Culture Diary w/c 03-06-2019

Our pick of this week’s arts, design, film and music events from around the North of England and the rest of the UK – and loads of it’s free!

Monday – Emmy the Great 7.30pm @ Phase One, Liverpool – £15

What do we want or expect from our popstars? I ask, because, Emmy the Great is hardly typical in this regard. “I have always felt weird calling people at my gigs ‘fans’ which implies some kind of separation,” she tweeted recently. The Hong Kong-born singer songwriter has developed a career beyond chanteuse, forging neat side-lines as culture writer, librettist and writing music for other people’s projects. Tonight, though, it is in the guise of touring musician, as Emmy lands in Liverpool.     

Tuesday – XY Chelsea 6pm @ FACT, Liverpool – £8

In July 2013, trans woman Chelsea Manning (below) was convicted of violations of the Espionage Act and other offenses, after disclosing thousands of classified documents to WikiLeaks. Supposed to spend most of the rest of her life behind bars in an all-male military prison, in 2017, the sentence was commuted by then President Obama; this, however, is hardly where the story ends. Recently declaring she’ll never testify against WikiLeaks, XY Chelsea tells the ongoing story of this “rebel and outsider”.


Wednesday – Stuart Hall in the here and now 6.30pm @ the ICA, London – £7/concs

A writer and political activist, Stuart Hall expanded thinking in the field of cultural studies to encompass concerns around race and gender. In the 1950s, he founded New Left Review, a journal of “world politics, the global economy, state powers and protest movements; contemporary social theory, history and philosophy; cinema, literature, heterodox art and aesthetics”. Tonight’s discussion, chaired by Stuart Hall Foundation Trustee and sound studies scholar Julian Henriques, features David Morley, Angela McRobbie, Roshini Kempadoo, and Clive Nwonka.

Thursday – Exhibition Opening: Amber Akaunu: 39 6pm @ Output Gallery, Liverpool – FREE

The latest exhibition at Output features ROOT-ed Zine’s Amber Akaunu, a graduate of Hope University in 2018. Taking her degree show work, 39, and representing it on a larger scale, the installation consists of a series of 39 videos each inspired and informed by a hip hop lyric. Using the genre – often associated in mainstream press with aggression and crime – as a site of debate, Akaunu repositions it as a positive form of black expression, where key issues can be explored.


Exhibition Opening: LOOK Photo Biennial @ Victoria Gallery and Museum, Liverpool – FREE

Merseyside photography biennial LOOK returns, this time aiming its lens at exchange with China. Taking place in venues across Liverpool, Wirral, the wider North-West and also in Shanghai, this time it accommodates two chapters. Chapter one, which gets underway this week, deals with tensions between the past and the present with Shanghai Sacred, an exhibition featuring photographer and anthropologist Liz Hingley. Catch Tabitha Jussa and John Davies’ parallel exhibition Can’t See the Wood for the Trees while you’re there.

Sheffield Doc/Fest @ Venues across Sheffield – various ticket options available

Triggered by the popularity of films such as Michael Moore’s Bowling for Columbine and Morgan Spurlock’s Supersize Me, the interest in documentary filmmaking knows no bounds. Predating both of those successes, however, is Sheffield Doc/Fest. Founded in 1994, the annual festival is a marketplace “celebrating the art and business of documentary and non-fiction storytelling across all forms”. Subtitled Ways of Seeing, expect insight, talks and industry socials alongside the screenings, including Julian Elie’s disturbing Dark Suns (top).

Ben Laposky, Oscillon 40, 1952. Chance and Control: Art in the Age of Computers

Friday – Exhibition Opening: Chance & Control_Art in the Age of Computers @ The Old Library, Chester  FREE

This exhibition (touring from the V&A in London) celebrates 50 years and more of computer-generated art. It features early trailblazers, including mathematician and draughtsman Ben Laposky (above), credited with making the first computer graphics, and Frederick Hammersley, an abstract painter who experimented with digital and design. In presenting work by artists practicing today, it also traces the field’s development, and how chance and control – more often associated with analogue modes of expression – shape creative expression.

Saturday – Slime of UR Life: Work Drinks, a solo exhibition by John Powell-Jones 12pm @ Paradise Works, Salford – FREE

Can you draw a line between work and leisure time? That line is increasingly blurred by the ping of urgent work emails arriving long after 5pm, meaning the day’s toil is rarely truly behind us – even as we drag ourselves to bed. Employing ceramics, textiles, painting, performance, sound and film, Powell-Jones’ Slime of UR Life (below) explores “our relationship with work and our identity within the hyper-capitalist, consumer society of the 21st Century”. Previewing Thursday (6 June), this exhibition can subsequently be seen on Saturdays (or by appointment) only.

Slime of Ur Life: Work Drinks , John Powell-Jones, Paradise Works, Salford.

Sunday – The Seashell and the Clergyman + Live musical accompaniment by In The Nursery 1.30pm @ HOME, Manchester – £7.50

Part of HOME’s Celebrating Women in Global Cinema strand, Germaine Dulac’s The Seashell and the Clergyman is regarded as arguably the first ever surrealist film. Its 1928 premier caused a riot and the film was later banned by the BBFC, who stated: “If there is a meaning, it is doubtless objectionable.” Today, however, director Dulac – who thought of cinema as “an art that makes reality” – is rightly recognised as a forerunner, not only in terms of exploring gender politics on screen, but also for her innovative techniques. See what all the fuss is about.

Mike Pinnington

Images/media, from top: trailer for Julian Elie’s Dark Suns (2018), part of Sheffield Doc Fest. Chelsea Manning. Amber Akaunu’s 39. Ben Laposky, Oscillon 40, 1952. Slime of Ur Life: Work Drinks , John Powell-Jones.

Feature: Emmy the Great, image courtesy Alex Lake, Daniel Swan.

Posted on 03/06/2019 by thedoublenegative