ENERZAYA GUNDALAI critiques Videogames: Design/Play/Disrupt at the Victoria and Albert Museum. Museums are special places of worship for me. Walking through the European temple-like halls and devoting two hours to a single porcelain jar in the Rijksmuseum, for example, is a joyous experience. Contemplating the reasons as to why curators have placed such objects alongside each other is fascinating. Hence, when I visited the Victoria and Albert Museum (V&A) to see the ongoing exhibition Videogames: Design/Play/Disrupt, I was ready for an informative, yet playful showcase of a sentimental part of my childhood. I was curious to see how the world’s leading museum of art and design, which houses artworks and artefacts spanning over 5,000 years of human history, would frame these modern-day platforms of entertainment. Seeing how the V&A might add to the growing culture of artistic production within video games is an exciting opportunity for viewers and curators alike.…Continue Reading

All Work and No Play

SEEHAM RAHMAN examines femininity and sexual politics in Polly Nor’s satirical illustrations. Sensuality, identity, and femininity are not new phenomena in illustration and storytelling. However, the modern woman of the 21st century represents an evolution of womanhood on an individual and societal basis. Art and design are not only articulating this social change but also actively engaging with it in pursuit of strengthening the perception of femininity. As a woman of colour, I often find it difficult to find myself represented in Western Art in a three-dimensional way. Polly Nor’s art speaks to the faults of my identity, bringing forth the wholeness of who I am. Even my demons are depicted as they really are, next to sensuous depictions of womanhood. My femininity is encapsulated; my fears revealed. The artist urges women to understand the toxicity of the internet-age through pieces such as In Your Dreams. Nor encapsulates the anxieties and responsibilities…Continue Reading

Polly Nor and The Nasty Woman

MARCELA KONANOVA reviews Modern Couples: Art, Intimacy and the Avant-garde at the Barbican Art Gallery. Laced with elements of originality, Modern Couples: Art, Intimacy and the Avant-garde offers a unique insight into intimacy in relationships. Paramount figures in European Modern Art explores the bonds that negotiate their creative processes. As opposed to many current exhibitions devoted to the development of a work of a single artist, Modern Couples understands art production as an organic process fuelled by the human connection. The rise of Modernist art styles from the late-19th to mid-20th century is seen as the product of the inevitable collaboration and influence rather than the product of a solo genius. ‘Couple’ is an elastic term encompassing all manner of intimate relationship that the artists themselves grappled with. It was not defined exclusively as monogamous, but inclusive of polyamory, friendship, or any relationship defined by devotion. Each couple brings to…Continue Reading

Love Making Art

A poem by CLAUDIO CAMBRA. noise Iʼm used to it. they said, I said, this is how it is. all this noise and everyoneʼs listening. everyoneʼs looking. talk to the ceiling but quietly, the keyholeʼs watching. somewhere out there the keyʼs going to come kill me. twenty thousand seatbelt threads ready to rip and throw me through the windshield and everyoneʼll hear me die. scratches on the wall I hear the nails scraping on the wall counting the times I breathe waiting for the last one to pass. shapeless faces staring through the frosted windows. listening through the blindfolds as I try to sleep. they tell me theyʼre coming. through the vents and through the windows. all I tell them is the same: Iʼm used to it. Featured image courtesy of Claudio Cambra Gomez

Schizophrenic

DIANA MOLDOVEANU explores conflicting voices in Sylvia Plath’s poem ‘A Mad Girl’s Love Song’. Sylvia Plath remains one of the most prolific poets in American literature, renowned for her lyrical genius as well as her tormented adolescence and an even more unsettling adulthood. Like any other art, poetry can be a cathartic tool in the process of self-understanding, and Plath uses it to explore her own internal suffering. ‘A Mad Girl’s Love Song’, written in 1951 and following her semi-autobiographical novel, The Bell Jar, discusses the muddling of Plath’s often painful experiences of love and mental health issues. While the novel focuses on the degradation of the protagonist’s mental state, the poem comes as the quintessential expression of the interior predicament, focusing on a young girl’s experience of the first thrills of love. Torn between reality and disillusionment at the loss of her lover, her initial passion unfolds as a traumatic…Continue Reading

Love’s Madness

RICHARD SANSOM reviews Gaspar Noé’s latest about a dance troupe’s macabre descent into a psychotic hell. Climax is the most recent work in a series of disorientating horrors from the Premier of New French Extremity, Gaspar Noé. Following on from 2015’s penetrating 3D porno Love, his fifth creation is yet another fantastic, woozy nightmare seemingly dreamt up in the menacing glow of Quartier Pigalle. In a grotty Parisian suburb, a troupe of young dancehall glitterati drink sangria in celebration of a successful final rehearsal for an upcoming US tour. Unbeknown to them, the punchbowl has been spiked with acid. As the drug kicks in, the jubilant youths, who had hitherto been krumping and waacking so gracefully, descend into chaos. Over the course of the night, they are contaminated by the substance in a sequence of events that echoes the indelible cruelties of Greek tragedy. We bear witness to homicide, suicide,…Continue Reading

