Culture Diary w/c 01-07-2019


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 – Exhibition Opening: Nasser Al Salem: Amma Baad 6.30pm @ Delfina Foundation, London – FREE

Described on his website as “first and foremost a calligrapher”, Nasser Al Salem’s latest series of works set out to explore the relationship between language, time and space. For his first UK solo exhibition, he presents sculptural objects and works on paper that take the Arabic phrase ‘amma baad’ as their point of departure, loosely meaning ‘whatever comes after’. Apt in this time of seemingly constant geo-political upheaval.

Tuesday – In Conversation: on László Moholy-Nagy 6.30pm @ Hauser & Wirth, London – FREE

Bauhausler László Moholy-Nagy believed in the potential of art as a vehicle for social transformation, and his teachings and artwork remain influential. Here, his grandson and director of the Moholy-Nagy Foundation, Daniel Hug, discusses his legacy with Catherine Ince, chief curator at the V&A East. Catch the exhibition convened in his name while you’re there.


Wednesday – The Liquid Club #6: Capitalist Realism by Mark Fisher 6.30pm @ The Royal Standard, Liverpool – FREE

Writing in these pages earlier in the year, Stephanie Gavan observed that blogger and cultural theorist Mark Fisher’s “warning is clear and more relevant now than ever”. She was referring to the opening chapter of his book, Capitalist Realism, in which Fisher states: “We need to learn, or re-learn, how to build comradeship and solidarity instead of doing capital’s work for it by condemning and abusing each other.” The subject of tonight’s Biennial discussion group, Capitalist Realism may well be required reading in these times of looming and/or worsening disaster capitalism.

Joan As Policewoman 7.30pm @ Epstein Theatre, Liverpool – £22.50

Earlier this year, Joan Wasser (aka Joan As Policewoman) released Joanthology, a generous triple disc career retrospective. The compilation, described in Louder Than War as “utterly essential”, no doubt showcases the brand of lusciously leftfield pop that first brought her to our attention with the likes of My Gurl. Slick, vulnerable, arch and spiky in roughly equal measure, grab this midweek treat with both hands. Read: My Gurl: Subverting Rock.


Thursday – Exhibition Opening: Yasmin Ali as part of Liverpool Arab Arts Festival 6pm @ Output gallery, Liverpool – FREE

Officially getting underway from Friday, founded to “represent Arab culture and Arab people in a positive way, and to harness that curious ability art has to allow one person, with one set of life experiences, to speak directly to the heart of another”, this year’s Liverpool Arab Arts Festival (LAAF) is upon us. Hit the ground running with Yasmin Ali’s solo exhibition at Output. Working across photography, poetry and film, fittingly, Ali’s work “focuses on the exploration and celebration of diverse identities”.

Friday – Exhibition Opening: Shezad Dawood: Leviathan, Grace Ndiritu: The Ark 6pm @ the Bluecoat, Liverpool – FREE

Friday sees a double-whammy of exhibition openings at the Bluecoat, with Shezad Dawood’s Leviathan, and Grace Ndiritu’s The Ark. Dawood’s film, Leviathan (shown alongside VR, textile and neon works) places us in an imagined future – can there be any other kind? – to explore connections between mass migration and marine environments. Ndiritu’s The Ark, meanwhile, sees the artist present the culmination of her 2017 research, which placed scientists, artists and spiritual practitioners in an off-grid setting.


Immix Ensemble & Forest Swords – Trespassing 9pm @ Southbank Centre, London – FREE

Forming part of the New Music Biennial – “a showcase of composers and music creators who are pushing the boundaries of music in the UK” – this new commission investigates how music and cities inform, influence and affect each other. Created by Forest Swords and Immix Ensemble, Trespassing asks “How is the identity of a city expressed in its soundscape? How does this connect to our sense of ownership over public space? And what might public spaces feel and sound like in the future?”

Saturday – Exhibition Closing: Sweet Debris @ Waterside Gallery, Sale – FREE

Curator Mario Popham brings together the diverse work of Theo Simpson, Hannah Farrell, Chris Rhodes and Phoebe Kiely, to explore the “meaning and beauty amongst the detritus of modern life”. It is also an opportunity to consider what we mean when we talk about photography today, in light of the ubiquity of image-sharing platforms such as Instagram and Pinterest. A last chance to see this exhibition foregrounding how interesting and varied new channels of dispersal are being developed by practitioners in the field.


In Conversation: John Akomfrah 1pm @ BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Art, Gateshead – £5

His status as a founding member of the Black Audio Film Collective and works such as 2012’s The Unfinished Conversation – an archival piece reflecting on the career of  cultural theorist Stuart Hall – have made John Akomfrah a voice to be heard. Responding to and reflecting issues relating to the black diaspora, beginning with the social tensions of 1980s Brixton, his is an ambitious, vital practice. Here, Akomfrah discusses the themes informing new exhibition, Ballasts of Memory, with BALTIC curator Alessandro Vincentelli. In Profile: John Akomfrah.

The Book of Cairo at Liverpool Arab Arts Festival 3pm @ The World Museum, Liverpool – £3.79–£6.98

More Arab Arts Festival, this time in conjunction with short-story specialists, Comma Press. Appearing in translation for the first time, The Book of Cairo features 10 writers offering different perspectives on Cairene life, weaving together satire, surrealism, love and humour, to grants us an insight into a city that, through the mediums of TV and film, we think we all know. Here, author, translator and editor Raph Cormack selects readings from The Book of Cairo alongside his fellow contributor Thoraya El-Rayyes.

Sunday – Celebrating Youssef Chahine: Alexandria… Why? 3pm @ FACT Liverpool – £8

Last year, Egypt’s Misr International Films (MIF) launched a restoration project for the films of its founder, renowned Egyptian director Youssef Chahine, to mark the 10th anniversary of his death. Working at the forefront of Arabic cinema, UK viewers (thanks to LAAF) now have the opportunity to experience three examples of his oeuvre for the first time, beginning tonight with Alexandria… Why? (1979). Winning the Silver Bear at the Berlinale, it is the tale of an Egyptian teen, dreaming of a life working in Golden Age Hollywood.

Mike Pinnington

Images from top: Joan As Policewoman © Allison Michael Orenstein; Mark Fisher; Yasmin Ali; Forest Swords; John Akomfrah

Posted on 01/07/2019 by thedoublenegative