On Design: Viva The Cycle Revolution

So, it turns out we’re in the Cycle Revolution show at The Design Museum. We’re featured in the cycling stories section, after we cycled to Cannes to unsuccessfully crowdsource a film. So it was only right and fair that we went down to the exhibition to check it out. Here’s what we thought:

For those that don’t know, Cycle Revolution is the last ever show at the Design Museum’s Shad Thames home before the institution moves on to pastures new (in Kensington), so the curators really wanted to go out on something of a high. And they have, this is a cracking final show.

Mixing insights into design, an overview of cycling culture and a living museum of the sport’s most memorable moments (and there’s been a few of those over recent years!) The exhibition is a must for anyone who loves cycling culture.

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Your author: at the show

Cycle Revolution showcases 77 bikes in total. What’s really special is that it’s a celebration of all cycling – from machines built for speed, to commuter bikes and to bikes that are all new.

 

If you’ve got even a passing interest in the UK’s cycling culture, this exhibition is a must attend – it really needs a visit to Shad Thames to do it just. It is open until June 30th, and information on the Design Museum website here.

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And seeing Cycle Revolution really got us excited about next month’s Spin.

The show is amazing celebration of all cycling culture – from the kit, to the bikes, to the beers, the coffees, & the culture of cycling – and it’s coming to Manchester for the first time before returning to The Old Truman Brewery between May 20 and 22.

If you want to meet likeminded cycle-heads then Spin is the place to be, more information and tickets on the show website here.

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Organised fun? PlayFinders in Brazil

MAPPING PLAY CULTURES, IN THE WORLD’S FIFTH LARGEST COUNTRY

This blog was put together to demonstrate just some of the findings of a research trip to Brazil in March 2016 by the PlayFinders team.
PlayFinders is a social enterprise that collects and connects play from around the world. The PlayFinders team are building an online tool that will map different types of “traditional” non-digital games and play from around the world. The team hope this will achieve two main results.

The first outcome is that children are inspired to try new types of traditional play from around the world, encouraging them to put down their devices and screens and experiment in traditional play.

The second outcome is that PlayFinders will build a play legacy. This means that traditional types of play are stored online for future generations, in an ever-growing crowdsourced map of traditional play memories and rules.

The goal of the PlayFinders research trip in Brazil was to see what is different about play there, how different communities understand play and what play means to them, to map some traditional games and to simply learn from some of the most interesting thinkers on the ground in Brazilian play.

SO, WHY BRAZIL?

PlayFinders has its roots in England, but was born as part of the British Council’s Elevate Challenge. This challenge saw play experts from around the world (from Vietnam, Malaysia, Australia, Indonesia, Scotland and beyond) spend a few weeks in Japan. This trip to Japan included research, workshops, a Play Safari, a series of meetings and more in an investigation and celebration of traditional types of play.

The ElevateChallenge was organised to try and solve big social problems, in particular children not playing traditional games any more, which is a phenomena happening most strongly in Asia but also across the globe more and more. In short, the ElevateChallenge Fellows wanted to help protect traditional play and ensure a generation of children does not lose out on the joy of traditional, non-digital, physical fun and play.

For the PlayFinders team’s research and thinking; Brazil seemed like the perfect place to be. It is a rising economic power, it has a sheer scale (Brazil is more of a continent, than a country really), and it’s always been known for its broad-minded grass roots culture.

Before we visited the country we had visions of a place that saw childhood as being something that was open, free, that embraced risk, with a series of unique histories and socio-cultural conditions that made it significantly different to anywhere else on the planet.

But is this true? And what did we find out about Brazilian attitudes to games and play? How can this shape wider attitudes to play?

PLAY AND SELF-ESTEEM, TO EDUCATE, AND HERITAGE
Our first big meeting was with Joâo Pedro Maciel and Jorge Wallace Maisum from Project Brincalhau in Pavuna. This is a part of Rio De Janeiro that is not often explored by tourists in the city, the district of the city lying around 25km from Copacabana Beach.And a world apart really, Pavuna feels really disconnected from lots of the wealth, infrastructure and funding that Rio’s south zone receives. It has little investment from the city, like much of the North Zone of Rio.

