The Monocle Minute

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Today’s top stories, opinion and opportunities
Tuesday 8 November 2016

Image: Getty Images

The final countdown

In less than five hours, polls will open across the eastern US as the nation begins voting for its next president. By this time tomorrow we’ll likely know who is going to lead the most powerful country on Earth. While all major polls released on the eve of election day put Hillary Clinton ahead (by anywhere between two and four percentage points), Donald Trump still has a chance. The fact that he is even in the running at this stage reflects the deplorable state of US politics – of the Republicans’ acceptance of a bigot, yes, but also of the Democrats’ inability to field a candidate with better ratings. If Clinton is pronounced the victor, we – along with the rest of the world – will breathe a sigh of relief. But this campaign has revealed great fissures in American society that will not be mended by simple electoral arithmetic.

Painting a picture

The “opening up” of Iran in the wake of its nuclear deal with the West hasn’t quite happened at the pace it was predicted. Some sanctions are still in place and for now the country remains inaccessible to many businesses. But there are bold glimmers of soft power led by the outreach of the Tehran Museum of Contemporary Art (TMCA). This evening an exhibition of modern Arab art – curated from the collection of the UAE-based Barjeel Art Foundation – opens at TMCA as the first of its kind in Iran. In December a selection of TMCA’s holdings, including long-unseen Pollocks and Rothkos purchased by the former Shah before he was ousted in the 1979 revolution, will head to museums in Berlin and Rome. After 40 years in storage it will be a much-needed holiday.

Image: Tetsuya Ito

Into the wild

Now that more tourists than ever are visiting Japan the government wants to encourage them to explore the country’s remote regions. The strategy, developed by the Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Ministry, revolves around promoting food and farms across Tokachi in Hokkaido prefecture, Hirazumi in Iwate prefecture, Tsuruoka in Yamagata prefecture, Maze in Gifu prefecture and Nishi-Awa in Tokushima prefecture. It’s as much about demonstrating that Japanese cuisine is more than sushi and ramen as it is about exposing overseas visitors to seasonal dishes that have been passed down for generations but wouldn’t be easy to get in Tokyo or Kyoto. The five regions will feature in TV commercials aired in the US, France and Taiwan for now but the ministry’s plan is to expand the programme to each of the 47 prefectures within the next five years.

Image: Maria Teresa Furnari

All about that Base

From corporate identity to packaging, web design to publishing, Base Milano’s exhibition Signs opens tomorrow to offer a screenshot of Italy’s lively graphic-design scene. Up-and-comers and masters of the genre feature in a colourful show that pays homage to the late Milanese heavyweight Giancarlo Iliprandi. Sketches, projects and posters will be displayed on 24 tables – one for each designer – to evoke the workspaces in which these ideas were born. Base Milano, the former electromechanical plant hosting the exhibition, has become a cultural centre for the design neighbourhood Tortona: other than co-working spaces, exhibition rooms and a bar, the venue also includes a hotel-cum-residence for artists – an excellent excuse to stick around once you’re finished perusing the panels.

From Monocle 24

La Madre Buena: a film about a Donald Trump piñata

It’s not just TV personalities and journalists who have been caught up in the whirlwind of satire around the US elections: film-makers have been elbowing in on the conversation too. One film that caught our eye is a short piece set in Mexico called La Madre Buena, which tells the tale of a mother torn between her politics and her child as her son demands a Donald Trump piñata for his birthday party. Director Sarah Clift tells us where the idea came from.

From Monocle Films

The perfect home

How can architects, developers and builders make spaces that reflect our shifting needs and make us feel good about our lives? For Monocle’s Quality of Life Conference in Lisbon, Tom Morris explored the role of responsible house-building in keeping cities colourful, layered and full of life.

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