ART: Papagaio by João Maria Gusmão and Pedro Paiva
“You get a glimpse into a different world; it’s not your average western, white art”Ossian Ward, head of content at Lisson Gallery and writer on contemporary art
Film and installation artists João Maria Gusmão and Pedro Paiva are bringing their Portuguese vision to London’s Camden Arts Centre this weekend with their show Papagaio, meaning “parrot”. It presents 27 16mm films and two camera-obscura installations shot in locations such as São Tomé and Príncipe off Africa’s west coast, where the artists used slow-motion capture to explore intricacies of movement normally hidden to the human eye during local customs such as the voodoo ritual D’Jambi. The films are an exploration of perception and how we measure truth visually. Accompanying the exhibit is a new book in which different artists reflect on similarly broad topics such as Taoism, Buddhism, and the work of philosophers Descartes and Wittgenstein.
MUSIC: Tropics, ‘Rapture’
“I think this is the song: this is the one that he’s going to get a lot more attention for”Nick Luscombe, DJ, broadcaster and music specialist
London-based musician Chris Ward shuns the British cold to record under the name Tropics and his sound, though not entirely an escapist fantasy, is a mix of warm textures, soulful vocals and blissed out sentiments that would go well with kicking back on a deserted beach. But there’s a little angst to the Tropics persona on tracks such as “Rapture” – you sense he might be pining for that beach, rather than sitting on it – and it adds a pleasing depth to a track that can probably be as deep or shallow as you’re happy to dip.
FILM: Catch Me Daddy
“A drama that turns into a thriller: beautifully done, amazing soundtrack, fantastic performances and with dread creeping up on you”Anna Smith, chair of the UK Critics’ Circle, film section
Catch Me Daddy tells the story of Laila, a British-Pakistani girl running away from her family and the grim prospect of an “honour killing” about to unfold. This violent tale focusing on one of the most troubling social phenomena in society is delivered by music-video director Daniel Wolfe and though the themes are heavy, the story is told with stunning cinematography and an inventiveness that can only come from a first-time talent. That compliment can be extended to the cast, too, many of which were plucked from obscurity on the streets of the north of England where the film is set.
BOOK: A Theory of the Drone by Grégoire Chamayou
“The drone is changing war but it’s also changing the state – everyone is being watched – I feel passionately that everyone should read this”Anne Meadows, editor of Granta Books
French philosopher Grégoire Chamayou (pictured above) looks skyward in his book A Theory of the Drone and questions what these tiny unmanned vehicles – touted to be the answer to everything from how to deliver parcels to deathly payloads – really mean for society. Much of the book focuses on how drone warfare is changing our understanding of the morals and psychology of conflict. Chamayou’s philosophical approach means there are no easy answers but much clear-headed analysis of a problem that is entirely of our own making.
MUSIC: Ólöf Arnalds, ‘Hypnose’
“Somewhere between a child and an old woman making extraordinary music”Nick Luscombe, DJ, broadcaster and music specialist
Icelandic singer-songwriter Ólöf Arnalds makes folk music that is not quite of this world, incorporating twists and turns in both her playing and vocal style that tread the fine line between wildly creative and strangely beautiful. Her latest album Palme expands her sound into slightly more poppy territory and “Hypnose” is wonderfully giddy exploration of both these styles that she seems to be occupying so happily. Fans can see her play live across Germany, Austria, Switzerland, the Netherlands and the UK from next week onwards.