is an abandoned city of man but our new friend can find no one to play with.  This animated short by Or Kan tor won a number of awards and it is easy to see why.  If you need to have your heart melted today, then watch Little Thing.

5 Easy Ways to Improve Your Writing

One question I get asked a lot (in my real-world job as a lecturer) is “how do I improve my writing?”  My usual, if flippant, answer is read more!”  I would stand by that advice but if you are looking for a quicker fix than that – say there is an exam looming perhaps – then I have put this video together for you.  You may be grandmother and I may be offering you an egg but the advice here is sensible and, if followed, could improve your exam grades by improving your written communication skills (or at least tidying them up!  Best of luck!

Zalipie: Poland’s Painted Village

Poland has many remarkable places to visit but one of them was created by the women of just one village.  Over a century ago they started to paint their houses (perhaps it was just one woman who started the trend) and now Zalipie boasts a remarkable collection of fold art both outside and inside the houses.

You can read the whole story about Zalipie on Kuriositas here.

The above video is the first on our new Kuriositas YouTube Channel.  Please subscribe if you like the video and would like to see more.  Plus we would love your feedback - please tell us what you think!

3 February 2018

Ijen: The Volcanic Sulfur Mine of Indonesia's East Java

The Indonesian province of East Java (green, left) is the home to the Ijen Volcano.  The volcano has an enormous, turquoise acid crater lake at the top of a two mile ascent.

Hundreds of people visit the site each day, but for most it is not to take in the bizarre spectacle of the dead lagoon: around the lake men and boys mine for sulfur which is then taken, carried on their backs, down the side of the volcano. For them, the volcano represents their livelihood: for visitors, however, it can seem like a vision from Dante or Bunyan.
Image Daniel Rubio
Amung Feedjit
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