Internet Roundup

Currently in the very last week of my university finals, I am barely leaving my house. I have therefore comprised a list of ten internet articles and videos on music, dance, visual art and architecture that I have enjoyed this week and hope you do too.

Visual Art

1. ‘Justin Rowe book art opens British Academy Literature Week’

Justin Rowe (image taken from BBC article)

Justin Rowe (image taken from BBC article)

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-22597417

This is an article about an artist making beautiful stories out of books from charity shops. Upcycling at its best!

2. ‘Exchange: 1,000 Good Deeds at the Foundling Museum’

http://www.foundlingmuseum.org.uk/events/view/exchange-clare-twomey/

I’ve been meaning to visit the Foundling for a while and I will now make sure that I visit between 14th June and 15th September. Artist Clare Twomey has designed this simple concept: an individual can take away an exhibited teacup as long as they do the good deed hidden underneath it on the saucer. A simple exchange, and one that will hopefully see lots of lives affected in a positive way.

The Foundling Museum is now welcoming suggestions for good deeds to include in the piece – send them any ideas on their website.

3. ‘Baroque The Streets: world artists unleashed in South London’

Pablo Delgado (image from Evening Standard site)

Pablo Delgado (image taken from Evening Standard article)

http://www.standard.co.uk/news/london/baroque-the-streets-world-artists-unleashed-in-south-london-8623245.html

I love a bit of (good) street art and this project is a collaboration between Dulwich Picture Gallery and Street Art London to bring an array of great work.

4. Will Gompertz ‘Too Famous to See?’

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/entertainment-arts-22595987

This one is for the art historian in me. Gompertz discusses the implications of an artwork becoming iconic and assesses the way in which a piece may lose its original meaning, becoming instead a tick box on a list of must-see artworks.

Music

5. ‘Newton Faulkner & Sam Brookes cover of Daft Punk – Get Lucky’

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=36sOvS3M_1M

If you’ve been anywhere other than under a rock recently then you will have heard Daft Punk’s new single ‘Get Lucky’ ft. Pharrell Williams. This is an acoustic cover: two guitars, two voices and gorgeous harmonies.

6. ‘Mala – Introduction’

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KyADdq04xJQ

I was recently introduced to this song and it has featured heavily in my week. I intend to find more of his music soon.

7. ‘will.i.am – Bang Bang’

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Tqjl4nRSorM

This week will.i.am released his video for his new single ‘Bang Bang’, the third track on the hotly anticipated Great Gatsby soundtrack. I generally begin with a strong dislike of music by will.i.am but then come round to it as I hear it repeatedly played. However, I have to say, I enjoyed this song from the start. The video is very entertaining too. If nothing else, will.i.am’s work is an excellent lesson in branding – count the number of times you spot his logo in the video!

Dance

8. ‘Watch: Jon Bausor on designing for opera and ballet’

http://www.roh.org.uk/news/watch-jon-bausor-on-designing-for-opera-and-ballet

The Royal Opera House has posted a video interviewing Bausor about designing stage sets. Beautifully put together and highly informative, this is well worth a watch.

Architecture

9. ‘Are these the UK’s worst buildings ever?’

http://m.bdonline.co.uk/buildings/carbuncle-cup/are-these-the-uks-worst-buildings-ever?/5054729.mobile

Nominations for the 2013 Carbuncle Cup, given to the ugliest building, are now open. The previous winners can be seen by following the link above. Any ideas what might win this year?

Just For Fun

10. ‘iPhone 6’

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YbT0xy_Jai0

Obviously this is not a real product. But the video is so well done that I just had to include it in my roundup. Dramatic and epic are two words that come to mind.

Birmingham Back to Backs

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Hurst Street, Birmingham

Tucked away in an unexpected corner of Birmingham are the National Trust preserved Back to Backs. These houses were occupied as homes from 1831 right up until 1967 when they were deemed unfit to live in.

To visit the Back to Backs you first have to book a tour to go around Court 15 but you wouldn’t want it any other way. The tour guide was fantastic, endlessly knowledgeable, and really brought the place to life. The tour lasted an hour and 45 minutes and the time flew by as we were shown around two properties and the communal courtyard, wash room (or brew house) and toilets.

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Taken from the exhibition

The tour was full of the stories of the many individual families that had lived in Court 15 and was interspersed with voice recordings of old tenants. It was very well planned logistically, as we had to tackle eight steep, spiral staircases and cram into small rooms in our group of about ten.

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One of eight small, spiral staircases

However this only added to the brilliant insight the tour gave into the experiences of the people who lived in these cramped conditions. Court 15 was comprised of 11 houses, each with a family in, meaning that roughly 60 people would often share the one wash room and toilet and lived in very close proximity to one another. One of the previous tenants speaking on a voice recording stated that as a child he would often try to stay out of the house for as long as possible as the conditions were so uncomfortable.

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Looking out to the courtyard

The entire experience was absolutely fascinating as the tour guide covered over a hundred years of history focused on one very small plot in Birmingham. The excellent renovation and preservation of the site sent us back in time as we experienced how other people lived.

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Washing line in the courtyard

The Back to Backs are a far cry from the grand mansions and beautifully kept gardens any seasoned National Trust member may be used to. The space is very limited (of course) and there isn’t a cafe or cream tea in sight!

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1930s Sweetshop

But don’t worry – there is a 1930s sweetshop on the corner and there is not enough time for afternoon tea with so much to see and do. As well as the guided tour, the National Trust has an interactive exhibition upstairs, with old clothes, examples of the household pests that people lived alongside and detailed information about living conditions. It also includes fragments of the various wallpapers that were recovered and videos that explain the complicated conservation process.

