Social media is choked with inspirational viral photos and videos of unusual animal friendships, but My Octopus Teacher is something very different. A year-long diary about one man and one octopus, it’s full of genuine wonder about the natural world, and frames the central relationship in terms that go beyond the mere “Aww, that’s cute!” response.
In 2010, suffering severe burnout, nature filmmaker Craig Foster took to freediving amidst the kelp forests in the frigid waters off South Africa. There he met and gradually befriended a female octopus, visiting her every day until she felt comfortable playing with him. He took to filming her and also installed remote cameras around her territory, capturing some astonishing footage of her fighting pyjama sharks, hunting crabs, and just exploring. Through observing and interacting with her, Foster gained a new, awed understanding of both nature and nonhuman intelligence — a sensation conveyed to the viewer in the way directors Pippa Ehrlich and James Reed shape Foster’s footage into a narrative.
WARNING: Octopuses don’t live that long. Yes, the octopus dies, and yes, you will cry. Prepare accordingly.
My Octopus Teacher is available to stream on Netflix.
This week, arts orgs and the war for talent, importance of house museums, the 125 most borrowed books in Brooklyn, the history of listicles, and more.
Lisa Ericson renders her real-world subjects beautifully, but the situations in which we find them are uncanny, menacing, and unexpected.
The unique MFASA at the Institute of American Indian Arts offers mentorships with world-renowned Indigenous artists, flexible schedules, and access to one of the US’s cultural capitals.
Contemporary society in the United States normalizes the idea of the exhausted mother, so why wouldn’t mother nature be equally exhausted?
Tsai’s style is the opposite of boring; in demanding the viewer’s attention, he allows for incredible moments of human connection and discovery.
Over 4,000 artists have signed on to the event, with a nifty online directory listing paintings, sculptures, ceramics, and much more.
American artists were instrumental in propagating the false narrative of Thanksgiving, a deliberate erasure of violence against Indigenous peoples.
“Revolution is a daily practice — a life choice. Not a selfie at a protest,” says Onondaga artist Frank Buffalo Hyde.
Hyperallergic staff share their favorite artists, craft shops, designers, and much more.
Field of Vision’s latest free streaming offering focuses on a vulnerable population put at risk, told through the stories of those inside.