Culture Blog

Capturing the Moment!

posted by the hanging out team - Monday, January 28, 2013

Photography copyright of Damien Walker

The Hanging Out photographer spotted this wily young lady who was bringing home her grandmother’s armchair on the train, saving herself £40 if she had got it couriered.
“It was my Nan’s," she explained "I remember rocking on it as a little girl. I had to bring it home.”
People came up to her in the street saying they remembered having a rocking chair.

When asked if she was going on the Underground too, she said "No, but I'm still worried about the next overground train, in case I'm not let on!"

The train was packed when she boarded it in North London, but as it approached Liverpool Street it was pretty much empty. Lets hope the rocking chair arrived home safe and sound!

If you have any interesting photos and stories that you'd like to send us then please get in touch.

The London Metropolitan Archives

posted by the hanging out team - Thursday, January 17, 2013
The London Metropolitan Archives is home to an excellent range of information concerning the history and heritage of the people and places of London. The archive has been closely associated with the Hanging Out Project, providing vital resources and artifacts to our project and to many others, helping people to learn about the history of London. The London Metropolitan Archives are hosting some excellent events in the near future, focusing on the Huntley Archives, read on for further details.

The Huntley Archive Heritage Road Show, taking place on Friday 15th February (7.00pm to 9.30pm) at the V&A Museum in Kensington. Explore gems from the V&A's rich collection alongside items from the Eric and Jessica Huntley Archives. Compare objects, share histories, contrast narratives, uncover new stories of community struggles in The UK. Jointly organised with The Huntley Archives at the London Metropolitan Archives (tickets £9, £6 concessions).

The International Huntley Symposium, taking place on Wednesday 20th February (5.00pm to 7.00pm), the speaker will be Professor Sir Hilary Beckles, who will be speaking on his new book Britain’s Black Debt.

The 2013 Huntley Conference, taking place at the London Metropolitan Archives on Saturday 23rd February from 9.30am to 4.30pm. Priced at £8 including lunch. It is titled Educating Our Children, Liberating Our Futures. The Huntley Archives held at the LMA provide a comprehensive record of the community’s achievements in education during the 1970s and 1980s. This year’s conference seeks to utilise these records not only to examine the past, but to discuss the parallels with experiences today and guide future progress.

The 2013 Youth Conference has been brought to the very heart of this year’s conference in the shape of the Youth Forum. This contribution has been conceived and created by a group of young people.  The provocative title of their discussion is, “We are better educated than our parents!” and they intend to challenge and discuss this in the conference’s central debate.

If you wish to book or enquire further about these events, please contact LMA on 0207 332 3851.

Turner Prize 2012

posted by the hanging out team - Wednesday, November 28, 2012
To say that I approached the Turner Prize with trepidation is an understatement. Before visiting the Tate Britain, my only exposure to this year’s prize was seeing a news report in which the permanently smug Jude Law made a speech, wading into the political deep-end, throwing the accusation of “cultural vandalism” at the government. Very little was actually made of the actual competition except that it was a ‘good year’. With memories of various farmyard animals in formaldehyde floating around my head, artworks that often showcase egos instead of artistic merit and a general mistrust of the conceptual nature of the exhibition, it was a struggle not to bottle it and ask for a ticket to see the wonderful pre-Raphaelite exhibition that was showing instead.

Upon entering my expectations were immediately dashed by Paul Noble’s opening pencil drawn display. His meticulous drawings and expansive imagination complement each other perfectly. Eerie, alien landscapes are populated by structures that could easily be the houses of the future, sometimes made entirely out of glass recalling the futuristic world of Yevgeny Zamyatin’s dystopian novel We. The overall impression is that one is viewing a lonely dream, in which every detail has been remembered and painstakingly mapped out by the dreamer.

An example of Paul Noble's impressive landscapes.

Luke Fowler’s film All Divided Selves was next, a documentary concerning Scottish psychiatrist RD Laing. The film shows Laing’s life through brief snippets and sudden interruptions of found footage, with no clear narrative, leading the viewer to form their own interpretations. Although a fascinating and compelling film, at a running time of an hour and a half, I found myself becoming critical and questioning at what point an art film becomes a documentary. An unanswerable question I know, but I found All Divided Selves to be a little out place amongst the other entries.

RD Laing, the subject of Luke Fowler's submission.

The prize of the show, and indeed the winner of the Turner Prize, however was Elizabeth Price’s twenty minute experimental film The Woolworths Choir of 1979. Set in three distinct acts, the film shows common architecture in churches, resembling a documentary; archive news footage of a fire that occurred in a Woolworths shop in Manchester in 1979; in between this, the film explodes into a blurry 60’s video of the Shangri-Las belting out their pop hit Out in the Streets. The themes overlap, with visuals being emphasised with constant finger clicks and handclaps; obscure words are flashed on the screen, which slowly build in an intensity of sound and images. The words have multiple meanings and carry the film on to the next stage. The carved stone wrist of a recumbent church effigy suddenly cuts to the finger clicking wrists of a Shangri-Las singer to devastating effect. The word ‘choir’ links each segment and parallels are drawn between church furniture and the stacked furniture in Woolworths that actually started the fire.

A still from The Woolworths Choir of 1979.

The Woolworths Choir of 1979 is everything that an art film should be. In places its euphoric, disturbing, informative, witty, and aesthetically beautiful, whilst having a tremendous overpowering impact on the viewer, completely engaging you for the twenty minutes. It plays with film editing conventions, making you question what it was that you just watched but also doesn’t leave you desperate for answers.

The final exhibit was from Spartacus Chetwynd, who, despite the name and beard, is a female performing artist that uses props and puppetry in her work. Despite impressive set design that was reminiscent of 1920’s German Expressionist Cinema, and an undeniable sense of fun, this installation unfortunately distanced itself from the others in its lack of seriousness.

Spartacus Chetwynd and friends during a performance.

Upon leaving I happily realised that my preconceptions of the Turner Prize had not been met. This may have been a ‘good year’ for British conceptual art, but there’s no reason why this cannot be repeated next year, ad infinitum.

By Lee Greatorex

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