13.05.18-04 Lucy in back to backs, Birmingham

Going back in time in the exhibition

I felt a whole lot cleverer when I left the Back to Backs and was delighted to have visited what felt like a pocket of history in a largely renovated area of Birmingham. I thoroughly recommend a visit if you enjoy history, have an interest in Birmingham, or just fancy a bit of fun!

For more information see the National Trust website: http://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/birmingham-back-to-backs/visitor-information/

Jazzlines at Symphony Hall

Taken from THSH promotional material

Taken from THSH promotional material

I went to my first Jazzlines Free Gig at Symphony Hall this Friday: Jazzlines Trio and the Jazzlines Ensemble. If you are after a bit of fun, relaxation, talent or culture in your Friday evening then Symphony Hall Cafe Bar is the place to be.

The upbeat start from the Jazzlines Ensemble turned a grey, Friday afternoon into what felt like a carnival (albeit a fairly stationary one) and there were smiles all round. The Jazzlines Ensemble is a group of young musicians who attended the Jazzlines summer school. Their playing was generally tight and together but what struck me the most was the incredible confidence of the young people.

Clearly the informal setting provided a great space for the young musicians to experiment and make mistakes in a supportive and encouraging environment. Not that there were many mistakes made: in their third song ‘Centerpiece’ one of the boys played a stunning flute solo (this guy also showed his skills on the saxophone in other pieces) and the laid-back attitude of the whole ensemble was a real joy to watch.

Jazzlines Trio

Jazzlines Trio

The Jazzlines Trio took to the stage next and was truly fantastic. Comprised of a double bass, a piano and drums, the group was later joined by a trumpeter, saxophonist and singer and the entire performance was stunning. I hurt my head trying to keep up with the drummer’s insanely complex rhythms and the Trio really showcased its skills playing one of pianist Reuben James’ own compositions which was tranquil, beautiful and a delight to listen to.

Jazzlines

Jazzlines

However, perhaps my favourite observation of the night was the amazing atmosphere in the space and the hugely diverse audience. From school children to OAPs to professionals there was a great mix of people in Birmingham early on a Friday evening, coming together just to enjoy a bit of jazz! I would absolutely recommend it and hope to go to many more of these gigs, which happen every week by the way!

Painting in Hospitals

Paintings in Hospitals

Fairly awful photograph of a poster in the QEH

As I was walking through the Queen Elizabeth Hospital the other day I was drawn to this poster on the wall. I am aware that this is a fairly awful photo taken from my phone in a rush but this is a poster that explains the work of a charity called Painting in Hospitals.

I have recently taken it as my mission to prove the importance of art to a friend who doesn’t share my enthusiasm. However as well as the arts, another particular passion of mine is people and I love finding ways that these two passions work for each other.

It was with great pleasure that I presented this evidence to my friend:

“From GP waiting rooms to hospital wards, our surroundings have an impact on the way we think and feel. Artworks create a welcoming and stimulating environment, conducive to improving wellbeing and promoting a positive image of healthcare.

There is now an overwhelming body of evidence demonstrating that participating in the arts and having access to artworks can dramatically improve clinical outcomes and mental and physical health.” – taken from the website www.paintingsinhospitals.org.uk

I look forward to finding out more about this organisation and I hope to come across others like it soon.

Antony Gormley

I’ve become a bit of an Antony Gormley enthusiast recently. My twitter (@Lucyemold) background and header are photographs of two of his sculptures – ‘Iron: Man’ and ‘Model’ – perhaps showing that I’m a bit obsessed? I’m going to try and justify myself here.

Iron: Man

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Antony Gormley’s ‘Iron: Man’

The last year has been spent studying this fella in depth. Standing in Victoria Square, Birmingham, Antony Gormley’s ‘Iron: Man’ has been the focus of my undergraduate History of Art dissertation.

I have really enjoyed going into detail on this rusty, mummy/robot/human sculpture and making friends in high places trying to dig deeper into his history, which, by the way, is fascinating.

When he was erected in 1993 as a gift from the Trustee Savings Bank (today Lloyds TSB), he was hated by the local press and much of the public who thought he didn’t fit in with his surroundings. When Princess Diana visited Birmingham she was said to giggle at the sight of the leaning creature and some people called for him to be removed.

But today he is an asset to the city. Antony Gormley is now an internationally renowned artist, perhaps most famous for his ‘Angel of the North’ and ‘Iron: Man’ is well worth a visit if you find yourself in town. Spend some time walking around the square and looking at him from various angles – he really is an intriguing guy.

Model

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Corridor of Antony Gormley’s ‘Model’

This is Gormley’s most recent work, a show exhibited earlier this year at the White Cube, Bermondsey. Gormley has said of this exhibition ‘I can’t but see this exhibition as a culmination of 32 years of exploration’ (see full interview and lots of other great videos here: whitecube.com/channel). It featured lots of human-like figures made out of a series of blocks.

The main attraction of the exhibition however was a huge human figure that you could walk through. In a vast room at the back of the gallery was a giant body lying down made out of blocks large enough to walk through. The blocks interlinked to make passage ways, tunnels and different sized rooms.

Inside 'Model'

Inside ‘Model’

There was no artificial light – the only light that could get inside the sculpture came through gaps in some of the blocks. In some rooms you were in total darkness which created optical illusions – I found myself almost walking into a wall that I thought was a walkway.

It was almost like a playground inside – some parts of the body you had to crawl through, there were bits you could climb on (although we had to sign a disclosure before going in saying that we would not damage the sculpture and that the gallery was not liable for any damage to us) and it was altogether a great, fun piece.

Inside 'Model'

Inside ‘Model’

These are just two of Gormley’s pieces that I particularly admire and I hope this post has explained the reasons behind my obsession – although let’s call it a fascination – with Gormley’s work.