WHAT I SAW LAST WEEK: 21th September
HELLO and welcome back to what i saw last week, my scrappy attempt at a culture diary (and actual diary) — as u can tell from the slug/url/whatever that’s called, i tried to write this 2 weeks ago. i did not. we have been so consumed by the book’s pocket dimension. it’s so funny, i feel insane. gabrielle must feel more insane. it’s like i know that from the outside we look like weird people with a weird obsession, this looks unhealthy! But i can’t stop. i won’t stop. hahahaha u can’t stop me!
all of that to say: i have found little bits of culture, like juicy morsels between the gaps in my teeth. it has all been so circumstantial, accidental, art as fluke encounter.
OBVIOUSLY. JOHN MOORES PAINTING PRIZE 2023 BC WE WERE ON THE JURY HEHEHEHE
i will say nuffink bc i think gdlp is working on a lil vlog for the twp youtube. but here are the only photos i took.
ok, i lied. i will say:
it was so weird judging a painting prize, it broke apart every single thing i thought i knew about my taste, and about how i go about articulating and communicating why that taste is what it is. you’d think, as a critic, we’d have that down to a kind of routine, but everytime i think i’ve got a handle on it it j gets blown apart (and good!) the jury had to create a whole separate and discrete language between ourselves to make sense of what we were looking at and how it all felt. in that language, looking at singular image one after the other, i think i half forgot that an artist made those paintings, or i invented fictonal backstories about the artists that made the paintings and why. going to the opening was wild because it was like being confronted with a variable i’d never even considered! like omg, here you all are. we’d been splitting hairs over one single image and here you all are, people with whole lives and practices, and i have had the absolute honour and privilege of getting to do that, to spend that kind of time with one painting – and then to get to hear more about the people who made them, why, what they think about it all!? i’m so lucky!! i’m the luckiest girl in the world! bc that’s what it all felt like! such a heavy honour and privilege. i felt so lucky to have had a chance to do that. it was really really emotional. it’s the kind of job i think only really would come about once in a career and i’m really proud of all the decisions we made putting the show together. i would come back again and do it for free next year, but they shouldn’t let me!
i want more painting prizes. i think curating a show should be like jury duty, where you get called up by a letter in the post, everyone should get to make those kinds of decisions at least once. i think they should have a year where the jury is made up of every single technician who’s ever worked on the prize — they get to spend so much more time with the works, build such an interesting and complicated relationship with it all in that familiarity. i am glad to have had skin in the game, but what i really feel now is fucking humbled by this process! and the way it made me realise that painting is so broad and alive and rich and i am only one small person with a lil opinion and i don’t even care what i think, so you definitely shouldn’t! we should just make as many things as we feasibly possibly can in this tiny amount of time we have on earth in the hopes that maybe one day we will feel satisfied.
judging the john moores made me want to start painting again, is what i’m slowly, reluctantly realising!
NINA MHACH DURBAN AND ATHEN KARDASHIAN @ WASTE STORE
i’m actually too old to be able to comprehend what’s going on in this space. i don’t know if it’s a gallery or a shop or the contents of my teenage bedroom. but i think that is why i fucking love it. i am and always have been a fucking bits and bobs girly — LOVE BITS AND BOBS. love keyrings and stickers, glitter decals and press on gems. i think this is a really good pairing? if waste store is a shop / gallery, i want to come along and ask them some questions — pls get in touch to volunteer as tribute.
i didn’t really visit tbh, i actually walked past at night on my way back home, or on my way out – can’t remember but it wasn’t open. my boyfriend had to peel me off the windows bc i was pressed all up it like ‘IS THIS ATHEN AND NINA?? I LOVE THEM, I HOPE IT’S THEM! WHAT IF IT’S NOT THEM!!?‘n then hurried away to check on instagram, like a crazed stalker.
ELO MELO // OITIJ-JO @ WHITECHAPEL
i was on a panel! with artists i admire and am a big fan of!
Elo Melo was actually kind of incredible tbh. i think it’s so strange and interesting that whitechapel (the gallery) is where it is, in whitechapel (the area of london) — like, if ur not a local, whitechapel is kind of colloquially called Bangla town bc there’s a huge historic bengali community in that part of east london. the road signs are in bengali, brick lane is kind of a hot spot for bengali restaurants/curry houses. it used to be an area of london where recent bengali immigrants would arrive and settle, the history of the rag trade, east london’s overhaul, the history of british racism — google altab ali, google shaheed minar london. it’s a long history. my Dada used to come along to east london mosque all the way from where he lived in tottenham bc it was such a site for bengalis in the UK, it was of such geographic importance. one of my earliest memories is being in the backseat of the car while my parent argued about how to pay for parking, looking up out the window and seeing my Dada running over down the road from the gates of the mosque to say hello to me. he was wearing a white kurta and a hat — i still don’t know if that’s a fictional memory or not. i’d like to think it’s real.
anyway – it’s incredible that there’s a gallery there and that the gallery operates in the way it does. i am always struck by the placelessness of contemporary art. that a gallery could be anywhere and nowhere, but maybe it’s my own self interested myopia! but i cannot believe that that gallery isn’t run by fucking bengalis, can’t believe the entire programme isn’t tightly geared towards the bengali community in and around whiechapel. i think that’s crazy – like fuck an engagement and outreach strand, i can’t believe the gallery isn’t having to do outreach to try and engage white hipster audiences. anyway anyway.
