Culture Fix: February 13th
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We just read a report from New Scientist that confirms our worst fears: millennials in London are suffering from a chronic lack of Vitamin Culture due to a combination of freezing rain, winter blues and Shipwrecked. Well we're here to snap you out that sluggish slump with a strong culture dose. Open your mouth and close your eyes...
Starvation in Biafra; civil wars in Senegal and Belfast; the Berlin wall being torn down; a Congolese man lying dead next to his bicycle with his brains blown out. There aren’t many places the probing lens of Don McCullin’s camera hasn’t been to. He's seen some serious shit in his life, capturing in evocative black and white snapshots some of the 20th century's most traumatic and important moments. This retrospective is by no means easy viewing, but it is essential.
With the boggling abundance of VIDEO CONTENT available at the touch of a button, it's mighty refreshing to take a considered look at cinema when cinema had a touch of class about it. When filmmakers could employ sophistication, style, and subtlety without worrying about attention spans and engagement - enter the atmospheric realm of the innovative Italian filmmaker Michelangelo Antonioni.
The BFI are doing a whole season devoted to his timeless work - influential films which were visually elegant, subtle and pretty fucking cool. They're about mood, gesture and environment, often following people striving to find satisfaction in the frivolity of modern life.
The thing about being in a bubble is you don’t know you’re in a bubble, so when the bubble bursts it comes as quite a shock. This iconic Arthur Miller play, directed by visionary director Rachel Chavkin, tells the groundbreaking tale of a family in America after the Great Depression when all that was solid melted into air. It's a story of hope, idealism and a nation’s unwavering faith in capitalism.
London’s answer to the Edinburgh Fringe, the annual Vault Festival is all about bringing theatre and performance back to the people, and making it viable for smaller, more experimental companies to put on a production. It's a two-month underground carnival of theatrical madness, with some good (and some not so good) shows taking over their cavernous space - expect shows both established and experimental, comedy, art installations, workshops, talks and late-night parties.
Hyon Gyon uses her creative process as a form of catharsis. She purges herself of her demons and energetically acts out the awful hallucinations and terror-stricken visions that haunt her psyche. And we advocate approaching these dramatic artworks with a similar sense of emotional volatility.
Gyon sets herself apart by the innovative techniques she uses, taking a soldering iron to silk to create a sizzling, chaotic surface. The main floor sees a huge work consisting of various panels telling the immediate aftermath of a nuclear bomb: screams, melting figures and disembodied eyes all make for a visceral, if not slightly jarring piece.
Just a couple of minutes from the madness of Oxford Street awaits all kinds of glitz and glamour in the super-deluxe haven that is The Wallace Collection. In a former townhouse that once belonged to some seriously wealthy players (the Seymour family, Marquesses of Hertford), this building houses a world famous collection of art that's free to come and take a look at.
It's particularly famous for its collection of moody and moralising 18th century French paintings but there's all sorts besides: from armoury and swords to sculpture and porcelain. Each room - and there are many - comes with ornate furnishings: golden chandeliers, velvet walls - that type of thing.