EMER DALY considers Anni Albers’ retrospective at the Tate Modern. In the Tate Modern’s new retrospective of Anni Albers’ geometrically complex textile art, we are made to appreciate the many layers of weaving. From ancient crafts, to decorative art forms, to architectural weave types, Albers’ intricate artworks and designs engage heavily with many types of textile production. This exhibition guides us down the many paths that Albers took her weaving, first as a reluctant student and later as a teacher and renowned artist. Albers’ weavings are filled with contradictions. She takes an ancient media, traditionally ornate, and creates modern and linear patterns instead. She uses soft threads such as cotton, linen, silk and weaves them in bold, almost harsh designs. Neither two nor three-dimensional, her tactile works falls somewhere in between painting and sculpture. While teaching at Black Mountain College in the USA, Albers encouraged her students to ‘imagine […]…Continue Reading

Anni Albers: Multi-layered Master

KRISTIE LUI discusses what Jon M. Chu’s Crazy Rich Asians gets right, but mostly what it gets wrong. Jon M. Chu’s grand cinematic adaptation of Kevin Kwan’s 2013 novel Crazy Rich Asians provides American cinema with a portrayal of East Asians that it so direly needed. It is the first movie from a major Hollywood studio in twenty-five years to feature a full Asian cast – the last being the adaptation of Amy Tan’s Joy Luck Club, a novel focused on the lives of eight Chinese American immigrants. Crazy Rich Asians is a romantic comedy starring Constance Wu, Henry Golding and Michelle Yeoh as leading roles. The film topped the U.S. box office with a jaw-dropping $35 million in returns in its first five days in theatres. The figures speak for themselves – in fact, they act as a powerful cry, demanding more Asian stories and representations on the big-screen. ‘Please let this…Continue Reading

Crazy Rich Fairytales

ALICE NELSON reviews British Library event ‘Leonard Cohen: The Flame’ Leonard Cohen, prolific singer-songwriter, poet and novelist, passed away on the 7th of November 2016.  Nearly two years after his death, the British Library event ‘Leonard Cohen: The Flame’ offered a chance to be surrounded by fellow Leonard lovers, in what felt like long-due and well-needed group therapy for a passing we’d all not really dealt with. Part of the British Library’s Season of Sound, the evening was hosted by Will Gompertz, the BBC’s Arts Editor. It featured readings, music and discussions, celebrating Cohen’s life and works with a focus on The Flame, a recently published posthumous poetry collection that spans Cohen’s literary life. The evening was intimate and often exceptionally moving, underpinned with an omnipresent admiration and affection for Cohen – his work, life, character and soul. Cohen has so much artistic insight and pleasure to offer us, and the…Continue Reading

Leonard Cohen: The Flame

A poem by SAM HUDDLESTONE you said “jump” in your mind   like a lead laden leaf, you fall; skydiving initially, you risk drowning thereafter.   you pollute it when you break its surface, holding breath and closing eyes,   caught by a fraction of the volume. a squint of high stakes but still the sun floods, floods all but you and the area directly below.   once adjusted you look to see your feet dangle and dance down in the blue. straddling oblivion; treading water in a sideways figure of eight.   who knows how many of your bodies make up the depth. you see it so it exists but it is nothing. what does that make you then? lost in mirrors and photographs. you set your sights to a time signature and can shoot if it gets too much.   your arms are spread, you start counting down…Continue Reading

top down bottom up?

A poem by WERONIKA BRZEZINSKA. The entire world: shadow of the moon, the past, the soon, caught in your eyes, and wants to play hide and seek with us. Come! Above our heads a million lights, beneath our feet a million lives whispering their stories to blades of grass that pass them onto us in sound and scent and swing. See? The sun is pulling the horizon down by a string. A renegade in retrograde, like me. Sunburnt sky, red my lips, Evening flare, burn my tongue, Swaying waves, teach my hips how to dance to summer’s song. Can you hear it, the music in the distance? Listen… The wind is whistling a tune for two, will you sway with me if I sway with you? Here we are, now we are, as we are d a n c i n g hiding from our decadence, silent by coincidence, waiting…Continue Reading

At Sunset

LUCY MANLEY discusses the intersection of her queer and Catholic identities. ‘Catholic’ and ‘queer’ are two words you probably wouldn’t expect to see side by side, and that is perfectly natural. Anyone familiar with Catholicism will be aware that homosexuality isn’t exactly approved of by the Church in general, and as a daughter of strict Catholic parents I grew up believing all forms of sexuality were taboo subjects. This, understandably, presented a problem when coming to terms with my own queerness. Let me be clear: I’m not criticising my parents. I became aware at around the age of fourteen that I was queer, and only really accepted it a couple of years later. Although I came out to my friends almost immediately, it would be another two years before I told my parents I was bi, which, even then, wasn’t strictly true – just easier than trying to explain pansexuality…Continue Reading