Oitij-jo organised a massive day festival called Elo Melo – it was actually the biggest collection of Bengali artists i’d ever seen on one programme, an incredible and emotional feat imo! there was a whole day’s programme of film screenings, live music, and two panels: one on music chaired by provhat from daytimes, and one on art, chaired be ME!
i had the absolute pleasure of chatting to Jannat Hussain, Mohammed Adel, Rahemur Rahman & Mohammed Z. Rahman. all of them are artists i have such actual real admiration for, who i’ve been a huge fan of for YEARS! it was such a nice job! i’m the luckiest girl in the world to get to do this for work!
anyway, at risk of running long on this blog post already, i’ll leave it there and say: if you’re in east london check out Oitij-jo’s work they’re doing some really cool stuff with their space in poplar, there’s a community kitchen there if ur looking for good food and i think it’s rare and special to finally have an arts org run by and for bengalis – literally such a huge historic part of london’s population and so weirdly missing from arts activity in the capital.
i will also leave some cheeky plugs from my panellists, bc twp blog baby! i can do what i like! including, telling u all about the people i admire and what they’re up to:
- if ur gna be in rotterdam next month, Jannat Hussain will be speaking on a panel at the Het Gemaal op Zuid gallery as part of their public programme for an upcoming exhibition.
- Mohammed Z. Rahman has currently got work in a group show at Phillida Reid, at their space on grape street. it closes on 23rd so, by the time i am publihsing this that’s TOMORROW! go go go! i will see u there if i manage to finish my weekend long run in good time!
- Mohammed is also going to be showing work at Frieze London this year (so in a couple months! eek!) and Art Basel Hong Kong in March — i demand you all keep an eye out for them !
on the panel, i asked everyone what their favourite piece of art of all time ever was and jannat mentioned this 20 minute song, harvest time by pharoah sanders. it’s so good, me & my bf are obsessed w it and put it on for the most ambient background noise ever — it’s so soft and moody and melancholy! haunting and textured in this spiky soft way. the sounds just tumble out into my ears. its got corners, but it also is like velvet, gossamer. i wish all songs were 20 mins bc the length gives the music so much space to expand and contract, breathe and live! what a fucking joy!!! more like this pls, recommendations for me & my bf’s ambient background soundtrack in on a postcard.
MAYBE GRIEF IS YELLOW // GEORGE MORGAN @ LOT PROJECTS
look, i j like stomping down the canal at the weekend and gettin a lil coffee – lot projects happens to be on the way. it’s only one room, it’s so unavoidably convenient! i’m being flippant – bc it’s not just that, i am so INTERESTED in the ins and outs of the space! who runs it? how? what’re they thinking w the programme? what’s the financial model and how is it going? many such questions. whoever runs it, if u see this and would like to have a chat and let me ask u these questions, and maybe even answer them – pls email us and let me know!
these paintings by George Morgan were lovely, so accidental and disciplined at the same time. so restrianed and carelessly careful. they held a real tension. you know when people describe like … hashtag french girl style as effortless but obviously considered. it was that. it was very stylish in that way. really tight and loose in that tension and that balanced sense.
and some of them had sold! it’s a commercial gallery! i have so many questions. email me plsplspls!
TRIED TO READ T S ELIOT’S THE WASTELAND
incomprehensible, unfortunately. lovely tho! maybe one day i will read it and understand what’s going on! here’s hoping!
CURRENTLY VERY INTERESTED IN THE IDEAS OF ANDREAS MALM
watched this lecture he did in lockdown, well worth it if u r looking for something to watch w dinner — even if u only wana see him get heckled by a grumpy old man who’s gna tell him why he’s wrong (he’s not, i don’t think). anyway. reminder to me: try and find a copy of how to blow up a pipeline in a bookshop.
read: THE NETANYAHUS by JOSHUA COHEN
incredible! a hoot! not sure what to make of the end bc it happened so quickly. but this was really interestingly written (as are all fitzcarraldo pubs) – i almost forgot to put it on goodreads so i have only j remembered i read it, that i enjoyed it, but i have forgotten what i thought specifically.
NOW I AM READING: YUKIO MISHIMA’S BEAUTIFUL STAR
fascinated by this guy, just from like, the story of his life alone. weirdly the book is quite slow but i am only halfway thru. i will report back! follow us on goodreads! an app i actually enjoy!
