During the pandemic, the virtual worlds of video games became the spaces where people could continue their social life by other means.

Some players built a blocky version of their favorite local pub on Minecraft, others visited their friends’ islands on Animal Crossing, still others went to concerts on Fortnite.

A smaller but equally ingenious group of players flocked to VRChat, the virtual reality social platform developed by Graham Gaylor and Jesse Joudrey.

There, they created a galaxy of unusual social worlds (like Minecraft, also VRChat is based on user-generated content) including an accurate reconstruction of the infamous Four Seasons…


Asif Kapadia talks virtual reality, Diego Maradona and his next project

Credit: Altitude Film

“There is a misconception that somehow documentaries are real. Everything is fake. Everything is constructed”

“Senna is an action movie, Amy is a musical, Diego Maradona a gangster film”

“There’s no shortage of money out there, there’s a shortage of good ideas”

These are some of the thought-provoking quotes I jotted down during my interview with Asif Kapadia, the Oscar-winning director of Amy, Senna and Diego Maradona.

I reached out to him as he was part of the jury of this year’s edition of Venice VR Expanded, the virtual reality section of the Venice Film Festival, an event that we…


The House Never Wins [Credit: Kill the Cat Theatre]

When the lockdown drew the curtain over theater stages across the world, many productions moved online.

Soon, platforms like Zoom were brimming with all kinds of plays, from Greek tragedies to stand-up comedies. Some shows were just toned-down replacements of the real deal, others were daring narrative experiments pushing the boundaries of online storytelling.

Thanks to Electric Dreams, a festival dedicated to the power of art and the internet running online until the 16th of August, I had the opportunity to discover some plays that clearly fall into the latter category. …


Telling wonderful stories in less than a minute

[Credit: Trent Shy]

In May, Laika — the Oregon-based stop motion animation studio behind films like Coraline, The Boxtrolls, and Missing Link — won everyone’s heart with a funny and endearing 1-minute TikTok video mixing live-action and animation.

The clip, which was inspired by the stunt-driven #fightchallenge, shed a light on how TikTok is emerging as a go-to platform for exquisite animation content.

Allowing users to create videos of up to 60 seconds, the increasingly popular video-sharing app (it recently reached 2 billion downloads) is a great destination for concise storytellers and artists who want to showcase snippets of their animation bravura.


Terrain by Lily Baldwin, Saschka Unseld, Kumar Atre, one of the projects in competition at Venice VR

Quick facts about Venice VR Expanded 2020

When 2–20 September 2020
Where Online
What 31 VR projects in Competition | Nine projects Out of Competition — Best of VR (International selection of the finest VR works) | Four projects developed during the Biennale College Cinema — VR
Jurors Celine Tricart (Usa) | Asif Kapadia (Gb) | Hideo Kojima (Japan)
How to watch the projects Accredited viewers of the Venice film festival | Special VR accreditation | In the VR lounge of several cultural institutions across the world | If you have the right VR gear at home, you can access most of the projects for free via a dedicated platform (link…


A conversation with Martine Gosselink, head of the history department at the Rijksmuseum

Credit: John Lewis Marshall for the Rijksmuseum

In 2018, the Rijksmuseum — the Amsterdam-based national museum dedicated to art and history of the Netherlands — welcomed more than 2.3 million visitors.

This doesn’t come as a surprise to me. My office is at a stone’s throw from the Rijksmuseum and when I pass by (or, as it’s often the case, cycle by), I always see throngs of tourists making their way to the museum’s entrance. But the days of cueing are over. …


According to the Effective Altruism movement, ending animal farming is one of the most urgent challenges to tackle for humankind. If we succeed, we would spare the lives of 56 billion animals, fight climate change, and get rid of food that is often loaded with bacteria.

The problem has an apparently easy solution: we should all just stop eating meat and other animal products.

But for millions of people that are happily switching to a vegan lifestyle, there are billions that have no intention of doing so. Consumption of meat worldwide is expected to double by 2050.

Not anymore

The solution then…


Credit: Mosa Meat

“The Lord said to Moses and Aaron, “Say to the Israelites: ‘Of all the animals that live on land, these are the ones you may eat: You may eat any animal that has a divided hoof and that chews the cud. There are some that only chew the cud or only have a divided hoof, but you must not eat them. […] You must not eat their meat or touch their carcasses; they are unclean for you.”

[Leviticus, 11, 1–8]

On August 5, 2013, Dutch scientist Mark Post presented to the world the first lab-grown burger ever created. The event…


Will 2019 be the year of clean meat?

We asked Paul Shapiro, author of the bestselling book Clean Meat, to help us formulate seven predictions for the upcoming year about this potentially revolutionary new type of food.

For the laymen, “clean meat” is a term used to indicate real meat produced by in vitro cultivation of animal cells, without the need to slaughter any animal.

The end of animal farming, or even its substantial reduction, would bring huge benefits to the planet, our health, and of course the lives of the 56 billion animals slaughtered annually for meat consumption.

Obviously…

Davide Banis

Not relying on words or letters [Zen saying]

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