Climax

A poem by A. M. SMYTHE. No one sleeps in this city, no one, no one sleeps, not tonight. Tonight we’ll listen to Zarathustra and read the new Bible. Tonight we’ll walk through the streets of the Old City, though the streets, the twisting, turning, winding, weaving streets, and unlink all the hands that are linked because sleeplessness is found in solitude. Tonight we’ll kick everyone out of our beds and leave them sat on their luggage in Sants Station like tourists without a map, robbed of all identification in the Ramblas, the bars or the beach. We’ll call them Morpheus and refuse to slumber under warm Christmas lights and Coca-Cola Santa Claus, under shiny new blinking iPhones and bottomless beer bottles. This night we’ll celebrate Samhain instead of Halloween and wish the mainstream media happy Hanukkah because our name is not Palinurus any longer and we drowned all the…Continue Reading

Thus Spoke Zarathustra

ETHAN BURTON looks at the highlights from UCL MODO Fashion Society’s The Countdown Fashion Show. UCL MODO Fashion Society presented its first main show of the year, The Countdown Fashion Show, a collaboration with UCL Climate Action Society focusing on sustainability and the notion that ‘anything is possible.’ The palette of talent offered such designs; collections had consistently strong concepts, and each look revealed a fresh insight into the future of fashion. The clothes presented were either upcycled or produced of recycled materials, yet the garments appeared as if new. It called to remind us that we can no longer excuse our practices and lack of mindfulness towards the way we treat waste. One common theme threaded through many of the designs was a focus upon comfort. Designs all aimed to facilitate the wearer’s movement. This basis was spotted in the casual and utilitarian designs reproduced the double denim and…Continue Reading

MODO: Thread Count, Countdown

INNOKA BARTLETT interviews co-curator of Bahrain Art Week 2018, Kaneka Subberwal. Kaneka Subberwal’s elegant articulations of thought, as revealed in this interview, was reflected in her recent co-curation of Bahrain Art Week 2018. The founder and co-curator of Art Select and Bahrain Art Week discussed the depth and intricacies of ‘Accumulation: Legacy and Memory’, the title and theme of the exhibition. This idea of accumulation unfolded throughout the exhibition, as artworks explored concepts of built up legacies of loss, and the memories of traditional as well as contemporary Bahrain. Kaneka founded Art Select in 2008, an art consultancy and creative platform. ArtBAB (Art Bahrain Across Borders) is Art Select’s flagship enterprise. It is an annual art fair that is aimed at exhibiting Bahrain’s Modern Art movement, tracing its development over the past 50 years. Bahrain Art Week is a project which was generated under ArtBAB. It seems to be cumulative…Continue Reading

The Legacies and Memories of Bahrain

LYDIA DE MATOS reviews The Favourite, Yorgos Lanthimos’ unruly take on the period piece. The Favourite is an intense deconstruction of what audiences have come to know as the typical period film. Despite its 18th-century English setting, it comes much closer to Sofia Coppola’s Marie Antoinette than to Joe Wright’s Pride and Prejudice. There is a distinct sense of anachronism emanating from the modern overtones of this film – characters forgo any sense of formality in favour of screams, swears, and temper tantrums. But what else could be expected from a film whose credits include ‘Nude Pomegranate Tory’ and ‘Wanking Man’? The Favourite is undoubtedly Yorgos Lanthimos’ most accessible film, immediately recognisable as his doing but at the same time an obvious departure from his previous works. This is most likely due to the fact that the director had no hand in the writing of the script, instead working with an…Continue Reading

The Favourite

MAEVE ALLEN reviews Widows, an unnerving heist thriller with feminist overtones.  When four career criminals are killed in an attempted robbery, their widows take up the task they could never complete. Harry (Liam Neeson) and his gang owe two million dollars to grassroots gangsters on the brink of political ascendency. The Mannings brothers are angry. They want their money back. Fulfilling Harry’s plan for a final heist is the only way for the widows to satisfy these malevolent men. In Widows, Director Steve McQueen reinvents the traditional heist movie by plunging these average women in the criminal underworld their husbands operated in. He infuses the film with female power, squeezes in social criticism and sensitively explores grief. Co-written with Gillian Flynn, Widows fizzes with the same tension that made Gone Girl a white-knuckle, lump-in-throat thriller. Brace yourselves for a masterful ride through inner city Chicago. Widows is explosive from the…Continue Reading

Widows

THOMAS NGUYEN reviews M/M as part of SAVAGE’s coverage of Fringe! Queer Film & Arts Festival.  Drew Lint’s M/M is a modern-day tale of obsession. It follows Matthew (Antoine Lahaie), a lone man living in Berlin. Disillusioned with city life, he spends his days scrolling through dating apps, hoping to break free from his monotonous reality. That is until he meets Matthias (Nicolas Maxim Endlicher), a mysterious love interest who does not shy from his attraction for our protagonist. There begins a game of seduction, as Matthew becomes vehemently drawn towards this young man whom he knows nothing about. The plot comes to life through a vista of ethereal shots of various places in the city, which are the only elements one is likely to remember from the film. A lack of directorial vision makes M/M a lethargic watch, as Lint lazily attempts to scrutinise a worn out concept. Berlin provides a…Continue Reading

M/M