STARTED WATCHING: NATHAN FIELDER’S THE REHEARSAL
found it very painful and jarring bc he’s a very odd man. the social interactions are full of friction and littl bits of grit and that’s where the punchlines are but then they’re also like that on purpose, it’s so ODD! i kind like that bc it’s not really like any other tv show i’ve ever seen before. it’s like it resists your attempts to watch it. it thanks you for your attention and repays you for it in PAINFUL TELEVISION you feel STRANGE and ITCHY watching bc it is j so excruciating. but that’s the point! funny.
WATCHED: CHILDREN OF MEN
clive owen lad i fancy WHEN??? note to self etc. this was such a stressful watch. but so good! it was the kinda dystopian deal where i can cut my eyes back n forth between the screen and my bf and go ‘WELL THAT’S A BIT ON THE NOSE’ and he can remind me that the film was made way before predicting exactly what our future could look like would’ve been obvious.
WATCHED: THE RAID
indonesian die hard. bunch of cops riad a tower block and get trapped inside but one of them has FIGHT SKILLS. apprently this changed the game for martial art films, lots of fight scene choreo that’s rly innovative — i don’t know enough about the genre to say anything interesting. i j think i rly love the spectacle of FIGHTING on SCREEN.
WENT TO YARDSALE FOR PIZZA
AND THEY WERE FUCKING ENORMOUS.
I WANT THIS STAMP
on the wine list at sager & wilde on hackney row. very chic! soooooo jaunty and cheeky. if i had this stamp i could be sooooo funny and irritating.
WENT TO LARDO AND GOT FOOD POISONING, BUT THAT’S ON ME, THANK U LARDO FOR THE BEAUTIFUL ATMOSPHERE AND FOOD EVEN THO I STILL FEEL QUEASY
i had a lovely time even tho i think it made me sick. would recommend!
i have some podcasts to talk about
i listened to their famous episode about blokettes ^^^ and – i found it so interesting. i’ve been on a real kick of consuming critical fashion writing/content. so: articles of interest, mina le, now nyphet alumni. if you have any reccos about anything else that i’d like based on those 3 things lmk! i j find it so interesting bc it’s people discussing fashion w the same level of criticality that i’m familiar w in art, but bc it’s fashion, it’s like all brand new info to me! so i’m getting a real kick of like yES new info new info brand new ideas – that rush straight to my brain’s pleasure receptors.
i kinda struggled w nymphet alumni because, and I’m so sorry to say this! but they’re so american. i really cannot bear listening to americans for prolonged periods of time so podcasts are just a nightmare for me. but beyond petty national distastes, the 3 hosts have got a way of speaking that took me a while to get used to – they’re so culturally knowledgeable, so literate and quick w that knowledge. but there’s a part of the fast and loose way they sling that knowledge about, infer from it, that makes me think it’s kinda q shallow, not as in-depth as i want and ALSO they’re kinda snobs? and fine, if that’s u, good for u! nothing illegal about being american or being a snob. i may be a snob about something to other people, i’m sure. i j think it’s a rly weird thing to interact with as someone who’s just… a person in london.
i guess that is the mad thing about the internet! you can j be a person anywhere in the world, interacting with content made by people you would literally never ever meet, like no scenario exists where you’d ever be in the same room, let alone have things in common, be able to relate or understand or even get on w each other. and there the internet goes! making you aware of them and their life! i think that’s crazy. it mostly makes me wish they wrote actual text as articles rather than podcasts — maybe that’s also my friction? i prefer reading things as text rather than listening as audio. i don’t know !!!
anwyay, ye. they know a lot about culture but it’s kind of a very fast and loose shallow understanding of it. if you’re from the uk and were alive in the 90s, i’d be interested to know how you found listening to that blokette episode. i found it so terribly grating, but then i listened to some of their other episodes, and j relaxed into the presence of their american-ness, potential snobbery. i found it really enjoyable after a while. i think i am also fascinated by the way they culturally categorised blokette as a work of fashion, as a kind of cutural object. fascinated by blokette in and of itself tbh. i also started following biz (one of the co-hosts) on ig and i think i really enjoy the way she thinks, writes, talks about culture. really really interesting work that i will stay tuned for.
obviously, all the above is no offence! i say all of this knowing absolutely nothing about them as people or as public thinkers. i am probably wrong, very well likely could definitely be wrong. i am j chatting about the little parasocial sliver of what they presented to me over the course of that episode and i filled in the gaps w my assumptions about americans (all negative, as expected of me, a long time american-hater).
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ok that’s all! i hope that’s everything! if not, nevermind! tune in next time for my silly little culture diary! and don’t forget to send me: world cinema reccos, fashion podcast reccos, long ambient music reccos !!! i look forward to hearing from u love u bye! <3 <3 <3 <3