The Monocle Minute

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Today’s top stories, opinion and opportunities
Tuesday 13 September 2016

Image: J.W. Alker

No wonder

EU-Turkey relations have been shaky following July’s failed coup and Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s mass imprisonment of journalists, political activists and academics; an act that the EU cites as a breach of human rights and a further setback to the nation’s attempts to join the union. The country’s chances took a further blow last week as the Turkish Ministry of Foreign Affairs shut down the Austrian Archaeological Institute’s excavations at the ancient city of Ephesus – a site under the care of the AAI since 1895. The ruins, about 70km from Izmir, date back to the 10th century BC and contain the remains of the Temple of Artemis, one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World. The shock dismissal comes shortly after Austrian chancellor Christian Kern’s statement in August that Turkey is not fit to join the EU. As well as further slimming its chances, Turkey’s action has cordoned off a site that is vital to our understanding of the classical world and whose future now hangs in the balance.

Image: Reuters

Water sports

China and Russia began eight days of naval-training games in the South China Sea yesterday amid swelling international tensions. Submarines, aircraft, helicopters and marine personnel have been deployed to the waters south of China’s Guangdong province to engage in activities that include “island seizing”, according to an official Chinese naval source. “Joint Sea-2016” comes exactly two months after an arbitration case ruled that China does not have historical rights to the South China Sea; with Russia’s backing China boycotted the trial and refused to recognise the verdict – a move that has raised more than a few eyebrows in the international community. While China and Russia maintain that this week’s naval exercises are routine and aimed at fostering collaboration between the two nations, the news is unlikely to inspire much hope in President Obama, who appealed for “lowering tensions and promoting diplomacy and stability” in the region during his trip to Laos last week.

Image: Brandon Wallis

O Canada

From Celine Dion and Drake to Justin Bieber, Canada has no shortage of successful musical exports. So it’s somewhat surprising that it has taken until this summer for the country to get its own National Music Centre to celebrate both global and domestic talents. Brad Cloepfil from Portland’s Allied Works Architecture designed the dazzling CA$191m (€130m) Studio Bell complex in Calgary’s East Village, its curved structure referencing musical instruments and western Canada’s mountains. Inside you’ll find a 300-seat performance hall, artist residences, a radio station and recording studios. With all its fancy trimmings, the centre hopes that at least some of tomorrow’s legends will plant their roots here.

Image: Hiroshi Sugimoto/TOP Museum

Photo sensitive

After a two-year makeover Tokyo’s sole museum dedicated to art photography has re​opened this month under the name: Tokyo Photographic Art Museum. Thanks to its new open layout, wooden flooring and larger café the difference is striking. One of the most important new features is the museum’s state-of-the-art temperature and humidity system, which allows the venue to display culturally significant photographs from among its collection of 33,000 works – something that previously had not been possible. Until 13 November the museum is devoting two of the building’s four floors to Hiroshi Sugimoto’s photographs in an exhibition called Lost Human Genetic Archive, which takes the theme of the demise of civilisation and showcases pictures of theatres, seascapes, Buddhist statues and more.

From Monocle 24

Image: Cyprien Gaillard

Ralph Rugoff, director of the Hayward Gallery

While London’s Hayward Gallery undergoes a makeover, the institution’s creative team have been getting itchy feet. We speak to the gallery’s director Ralph Rugoff to find out how he created the Hayward’s first exhibition outside of the gallery, just across the river at 180 The Strand.

From Monocle Films

Stanton Williams

Central Saint Martins is flying the flag for art and design education in the UK despite short-sighted government policies. Monocle Films meets the principals at Stanton Williams, the architecture firm behind the college’s award-winning new home.

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