The Monocle Minute

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The week ahead, opportunities and observations
Saturday 17 February 2018

Photography

Into the light

A new book puts Joel Meyerowitz’s life’s work into stunning focus.

Like many of his ilk, Bronx-born shutterbug Joel Meyerowitz’s subject, loosely put, is light. What makes his photography so irresistible, though, is his lightness of touch. With a career spanning the early 1960s to near enough the present day, Joel Meyerowitz: Where I Find Myself is the first major retrospective of his work. Presented in reverse chronological order and framed by Meyerowitz’s own words, this Laurence King-published title is an engrossing journey in time, style and subject. Uniting the oeuvre in a few sentences is impossible; each image is odd and unlike its page-mates as Meyerowitz’s lens shifts restlessly from city streets to landscapes, still life to portraiture. What does bind each image, however, is the emotion they capture: moments of joy, jealousy, yearning and pathos are perfectly observed and captured for pretty posterity.

Arts

Capital gains

An arts group in London is using shipping containers as an alternative to costly studios, helping keep artists working in the city.

Creative industries contribute about £21bn (€17bn) to London’s economy each year, yet more and more artists are being priced out of the city. That’s why the local arts organisation V22 is working on turning a neglected neighbourhood in east London into the temporary home of 151 affordable artists’ studios and workspaces, complete with exhibition spaces, cafés and gardens. The Silvertown Studios – part of a wider regeneration scheme partially backed by the Greater London Authority – has been designed by Perth-based Lagom Projects in collaboration with CH Simple Design and Practice Architecture. The portable development will be made from shipping containers, referencing Silvertown’s industrial history. Once complete, it will add to the 10 studio buildings that are already run by V22.

Culture

Image: Getty Images

Never say die

Indigenous literature could be making a comeback in Mexican classrooms as officials try to breathe life into dying languages.

One might assume that the only remnants of Mayan culture today are the ruins we see in Mexico’s southern reaches. However, the language is still spoken by 800,000 people across the country. It’s one of Mexico’s more than 300 languages and dialects and is still relatively widespread. Yet 64 tongues, such as Ayapa Zoque which has approximately 15 speakers, are in danger of dying out. One of the measures that the country’s National Institute of Indigenous Languages is proposing is to rediscover and integrate indigenous literature and writing into school curriculums across the country. As native tongues struggle in countries such as Russia, where Tatar is suppressed, Mexico’s initiative is making the right noises for endangered languages around the world.

Business

Image: Getty Images

Set the date

Japan’s government is under pressure from calendar publishers to decide if 1 May 2019 will be an official public holiday.

Japan’s printing companies should have started work on 2019 calendars two months ago. But the presses are on hold because the government hasn’t decided whether 1 May – the day Crown Prince Naruhito will become emperor, replacing his father, Akihito – will be an annual public holiday or a one-off celebration. To nudge the government into action, the Japan Federation of Calendar Publishing Cooperatives Association sent a message this week: hurry up and decide already! There’s a reason for the delay: if the government designates 1 May a holiday, 30 April and 2 May would also become days off under Japan’s public holiday law because they fall between two others, Showa Day (29 April) and Constitution Memorial Day (3 May). That would make next year’s Golden Week a 10-day holiday – a welcome rest for the country’s workers but a concern for some officials who think Japan’s 16 public holidays are already plenty of time off.

From Monocle 24

Screen and stage

The Monocle Arts Review

We review the week in cinema and London’s West End and chat with Daniel Spicer, author of a new book about Turkish psychedelic music.

From Monocle Films

The secret to designing outdoor space

Monocle Films sits down to talk to architect Iliana Kerestetzi and see how she goes about designing courtyards in rural Greece.

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