Joâo explained to us: “Many schools in Rio De Janeiro don’t teach black history, so we see it as being important to teach this culture through play. This is an important and valuable way to communicate the stories, the traditions and the games that were played when you look back through history.

“We look at education and play collaboratively, with children leading their education. Play is so important, because these games we play offer a direct connection to the roots of our culture. There’s no flexibility in the school curriculum but play can shift, be more accommodating and it brings children and our community together.”

Joâo and Jorge brought this to life with a vivid example. They told us about the game Umbuby, which has its history roots in Ghana, Africa. This traditional type of game involving one child playing the role of a blindfolded lion, one child playing the role of a blindfolded impala, and the watching children encircling these two animals and shouting their encouragement in an attempt to stop the lion capturing the impala.

“It is fun, it is part of our culture that is not recognised in formal education, and it reflects the ancient traditions of African people. It is not just for kids, it is important for families and people that these types of games are played,” Joâo explained.

But for the Brincalhau team, play isn’t all about looking backwards. The roles of games and free play is very important for current issues in Brazilian society.

Jorge explained that they were using play as a way to tackle the current zika crisis (the mosquito born infection is getting huge global publicity and was a major talking point during our visit, with health officials confirming a link between it and serious birth defects). He told us about one game where children were set anti-zika challenges and games that were specifically designed to clean up the local neighbourhood – removing standing water and empty bottles that the zika mosquito can use to breed as part of a wider game. And doing hiding toy mosquitos around the neighbourhood for children to find, subtly educating them around the danger of mosquitos and what we can do limit their effects.
Jorge explained he would be he was somehat worried about some Japanese or Western Europe attitudes to digital games and play.

He told us: “When everything comes ready-made, it means kids don’t use their imagination Imagination, creativity and play should be valued. We are trying to create a methodology. We think there should be eight hours to work or learn; eight hours to live, and eight hours to sleep. These eight hours where we live and when people and children really develop. And that’s where we should be focusing our energy for a new generation. When you grown-up, you become set in your ways. Through play in development, this is when you ensure children think beyond their own aspirations.”

We were particularly encouraged about this session encouraging children to tidy after each session. This was about play promoting citizenship, and children learning to love a place and see it as their own. Play here revitalised unused spaces, turning it into a community asset.

PLAY AND CULTURAL REPRESENTATION

We met with Observatório de Favelas. This remarkable organisation is dedicated to social organisation, research, consulting and public action – it is dedicated to the knowledge and political propositions on favelas and city phenomena.

Created in 2001, the Favela Observatory is based in the Marê Favela in Rio De Janeiro, but works in cities and communities right across Brazil. The centre has five instructional aspects; across education, policies, urban, communication and culture. But we were here to talk about play.

We met with Michelle Henriques, who told us that our initial assumptions about play in favelas were probably not as we thought. Digital games and play were still a huge aspect of life in favelas. She explained attitudes to play in favelas were not actually easy to summarise or categorise.

Favelas all have their own distinct culture, communities and many differences that make any easy assumptions about childhood, games or varieties of play really impossible. impossible. She explained that a lot of the Observatório de Favela’s work was actually about challenging assumptions from around Rio, Brazil, South America and the rest of the world about what living in a favela is actually all about.

According to their research, there were fewer worries about children using devices and screens at an earlier age. This was for two reasons. The first, was that access to the digital space was important in terms of connections to ideas, opportunities and social progress.

And that there was still a powerful popular culture of “playing out”.
In fact, the Observatório de Favelas team had lots of questions about the PlayFinders project. Are games really that different across borders? It was clear that lots of young people in favelas were really not that different. They have the same hopes and dreams, and face many challenges that are universal for children around the world. And, the team pointed out that there are actually lots of positives around access to screens and the internet improving opportunity.

