Pyrogeography

The opening of a major new centre for the study of wildfire in London this year is the latest admission of the impact it is having on society and the environment.

Maarad: A Tale of Three Cities

An abandoned modernist fairground in Lebanon came to epitomise both the worst excesses of war and hopes of renewal afterwards.

The Coral Reef Symphony

Advances in marine bioacoustics are revolutionising the way that scientists can understand the dynamics of life underwater.

Hope After Destruction

Shining a light onto Jadwiga Grabowska-Hawrylak, a remarkable Polish female architect whose work defined a bold new era.

The Anatomy of an Antarctic Explorer

Last December Louis Rudd became the first Briton to cross Antarctica using muscle power alone. Here he describes in precise detail how the 925 mile crossing impacted on each part of his body.

‘We’re on the Road Eternally’

The writer, thinker, and former politician Michael Ignatieff talks about going night-fishing on Tito’s yacht, his friendship with Bruce Chatwin, and the challenges of fighting for democratic freedom in Viktor Orbán’s Hungary.

Up Close: Caliphate of Ashes

In March 2015, Boko Haram pledged allegiance to ISIS and tried to establish a Caliphate. Photojournalist Benedicte Kurzen describes travelling with the Nigerian army as they retook the land held by insurgents.

The White Limestone Workers of Minya

Egyptian photographer Nader Saadallah documents the eerie beauty of one of the most dangerous occupations in the world.

Up Close: Walls

Paris-based photographer Gael Turine captures a highly visible symbol of inequality in the Peruvian capital.

Matthew Alexander Henson

Matthew Henson was one of the greatest Arctic explorers of his time, yet prejudice forced him to live in obscurity.

Jason Everman: The Life Quixotic

The one-time Nirvana and Soundgarden guitarist went to war yet outlived the frontmen from both bands. He discusses a life in music and the military, and the lessons learnt from the original Renaissance Man, Cellini.

Sawanobori

A short film following UK climber James Pearson as he journeys to Japan to take on waterfall climbing – or ‘Sawanobori’ – for the first time.

Up Close: Fish Farms

Photographer Bernhard Lang on the contradictions between the aesthetic beauty of mass sea farms and their more controversial aspects.

Cliff Diver: Blake Aldridge

‘You feel like superman. No matter what insecurities you have it makes you fulfilled for that short space of time.’ Former Olympian Blake Aldridge on forging a career jumping off cliffs.

The Essentials: Benedict Allen

Explorer Benedict Allen explains why a pencil wrapped in gaffer tape, a postcard of the Queen, and condoms have all proved crucial for his jungle survival kit.

Furnace Elegy

Photographer Viktor Mácha fell in love with the ‘dark mysterious world’ of the steel industry when he was fourteen – a world that is rapidly disappearing. Here he recounts some of the stories behind his extraordinary images.

Up Close: Salt Pans #20

Edward Burtynsky’s shot captures the ancient method of providing one of the most basic elements of our diet, salt.

Ice Music

Jazz musician Terje Isungset on why a trumpet made from a Greenland glacier will sound different to one made from a polluted frozen lake.

Where Are All The Female Grandmasters?

Girls play chess better than boys at primary school, so why do so few make it to the top? A look at how challenges facing female players have changed from the medieval era to the twenty-first century.

Altered State: Micronations

Last May, Eli Avivi, the founder of Akhzivland – a boho country within a country in Israel – died, leaving his wife as the sole inhabitant. As a tribute, we celebrate the phenomenon of the micronation with this guide to the world's smallest countries.

Reading List: Survival Literature

From the brutalities of life in the gulag to crossing the Pacific on a raft, Avaunt guides you through the precipitous terrain of survival literature’s great classics.

Bach to the Future

An attempt to reach out to aliens becomes a retro-hit more than four decades after its launch.

Rolex Deep Sea Special

In one of the greatest adventures in horological history, Captain Don Walsh and Jacques Piccard took the 1960 Rolex Deep Sea Special 10,916 metres below the sea.

Remote Museums

Far-flung objects of desire: pursuing knowledge to the edges of the world.

Ripped Genes

The ever-growing bank of genomic data we have is radically transforming our world, and as with all revolutions it will spark both positive and negative consequences.

Graphcore

A data graph that loosely resembles a planetary environment micro-dosing on LSD maps the complex inner workings of a new ‘IPU’ chip.

Seda Monastery

Perched on the edge of the Tibetan plateau, one of the largest religious institutes in the world lives under the threat of demolitions by the Chinese government.

