The House of Fame – Linder

The House of Fame – Linder

Today I went along to the Nottingham Contemporary to see the new exhibition on there. This is the second one I’ve been to and I won’t lie I don’t always know exactly what is going on or what I’m looking at but I am always blown away by the imagery. The subjects that they show are always spectacularly wonderful but quite random and out of the ordinary, but this makes them all the more intriguing.

The House of Fame is a retrospective of the influential British artist and musician Linder. A large collection of photomontage, graphics, costume and performance is presented, divided into four rooms of Future, Rest, Unrest and Sound. Emerging from the Manchester punk and post-punk scenes in the 1970s, Linder’s work focuses on questions of gender, commodity and display.

The first room, The House of the Future, is a space inspired by architects designs of the house of the future and what life might be life 25 years on. The domestic is portrayed as a performance.

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In the House of Rest, mourning and melancholy is conveyed.

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In the House of Unrest, spiritualism, surrealism and political agitation is collected.

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In the final room, the Abode of Sound, an exhibition-within-an-exhibition is conveyed, with art, jazz and textiles. I particularly liked the artwork in this room; I love the use of collage and the compositions and designs. They are vibrant and eye-catching and visually and emotionally provocative.

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What events are interesting me at the moment

I have a remarkably deep love for the Barbican in London (as you can probably tell from the last few posts). I have been trying to find events that are on that I feel connected to and naturally intrigued by. I have a particular passion for film and moving imagery and imagery in motion because they make me feel curious and absorbed, so these cinema events by New East Cinema attract me.

Night Accident is a minimalist and poetic piece of slow cinema about an old man who finds love and purpose to live in a moment of complete despair. The film is lavish in observations and metaphors and is particularly immersing. The film examines themes of loneliness and alienation and is a delightful and graceful picture of two lonely hearts.

All These Sleepless Nights is a documentary and “constructed reality” which delves into the vibrancy of modern-day Warsaw, a city in a state of flux suspended between its traumatic past and a future powered by a new generation bursting with energy. The film effortlessly captures the energy, freedom and relaxed nature of youth.

I feel even more so interested by these films due to their ability to be easily realistic events in everyday life and could be genuine and real reflections of real people.

Can the arts change society?

One of the most centrally important queries when thinking about the worth and significance of the arts is do they really make a difference to our lives? The Art of Change season at the Barbican in London examines topics including whether art and artists actually can bring about significant change, how culture is reflective of a changing society and the impact that society has on art.

In response to the question ‘can art make a change’, artists gave their opinions:

Jacob Sam-La RosePoet, performer and founder of Barbican Young Poets commented ‘Through Barbican Young Poets and other programmes I’ve run, I’ve seen young people find themselves through poetry. I’ve seen it save young people’s lives, in terms of the direction they were taking before they got into creative practice. They’ve found different ways of being, and in considering different perspectives, broadened their thinking in new ways. As a result, that’s impacted the decisions they then went on to make…Poetry enables you to approach your life from a different perspective that goes beyond just working with verse or getting ideas down. There’s all this transformative thinking that happens, and that’s an important part of something like Barbican Young Poets. It’s not just a workshop, it’s a community programme – it brings together people from different backgrounds, both culturally and where they come from in terms of their poetry or spoken arts”.

Rhiannon Faith, Artistic Director noted “In preparing Smack That (a conversation), we worked with a group of 30 women who’d survived abusive relationships. Four of them stayed with us through the whole three months we were at Essex charity, Safer Places, and they really became the soul of the show. Along with three dance artists who had also experienced abusive relationships, we came together to make a change and to talk about the issue. Doing the show has been transformative for the women involved. They would tell you about the confidence they now have, and the impact that reflecting on their journey has had on them. The process has been very cathartic for them: talking about what happened to them and how they survived it; how some days they’d take a step forward and other days a step back; and how society let them down. But it’s not just had an impact on the women involved, it’s also had the effect of raising awareness of the issue in the wider community. By performing the work, we’ve made people more conscious of the problem, and in some ways made it easier to talk about. For me, dance-theatre gives you more opportunity to place social issues into a work. If you’re given that platform – and the space and the funding – you have a responsibility to try to help humans, and to try to make a change”.

Chris Steele-Perkins, Photographer reflected on this question and said “I don’t rate art’s ability to create change. I think it celebrates, records and sometimes symbolises change, rather than generating it. Change happens through the accretions of effort and error by all of humankind and the outcomes are essentially random, though with the wisdom of hindsight change may appear to be causal. From the earliest days, visual art has been used to record, from the animals painted in caves, right through the canon of Western art. Painting has recorded battles, new rulers, monuments; it’s told stories and myths, and bolstered religious and political beliefs.When photography and film emerged they were put to the same uses, but widened the base of subject matter to include the poor and dispossessed, a microbe or the galaxy. Throughout history, art has responded to change, not made change. As still images some photographs can acquire symbolic status when they are distilled from the flux and fixed in the memory to resonate there. Consider these two symbols of the futility of war: Picasso’s Guernica, and Philip Jones-Griffith’s photograph of a wounded Vietnamese woman with a fully bandaged face. Both images are powerful, both record a tragedy, both are works of art. Wars continue, the innocent suffer, and art continues to be made. Nothing changes”.