Michelle told us about a traditional game called Quimada. To play this game, children form two teams. Each team has a field, and there’s a place called the cemetery. One person from each starts in the cemetery, so he’s dead. The rest of the team starts in the field. The person who is at the cemetery always starts the game by throwing a ball to the opposite side where his partners are. The living people from this team have to catch the ball and throw it against the other team. If someone from the opposite team touches the ball, he is burnt, so he is dead. The “dead ones” go to the cemetery, and the game finishes when every living person from one team dies. Michelle explained this game had been played by generation after generation of children from around Brazil.

We also heard about a game called Pexeireia, which involves children stood in a line and attempting to catch another child who pretends to be a fish.

The PlayFinders research with Observatório de Favela’s showed us that although it is challenging to generalise, a lot of play in favelas is inspired by one word: improvisation. Children want to play a lot of the same games and play, but because of a lack of infrastructure, space or equipment children are forced too often improvise. This could be a good thing. Children play improvised version of dodgeball, volleyball, and ping pong using smaller spaces and repurposed equipment.

We also learned that in many ways, lots of games and play are not actually different across borders. Whether it’s in the parks of Tokyo, or the British seaside or the favelas of Maré in Rio De Janeiro, children love to play traditional, simple games such as spinning top, marbles, and ,hopscotch and of course, Tag..

Michelle told us about one other phenomenon which we’d spotted on earlier walks and explorations of the city. That of kite flying.

Michelle said: “Kite flying is one of the most popular types of play in favelas. It’s a game, it’s free play, and it also allows a sense of escape. Traditions of how to play have been passed down from elders to the young people. Kite flying is popular not just in Rio, but in favelas around Brazil. Something that just makes many children so happy, it’s part of our landscape now.”

PLAY AS EXPLORATION AND HISTORY

To get another perspective on play, we visited a high-end shopping mall in Gavea, near Leblon, one of Rio’s most exclusive neighbourhoods. And we were surprised by what we discovered, who we met and what we found out about play.

We met with the owner of a remarkable little toy shop on the very top floor of the shopping mall. Enfim Enfantis owned by Flavio Oliveira. She set up the shop in October 1994 after falling out of love with academia.

Flavio said: “Without play, there is no childhood. Play is the most important part of childhood development, it’s the way we experiment with real life, try things out. We pretend to be adult, and it’s how we learn to be an adult, and how we learn to relate to each other too.”

She said childhood could be complicated in Brazil: “In my opinion there’s a big difference in how people play in Brazil – there are differences between urban and rural; and between rich and poor. Parents have more fear in wealthier communities. There is a correlation, the more money parents have, the more worried they become about freely playing out.”

Flavia explained that this is one reason her toy shop is dedicated to traditional types of games and play. In fact, these games are not just Rio games and toys. She has dedicated her career to travelling around Brazil, into the Amazon and beyond to discover traditional toys and then working with local artisan makers to bring them to young children in the city.

“It’s a way to share the way we used to play games. It is wonderful to explore indigenous Brazilian history, and I love to work with artisanal makers to create the toys I find so children in our cities can play this way too,” she said.

We learned about several traditional games at Flavia’s wonderful toy shop. Passa Anel (roughly translating as passing the ring) which is a type of play that promotes imagination, creativity and attention. Passa Anel can be played at home, in the backyard, or at school.

So, how does it work? A child is chosen to pass the ring. The rest of the participants sit next to each other with hands clasped, ajar, forming a closed shell. The child holding the ring between their hands should move the hands towards the hands of other participants. At one point the child will choose one player and will drop the ring between his or her hands without the rest of the players noticing. To outwit the group, the participant with the ring must again pass the hands of the participants. Then the child will choose a participant who is not with the ring, and this child must guess who has the ring. If the child gets this guess wrong, you are eliminated from the game. To make the game more exciting, the passer may have more than one object in the hand (e.g. money or a marble). The chosen player must guess which object and in whose hands. Fantastic fun!

We also learned about Circle Play, and Pique Pega (a version of tag). To get a sense of the toys, and the ethos of this shop visit the website here.

FOLLOW YOUR DREAMS: PLAY TO INSPIRE

For the Project Morrinho team, play comes from a simple need to find a place of escape, safety – so important in what can be an unsafe environment. This project demonstrates the value power of having a children’s imagination to start a small revolution..

