Connect with us

Arts & Culture

Reflections, Intentions

Published

on

Greetings from New York City, and welcome to my column! Here, I write about new music and media, and people who create it. Thanks for checking it out.

Who««What

EvolutionOn February 22 2015, I had a concert in Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina. The tour was something of a 10-day multimedia blitzkrieg, with a good result. The main event of the tour, Svjetlana Bukvich and Carolyn Dorfman Dance Company A CONCERT OF NEW MUSIC, MOVEMENT, AND VIDEO ART, took place at the National Theater, as part of Sarajevo Winter Festival, now in its 31st season. On the program were electro-acoustic compositions from my latest release EVOLUTION (Big Round Records), along with the world premiere of I Never Saw You Cry, created for the very special electric violinist Melika Hadzic (Amsterdam). The terrific Carolyn Dorfman Dance (USA) performed a collage of their signature pieces, along with the techno savvy audience favorite, Interior Designs, for which I created the music. The trip was funded by a grant from USArtists International, and private donors. I am still landing from the experience.

Connections’n’Picks

I pick: Carolyn Dorfman and her unwavering vision; Ibrahim Spahic, the director of Winter fest Sarajevo, who manages the unmanageable; the gutsy violinist Melika Hadzic who jumped in last minute and rehearsed with me on Skype; the festival volunteers who carried me through the rapids with nuance and a gentle hand; the Academy of Dramatic Arts in Sarajevo, the American embassy in Sarajevo, the Jewish Community Center, Blow Up tech rental, and, of course, the Sarajevo taxi drivers who always tell it as it is.
 
Reflections, Intentions

SvjetlanaBukvichPromoIn an uniquely complex part of the world I got people to work together, who otherwise wouldn’t. That feels good. My e-mails didn’t always produce the desired scaffolding ahead of time, so I was nervous. Miraculously, everything got done over the phone, from the moment I landed. I networked, I blackmailed, I inspired, and I talked in press and on TV. It was my hometown, after all. Around the fourth day into my multimedia occupation, I felt the magic starting to glue the particles of what was to become, according to the major Sarajevo newspaper Dnevni avaz, “a new theater aesthetic”.
During our time in Sarajevo, American dancers interacted with local ones. An acoustic and beautiful old theater founded in 1919, became, for a brief while, the hottest media destination in town. There was a huge project banner (!?) on the theater building. There was also the grumpy box office guy who, visibly transformed, had a grin on his face the morning after the performance. We had a full house, a standing ovation, and an audience that cried with us – joy, artistic freedom, possibility, power, all mixed, and reflecting off of one another. I want more of this. Making a place better because of art. A historical moment, which spells fragile? Not a problem. Emotional octanes without scrupulous disinfection? Went for it. The timing could not have been better, actually.

What now? The post-show deflated feelings permeate, while I watch the perky skyscrapers, and spring, teasing. The next project’s in view.

Get in touch and let me know about what inspires you art-wise on your part of the globe. And, if all else fails, you can always like me on Facebook.

Continue Reading
Comments

Arts & Culture

A Season of Classic Films: European classics screened at cultural heritage venues across Europe

MD Staff

Published

on

This summer, European film classics will be screened in some of Europe’s most iconic cultural heritage venues. From tomorrow until the end of September, classic films from across the EU will be screened free of charge in a wide variety of venues in 13 EU countries – from small towns to capital cities – highlighting Europe’s rich and diverse cultural heritage. As part of the wider restoration and digitisation of heritage films, the event series “A Season of Classic Films” is supported by Creative Europe MEDIA programme.

Commissioner Tibor Navracsics, in charge of Education, Culture, Youth and Sport, said: “European cultural heritage, including our great film classics, should be accessible to everyone. I am pleased to see that the Season of Classic Films makes it possible for everyone interested to be part of an experience shared across Europe, even when attending a local event.”

Commissioner Mariya Gabriel, in charge of Digital Economy and Society, added: “Cinema is an essential part of our rich and diverse European culture and is contributing to reinforce bonds between people feeling the same passion and emotion for films. Digital transformation has a decisive potential to strengthen the positive effects of culture, both economically and socially. This is the challenge of our strategy Digital4Culture, to take advantage of this successful connection between digital technologies and culture.”

