Voices Goggle box: the blocky looks of the Oculus Rift belie the breath-taking experience of what the wearer sees

This technology is about to change the way you perceive the world – and yourself

You'll find this kind of photography (realistic photos of food complete with splotches, scorch spots and side-drips) in many cookbooks very soon

Gastronomy: Just leave the dirty dishes

Humankind, T S Eliot said, cannot bear very much reality. When it comes to food, we've grown to love a style of photography that bears little relation to the products of our humble kitchens. It's called gastroporn.

Janar Panahi in <i>This Is Not a Film</i>, his response to an Iranian court's 20-year ban on him doing his job

This Is Not a Film, Jafar Panahi and Mojtaba Mirtahmasb (U)

An Iranian film director banned from making movies and placed under house arrest has the perfect answer: a masterpiece about house arrest

Frederick G Tutton's 'Dessert' (c1923)

Calling the shots: Still-life photography

An exhibition of still-life photography in Bath reveals how a new artform successfully challenged the supremacy of painting, says Adrian Hamilton

'Ascetics Making Music, Depicting the Musical Mode Kedara Raga', Arki, late 17th century

A passion for India

The Ashmolean's new exhibition of Indian art from Howard Hodgkin's private collection is inspired by his love of the country. By Adrian Hamilton

'Ascetics Making Music, Depicting the Musical Mode Kedara Raga', Arki, late 17th century

A passion for India

The Ashmolean's new exhibition of Indian art from the private collection of Howard Hodgkin is inspired by his love of the country

Painter of Silence, By Georgina Harding

Romanian friends reunited against the elegant sweep of class, love and history

Great Works: The Art of Painting, circa 1666-7 (120cm x 100cm), Johannes Vermeer

Kunsthistorisches Museum, Vienna

Grant Gee turns his attention to cult writer W G Sebald

Director Grant Gee follows up his Joy Division documentary with a film about cult writer W G Sebald. Sebald's influential novel The Rings of Saturn is the subject of Patience (After Sebald). It looks at the life and work of the writer by retracing the journey at the heart of one his most celebrated books, in which Sebald embarks on a walk, spanning several days, along Suffolk's coastline.

The Visiting Angel, By Paul Wilson

A man on the ledge of heaven

British artist David Hockney

Hockney attacks Hirst for 'insulting' use of assistants

A row is threatening to break out between two of Britain's most celebrated artists after David Hockney criticised Damien Hirst for the "insulting" use of assistants to create his works.

David Hockney

David Hockney vs Damien Hirst: the Queen's chosen one puts king of the YBAs on the spot

A day after his New Year honour, Yorkshire's finest attacks artist for failing to make his own work

Love cheat: Uma Thurman and Robert Pattinson in 'Bel Ami'

2012: The unmissable cultural treats

Next year promises to be a cultural jamboree, with world-class films, art exhibitions, gigs and theatre performances around the country. Our critics select the most exciting highlights

Government bars £28m Manet export

The Government has put a temporary export bar on an unfinished portrait by French impressionist Edouard Manet.

Great Works: Single Lily with Red, 1928 (30.5cm x 15.9cm), Georgia O'Keeffe

Whitney Museum of American Art, New York

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A 1930 image of the Karl Albrecht Spiritousen and Lebensmittel shop, Essen. The shop was opened by Karl and Theo Albrecht’s mother; the brothers later founded Aldi
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Day In a Page

Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence – MS Swiss Corona - seven nights from £999pp
Lake Maggiore, Orta and the Matterhorn – seven nights from £899pp
Sicily – seven nights from £939pp
Pompeii, Capri and the Bay of Naples - seven nights from £799pp
Istanbul Ephesus & Troy – six nights from £859pp
Mary Rose – two nights from £319pp
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Noel Fielding's 'Luxury Comedy'

A land of the outright bizarre
What are the worst 'Word Crimes'?

What are the worst 'Word Crimes'?

‘Weird Al’ Yankovic's latest video is an ode to good grammar. But what do The Independent’s experts think he’s missed out?
Can Secret Cinema sell 80,000 'Back to the Future' tickets?

The worst kept secret in cinema

A cult movie event aims to immerse audiences of 80,000 in ‘Back to the Future’. But has it lost its magic?
Facebook: The new hatched, matched and dispatched

The new hatched, matched and dispatched

Family events used to be marked in the personal columns. But now Facebook has usurped the ‘Births, Deaths and Marriages’ announcements
Why do we have blood types?

Are you my type?

All of us have one but probably never wondered why. Yet even now, a century after blood types were discovered, it’s a matter of debate what they’re for
Honesty box hotels: You decide how much you pay

Honesty box hotels

Five hotels in Paris now allow guests to pay only what they think their stay was worth. It seems fraught with financial risk, but the honesty policy has its benefit
Some are reformed drug addicts. Some are single mums. All are on benefits. But now these so-called 'scroungers’ are fighting back

The 'scroungers’ fight back

The welfare claimants battling to alter stereotypes
Amazing video shows Nasa 'flame extinguishment experiment' in action

Fireballs in space

Amazing video shows Nasa's 'flame extinguishment experiment' in action
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A Bible for billionaires

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Paranoid parenting is on the rise

And our children are suffering because of it
For sale: Island where the Magna Carta was sealed

Magna Carta Island goes on sale

Yours for a cool £4m
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The hacker's tale: the slide into crime at the 'News of the World'

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We flinch, but there are degrees of paedophilia

We flinch, but there are degrees of paedophilia

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The truth about conspiracy theories is that some require considering

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Alistair Carmichael: 'The UK as a whole is greater than the sum of its parts'

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