Culture Diary w/c 27-01-2020

Akira in 35mm

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 – Continuing: Manchester Open Exhibition 2020 @ Home Manchester – FREE

In case it passed you by in the malaise of mid-January, Manchester Open continues at Home until 29 March. So-called due to its truly open-to-all policy, entries were sought from ’people of any background and level of experience,’ whether they be ‘established professionals, new and emerging talent, enthusiastic amateurs [or] first-time artists.’ With painting, print, photography, sculpture, digital and mixed media, video and audio, spoken word, performance and more currently rubbing shoulders, the show is a fine opportunity to check out the state of the arts in Greater Manchester.

Tuesday – Vampire Power: Vampir-Cuadecuc + Mark of Lilith 8.30pm @ BFI Southbank, London – £13.25

I, for one, will never tire of the Vampire. Grotesque, beautiful, sexy and threatening, its potential to reflect and comment upon the times in which we live is surpassed only by science fiction. And then not by much. In the hands of Catalan director Pere Portabella, it becomes an allegory for dictator-era Spain. His ‘intensely experimental’ Vampir-Cuadecuc (1972) is screened alongside Mark of Lilith (1986, Dirs Polly Gladwin, Zachary Mack-Nataf, Bruna Fionda), which explores the politics of race and relationships.


Wednesday – Exhibition Closing: Sense Sound/Sound Sense: Fluxus Music, Scores & Records in the Luigi Bonotto Collection @ Whitechapel Gallery, London – FREE

Founded in the 1960s by George Maciunas, Fluxus began as an international network of artists and composers. Its purpose, said Maciunas, was to “promote a revolutionary flood and tide in art, promote living art, anti-art” with collaborations between artists and the overlap of art forms to the fore. This exhibition at Whitechapel Gallery explores Fluxus artists’ interest in music and sound, and includes work by John Cage, Alison Knowles, George Maciunas, Claes Oldenburg and Yoko Ono among others.

Thursday – Exhibition Opening: Amanda Jackson – To Build A Home 7pm @ Ropes & Twines, Liverpool – FREE

Shortlisted for the Environmental Photographer of the Year in 2015, Amanda Jackson’s To Build A Home series captures the apparently idyllic community of an Eco Village in Pembrokeshire. We see children at play and adults toiling in fields. Some images – people in makeshift housing, shacks in the forest – evoke a glimpse of our possible near future, should climate catastrophe take hold. Hear from Jackson, who will be talking about her work tonight. Also in conversation is fellow photographer Stephen Clarke, whose complementary talk will address documentary photography with a focus on the domestic.

Akira in 35mm 6.20pm @ the ICA, London – £13

Set against the backdrop of a dystopian Neo-Tokyo where gang violence threatens a fragile post-war society, and secret military experimentation is par for the course, Akira follows the (mis)fortunes of a group of friends. For some it needs little introduction – it opened the floodgates to the West for manga and anime in the 90s – a landmark film, its impact and influence still resonate on both sides of the pond. There has also been much speculation of a live-action version being on the horizon, but don’t hold your breath just yet… From the archive: Akira at 25


Friday – What We Don’t Talk About When We Talk About The Artist-Led (Symposium) 10.30am @ the Exhibition Research Lab, Liverpool – FREE

Artist-led spaces, by which I mean those that tend to sit outside the mainstream, are regularly volunteer ran, programming work too edgy, raw or imperfect to make it into your typical monolithic gallery. Shoestring budgets are managed by arts grads looking to break into the sector. A severe testing ground, those that come through it (many, jaded and exhausted, don’t) often find themselves in that very mainstream. The blurb for this event goes further, asserting that ‘practitioners and their collectives, groups and organisations have found themselves routinely co-opted, exploited and appropriated by external actors and institutions’. This timely symposium ‘seeks to provide a neutral space’ for conversation, strategy and proposals to be aired.

Faces Places 7pm @ Metal, Liverpool – £Pay What You Can

When director and artist Agnès Varda died last year, she left behind a wonderfully mischievous and playful body of work. A trailblazer of the New Wave, her longevity saw her outlive many of her peers, eventually earning richly deserved if belated recognition. So, any opportunity to revisit her oeuvre is worthy of mention and documentary Faces Places, which came in an Indian Summer of Varda’s career, catches the grand dame of French Cinema in sparkling form. From the archive: read our interview with Agnès Varda


Saturday – Beija Flo’s Nudes 8pm @ the Kazimier Stockroom, Liverpool – £20

Closing tomorrow, Beija Flo’s current exhibition at Output has a raw, autobiographical energy to it, fusing activism and performance art in a “very personal collection of music and art about how I saw and captured my body”. Details for tonight’s send off are as yet very thin on the ground, billed simply as ‘an extremely special event’. But given the content of the exhibition, in which current single Nudes is the focal point (alongside self-portrait photography and illustrations), it’s a fair bet that it’ll be performative in nature.

Sunday – Exhibition Closing: William Blake @ Tate Britain, London – £18

Quite rightly described as a visionary today, “in his own time,” says Liz Mitchell, “he was an oddity, an outcast whose weird nightmare visions put him beyond the pale of the Academy. And when you actually look — really look — at his work,” Mitchell continues, “it is mighty strange.” Mitchell was responding to Blake’s 2016 Tate Liverpool presentation (in a display alongside Tracey Emin). The painter, printmaker and poet is the subject of this solo show (closing today) at Tate Britain, which seeks to reposition Blake as “a visual artist for the 21st century”.

Mike Pinnington

Images/media from top: Akira; George Brecht Incidental Music 1961. Performed by Ken Friedman, Geoff Hendricks, Al Hansen, and Ben Vautier (left to right) at “Milano Poesia”, Ansaldo, Milan, 1989. Photo: F. Garghetti. Courtesy of Fondazione Bonotto. Copyright © Fabrizio Garghetti. All Rights Reserved; still from Agnès Varda’s Faces Places; William Blake ‘Europe’ Plate i: Frontispiece, ‘The Ancient of Days’ 1827 (?) © The Whitworth, The University of Manchester

Posted on 27/01/2020 by thedoublenegative