Project Morrinhois a social and cultural project based out of the Villa Pereira da Silva favela, in the Laranjeiras favela (near Santa Teresa). It was started by local youth almost 20-years-ago and is a 320sq metre model of Rio De Janeiro, all constructed from very bright bricks and other re-used and recycled materials.

The favela that houses Project Morrinho has been pacified (meaning it has been made safe, in theory), and is now a very popular place for people visiting Rio. But it’s still aIt is a place that thrills as you make your way down the steep hill, past the homes and along creaking narrow paths. The views of the city below are really spectacular. It’s an amazing place to visit.

On our visit, we learned that Project Morrinho began life as a simple vital childhood game to escape the realities of violence and corruption that used to surround the teens and their community where they lived. In the miniature urban world of Morrinho (which roughly translates as “little hill”) the children playing acted out a very Rio-specific role-playing game with numerous little Lego figures.

The imaginative world of Project Morrinho includes cars, police vehicles and everything that reflects the daily lives of young people in a favela – both the good and the bad. The children played out their lives, while they were playing at gangs and police, the violence of their games took place for real far too often just meters from them. Their corner of their favela was away from the violence and because of this they gaming was in safety.

We were hugely impressed by three things: its scale (Project Morrinho has a wow factor. It’s huge!) the ingenuity (the way bricks are repurposed to make a child’s perspective of the city is incredible), and the aesthetics (it’s bright, colourful and totally unique).
On our visit we learned how Project Morrinho has grown from being a local Rio talking point to becoming an international phenomenon. The awareness has grown, but also its ambition. It has grown from a game made by a small group of youth to an The organisation has changed from being one of play, but towards one within it’s own right with aspirations for social change and a business model including tourism, international touring and education..

The project has grown to cater for visitors, tour internationally, make films and run a social component – which is focused on a “small revolution”. This is about Project Morrinho educating young people through audio-visuals, art education, youth leadership and citizenship. Throughout this work, Project Morrinho aims to bring positive change as well as improve popular perception of Brazil’s favelas. It contributes directly to the socio-cultural and economic development of surrounding favelas – communicating the realities of life through film, theatre and music – demonstrating that life in the favela is multi-dimensional. Much of this is through play.

On the tour from our talented guide Raniere Dias we learned how it was the children playing in Project Morrinho, and having a safe space to be creative and have fun was so important as the favela was pacified.

Most importantly, play in this context meant the importance of believing in dreams and the power of imagination. We were told about how the project has toured to New York, to Barcelona and plans are in place for a second visit to London too.

The organisers partly put this down to the inspiration and magical qualities of play. Project Morrinho allowed them to be free, and have a dream. By sticking with this dream they’ve made a life and career they didn’t think was ever possible.
A full recording of the PlayFinders visit / interview at Project Morrinho is on Soundcloud here. And you can learn more about the project on their Facebook page.

PLAYFINDERS IN BRAZIL – A SUMMARY

The PlayFinders experience in Brazil was invaluable. Our thinking was not only shaped and challenges by the four meetings included here, but also through more informal conversations with experts and people in Minas Gerais, around Bahia and in Sau Paulo.

What is clear, that the experiences of play offered in childhood have a higher aim than just to play.have huge potential on lives. Whether it is play for education, play for understanding of our cultural heritage, play as exploration, or play to fire imagination and give us something to dream about – these experiences of play as a childhood shape who we are as people and who how we operate as as a society.

Rio, and Brazil are complicated territories places with hugely varied and distinct cultural histories. Throughout all my meetings it was great to see the value of open and free play – it really seemed like play was front of minds in understanding how we should begin to build an inclusive, inspiring and imaginative world to live in.

So, what’s next? PlayFinders is officially launching in May 2016. The website will showcase some of the best rules, types of traditional play and play memories. These games will be primarily from Japan, the United Kingdom and Brazil (reflecting the PlayFinders journey over the past 18-months). But, there’s good news too, users will be able to add their own play stories to the website – the PlayFinders team hope that this is just the start of a growing crowdsourced tool, that will be a resource for everyone with play memories, and believes in the true value of simple childhood play.