I find each of these comments heavily powerful and provocative and agree with them all despite their differentiation. They each take contextual and authentic evidence to back up their argument that they have visualised and experienced themselves which cements their opinions.

A photography exhibition I’d love to go to

A photography exhibition I’d love to go to

Post-Soviet Visions: image and identity in the new Eastern Europe is a group presentation of photography exploring new visual representations of lifestyle and landscape in Eastern Europe. On show at Calvert 22 space in London, the exhibition collects the work of a young generation of artists who are elevating to prominence twenty five years after the end of Communism. Instead of the old relations of East vs West, socialist vs capitalist, their images capture a generation constructed by issues that are personal rather than the political; by questions of sexuality, gender and style. Despite the fact that the personal circumstances of the photographers differ, they have a similar past with people growing up in countries that once existed under Communist rule. Today, they live within the globally connected modern world where borders of East and West are erased by new technologies.

I’d love to go to this exhibition because I am deeply interested in culturally-related art. I also have a substantial amount of knowledge of this particular subject because I studied communism in history. So to see an exhibition that combines to opposite subjects of mine that are both academic and creative really intrigues me. I also particularly like this style of photography; I sometimes find observing images of people about their everyday lives in their natural habitats and landscapes that are untouched and powerful by themselves a lot more interesting than an image that has been specifically set up and closely designed, because they are more authentic and naturally beautiful.

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Elan Cafe Park Lane

Elan Cafe Park Lane

I recently went to Elan Cafe on Park Lane in London. It is one of those very Instagram-able locations. It’s decorated all over with pink and grey furniture, pink rose mirrors and pink rose walls. It’s also full of vain girls taking hundreds of pictures of each other to post on their social media (unfortunately my friend and I did fall into this category that day because why not when you’ve got a giant wall of roses and feel like a Kardashian?)

The food was delicious but to be fair I think any piece of cake is delicious. I had the raspberry and white chocolate chip brownie which was warm straight from the oven and perfectly gooey, just what I like. Everything about this place was aesthetically faultless, other than the que outside to get in. I doubt that I’ll ever return unless the waiting time to get in is under ten minutes because I do not believe whatsoever that a two hour wait for a photograph and chocolate brownie is worth it more than once.

I just realised that this is the second post in a row of me doing a cake cafe review, I promise I don’t eat cake that much.

My first experience of Sketch

My first experience of Sketch

Last week I ventured to one of the most aesthetically mind-blowing and awe-inspiring restaurants in London. It was a spontaneous decision because the place I was supposed to go was too busy but that was definitely fate! I’m so glad I finally visited this place, it is so otherworldly and magical. I love how wonderfully thought-provoking your surroundings are and how imaginative every element is.

I didn’t go for a full three course meal, my friend and I were just after a nice slice of cake partly due to the time of the day and the fact we are very poor students. I chose the Victoria sponge cake, which was so so delicious. I’m not a massive fan of this cake but I did partly chose it because I couldn’t tell what some cakes were (not at all a criticism) due to the fancy words and I also guess I wanted to play it safe and chose something I knew I’d like and not be wasting £7.50 on a slice of cake! But I was so blown away by just a slice of cake. It tasted perfect and looked even better.

Part of the entire Sketch experience is a trip to the bathroom to see those crazy toilet cubicles, which resemble something like giant dinosaur eggs. The second you enter the room there is a beautiful multicoloured ceiling similar to a Rubik’s Cube which is in contrast to the huge white space, making you feel like you’re not really on Earth and also for some reason transported my mind to the beauty school drop out song scene in the film Greece.

I’m also one for neon lights. Wherever or whenever, neon lights make me feel like I’m somewhere special.

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Tracey Emin creates a message of love for Europe

Tracey Emin creates a message of love for Europe

A 20-metre sentence of giant glowing pink letters sits below the clock in St Pancras station in central London. It projects out a love quote from the artist Tracey Emin, addressed to Europe and thousands of travellers arriving every day by Eurostar from mainland Europe. “It’s really a great subliminal message sent out to the rest of Europe, I want my time with you,” Emin said. “I am deeply, deeply concerned about Europe, and that in a year’s time we’re going to be a tiny little island just floating around in the North Sea. It’s madness.”

