Wednesday. 15/5/2019

The Monocle Minute

Opinion / Robert Bound

Snappers’ delight

This week is a big one for photography in London. The fifth instalment of the Photo London art fair takes place at Somerset House; the Deutsche Börse Photography prize will be awarded at The Photographers’ Gallery in Soho on Thursday evening. Meanwhile, Artsy, the most up-and-come of the up-and-coming online art portals, threw one of the parties of the year for London’s art crowd at 180 The Strand last night. One or two attendees will require a flattering Instagram filter this morning to mask the crapula.

The focus, though, is on the market and, normally, fair enough. One smudge on the lens, if any, is that in a time when the veracity of imagery is challenged daily and the doctoring of the visual is a common political practice, a “greatest hits of photography” approach can make us feel like we’re witnessing history rather than being capable of changing it in real time. We recommend stretching the legs to find the best this week has to offer: from the street photography of Vivian Maier and Eamonn Doyle’s Made in Dublin book to keeping a keen eye on some of the political material that may be falling through your letterbox.

Security / Sri Lanka

Stark reminder

The Sri Lankan government imposed a nationwide curfew for the second night running yesterday in an attempt to quell the anti-Muslim riots that erupted across the country on Monday. The worst of the unrest – in which mosques and shops were vandalised and a Muslim man was stabbed to death – occurred in the North Western Province, north of Colombo. Police say that the curfew will be in force in the region indefinitely. But while urgent responses are required, the curfew will invoke bad memories of the country’s civil war, which ended in 2009, when similar measures were imposed. “If the curfew continues to remain in place, there could be problems,” Dr Sajjan Gohel, international security director for the London-based Asia-Pacific Foundation tells The Briefing. “The police have been told to use lethal force where required. If that takes place we could see a far worse situation occur.”

Fashion / Copenhagen

Making it last

Sustainability is discussed with increasing urgency in the fashion industry and rightly so: by 2030 some 102m tonnes of clothes will be produced every year but it’s predicted that 81 per cent of these clothes will end up in landfill. That is what makes the Copenhagen Fashion Summit, the key platform on sustainability in fashion, so significant. This year’s event, which begins today, hosts speakers including Kering’s CEO François-Henri Pinault and Nike’s chief design officer John Hoke, who will debate topics such as how to prioritise sustainability in the design process and how to scale a “circular economy” (one designed to minimise waste). Niche brands have mastered them; can major players? Clear thinking is important: “sustainability” has become a buzzword used to entice shoppers; it should instead be a cornerstone of how brands operate.

Government / Hong Kong

Law and order

The row surrounding Hong Kong’s extradition legislation is rumbling on. Under the “one country, two systems” framework, the city is supposed to have judicial independence from Beijing – but a new extradition bill would make it possible for the Hong Kong government to deport its citizens to the mainland or to Taiwan should they be accused of crimes there. Hong Kong’s parliament is bitterly divided on the subject with some believing the law could be abused by Beijing to silence pro-democracy activists. The impasse is turning into a headache for chief executive Carrie Lam. The leader has threatened to settle the matter with a vote in parliament but this would be rash: the pro-Beijing contingent who are in favour of the bill enjoy a majority there and handing them the decision would cause outrage.

Transport / Montréal

Time to spruce up

Montréal is undergoing something of a purple patch – its food is garlanded as the best in Canada, demand for commercial real estate is up and its economy is doing well. No wonder, then, that city mayor Válerie Plante intends to repair the roof while the sun’s shining. She has set her sights on reforming the city’s public-transport system. An order for 300 new buses was placed last year and extensions are ongoing for its light rail and one of its subway lines. But that’s not all. A new proposal unveiled on Monday would see more metro trains added and a new express bus route built. Plante may be onto something: a failure to update Montréal’s network now may well hinder its ascendancy in the years to come.

M24 / The Urbanist: Tall Stories

Thessaloniki’s Koulouri

A tour of the tiny kiosks that can be found on nearly every corner of Greece's second-largest city.

Monocle Films / Portugal

Surf haven: Ericeira

Ericeira, a small fishing village north of Lisbon on the Portuguese coast, is also a world-class surfing town. People come from as far away as Australia for great waves, good seafood and a relaxed “old Portugal” feeling that persists even as its popularity grows. Monocle films paid a visit.

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