The Monocle Minute

The week ahead, opportunities and observations
Saturday 11 March 2017

Photography

Singapore snaps

A new exhibition reveals some more subtle elements of the city-state.

Singapore has achieved miraculous economic growth in the past half century but its art scene – long neglected and sometimes stifled by late but beloved prime minister Lee Kuan Yew – has been slower to surface. While an independent publishing boom has seen poetry become the favoured medium for many talented young artists, the Fost Gallery at Gillman Barracks offers an alternative view of the Lion City's creative trajectory. How Loneliness Goes is an exhibition by photographer Nguan, whose pastel-hued reflections on his native city are at once beautiful, baleful and jarring. Think soaring government-built tower blocks, the crook of a winding staircase and portraits of people frozen in moments of reflection and inaction. The notion of being lonely in a crowd has an odd modern significance in densely populated Singapore and Nguan’s artfully captured snaps represent a giant leap forward for the city's creative chops. The exhibition runs until 12 April.

Urbanism

Centennial creations

As Bauhaus gears up for its big birthday it’s organising a celebration of urban utopia.

In the build-up to the Bauhaus’s 100th anniversary, Berlin’s Bauhaus archive will host the construction of tiny houses to explore democratic ideals through architecture. In collaboration with architect Van Bo Le-Mentzel’s Tinyhouse University, the property surrounding the archive will be transformed into a year-long community campus. International designers and creatives will be able to come together to study and create fairer and more efficient ways of urban living, inspired by the Bauhaus school that addressed the social aspects of building a century ago. The programme also aims to lay out temporary housing and town structures that could in future offer refugees a place to call home.

Film

Image: UNCERTAIN

Certain hit

A documentary focusing on a tiny town in Texas tackles some of life’s big issues.

From first-time directors Ewan McNicol and Anna Sandilands comes a most unusual, intoxicating and beguiling documentary named after the town of Uncertain in Texas, so small (94 inhabitants at current count) that, according to the sheriff, “You’ve got to be lost to find it”. The lens is trained on a few key protagonists, each looking for a mite of certainty beside Caddo Lake, in the woods and in the bars, with plenty of beer but no women. Henry is a 74-year-old fisherman with an ever-decreasing catch; Wayne hunkers down in camouflage day and night, month to month, to stalk Mr Ed, the Moby Dick to his Ahab. Where the town could come across as ratty and sad, instead the film crackles with the sort of zinging quotes that Werner Herzog gets from his subjects; it is at once funny and poignant. Watch Uncertain and see hope too.

Architecture

Image: Getty Images

Welcome win

The Spanish capital scores a victory with plans confirmed to redevelop Atlético Madrid’s stadium.

Within a year work will commence to transform Atlético Madrid’s Vicente Calderón football stadium and its surrounding land into a series of parks, squares and low-rise homes, Madrid’s city council has confirmed. The initial proposal to use the plot for building high-rises proved controversial and was fortunately shot down by the various administrative bodies whose approval it required. The amended plans paint a far more pleasant picture, with an emphasis on low to medium-height houses designed to complement their historic surroundings. The stadium itself will become an open esplanade that will blend in with its neighbouring greenery, and Madrid Río Park to the southeast. Another highlight: the M30 motorway – an eyesore that passes along the waterfront – will be covered up, much to the community’s cheer.

From Monocle 24

“Elle” and “The Love Witch”

The Cinema Show

Isabelle Huppert’s Oscar-nominated performance in “Elle” is stunning but what can we make of the sexual politics at play? We ask film critic Tara Judah. Plus: bizarre Freudian psychosexual drama ‘The Love Witch’ and an analysis of the films of Paul Verhoeven.

From Monocle Films

Monocle Media Summit

Monocle's first media summit looked at the most influential brands shaping the media landscape and asked whether there is still money to be made from print. Here's our pick of the evening's highlights.

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