Culture Diary – On Our Radar

Kiara Mohamed, The Lives We Lead, 2020 (1), crop

Our latest roundup of arts, design, film and music events looks a little different. Gone for now is the strict-ish adherence to daily openings/closings – we’re keeping it simple with what’s on right now for you to access from the comfort of your couch! Stay safe everyone!

Brigitte Jurack – Concentration, online @ the Williamson Art Gallery & Museum

I don’t know about you, but for me, this third lockdown has been a big inhibitor of focus. From reading, to picking something to stream, the simplest of acts has proved ridiculously challenging. Watching Brigitte Jurack’s timely – and aptly named – new film Concentration, though, worked a treat. Made in December of last year, it has just premiered on the Williamson’s website, in lieu of a planned physical exhibition. It celebrates simple mark-making; as the artist says: “Every drawn line, brush-mark is an act of translation; every translation is a form of understanding, a quiet exercise in the here and now.”

Kiara Mohamed: The Lives We Lead

“This has been the longest March of our lives” goes an early line in Kiara Mohamed’s poignant new film, The Lives We Lead. Intended to be shown in-situ at Liverpool’s Bluecoat gallery), this latest lockdown has meant that the decision was taken to debut the work online. Filmed between spring and summer, 2020, it features video calls between Mohamed with friends and acquaintances, and captures simple moments of shared humanity. It also features news footage, highlighting the way the pandemic has disproportionately affected “Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic People”, and addresses George Floyd’s murder and the subsequent Black Lives Matter marches. An important reminder in light of harrowing statistics, the film gives voice to and fleshes out real lives lived in uncertain times.

Further Reading: “We have to be uncomfortable in order to grow” – Kiara Mohamed Q&A


Introductions: Emma Cousin, online @ White Cube

Fingers pushed into the eyes of a beak-faced being; group sex acts; offensive hand gestures. Strangeness abounds in the carnivalesque figurative paintings of Emma Cousin currently on display via the White Cube’s latest viewing room exhibition. Full of narrative possibilities and implications, the exhibition’s accompanying texts tell us that the works respond to “the limitations of language when used to articulate the complexities of human experience and emotions”. Born of what Cousin calls taking the idea of “the failure of language to the ultimate point”, you can see the exhibition until 9 March.

Art & Activism, online @ Outside In

Curated by Artistic Director of Castlefield Gallery Helen Wewiora, Art & Activism draws on the collection of national charity Outside In, a platform for artists contending with issues around health, disability, social circumstance or isolation. Delving into the collection, Wewiora said that her intent was to demonstrate, through the selected works, “the potential [for art] to be an ‘activating’ force for change” and to highlight “many of the key issues of our time”. The resulting group show – at once varied and coherent – includes Chinua Achebe-inspired Mthobisi Maphumulo, Aminder Virdee’s And the Odds & Sods, and a surrealism-inflected pair of paintings by Aziz Anzabi.


Independent Venue Week

Independent venues and their employees have suffered almost immeasurably over recent months. So, it seems particularly appropriate right now to draw attention to Independent Venue Week, “a nod to the people that own, run and work in” the places we not so long ago crammed into to see amazing live music. It’s an opportunity, too, for all of us who are suffering the ongoing withdrawal symptoms caused by this lack of gigs. For the rest of the week, you can fill your boots with programming by more than 100 indie spaces nationwide, including performances live from Birkenhead’s Future Yard (showcasing Pixey and Natalie McCool), screenings, talks and panels.

From The Archive: Natalie McCool – In The Ascendency

Virtual Cinema

For many, popular culture has been the thing we’ve turned to most often to see us through these difficult months. Unsurprisingly, therefore, the likes of Netflix, Disney+ and Amazon have seen subscriptions to their platforms skyrocket. But, I can’t be alone in a form of fatigue setting in. Certainly, I’d hate to calculate my own time spent scrolling through a plethora of platforms for something new to watch. Help is at hand, though, via the likes of specialist distributors such as Modern Films, Dogwoof and various other VoD providers. While we still can’t visit the cinema proper, we can support local establishments by watching new films, many of which we might not be able to see elsewhere.

Further Reading: “Going To The Cinema Is An Adventure” – An Interview with Sight & Sound magazine’s Isabel Stevens

Mike Pinnington

Images/media from top: cropped still from Kiara Mohamed’s The Lives We Lead; Emma Cousin © Emma Cousin; Natalie McCool

Posted on 27/01/2021 by thedoublenegative