“At night the whole station will be bathed in a pink light, and it will make people happy, I promise you, it will make people smile because pink will make them feel good.”

The St Pancras light artwork was commissioned by the station owner and the Royal Academy. It will be seen by an estimated 50 million travellers over the year. Tim Marlow, artistic director of the Royal Academy, referred to Emin as one of the most important and influential artists in the world. “Her work is intense and compelling and blurs the boundaries between the personal and the public and between art and life,” he said.

Making fashion more inclusive for people with disabilities

Making fashion more inclusive for people with disabilities

One in five Americans reports having a disability. Designing clothes for people with physical disabilities is challenging as bodies aren’t always symmetrical due to curving spines or limbs that are different lengths or absent. There have been some recent signals that the industry has been acting on this as there are some brands changing fashion for people with disabilities. Open Style Lab has partnered with New York City’s Parsons School of Design. They have created pieces such as a raincoat that fits over a wheelchair and a heated bomber jacket for people with difficulty regulating body temperature. These designs are as innovative and fashion-forward as any amazing new designs of high end luxury designers.

As well as specially developed brands for specific stories, some designers are adapting to other purposes of not excluded all types of people. Tommy Hilfiger launched Tommy Adaptive, a line of jackets, pants, and dresses in the brand’s signature preppy style that consist of magnetic zips and velcro closures as well as adjustable hems which accommodate a spectrum of limb lengths.

Zappos Adaptive developed after a customer was searching to exchange a pair of shoes given to a grandson with autism because he couldn’t tie the laces. The collection is mostly tagless and buttonless and instead of designing a pair of high-tops with laces, they look like lace-ups but are actually slip-ons which is a benefit for those that lack hand mobility.

The progression of fashion brands adapting to and including targets to accommodate to a wider range of people that consists of people with disabilities suggests that society is evolving and is moving towards combating the stigma against hiring people with disabilities. It is great to see fashion brands taking this step and hopefully others will instinctively follow knowing that it is the right thing and normal thing that should already be in place.

Perfume project – ideas stage

For my current project at uni, my group and I are developing a fragrance brand, identify its consumer and beginning the process of creating the brand’s story. From our primary and secondary research, we will accumulate insights and utilise idea generation techniques in order develop the beginnings of our brand and our brand story.

Smells are routed through the olfactory bulb, which is the region that analyses scents. This part of the brain is closely connected to region that handles memory and emotion. This is how we link certain scents with particular memories from our past. “No matter what the fragrance is, scents and memory are powerfully linked. Certain odours can serve as strong reminders of past experience – more so than other sensory cues, such as sights or sounds”– online article by Imogen Groome for Metro “Fragrance Day: Why does perfume trigger powerful memories?”

Core idea:

We are witnessing first hand in this generation how much technology is influencing and damaging our lives and younger lives. Technology is replacing the outdoor experience we thrived off, its replacing children’s social and environmental development and replacing potential childhood memories. We want to create a collection of fragrances to help restore childhood memories of the outdoors that are inspired by the four elements that create our world which is slowly being destroyed: Earth, Air, Fire, Water. These are memories of campfires, playing in the garden, sunny beach days and long forest walks. With our fragrance we plan to empower the mind and create a mental trigger that re-connects you with the importance of being around nature. We spend on average 90% of our time inside.

  • To trigger the memories of feeling free from technology and to reconnect with ourselves
  • Re-connecting with nature in the form of each four elements and the importance of taking care of what’s around us
  • Getting people to understand the importance of the environment and the issues we have now caused it to face

Three adjectives to describe our brand:

Transporting, Powerful, Beneficial.

earthmb

Earth – Taking you back to the memories of walking through the frosty spring gardens. Scent – Woody base note, Aromatic mid note using more lavender scents and a fruity but light top note

firemb

Fire – Taking you back to the memories of sitting around a burning campfire with your best friends. Scent – Dark woody base note, Smokey floral mid note and warm spicy top note

airmb

Air – Taking you back to the memories of walking through a deep forest with strong pine trees. Scent – Woody but fresh base note, spicy fresh mid note and a light but more citrus top note

watermb

Water – Taking you back to the memories of a refreshing walk along the beach during the hot summer months. Scent – Slightly salty and spicy base note, more musky but light mid note and fresher top notes that we would typically recognise with ‘male’ fragrances

Primary research insights:

  • Fragrance helping to restore mind-sets
  • Nature fragrances having power over the mind
  • Disconnect to reconnect

References to nature and connecting with nature through scent and visual merchandising.

Miller Harris’ new scents ‘Tender’ and ‘Scherzo’ were presented in a display of rocks as well as Proenza Schouler’s new fragrance ‘Arizona’. When talking about Arizona with the promoter in Selfridges, she said the story is all about disconnecting to reconnect, a free state-of-mind and the scent is about enhancing nature with its rare ingredient of cactus flower.

