Arts and Culture

 Practice dummy, Cryonics UK standby team training | Tim’s house, Sheffield, UK 2010

Photographer Murray Ballard says he expected a cryonics facility to look like something out of a sci-fi movie scene. But in visiting one, Ballard says he was intrigued by the contrast between such an ambitious endeavor and the somewhat unremarkable architecture and equipment.More

 Social gathering and sharing a meal during Russian Easter honoring the dead, Spring Valley, New Jersey, 1997

Between 1996 and 1998, Bastienne Schmidt and her husband Philippe Cheng traveled throughout the United States photographing the diverse services and ceremonies Americans use to mark the death of family members and friends. According to Cheng, one of the goals was to "show some of the poetry of death and dying in America."More

elderly woman

Nicholas Nixon has devoted a significant amount of his long career — which stretches back to the 1970s — to taking portraits of people who are sick and dying. He continues to work with people coming to the end of their lives, including those in palliative care and hospice.More

Ngugi wa Thiong’o

Ngugi wa Thiong’o — the renowned Kenyan author — believes African writers should write in their native language, not the colonial language of English or French. He says the best way to decolonize the mind is to reclaim native languages.More

Children in Addis Ababa.

Dagmawi Woubshet and Julie Mehretu were both born in Addis Ababa and then moved to America. They wonder what the city's explosive growth will mean for its unique character — one rooted in Ethiopia's history as the only African nation never colonized.More

Andreas Weber in the Grunewald Forest in Berlin, Germany.

Andreas Weber is a German biologist and philosopher with a highly unconventional way of describing the natural world, one in which "love" is a foundational principle of biology.More

a view of the Manhattan skyline from the Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge in Queens.

One of the greatest walkers of our time, William Helmreich — known for exploring every street in New York City — was an early casualty of COVID-19. But composer David Rothenberg got to walk with him one last time, around wetlands in Queens.More

Site of Thoreau's Hut, Concord, Mass.

"I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life." Those famous lines from Henry David Thoreau's "Walden" have inspired generations of people — including his biographer, Laura Dassow Walls.More

The creative mind

Novelist Siri Hustvedt knows how the creative process feels. Neuroscientist Heather Berlin knows what it looks like in the brain. Together with Steve, they explore the emerging science of creativity.More

"Junebug"

Nathaniel Mary Quinn was abandoned as a child. Today, he’s a celebrated painter, exhibiting around the world. He tells Charles his remarkable story about talent and perseverance in the face of enormous odds.More

Woman waiting for moment to speak at a meeting

Veronica Rueckert, a vocal coach and public radio producer and host, shares the ways women are silenced and offers advice for how to best tap into the power of their voice.More

listening

Valmont Layne grew up under apartheid in South Africa. Music, along with protest movements, radicalized him. He tells Anne and Steve that South African jazz became a musical current that’s traveled across oceans, spreading ideas about freedom.More

trumpet

Political repression and censorship forced a generation of Black jazz musicians out of South Africa and into clubs in Europe and the US. But jazz critic Gwen Ansell says some musicians remained, and they left a legacy of unforgettable music.More

During their visit to Addis Ababa, Anne and Steve caught a show put on by a household name in Ethiopia — the boundary-crossing, border-hopping jazz virtuoso Meklit Hadero.More

A show at Fendika in Addis Ababa.

To unpack the history of African musical migration, you have to go back to European colonization, says musicologist Ron Radano. He's been rewriting the history of race and Black music, and he says, "We are all African when we listen."More

Afghan women are complicated. They pray, have affairs, and get mad at their children. But it seems one thing binds them — the landay. Poet and journalist Eliza Griswold went to Afghanistan in 2012 learn more about a type of poem that Afghan women have been sharing since 1700 BCE.More

Afghan carpet for sale

Anna Badkhen spent a year in the remote Afghan village of Oqa. She got to know the master weavers, who make some of the world's most beautiful carpets.More

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