The Selfridges Eye:
Our creative researchers hotfoot it around the globe, bringing us news of the latest crazes, future trends and awe-inspiring innovations in the world of art and culture. So what are they most excited about this month? From podcasts on food history to some of the best writing on the internet – here are the things they can’t stop thinking about…
Mika Rottenberg & Goldsmiths CCA
Nothing complements a new venue better than an absolute knockout show. This September, Goldsmiths College opened the doors to its newly refurbished eight-roomed (yes, eight!) gallery space, Goldsmiths Centre for Contemporary Arts (CCA). Housed inside a former bath house, it’s full of original features – a refreshing change from the shiny-walled gallery mould. Video artist Mika Rottenberg brings the venue to life with her elaborate visual narratives, painting a vivid and complex picture of the absurdities of our globalised economy and the fragility of the human bodies trapped within them. Luckily, this is all sprinkled with a well-considered douse of wit and some brilliant set design. From a rotating bingo wall to pearl shop, the all-encompassing sets within the space tease out the video content, merging the digital and physical together. Just how we like it.
Mika Rottenberg runs until November 4 2018.
Ever wondered what links sporks and cronuts? (They’re both portmanteaus). Or why the English call it a ‘pavement’ and the Americans go with ‘sidewalk’? (It’s to do with something called novelty bias). If you’re a bit of a word nerd and like finding out why we speak the way that we do, The Allusionist host Helen Zaltzman has all the answers. Every podcast episode is a deep dive into the nuts and bolts of the English language, cracking apart the whats and whys and leaving you feeling smarter than you were before you listened. We recommend starting with episode 44, ‘This Is Your Brain On Language’ – an exploration of what exactly is going on in your head when you’re comprehending words.
Available on all podcasting apps.
London Design Bienniale
A highlight of the global design calendar, London Design Biennale gathered designers, innovators, and curators to respond to the theme of ‘emotional states’. The Australian pavilion, ‘Full Spectrum’, was a Technicolour experience designed by Flynn Talbot that aimed to re-create the feeling of love through light. The Indian pavilion, ‘State of Indigo’, explored the politics of indigo production and the creative value of the hue – a natural colour that has become synonymous with India’s identity. Our front-runner, though, was Brazil’s ‘Desmatamento’, an organic installation that addresses the issue of deforestation in Brazil by offering a taste of the beauty of the Amazon rainforest.
The design bienniale has ended but you can see all the work we’ve mentioned on its Instagram, @london_design_biennale.
Made Thought magazine No.1
As lofty magazine concepts go, this one is almost stratospheric. The thinking behind issue one of Made Thought magazine is a series of conversations that begin with the same question – ‘How do you go deep in a shallow world?’. The magazine has gathered together a group of thinkers to mull the question over: perfumer Frédéric Malle, designer Tom Dixon, chef Skye Gyngell and travel writer David Prior, among others. Their conversations are laid out across one of the most beautifully designed journals, with a focus on black-and-white typography over glossy shoots. If you’re looking for inspiration, impassioned debate and thoughtful commentary, this is where you’ll find it.
Available on their website, Madethought.com.
Elmgreen & Dragset: This Is How We Bite Our Tongue
Artistic duo Elmgreen & Dragset have been a source of inspiration for our creative team since day dot, and their latest exhibition justifies our fanboy/fangirl status. This Is How We Bite Our Tongue is a powerful statement that debates the state of public space in times of austerity. The show is constructed around ‘The Whitechapel Pool’, a fictional pool that’s been drained and is now a derelict remnant of what used to be ‘a thriving space’. The gallery has been transformed to the point of being unrecognisable – the set is so believable that it feels as if you really are trespassing on an abandoned pool. Our favourite touch? The gallery invigilators who are presented as security guards that march around the space, creating a powerful subtext around the guarding of a once public space. It’s an absorbing commentary on gentrification that’s one of the strongest shows of the year.
This show runs at Whitechapel Gallery until 13 January 2019.
Olga Fedorova @ Annka Kultys
Most of us today probably own more digital belongings than physical ones. If you count up the amount of photos, Word docs, MP3s and other digital detritus that you’ve gathered over the years, you’d be amazed at the overwhelming quantity of stuff. And, as morbid as this is, that digital presence will long outlive you. Olga Fedorova’s latest show is a dialogue with that idea; the artist bringing it to life by using sculpture to bridge the connection between the humble USB stick and the morbid gravestone. This might sound depressing, but it’s not – the show itself is far more philosophical than it is mawkish. It’s also perfect for the space: Annka Kultys, a small but perfectly formed gallery space in London’s East End, is building a reputation for displaying the best work in the ever-growing realm of technology-based art.
Olga Fedorova is at Anna Kultys Gallery until 13 October 2018.
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