Archive for the What one gets up to Category

Sun by Hofesh Shechter opens Brighton Festival 2014

Posted in Events, What one gets up to on May 4, 2014 by Carina Westling

With Sun, Hofesh Shechter pushed the form of presenting dance even further away from its traditions than he did with Political Mother. There was a lot of complete darkness, and a lot of pregnant pauses, punctuated by veritable explosions of activity. The dancers are fabulously physical, and there is no discernible difference between the female and male members of the cast in terms of sheer physicality and vigour, which I particularly enjoy. One of the female dancers looked like she was about 6 months pregnant, but performed with the same verve as all the others. Having been both a dancer and pregnant (and disinclined to give up what I loved), I felt a special respect for both her and for the company. You tend to get a lot of well-meaning but sometimes misguided attention to your physical ability when pregnant, so kudos to the company as well as the dancer in question.

Much of the sophistication of the production was communicated in the audio; voice-over played a big part, and the sound was as powerful as it was in Political Mother. The voice-over was instrumental in setting the audience up in a murder mystery plot of sorts in a dark shade of noir, framing the frenetically pastoral scenes on stage, and eventually revealing the audience as complicit in the Western cultural dynamics that fed/feed on colonialism. At that point you gasp and revel in the realisation, however stark.

Brilliant dancing (a feast for the eye to enjoy in complicity), double-bold delivery, and a delightful head game at your expense – what’s not to love? We did.

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La Musee de la Chasse et de la Nature, Paris

Posted in Events, What one gets up to on February 24, 2014 by Carina Westling

We went to la Musee de la Chasse et de la Nature on Saturday, not quite knowing what to expect. I can safely say that it is up there with the Jewish Museum in Berlin, as favourite museums go.

Gorgeous attention to detail, and a non-didactic exploration of man’s worship of nature as s/he sees it, and of his/her obsession with controlling it, ingesting it, immersing in it, and mastering it. And, most of all, lush in every detail.

The location and building is an experience in itself, and the curation is immaculate.

I loved the knitted rampant polar bear, and the speaking boar’s head was very creepy. I wouldn’t necessarily have been entirely comfortable there, alone at night.

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Whirlwind weeks

Posted in Events, Research, What one gets up to on December 13, 2013 by Carina Westling

Nottingham: to visit Steve Benford and Sarah Sharples, and meet with Michel Valstar and Paul Tennant. Great openness to collaboration: MRL comes across as a dynamic and exciting place. We Skyped with Steve yesterday to firm things up, and now have a bit of an action plan. We will Skype with Sarah and Michel next week, to take things forward there, too.

Incidentally, Nottingham was lovely in the culinary sense, too – Iberico was great (although the chip butties the evening before was a desperate measure, but I view that as ethnographic research). And the contemporary had a great show on: Asco. Recommended.

Affective Experiences went really well: our presentation (delivered jointly) was very well received and we had some excellent conversations with some of the other speakers.

The rest of the time has been spent either preparing or recovering or trying to catch up.

Istanbul – revisited

Posted in What one gets up to on November 17, 2013 by Carina Westling

I had a lovely surprise! Instead of going to Lumiere in Durham, I was whisked away to Istanbul for the weekend. We whizzed around the Kapalicarsi, the Topkapi, deselected Hagia Sofia and the Blue Mosque (too many people – it looked like a sausage factory), and we found the 300-year old hammam I went to last time (which was a long time ago). Last minute, we stumbled upon the Byzantine underground reservoir – this enormous space with ionic columns in a grid pattern.

H bought a couple of beautiful glass lamps, one to hang above the breakfast bar, one for the wall. And we got them through as hand luggage, without breaking anything.

Holiday on Stage, and street dance by Nobulus at the Dome

Posted in Events, Random thinking on November 3, 2013 by Carina Westling

HoSWe went to see Holiday on Stage at the Basement on Thursday evening. It is another play by Martin Schick, who did the utterly captivating CMMN SNS PRJCT during Brighton Festival. Very sharp, very talented. It is a beautifully arch comment on how access to resources has narrowed the past few years, without being the slightest predictable.

The format is quite different. For a start, there were five actors. That came as a complete surprise, as they appeared sort of unannouced by announcing that they, too, wanted to be artists. What follows is a playful screening of who belongs and who doesn’t, with a serious undertow.

We also went to see a street dance troupe at the Dome this week, giving a show called Out of the Shadows. I think they were called Nobulus. Great dancing, naive content – but I think it was really aimed at a quite young audience. The publicity doesn’t indicate that, though.

I went to see Turbo with the kids on Friday – surprisingly good fun. I think there is a bit of genius involved in keeping an adult, a 6-year-old, and a 13-year-old equally amused. Some pretty epic CGI – swooping around in the sky with crows, for example.

Half term has also given the opportunity to catch up with a few things that badly needed doing. Reluctantly, I guess I am nearly ready to meet the week tomorrow.

Mel Brooks, oh yeah.

Posted in Events, Random thinking, What one gets up to, Work in progress on November 3, 2013 by Carina Westling

We went to see a special screening at the Duke of York last night, of Some Like It Hot. It is such a good movie – not a single dull moment.

The weather has decided to go back to November mode. It sucks. We had to run to the train this morning, and the cold air hit my lungs badly. It took me a good 10 minutes to stop coughing afterward. I want summer.

Conference preps, working with my new contracts, research. I am certainly keeping busy. This is good. I am slowly rejoining the human race.

I just want it to be a little warmer now!

Pause to breathe? I don’t think so.

Posted in Random thinking, What one gets up to on October 19, 2013 by Carina Westling

The last few weeks have rushed by in a flurry. Tons of admin to catch up with, in addition to managing my teaching of four separate groups of digital media students. I enjoy the interaction with students and their work; needless to say admin carries less appeal but needs doing.

Today is dedicated to writing and nothing else (apart from making sure the children aren’t starving or being bored to death). In other words, I shouldn’t be doing this.