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PlayFinders (from Paul Drury-Bradey and Darren Bolton’s BluePrint Film) will be available on http://www.playfinders.com. Before then, follow the latest here.

 

On Culture: Soho Riot! Ben Eine Neons

Lights of Soho is bringing the legendary street artist Ben Eine to Soho this month.

The exhibition is called ‘SOHO RIOT’ and will bring to life Eine’s artwork by giving it the neon treatment for the very first time. The brand new works will be fabricated in a series of limited edition colour-ways, which will shine bright onto Brewer Street on 20th April.

The curators explain ‘SOHO RIOT’ is about encapsulating the spirit of Soho as we move through a time of massive gentrification. Eine’s ‘RIOT’ artwork as a method to showcase the frustration and artistic protest to the changing face of Soho.

“Soho is such a vibrant neighbourhood with rich history, characters and memories. I’m happy to attach ‘RIOT’ as a cultural and artistic protest to help keep the core values and community spirit of Soho alive…It’s all about bringing my neon typeface full circle. Seeing my two-dimensional neon font transform into a three-dimensional work of art and displayed in London’s only neon gallery is what excites me.”

~ Ben Eine

Eine’s work will be joining the gallery in collaboration with Moniker Projects, who have worked closely with Ben Eine for the last 7 years. As Lights of Soho’s first original show, the partners are excited to share this exciting moment with one of London’s most iconic artists.

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For further information visit: https://www.LightsofSoho.com

 

 

 

 

 

Also on display, will be in-house brand LOS Collection, whose cheeky emoti-neon’s have been taking London by storm. Playing on culture with a sense of humour, our newest addition is 2015’s ‘word’ of the year – ‘Tears of Joy’ – as chosen by Oxford Dictionaries. LOS Collection brings Lights of Soho’s vision together with the best design and skilled craftsmen to produce quality neon pieces.

On Culture: Inhotim’s Extraordinary World Of Art

We spent last month in Brazil, and one of the biggest recommendations we got was to visit Inhotim. We asked around Brazilian friends, who told us it was a must-visit for anyone who loves contemporary culture (people like us then!)

Our friends told us the place was epic in scale, housed truly stunning and ground-breaking visual art, was in an amazingly beautiful rainforest, and one even likened it to a “Jurassic Park for contemporary culture”.

So, what did we make of it..? 

Well, the first thing to note is that Inhotim is not really on the regular tourist trail or backpacker’s route around Brazil. The nearest big city is Belo Horizonte (although Brumadinho is just around the corner). It’s in the southwestern state of Minas Gerais, a region of Brazil known for its vast mining riches.

Inhotim is in 3,000 acres of forest and breathtaking Brazilian countryside. But people don’t travel all this way for the nature. Inhotim is simply one of the world’s very best collections of contemporary art.

There are career-defining works here by some of the greatest artists of our age, from the Americans Matthew Barney and Chris Burden, to the Columbian sculptor Doris Salcedo, and the Japanese artist Yayoi Kusama. What is the big thing we took away from Inhotim? The staggering ambition.

What the Inhotim have created is surely one of the world’s boldest, most unique and original contemporary art museums ever.

And, what makes it unique?

At Inhotim there is no single dominating gallery. Instead, visitors  there countless galleries scattered around the huge, and beautifully manicured landscape. Visitors are led around the site on designed stone paths, taking people on a lovely tour through the forest.

The energy and the atmosphere around Inhotim is just wonderful. Calm, creative and in tune with nature.

And crucially, the galleries are designed around the art. Instead of art fitting the gallery, Inhotim uniquely has the galleries designed around the artwork. Often, the architects working closely with the artists to ensure a perfect physical, creative and cultural fit.

Thought it was important to let the images tell some of the story:

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So, what were our highlights?

Cosmococa: from artist  Hélio Oiticica and filmmaker Neville D’Almeida. This multisensory gallery transports people to the hedonistic days of 1970s New York. Putting the audience into the centre of the piece, the gallery means you remove your shoes, swing from hammocks and observe out-there projections. This all contributes to a story of excess, demonstrating the tension of control and questions what freedom really means.

