‘Examined Life: Excursions with Contemporary Thinkers’ by Astra Taylor

Film released on DVD by the Institute of Contemporary Arts in London under the brand name Zeitgeist Films in 2009. Download link updated on 25. June 2021.


Taking philosophy out of the books and classrooms and putting it back onto the streets, Examined Life accompanies some of the world’s most influential thinkers in places and spaces that reflect and resonate their ideas.

Man’s relationship with environment is theorized by Slavoj Žižek in a recycling centre. Judith Butler takes in San Francisco’s Mission District with a friend as they question society’s complex and often awkward relationship with disability. In New York, Cornel West — perhaps America’s best known public intellectual — vividly compares philosophy to jazz and blues within a backdrop of Manhattan as he drives through the streets, reminding us that great ideas are born of engaging with the hustle and bustle around us.

Often privileged moments with great thinkers from fields ranging from moral philosophy to cultural theory, Examined Life explores the way we see the world and philosophy’s ability to influence it.

The film in its entirety has been replicated here from a commercial DVD without authorization for archival purposes.

Sphinx Productions in co-production with The National Film Board of Canada in association with Ontario Media Development Corporation, TVO and Knowledge Network.

Executive Producer: Ron Mann
Executive Producer (NFB): Silva Basmajian
Commissioning Editor (TVO): Jane Jankovic
Producer: Bill Imperial
Producer (NFB): Lea Marin
Director of Photography: John M. Tran
Sound Design: John Lang
Editor: Robert Kennedy
Written and directed by Astra Taylor
A Zeitgeist Films release

Aspect Ratio: 16:9
Feature Length: 90min
Language: English
PEGI 12: Contains moderate sex references and brief sexualised nudity

  • File created on 18th March 2021 at 9AM with Handbrake free open source software for archive of theoryreader.org
  • Audio in English, 192bit stereo AAC encoded
  • Video is 1h 28min 21sec in length, H.264 10-bit (x264) encoded in 718 x 576 resolution, cropped black edges
  • File 2.56 GB in size, contained in Matroska .mkv, uploaded and hosted on mega.nz encrypted cloud storage
  • Video Lan Client (VLC) video playback software recommended for .mkv on Linux, Windows, Mac and Android.

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