Culture Diary – On Our Radar


Our first post-lockdown pick of the week’s arts, design, film and music events looks a little different. It still features our selections of some of the best cultural offerings from around the North of England and the rest of the UK, but gone (for now) are the daily openings/closings.

We’re keeping it simple with what’s on right now, including stuff you can view from the comfort of your couch, or get out to see irl! We’ve also moved it from the usual Monday slot to Friday, so you can plan your weekend accordingly.

Away, in selected UK cinemas 

Away is the beautiful looking (pictured above) feature animation from filmmaker Gints Zibalodis. It was a labour of love for Gints, who took more than three years to write, produce, direct, score and animate one boy’s mysterious island odyssey. He’s said:  ”I’m very happy and relieved that I managed to actually finish the film. The main theme of the story is about connecting with people, and I can’t wait to share it with the world.” Inspired by reality, dreams, and waking fantasies, Away sounds a perfect fit for these times.

BFI Reopens, London 

Cinephiles heading to London’s Southbank will be pleased to learn of the reopening of the BFI. Their September programme includes Redefining Rebellion, a season of film selected by journalist and critic Kaleem Aftab, whose departure point is Mathieu Kassovitz’s La Haine (1995); the Focus on Fellini continues; and, with many a film release cancelled or curtailed by lockdown, you now have the the opportunity to see some of those titles – including Clemency (Chinonye Chukwu, 2019), Parasite: Black-and-white edition (Bong Joon-ho, 2019) and Ema (Pablo Larrain, 2019) – back to the big screen.

Queer Contemporaries @ AIR Gallery, Altrincham, Greater Manchester, and online

Speaking to artist-led curatorial collective Short Supply‘s directors Mollie Balshaw and Rebekah Beasley recently, they mentioned their sadness at the cancellation of this year’s Manchester Pride, and the responsibility they felt to representing the LGBTQIA+ community. The duo has done so in no uncertain terms with their Queer Contemporaries showcase (supported by Superbia and Manchester Pride). A large-scale group show, it takes in more than thirty artists’ work, and covers everything from photography to poetry. You can visit or view online now.


And Say the Animal Responded? @ FACT Liverpool

Due to open the week lockdown came into force, FACT have had some wait to finally welcome visitors to And Say the Animal Responded? (pictured above). If anything, the group exhibition – concerned with creating a space for the voice of the animal – has become more poignant owing to the period of isolation we have all recently experienced. Artist Alexandra Daisy Ginsberg’s work, Machine Auguries, looks at how sound and light pollution affects birds, for instance – a noticeable factor of the easing of lockdown was the decrease in birdsong which had been so prevalent only weeks and months earlier.

Medicine: The Wellcome Galleries @ the Science Museum, London

One can’t help but have been affected over the course of the year by stories of medical concerns and emergencies. With no vaccine due for 12 to 18 months, the pandemic saw to it that we all had to familiarise ourselves with multiple layers of knowledge and behaviour before stepping outdoors so as not to encourage its spread. So, Medicine, an exhibition of three thousand objects and artefacts seems timely indeed. Most apt, perhaps, is the Faith, Hope and Fear section, which explores how, with fingers crossed, we place our health in higher powers.

Electronic: From Kraftwerk to The Chemical Brothers @ the Design Museum, London

An aspect of culture hardest hit by the coronavirus has and continues to be the night-time economy, especially the clubs and bars. So, it is no surprise that the Design Museum’s current exhibition, Electronic: From Kraftwerk to The Chemical Brothers (trailer above), is pushing all the right buttons with punters eager for a night on the tiles. Aiming to mimic the experience of dancefloors from Detroit to Chicago, Paris, Berlin and the UK, the exhibition is a celebration of the art, design, technology and photography that define this particular cultural landscape.

Hotel Contemporary, Jonathan Baldock, 2018

Jonathan Baldock & Frances Disley @ the Bluecoat, Liverpool 

In Frances Disley and Jonathan Baldock, the Bluecoat have programmed a pair of contemporary artists whose work seems to continually be developing and progressing. Exploring how texture and sensory experience can add deeper layers and meaning to the art gallery experience, Disley’s Pattern Buffer invites visitors to make use of her art works for play and contemplation. Baldock’s Facecrime (above), meanwhile (taking its name from George Orwell’s 1984), asks questions of how people’s facial expressions are increasingly policed. Opened just prior to lockdown, catch the show now.

Kiki Kogelnik: Riot of Objects / Athena Papadopoulos: Cain and Abel Can’t and Able @ MOSTYN Gallery, Llandudno 

In 1961, Austrian Kiki Kogelnik left behind the Viennese avant-garde scene, trading it for Santa Monica. In the US, she was influenced by Roy Lichtenstein, Andy Warhol, Tom Wesselmann, Robert Rauschenberg and Claes Oldenburg. Responding to this male-dominated world, she introduced feminism and criticality to the already fertile ground of mass media and consumer culture, becoming an interesting (and underexposed) outlier of pop art in the process. This MOSTYN Gallery show is the first in the UK to focus solely on her ceramics output. Dovetailing nicely is a new body of work from Canadian artist Athena Papadopoulos, which questions traditional binary perceptions of gender and sexuality.


Manchester Collective Recreation EP release

This week sees those purveyors of finely tweaked live classical music, Manchester Collective, release their first EP, Recreation (sleeve artwork, above). Co-founder Adam Szabo recently explained to us that “Recreation is really a mixtape – it’s a chance for us to really show our colours and play some of our very favourite pieces in our trademark, slightly off kilter way.” Szabo, discussing the process for a recording that includes the likes of Bach, Ligeti and Vivaldi, said: “We’ve tried to create something that feels extremely close and intimate. Hyper-close mic placement, unusual compression, at least for a classical release, and individual recording of each solo string player. It’s been a blast to put together.”  Read the full interview

Mike Pinnington

Media, from top: Still from Away;Demelza Kooij’s Wolves from Above, © the artist; trailer for Electronic: From Kraftwerk to The Chemical Brothers; Jonathan Baldock, Facecrime; Recreation sleeve art by Helenskià Collett 

Posted on 04/09/2020 by thedoublenegative