Mud Blade: housed in a spectacular geodesic dome, this stunning work from Matthew Barney weaves a complex story around the tension between man and nature. Directly referencing the local people and the local environment, and speaking to Minas Gerais’ industrial mining heritage. Establishing both the devestation and the sublime nature of progress, the amazing gallery brings the outside beauty of the trees into the gallery. Very impressive.

Miguel Rio Branco Gallery: This gallery is the amazing outcome from a long process of collaboration between Inhotim and artist, Miguel Rio Branco. The gallery houses eye-opening photography from the artist’s work over the past 30-years. It includes individual photos, polyptychs, panels, film, audiovisual and multimedia facilities. The images of 1970s Salvador bring a different side of Brazil to a remarkable setting. This gallery is another example of place and space really transforming the experience for the art lover.

Sonic Pavilion: Finally, Doug Aitken’s amazing work is a site-specific piece that encourages contemplation and deep thought in every sense. A simple idea in some respects, there was huge complexity in its production. The gallery is at the top of a hill, a glass gallery with brilliant 360 views of Inhotim.  It involved the boring of a 200-metre well deep, deep into the ground. It features a set of microphones that capture the sounds of the moving earth underground. Through a sophisticated sound-system of equalization and amplification the sound is played out in the empty pavilion. Again, it links nature and people – showing the tension that technology can bring. The sounds of the earth are almost like the ultra-minimalist music of Steve Reich. It’s haunting, and makes people stop and re-think what they are stood on and what it all means. A piece of work that is truely unique, and impossible to forget.

Right, what’s next? 

 

There’s exciting times ahead for Inhotim. There are more performance art and festivals in the pipeline, and it recently made Wednesdays free to enter. A great step in making it really accessible for a wide community. On our visit to Inhotim and from exploring Brumadinho it was clear that lots of local people work there on the grounds, in the galleries and beyond.

Needless to say, Inhotim was one of the highlights of our time in Brazil. From the place, to the art, to the ambition – it’s an unforgettable place that makes you reconsider what a gallery can be.

Looking to visit?

A guide to getting to Inhotim is here.

If you are looking for great value accommodation in Brumadinho, would recommend Hostel70. The staff are real experts on the local neighbourhood, and have the inside track on making the most of a visit to Inhotim. The website is here.

And you can follow the latest from Inhotim on its Facebook page or Twitter.

 

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Your author: his mind-blown in Inhotim

 

On Music: The Global Creative Alchemy Behind the Karachi Files

We’ve always said that great ideas and creativity come from unexpected collaborations. So, we were super intrigued to hear about the Karachi Files.

So, what’s the story? This one goes back to May 2015 when a forward-thinking group of electronic musicians from Pakistan, the Maldives and Germany followed in the footsteps of brothers Hannes and Andi Teichmann, otherwise known as Gebrüder Teichmann, the Forever South crew and the Goethe-Institut to meet in Karachi; Pakistan’s industrial capital, harbored on the Arabian Sea.

And this was no holiday. The creators and selectors soon got to work. A house was re-moulded into a temporary recording studio. This physical space soon became a place to meet, inspire and be inspired, record, play, eat and sleep. Musicians, together with a photographer convened, and the outcome of two weeks would transpire into the Karachi Files.
 
The Karachi Files is a collection of electronic fused works – bringing together colourful and varied cultures, all inspired by its remarkable setting. So, what about the music? The Karachi Files delivers a rich variety; a series of tracks from electronic club music to electro acoustic experiments. The album is released in May, and will be the first release on the Teichmann brother’s new label NOLAND.
Which artists are involved?
Natasha Humera Ejaz, Karachi 
Dynoman, KarachiRudoh, Karachi 
Tollcrane, Karachi
Alien Panda Jury, Karachi
Menimal, Maldives 
rRoxymore, Montpellier/Berlin
Taprikk Sweezee, Hamburg

Arttu (aka Lump), Berlin
Gebrüder Teichmann, Berlin

Ramsha Shakeel, Toronto/Karachi

 

The Karachi Files will be performing live in Berlin on the 14th May during “From Inside To Way Out”, a three-day festival at HAU, Berlin, with a special view on Pakistan, including the works of a wide range of musicians, filmmakers, photographers, journalists and artists. Tickets and more information is available here and here.