Landscape For Giants

A collaboration between Inuit of Baffin Island and Canada Goose has elevated recycling into a dynamic tool for community building.

Life. Limitless.

Taking its cue from T.S. Eliot’s quote “We shall not cease from exploration, and the end of exploring will be to arrive where we started and know the place for the first time”, Life. Limitless. is a collaboration between Clarks and Land Rover.

The Year of the Panther

Afrofuturism first emerged as a challenge to why there were so few black science fiction writers, yet the movement has grown in range and strength to ask fundamental questions about the way we structure our world.

Concrete Utopia

A revelatory exhibition at New York’s MoMA displays both the vision and the volatility of Yugoslavia during the Cold War.

Alexandra David-Néel

Remembering the fierce five-foot Parisian who became the first Western woman to meet the Dalai Lama and whose writing inspired the likes of Kerouac and Ginsberg.

Living Root Bridges

These stunning feats of ‘living engineering’ predate literacy in this remote corner of Northeast India.

Extreme Weather Cabins

Vertiginous thrills and geometrical ingenuity combine in state-of-the art cabins designed for those seeking the call of the wild.

The Poem Pavilion

British designer’s Stephen Hawking-influenced structure will use artificial intelligence to generate poetry.

Archive Letter: Steve McQueen’s Great Escape Annotations

A request for more ‘importance’ is just one of Steve McQueen’s scribbled demands from producers in the script that went on to seal his reputation.

This Robotic Claw Gently Captures Sea Life Without Harming Them

Cultivating jellyfish in labs is difficult, so scientists have searched for years for a way to collect deep sea samples without hurting them. This origami-like robot could be the eureka moment.

Under The Ice

Freediving on its own presents extraordinary technical challenges – which are inevitably added to when that diving takes place in sub-zero temperatures. Avaunt heads into the deep with Magali Côte.

Unearth

Unrefined beauty: photographs taken from a small plane with its door removed reveal Rotterdam’s ore deposits and oil refineries to be an unexpected wellspring for an imposing abstract series.

Skateistan

It has become part of skateboard lore that once upon a time a man called Oliver Percovich travelled to Afghanistan to continue his career as a research scientist but found his hobby could be put to better use.

Visions of the Year 2000

At the turn of the twentieth century a team of illustrators created their futuristic vision of the birth of the twenty-first century.

Microsculpture

A technique combining 8,000 images per picture. Photographer Levon Biss reveals insects as never seen before.

AI Killed the Radio Star?

Last year Francois Pachet was poached by Spotify as one of the world’s foremost pioneers in applying AI to music. As he pushes computers closer to the Holy Grail of composing their own works, should musicians fear or celebrate him?

Quentin Smith

Great escapes and the fearlessness of flying: A love affair with helicopters. Avaunt meets a distinctly British maverick.

The Essentials: Mark Beaumont

Last September the long-distance cyclist broke the record for cycling around the world. Here he gives an inventory of the kit that sustained him through his most challenging expedition.

Wooden Skyscrapers

Experts are proclaiming that wood is the answer to the global housing crisis. Michael Green, arguably the most ambitious and visionary architect working in this medium, explains how it’s possible to recreate the Empire State Building in wood.

Bio–Mimicry Beckons

A thread that can stop a plane mid-air: Luke Edwards on tech’s nature-inspired future.

Digital Archaeology

If these stones could talk: the Institute for Digital Archaeology deploys the latest technology to recreate monuments ravaged by war and destruction. Here the team members explain their vision.

Project Coldfeet

A highly risky operation by the CIA to get information from an abandoned Russian drift station in the Arctic involved a helium balloon, an aircraft with horns protruding from its nose, and a flying pig.

The Desert Fathers

In the third century, thousands of Desert Fathers abandoned the cities on the Nile to seek out the paneremos – or inner desert. William Atkins contemplates the ancient Christians who founded the first monasteries.

The Doctor Is Out

Will Smith is one busy man. Medical Director for the US National Park Service, he is on hand for anything from treating lightning strike victims to dealing with the aftermath of a moose attack.

Tashkent Metro Stations

Stately pleasure domes: the palatial architecture of the underground stations of Tashkent are inspired by everything from Central Asian Emperor Tamburlaine the Great to the Soviet cosmonauts.

Remembering Havel

A philosopher president who did more than any other individual to translate the anarchic avant-garde spirit of ’68 into political reality.

