Culture Diary w/c 24-04-2023

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Our pick of this week’s arts, design, film and music events – and loads of it’s free!

Monday – Alien Resident: Under Investigation @ Ropes & Twines, Bold Street, Liverpool – FREE

We’ve long admired speciality coffee shop Ropes & Twines’ commitment to displaying carefully curated photography. Organised since 2019 by Merseyside photography instigators SixBySix, the latest work in the space is by Chester-based Stephen Clarke, whose beautifully composed black and white pictures offer up a glimpse of 1980s Americana. Made during a year he spent post-graduation in San Diego, they are the response of a stranger in a strange land; and yet – mediated via TV and film – they feel oddly familiar. Drink them in with some of Liverpool’s finest coffee.

Read Over My Shoulder – Hollywood and the Photographs of Stephen Clarke

Tuesday – Macbeth [imitating the dog] @ the Playhouse, Liverpool – £11-£31

The wyrd sisters; the power behind the throne; and the loneliness of ambition. Macbeth’s key messages resonate down the centuries and continue to ring loudly in our times. So, it is little wonder then, that a new production of perhaps Shakespeare’s most famous and iconic play arrives this week at the Playhouse. Retold by imitating the dog, expect a fusion of live action and innovative tech to update the period piece as contemporary ‘neon noir’ thriller.

Ridley Scott's Alien

Wednesday – Alien Day: Alien/Aliens Double Bill @ FACT Liverpool – £13.20/concessions

It all begins with a fateful distress call from the terraformed moon LV-426. It will end (but also continue across many a sequel) in discovery, carnage and no small loss of life. Yes, this is the Alien universe, whose departure point – Ridley Scott’s Alien – remains the high watermark for many an aficionado. But why argue about what iteration of the franchise makes for the finest when you can sit back and, if not relax exactly, take in this timely double-bill of Xenomorph-inspired sci-fi horror.

Read A Special Kind Of Devil: Remembering H.R. Giger

Thursday – Richard Dawson @ The Tung Auditorium, Liverpool – £22.50

Expansive and ambitious, Richard Dawson’s latest album The Ruby Cord completes a trilogy of sorts alongside 2017’s Peasant and its follow-up, titled 2020. The blurb asks the listener to “Pop in your earpiece, close your eyes and embrace the wonders (and horrors) of augmented reality and prepare to travel 500 years into the future.” Transported by Dawson’s songs, when we get there, the future bears a remarkable similarity to now – which speaks more to the grim reality of present day Earth than it does to any failure of our time-travelling troubadour. As he observes: “It’s a leap into a future that is well within reach, in some cases already here.”

Friday – Apollo Remastered @ Williamson Art Gallery and Museum – FREE

Space, as a certain tech billionaire knows all too well, remains the final frontier. But when Kennedy announced in his 1962 speech that “we choose to go to the moon”, everything seemed possible – even if it was unimaginable by most. The mission that saw humans set foot on the moon was Apollo 11, an event that, in some ways, we’re still coming to terms with (as SpeaceX’s recent explosion indicates). So, it is with a kind of awe that we view images from that feted era, and this exhibition invites us to explore the Moon landings up close across spacewalks, iconic views of Earth and more.

1. LuYang, Material World Knight (2018) still. Courtesy of the artist

Saturday – LuYang Arcade Liverpool, Curator Tour @ FACT Liverpool – FREE

The language of video games has long been used by contemporary artists. Increasingly, as hierarchies collapse and gaming has encroached on mainstream acceptability, this has been less formalism and more genuine cultural exploration. The work of Shanghai-based artist LuYang, who has said “creating a game is like creating your own world,” embraces this, to experiment with “identity, nationality, gender – even your existence as a human being”. In their new exhibition, that means a gallery full of retro-futuristic games drawing on anime, sci-fi, Buddhism and neuroscience. Join FACT’s Head of Programme, Maitreyi Maheshwari this Saturday, should you need help navigating this brave new world.

Sunday – Under a Hot Sun by Kathryn Maple @ the Walker Art Gallery, Liverpool – FREE

The John Moores Painting Prize 2020 winner stars in a solo show at the Walker Art Gallery. In our review, which you can read here, Maja Lorkowska-Callaghan describes Under a Hot Sun as a richly deserved focus on the artist’s practice. Drawn from works made across 365 days audiences, says Lorkowska-Callaghan, are advised to “set aside some time, for this is not a show to rush through”.

Mike Pinnington

Images, from top: © Stephen Clarke; Alien Promotional Poster; LuYang, Material World Knight (2018) still. Courtesy of the artist

Posted on 24/04/2023 by thedoublenegative