On Art: Daniel Fisher Solo Show

Always great to see galleries popping up in new places around London, and spotted the work of Daniel Fisher on Leather Lane this week.

The show is his second solo exhibition, and showcases some of his most energetic and multifaceted work. His work has already made an impression amongst international collectors and art dealers, and two pieces are currently in the MIX 3 exhibition at the Underdog Gallery, London Bridge amongst a superb line up of renowned artists including Banksy, Shepard Fairey, Dolk and other new contemporary artists.

The show on Leather Lane is called Fastidious Journey, and embodies a fusion of high and lowbrow culture, with the striking larger canvas formats showing strong expressionist, pop and street art influences. It’s intense, bold and striking work. Well worth checking out if you’re around Clerkenwell. The artist website is here.

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On Documentary: Sheffield Doc/Fest Announces New Programme

Sheffield Doc/Fest is always a summer highlight. A progressive festival examining just what stories can be, and reimagining the impact documentary can have.

So, it’s great to see some really exciting programming on its newly announced line-up of original thinkers and sharp minded innovators.

The Seasons in Quincy: Four Portraits of John Berger will close this year’s Festival with a Q&A from co-directors Tilda Swinton and Bartek Dziadosz. In this incredible-sounding documentary journey, revered British art critic John Berger’s close friends, including Colin MacCabe and Tilda Swinton, collaborate on four very different unique film essays.

The film is set in the Alpine village of Quincy, the films interweave ideas from Berger’s work and world. Conceived as “exercises in thinking in film,” they offer up an appropriately innovative portrait of an intellectual giant. At Sheffield Doc/Fest, the film will be followed by a Q&A with co-directors Tilda Swinton & Bartek Dziadosz

The genius snooker legend Ronnie O’Sullivan returns to Sheffield in conversation with Simon Hattenstone (one of my favourite journalists). The maverick snooker star will take people through his documentary inspirations.

The USC Shoah Foundation: New Dimensions in Technology (which we covered as part of the Humanities Festival at UCL last year) is also part of this year’s festival. It will show how USC Shoah Foundation – the Institute for Visual History and Education is pioneering the use of natural language software to enable virtual conversations with 3D images of Holocaust and genocide survivors so conversations can continue far into the future.

This is part of the Alternate Realities programme of talks & sessions, marketplace activity and much more. This year’s festival promises so much! The Full Festival Pass is the only way to access it all. Check out the festival social feeds for updates too.

On Film: 28 Days Later Secret Cinema coming to London

Secret Cinema is about to get a lot darker, as it takes its first steps into the horror genre with Danny Boyle’s 2002 British cult classic 28 Days Later.

The film is a CultureJukebox favourite, so really looking forward to this one. The Secret Cinema show opening in a (secret!) location in London later this April and runs until the end of May.

The post apocalyptic thriller reinvigorated the zombie genre. 28 Days Later stars Cillian Murphy as Jim, a bicycle courier who awakes from a coma to find that a virus has spread amongst the populace, all but resulting in complete societal collapse. The narrative then unfolds to follow the journey of Jim as he struggles to come to terms with what has happened and, ultimately, survive in a London that has been torn apart by the infected.

The 28 Days Later show will also act as the nationwide launch of Secret Cinema at this scale. Alongside the shows in London, another secret city will also be home to the experience. Watch this space!

“Secret Cinema is excited to step into the world of horror with Danny Boyle’s 28 Days Later, a true British horror classic – we look forward to creating a suitably frightening and exhilarating experience. Secret Cinema’s expansion over the last nine years has been remarkable, we’ve now created experiences in New York and Berlin, as well as the many in London. But this will be a turning point for us as we embark upon our very first UK nationwide production.” ~ Fabien Riggall, Founder and Creative Director of Secret Cinema

Secret Cinema will return from 14th April 2016 to 29th May 2016. Tickets are available via the Secret Cinema website.