Tokyo Flooding

Photographer Christoffer Rudquist explores the temples and tunnels of Tokyo’s vast network of storm drains. Built between 1996 and 2003, this $3 billion structure deploys ingenious architecture to guard against catastrophic flooding.

Up Close: Ice Fishers

Photographer Aleksey Kondratyev on the generations of Kazakh men who brave temperatures that often reach forty degrees below zero in the hope of catching fish beneath the ice.

Life Inside a Saturation Chamber

‘It’s quicker to get back from the moon than from the depths we work at’: Inside one of the world’s most isolated jobs.

Flows: Chinese Garden

Shot over the course of five months in and around Tulum, in the Mexican state of Quintana Roo, Flows leads viewers on a journey never before taken.

Laos: Escaping Mordor

Richard Waters on risking his life to chase the story of the Hmong people, persecuted since their fight against communism in the Secret War.

The First Woman To Row Across An Ocean

Sylvia Cook tells the story of how she rowed across the Pacific with adventurer John Fairfax in 1971: surviving shark attacks, a cyclone, a broken rudder and being washed up on a coral reef.

Alaskan Bush Pilots

Avaunt heads to Talkeetna, situated some 115 miles north of Anchorage on the southern edge of the Denali National Park, to discover the essential role of aircraft in everyday Alaskan life.

Change in the Valley

Photographer Matilda Temperley has been documenting the lives of tribal peoples in the Omo Valley, Ethiopia, since 2007. She reflects on how modernisation here often comes at the expense of the inhabitants.

Return to K2

Avaunt meets one of the greatest living mountaineers, Jake Meyer, to discuss what motivated his return to K2, the infamous mountain that defeated him seven years ago.

OuLiPo: Radical Poetry Meets Mathematics

Jolyon Webber turns an eye to 1960s France and puts Queneau and le Lionnais’ ‘workshop of potential literature’ – the radical literary movement marrying poetry and mathematics – into action.

Reading List: Armchair Adventuring

From groundbreaking scientific discovery, swashbuckling on the high seas to the man who inspired James Bond, we handpick six books for armchair adventuring.

The Ink Created From Polluted Air

'Pollution is nothing but the resources that we are not harvesting yet' claims the man behind the concept – one of the few innovators whose ultimate hope is that his invention will become obsolete.

Werner Bischof’s Diary

An extract from the Swiss photographer’s diary describes a dawn ascent of the Alps and highlight his lyrical relationship with the landscape, and his existential and humanist interests.

To the Congo

Children play on abandoned planes at Goma Airport during a rare time when no security forces, or the UN, were stationed there, in this series by Magnum photojournalist Michael Christopher Brown.

North: Svalbard

A short film about how an archipelago high within the Arctic Circle became increasingly linked to developments in climate science, and climate change.

Up Close: The Floating Tongue

Scientists are explorers too, especially those that rely on remote fieldwork to bring back the data necessary to advance their research.

The Airship Revolution

It’s the longest aircraft in the world, ready to set more records than Concorde yet its presence is bashful, modest, perhaps embarrassed by its own simplicity. Avaunt discovers the future of aeronautics.

Archive Letter: ‘Three Sporty Girls’

In early 1914 Sir Ernest Shackleton’s office posted an advertisement worded: Men wanted for hazardous journey. The overwhelming response was not limited to men, but the reply to Shackleton’s office to these ‘three sporty girls’ was one of regret.

Exploring the Hidden Caves of Mexico

Photographer Klaus Thymann recalls diving the perilous underwater cave systems of Mexico’s Yucatán Peninsula.

Truly Madly Deeply

Iridescent scales, exotic patterns, fluorescent fins: the jewels of the ocean. Ali bin Thalith’s passion for marine photography, kindled by his wish to capture a shot of the rare crystal octopus, has lasted for over 10 years 

Peter Freuchen

Shot here by Irving Penn in 1947, we commemorate the life of the Danish explorer, author, journalist and anthropologist who discovered Inuit culture, resisted the Nazis and won 'The $64,000 Question'.

Castro, Cousteau and I

In 1985 Jacques Cousteau visited Cuba. He stepped off his legendary ship, Calypso, and into the welcoming arms of Fidel Castro. From the Plaza de la Revolución to the bottom of the sea, Paula DiPerna looks back on the months she spent with the unlikely pair.

Virgo Interferometer

In practice, picking up gravitational waves is an almost hopeless task; fortunately, physicists love a hopeless task. Avaunt explores the science behind the search.

Valentina Tereshkova: Factory Worker to Outer Space

At the age of 26, Valentina Tereshkova became the first woman to have flown in space. Avaunt considers her meteoric rise from textile factory worker to hero of the Soviet Union.

