All posts tagged: London

‘Russian Roulette’ by Ben Aston

For some of you short film folk out there it’s probably not a well-kept secret anymore, given all the praise it received recently. And when a friend dashed it into my social media orbit – thanks Martin for the fit occasion – I just thought it’s time I’d share it with everyone: ‘Russian Roulette’ by director Ben Ashton is a brilliant short that narrates a moment in the life of Lucy, a lonely Londoner who ventures on Chatroulette in search for a bit of decent human interaction. And what she least expects in the virtual universe of oddity and the bizarre is a worthwhile encounter. Until libidinous Russian Cosmonaut Yergey turns up on her screen, floating in space. Intrigued? The low-budget production is a cheeky, cute and concise piece of film that voices thoughts about today’s social media generation, internet phenomena, loneliness, distance and closeness, packed in 5 minutes of storytelling. No wonder why Russian Roulette won this year’s Sundance London Jury Prize and since has been nominated for 2015’s Official Sundance Selection. Major Tom, now …

Being European

With a natural thirst for the arts, reading the culture and history of Europe at universities both on the continent as well as in the UK, I’d say I had a good shot at both ‘worlds’. When I started studying in London, the melting pot of cultures and nationalities, my very first lecture – called ‘What is Europe?’ – started off with a bang. Our small group consisted of some English, Irish, Scottish and one non-native speaker from abroad. Me. Entering the room, before even taking off his jacket, our tutor fired out the first question: ‘So, who of you considers himself or herself as European?’ A chuckle here, a murmur there. But suddenly, it turned pretty quiet in our crammed study room. ‘A trivial question’, so I thought, yet everyone started to look around with questioning looks. I could feel the stares, eventually. It was me, who dared to lift his hand. The only one. After having lived in the capital for only a few weeks, that was probably the moment I realised some people …

‘Project Fifty’ by Little White Lies

As we all know far too well, people’s tastes tend to differ quite a lot and films are certainly no exception here. Before even seeing a flick in its entirety, we’re inevitably biased by trailers, posters, reviews and most of all by our personal likes and dislikes of certain actors, directors, genres or themes. Still, there are definitely a few movies that almost everyone refers to as outstanding, timeless classics. Whether it’s Casablanca, The Godfather, Forrest Gump or Oldboy, you’ll find pretty much everything that shattered, revolutionised or redefined the world of cinema in IMDb’s infamous Top 250 films of all time. Well, but how on earth does, let’s say Charlie Chaplin’s remarkable City Lights from 1931 (#37) get beaten by 21st century sci-fi blockbuster Inception (#15), you might think? Fair question. Maybe because it oddly feels like comparing apples and oranges. ‘So why don’t we just cherish the most outstanding film of each year instead of compiling a general highscore list?’ was probably the initial thought behind Little White Lies’ exciting ‘Project Fifty’. Genius! In celebration …

Jacques Henri Lartigue: ‘Bibi’ @ Photographers Gallery

Clad in a white fur coat and an elegant dress, her boat drifting toward the harbour of Cannes, Madeleine Messager is in the photographer’s undivided centre of attention. With her tilted head and shadowy eyes she glances mysteriously at her husband behind the lens. It’s the work of influential photographer Jacques Henri Lartigue and only one of many snapshots depicting his beloved first wife ‘Bibi’ in the 1920s. Actually, Lartigue was a gifted collector. A collector of moments, if you will: « Photography to me is catching a moment which is passing, and which is true. » Since the early age of 8, when his technophile father gave him his first camera, he captured and eventually eternalised his impressions on film. Almost 10,000 photographs and 7,000 diary pages bear witness to an incredible photographic timeline, spanning over eight decades of his lively journey: Moments of joy and adventure, expressions of friendship and love as well as manifestations of desire and sorrow. For its current major exhibition, ‘The Photographers’ Gallery’ draws its attention back to Lartigue’s early works and documents …

‘i = u’ festival @ Guest Projects

At heart, everything we do in life is in a way a form of improvisation. Not knowing what will happen next, we approach certain actions in rather spontaneous, intuitive ways that determine the roles we play in society. Alas, this free thought and behaviour is, as we all know, too often regulated by a growing cluster of rules and conventions – even so in creative fields. Departing from the precast, arranged and stiff concepts that subliminally mark today’s music-making and live performing, the wonderful ‘i = u festival’ (12th – 21st September) dared to celebrate the inspiring dialogue of musical improvisation with dance, art, theatre and film in all its glorious diversity: ‘The idea behind i = u is simple: to present a series of events that emphasize a balanced interaction between performers, and also, between performers and audience members. The series is founded on an ideal of equality between us, where we actually aim to listen to one another.’ As a non-profit venture, the festival is per se a great showcase for project improvisation: Curated …

Gallery Launch: The Unit London

Well, as a downright enthusiast of fresh, inspiring art, it comes in handy to live so close to East London’s creative powerhouses Shoreditch, Hoxton or Hackney Wick. However pleasant it may be to roam these neighbourhoods on the hunt for new ideas and artists on a regular basis, the creative-self craves for variation – both of conceptual and geographic nature – every once in a while. So, where to turn to? Shush, »Chiswick« is the magic word. Trust me, there is a real stroke of luck that radiates the organic-libertine spirit of East End galleries, far from the prevailing elitist and highly exclusive art circuit of West London: ‘The Unit’. In many respects, it is not the average gallery start-up you’d expect these days. And the rather unusual location – clearly not an epicentre of the capital’s art sphere – is only one reason, why the artist-run project of Jonny Burt and Joe Kennedy sets itself apart from the mass. Unwilling to bow to the rules and methods of traditional art businesses, the collective advocates a more inclusive …

Hey Studio’s ‘Oh my God’ @ Kemistry Gallery

Other than comic book superheroes like Superman, Batman or Thor, the ancient gods of Greek mythology have nearly vanished from our present-day cultural consciousness. Nonetheless, the Spanish design collective ‘Hey Studio’ playfully tries to reinstate the old order of Zeus, Heracles or Hades with its most recent series ‘Oh my God’ at Kemistry Gallery: “In ancient Greece they had something better than superheroes. They had gods – each with their own powers, weaknesses, history and followers. Jupiter and Mars came, Jesus and Mohammed, Buddha and Elvis. 2,500 years later, they return to claim their place and remind us that there is nothing more dangerous than believed immortality.” However, the legendary characters and creatures of ancient scholarly books are not unleashed in their dusty, cryptic and impalpable form of Homer’s or Dante’s narrative, but approach the observer with a slightly updated, simplistic comic-style, sparkling with cheekiness. Welcome to Mt. Olympus 2.0! True, compared to the images of the flashy Clark Kent, the gadget-lover Bruce Wayne or the hammer-swinging son of Odin, our exhibited Greek gods appear rather innocent, tame and somewhat cute. Well, …