“Kids these days are getting iPads at the age I wasn’t even allowed a phone. I think that’s awful”.

“Technology is taking a lot of good experiences away”.

“People nowadays are way less chatty”.

“I find it easier to speak with people older than me”.

“I just think that technology is controlling everyone’s lives…it’s almost like a must have thing even for the younger generation, stupid if you ask me”.

Secondary research insights:

  • The desire for wellbeing through a new focus on ingredients that improve health and mood.
  • Evoking past experiences
  • Uplift and energise
  • Naturally derived ingredients with new accords to stimulate the senses
  • Nature inspired ingredients
  • People want comfort

FIT fragrance consumer trends – interest in added benefits, customisation, extension of scent

“I think there is a move towards connecting fragrances with pleasant experiences from real life. In times of instability and uncertainty, people might look closer to their own lives for a familiar, comforting fragrant experience.” – Sarah McCartney, 4160 Tuesdays

According to the annual Green Beauty Barometer survey conducted in 2016 people aren’t just wearing perfume to smell fantastic or sophisticated, they’re wearing it to be taken on a journey.

What’s happening in the market in relation to elements:

Brands focusing on ingredients that are reminiscent of being by the sea.

  • Molton Brown’s Coastal Cypress & Sea Fennel Eau de Toilette evokes the smell of the seaside.
  • Philosophy’s Pure Grace Summer Surf Eau de Toilette features a sea-spray accord for a refreshing summery aroma.
  • Michael Kors’ new Turquoise scent sees topnotes of waterlily combined with cucumber and lime.

What’s happening in the market in relation to memory:

  • Supersense have created The SMK which enables you to carry smells with you and to record and memorise a moment. You just break open the SMELL KIT AMPULE, release the abstract smell molecules and take a deep breath. This smell will bring back the memory and the emotion of this very moment each and every time you open another of the same ampules.
  • French mother-and-son duo Katia Apalategui and Florian Rabeau spent eight years developing a technique to reproduce human scent by taking the person’s clothing and extract the odour.
  • Marketplace’s scent project in 2015 asked Parisians what smell they would choose to bottle. One woman said “the baby smell. When you have another baby in your hand and that reminds you the smell of your own children.
  • Givuadan has partnered with communic­ations marketing agency JWT Singapore to create bespoke “Smell a Memory” kits that harness the power of scent to evoke emotional memories, certain times in their lives and stories among Alzheimer’s and dementia patients.

Consumer:

Obvious consumer:

Age: Teenagers to middle aged. Gender: Unisex. Income: Average. Hobbies: cycling, countryside walks, yoga. Lifestyle: Healthy vegan diet, enjoys the fresh air, gathering with family and friends, home cooking. They are passionate about caring for the environment ie; recycling, using renewable energy sources

Target consumer:

Age: Teenagers to early adults. Gender: Unisex. Income: Average. Hobbies: Watching television, Netflix, blogging, gym, online shopping. Lifestyle: Technology obsessed (spends several hours on their mobile phone in a day), enjoys takeaways and fast food, gaming. They would prefer to be indoors than outside, they are conditioned to everything being instant and fast paced.

Paris Womenswear A/W 18 reflection

Paris Womenswear A/W 18 was a stark reflection of what is happening to women all over the world, whether this was depicted as a reaction to the continuous calls for equality, a revision of femininity or a response to the #MeToo movement. Many attitudes were hostile and sharp with power and confidence.

Dior Womenswear A/W 18 saw their runway as an adoration to the 1968 liberators and the freedom that distilled from this time. Walls were plastered with quotes and emblems.  A quote from Diana Vreeland – ‘The sixties were about personalities. It was the first time when mannequins became personalities. It was a time of great goals, an inventive time…. and these girls invented themselves.’ – was the foundation of the collection.

Valentino and Jacquemus were significant collections. They focused on the typical expressions of femininity and a sensuality that can often be aligned with fifties Hollywood. Valentino showed a stereotypical woman who hadn’t abandoned femininity in the times of #MeToo. Valentino celebrated decadent silhouettes, scalloped edges, giant florals and soft pinks.

Jacquemus was cinched, sheer, sexy and smooth, with voluptuous hats, sumptuous textures and tones. This collection emerged to be all about woman’s shape, and ‘every body is a bikini body’ confidence. These women felt naturally confident and strong in their own skin.

Alexander McQueen also offered a strong and powerful woman. These women were almost Amazonian in appearance with thick plaits, stomping boots, fringing and animal prints. There seemed to be an aggressive and unashamed sexuality which expressed an almost f*ck you to the patriarchy.