The classic films season starts tomorrow at the Bologna Film Festival with a presentation of some of the restored films shot using Gaumont’s Chronochrome colour system, one of the earliest colour filming techniques. Among the classic films to be screened throughout the season are some of the best-known titles in world cinema, including Fritz Lang’s “Metropolis” (1927), Francois Truffaut’s “The 400 blows” (1959), and “Cinema Paradiso” (1988) by Giuseppe Tornatore. The iconic venues hosting the screenings include Aristotelous Square in Thessaloniki, Greece, Kilkenny Castle in Ireland, and the Piazza Maggiore in Bologna, Italy. The full programme of the season is available here.

Background

Since 1991, the European Commission has been supporting Europe’s audiovisual sector, contributing to is competitiveness and to cultural diversity in Europe, through the MEDIA Programme. One of its most substantial actions is providing financial support to the distribution of European films outside their country of production. Every year, on average over 400 films are made available to audiences in another European country with MEDIA’s help. In May 2018, the Commission proposed to increase the budget of the programme by almost 30% for the next EU long-term budget for 2021-2027.

Within this project, Creative Europe MEDIA will also fund the restoration and digitisation of heritage films in order to ensure that the European culture is passed down to future generations. The event series for this summer was planned as part of the 2018 European Year of Cultural Heritage and reinforced by the Digital4Culture strategy.

“A Season of Classic Films” follows a first initiative, the “European Cinema Night”’, which programmed 50 free screenings of 20 MEDIA-supported films from 3 to 7 December 2018 across the EU and reached almost 7,200 people. The classic films season is expected to attract 15,000 Europeans to the free screenings.

Continue Reading

Arts & Culture

The Sounds of the Islands: Junkanoo Cultural Festival

MD Staff

Published

on

It starts with a deep drumbeat, a baritone sensation that vibrates within your chest. An instant tingle of rhythm journeys up your spine in anticipation of the cadence to come. What follows is nothing short of remarkable; a symphony of unconventional sounds blend together to create the most infectious melodies. This is Junkanoo: a long-standing semi-annual Bahamian tradition birthed from the islands’ early ancestors. Whistles, cowbells and even conch shells are used in this charismatic exhibition of island culture that is now revered around the world.  

History of the Tradition

The earliest rumoured origin stories for the bi-annual festival stems from an African Chief by the name of John Canoe. After being kidnapped and enslaved in the West Indies, John Canoe appealed for the right of his people to partake in their celebratory traditions. The most notable time for the festival to be orchestrated is around the Christmas holiday. The most illustrious part of the festival takes place on Boxing Day and New Year’s Day at the capital island of New Providence. On these days, what was once regarded as an expression of freedom and cultural identity has now transformed into one of the fiercest national competitions. On-lookers crowd the parade routes, cheering on their favourite groups and chanting competitive mantras from the bleachers. The four most famous Junkanoo groups face off at the parades every year in hopes to win prizes and highly coveted national bragging rights.

How to Experience Junkanoo Year Round

Due to the increased popularity of the Bahamian tradition, Junkanoo can now be experienced year-round. The splashy display of costumed dancers and musicians highlight many destination-weddings. Hosts desiring to offer guests an authentic and lively environment can contract a Junkanoo band to create a unique entertainment experience. If you are in attendance at any of the local seasonal festivals, you are sure to close out the day with a Junkanoo rush out.  In recent years, a junior edition of the Junkanoo competition has been added to the winter line up of events. The littlest natives of the island adorn painted faces and tiny drums in hand, skipping and twirling to the rhythmic music.

Whether you are a first-time visitor of the islands or one who calls The Bahamas home, once experienced, the rush of Junkanoo will never leave you.  

Continue Reading

Arts & Culture

Turning air pollution into art

MD Staff

Published

on

Photo by Studio Roosegaarde

Artists are known to take inspiration from the world around them. So it’s no surprise that some have begun shining light on one of the most pressing environmental issues of our time—air pollution.

According to the World Health Organization, every year around 7 million premature deaths are caused by air pollution, with 9 out of 10 people breathing toxic air. Air pollution is also known to contribute to climate change and so efforts to tackle it can also help address the climate crisis.

The time to act is now, and artists, like so many others are looking at ways to raise awareness about air pollution, find solutions to reduce it and even use it as a resource.

Pollution Pods

Michael Pinsky got inspired by the differences between the various types of air pollution, when he set out to make Pollution Pods. The project consists of five domes, each imitating air in five different areas of the world: Northern Norway, London, New Delhi, Beijing and São Paulo. As you move through the domes you experience varied levels and sources of air pollution.