Queer and Catholic

WIKTORIA WROŃSKA reviews Pawel Pawlikowski’s Cold War, a feverish romance on political themes. Paweł Pawlikowski’s latest feature tells the story of two passionate lovers fighting tooth and claw to survive under the communist regime of mid-century Poland. The director of Academy Award-winning Ida delivers a visually striking and musically delightful film that manages to avoid the Hollywood trap of joyful yet predictable eucatastrophe. Because, of course, in such real political tumult, love rarely conquers all. Cold War opens on composer Wiktor (Tomasz Kot) and producer Irena (Agnieszka Kulesza) as they tour across Polish villages to scout singers and dancers for a new music group, ‘Mazurek’. From the crowd of candidates stands out a temperamental, confident town-girl called Zula (Joanna Kulig), who sees joining the group as a gateway to a better life. While Irena is unimpressed with her, Wiktor immediately becomes fascinated and takes her in. Pawlikowski goes on to capture the fickleness of their relationship through a non-linear…Continue Reading

Cold War

NICK FERRIS reviews Yuval Noah Harari’s latest publication 21 Lessons for the 21st Century. Nearly a fifth of the way through the 21st century, philosophical and anthropological man of the moment Yuval Noah Harari has come out with a manifesto of thoughts and ideas concerning the world we live in now. Following the largely historically-focused Sapiens and the more broad and existential Homo Deus, 21 Lessons offers 21 chapters on 21 abstract concepts and trigger words. From terrorism and religion to capitalism and artificial intelligence, the distinctions between the concepts become irrelevant as Harari draws everything together to weave a general understanding of the world. Created through an amalgamation of interviews and discussions Harari has had over the years, 21 Lessons’ premise potentially leaves it vulnerable to accusations of it being constructed on a commercial level to appeal to a click-bait-obsessed audience. Indeed, the acknowledgment at the end that it was a…Continue Reading

21 Lessons for the 21st Century

MO-JAI MCKEOWN reviews Steve Loveridge’s biographical documentary about the life of rapper and artist M.I.A. The title of Steve Loveridge’s astute take on the intermittently eminent singer M.I.A. reflects the film’s approach. MANTAGI / MAYA / M.I.A. offers a fairly standard look at the rise to stardom and the ill consequences which accompany it, much in the vein of 2015’s Amy and this year’s Whitney: Can I Be Me? The film shines, however, in the incisive observations it makes on the formation of the star’s identity, tracking her — and her sense of self, divided between those three monikers — from youth up until the mid-2010s. MANTAGI / MAYA / M.I.A. opens on an elusive figure and seems set on understanding the opaque character of this intriguing pop star. Matangi’s journey is sprawling: from experiences in her South London home, to her exploits on her way into the music industry; from her…Continue Reading

MATANGI / MAYA / M.I.A.

DANIEL LUBIN reviews the Florence Theatre Company’s Protest Song. In the UK, the number of rough sleepers in 2017 alone rose by 15%, according to government statistics. The same stats also show that nearly a quarter of all rough sleepers in the UK reside in London. In this context, Tim Price’s Protest Song not only addresses a social issue that is progressively getting worse, but also hits close to home for its London audience. The one-man show brings to the stage a problem that most people have conditioned themselves to ignore, normalising extreme poverty and demeaning a vulnerable population; it forces its audience to challenge these self-imposed assumptions. Danny (Jack Tivey) sleeps rough on the steps of St Paul’s Cathedral, until suddenly the square is packed with Occupy activists tenting up alongside the homeless community. Through the play, Danny falls in and out of love with the movement, finding a voice through the…Continue Reading

Protest Song

THOMAS NGUYEN discusses Mary Wollstonecraft’s message on education for the Time’s Up generation.  Following the #MeToo and Time’s Up movements, the ever-growing number of liberating speeches, marches and articles give us hope that the fight for gender equality is progressing. Springing from Alyssa Milano’s accusations against producer Harvey Weinstein in October 2017, debates on sexual harassment and sexism have opened up in all spheres of society – ranging from politics and the military to fashion and business. Oprah’s speech at the 2017 Golden Globes, Israel’s victory at Eurovision with the song ‘Toy’, and the hundreds of testimonies given the spotlight in national newspapers are just a few of the encouraging examples. It seemed, for the first time, that male executives, actors and photographers who had previously abused their power were finally getting brought to justice. Despite this, we are yet to reach the essence of the problem: namely, that a child’s education, both at…Continue Reading

‘No Distinctions of Vanity’

‘My mother would scowl at me when I sat in the sun for too long. She feared how dark my skin could get, much like she feared her own.’ ELLA WILSON talks to ISSAM AZZAM writer and director of Ed Fringe show Papaya. Ayesha Baloch, Sarah Al-Sarraj, and Rosemary Moss star as three women grappling with family, loss, racism, colonialism, colourism and womanhood. How did the show come to be? Well, I came up with the idea of having a person from two places – I wanted to have something where a person was forced to integrate into a new society, to come over to work here and be in an environment which was completely alien to them. So in the play, it’s a maid who works for a couple. The first one I wrote was about comparing West and East a lot more. When she was home she kind of…Continue Reading

Papaya