The Worst Journey

Let us consider the companionship and hardiness of three men who, trekking through the pitch-black Antarctic winter, survived temperatures of -60°C, crevasse falls and frostbite.

Up Close: Street Boxing in Ghana

No glitz, no glamour; just pain and passion. Street fighting in Bukom, Ghana – a small, poor fishing village renowned for its remarkable ability to produce world champion boxers.

Graf Zeppelin

Remembering the last blast of the Jazz Age: an epic round-the-world journey for the German airship, Graf Zeppelin, packed with adventurers, an actress, caviar, booze, jazz and even a cat.

Soviet Bus Stops

Photographer Christopher Herwig recounts the epic Central Asian road trips he took over 12 years, covering 30,000km, to document the unique and architecturally experimental Soviet bus stops.

Anabasis

Anabasis, from the Greek word ana, meaning to step or march, is an expedition from a coastline up into the interior of a country. Tobias Harvey explores the Maunsell Forts and surrounding coast with various autumn/winter collections.

Up Close: Ergol #6

Photographer Vincent Fournier’s ‘Space Project’ series displays a fascination with space through an archive of the most significant hubs in the world.

What a $100,000 Canoe Looks Like

‘I love that it takes so long to make canoes,’ declares Trent Preszler. The artisan boat maker took up his craft after his father died, using the tools he inherited to create a canoe over the course of fourteen months.

Archive Letter: Going All Gonzo

Hunter S. Thompson dedicated his life to pushing things to the limit. In this letter to an editor at Playboy, he reflects on the style of an epic biographical feature he was working on.

Reading List: Maritime Adventures

From a Victorian circumnavigation of the globe to the tragedy of the Titanic, six tales of epic and sometimes tragic maritime adventure from the briny depths.

Palm Wine Collectors

Namibian-born photographer Kyle Weeks considers how his most recent work – documenting the palm wine collectors of the Kunene River – confronts the challenging legacy of African photography.

Story Island

Despite Iceland’s small population of 331,380, the average print run for fiction is 1,000 copies – a per capita equivalent of one million in the USA.

Hunting Eagles in Mongolia

Against the backdrop of an unforgiving landscape, the Kazakh tradition of eagle hunting endures. Photographer Frédéric Lagrange documents the culture he first fell in love with seventeen years ago.

The Man Who Talks to Sperm Whales

James Nestor reports on the astounding qualities of the sperm whale. Working with a highly qualified free diving crew he discovers how we are getting ever closer to communicating with the world's largest predator.

Up Close: The William Gordon Telescope

Based in Puerto Rico, this is the world's largest single-aperture radio telescope. People come here to view the planets of the solar system passing through the northern half of their orbit.

Up Close: Geothermal

A bird's-eye view reveals the Cerro Prieto Geothermal Field, Mexicali, Mexico - one of the biggest geothermal plants in the world - as it has never been seen before.

Pluto’s Horizon

Two-thirds the size of the moon, the distant dwarf planet Pluto is easily overlooked, and yet recent discoveries could make it the most exciting body in our solar system.

Up Close: Astra 3B

Simon Norfolk is the first artist to have been invited to watch the production and launch of a satellite from start to finish. He presents his unique perspective from the viewing station for the Astra 3B.

Art in the Wilderness

Wildlife artists Olly and Suzi have travelled to the high Arctic, desert and jungle to push themselves and their art to the limit. The difficulties they have encountered have become intrinsic to their work.

The Kombai

Oliver Steeds describes the fast-changing world of the tree-dwelling Kombai tribe in Papua New Guinea, whose members are as fond of wisecracks as they are of the Sago grub.

A Hundred Hills

Photographer Jack Davison captures a styled journey in the hills of Yr Wyddfa, Snowdon, Snowdonia.

Up Close: Pools

Photographer Stephan Zirwes’ ‘Pool’ series illustrates the incredible waste of potential drinking water – not only in private pools but also in the privatisation of a public asset for commercial reasons.

Archive Letter: One Small Step

In this 1968 letter – a daring directive from Apollo programme leader George Mueller to Thomas Paine – a historic decision was made. Exactly one month after the launch of the Apollo 7 test flight, “NASA should undertake a lunar orbit mission as its next step.”

The Big Blue

Three-time world record-breaking freediver Guillaume Néry ranks Neil Armstrong among his heroes. He talks about the joys of defying gravity and his quest for the perfect dive.

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