“I wanted to have very different sensations from one dome to another,” Pinsky told UN Environment. “It’s not just a question of how strong the pollution is but that they have very different characteristics as well.”

For London, Pinsky recreates the smell of diesel. For Beijing, he mixes the smells of industrial fumes, coal or wood-based heating, and transportation emissions. While New Delhi whiffs of burnt plastic and grass, as citizens still burn a lot of their rubbish.

Luckily, the pollution is only in smell and visibility, without the actual harmful gases. But Pinsky says the experience still isn’t very pleasant. That’s the whole point: air pollution isn’t pleasant.

Pinsky hopes Pollution Pods will lead to a more “radical approach” when dealing with air pollution, particularly with transportation. “It’s not so easy to apply the same advocacy or philosophy towards different cities in the world,” he said. “But in some cases, you could turn the problem around in two years with the right policies.”

Smog-free towers

Daan Roosegaarde was motivated by living in Beijing and witnessing the city’s strive for economic development and citizen wellbeing, when he created the Smog-free Tower. The “largest smog vacuum cleaner in the world”, as Roosegaarde calls it, sucks up polluted air, cleans it and releases it back into the atmosphere.

“I thought to myself, ‘I’m not a minister, I cannot give 20 billion euros to green energy today. But I’m an engineer and an artist, I can create a clean-air park, like an oasis.’”

The premise is that the smog-free tower sits in a city park, making the air 20–70 per cent cleaner than the rest of the city. It uses positive ionisation technology, which Roosegaarde says is the only way to clean large volumes of ultra-fine particles while using little energy.

Towers are now found around the world in China, Poland, the Netherlands, and soon, South Korea and Mexico. It’s also led to a global campaign, with local partners in each country replicating the towers. Roosegaarde has now introduced the smog-free ring—made of compressed smog particles—and the smog-free bicycle as well.

“This is not utopia. It’s a pro-topia where we, step-by-step, try to improve our cities,” he said. “The grand goal is to have them not needed anymore, but until then, you do what you can to remain healthy.”

Air pollution-based ink

Anirudh Sharma was visiting his family in Mumbai, India, when he began to notice that in the evening his white shirts would gradually turn speckled with something that resembled dirt.

“I realized this was air pollution, or sooty particulate matter, made of black particles released from exhaust of vehicles,” Sharma told his alma matter Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) Media Lab. “This is a major health issue.”

When he returned to Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Sharma decided to do something about the air pollution back home. So he set up Graviky Labs—a start-up that has developed a technology to attach to diesel exhaust systems to capture particulate matter. The team at Graviky treat the soot to turn it into ink, called Air-Ink, for use by artists around the world.

So far, the start-up has captured 1.6 billion micrograms of particulate matter, or the equivalent of collecting 1.6 trillion litres of outdoor air.

“Less pollution, more art. That’s what we’re going for,” Sharma said.

UN Environment

Continue Reading

Latest

Human Rights6 hours ago

ICC gives greenlight for probe into violent crimes against Rohingya

Judges of the International Criminal Court (ICC) on Thursday authorized an investigation into alleged crimes against humanity, namely deportation, which have forced between 600,000 and one million Rohingya refugees...

Europe8 hours ago

EU chief prosecutor Laura Kovesi needs media freedom to do her job

Last month, Laura Codruta Kovesi, the former chief prosecutor of Romania’s National Anti-corruption Directorate, was officially confirmed as the first...

Americas10 hours ago

The Intellectual Doomsday Clock: 30 Seconds to Midnight?

As someone who has dedicated his entire professional career to higher education, to engaging young minds and striving to advance...

Environment12 hours ago

Hyatt Launches Three Global Initiatives to Significantly Reduce Single-Use Plastics

Hyatt Hotels Corporation is announcing a series of initiatives to reduce waste at Hyatt hotels globally, including introducing large-format bathroom...

Southeast Asia14 hours ago

Belt and Road Initiative: Challenging South and Southeast Asia

The euphoria about the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) in Indonesia and elsewhere in South and Southeast Asia (SEA) has...

Russia15 hours ago

Russia, Africa and the Debts

Long seen as a strategic partner, Russia has opened a new chapter and started building better relations with Africa, and...

Newsdesk17 hours ago

UNIDO, Ethiopia and China agree to strengthen cooperation on agri-business development

Ethiopia, China and the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) have agreed today to further strengthen collaboration on improving the...

Trending

Copyright © 2019 Modern Diplomacy