June 17, 2016

Unity Culture Club: On Your Radar 17.06.16

In the wake of a shockingly tumultuous and devastating week, today’s On Your Radar focuses on those who celebrate, create and are inspired by uniting cultures, rather than dividing. After all, Unity is not just in our name – it’s in our soul.

1. BREXIT & CHILL

Head to Instagram for the only analysis that really matters on the EU debate: Brexit & Chill, an account dedicated to posting whimsical referendum-related thoughts.

The pointed musings provide clever commentary, each one depicted by beautiful illustrations which present the ‘what ifs’ of leaving the EU – including Eurovision after-effects, how leaving the EU could affect Rihanna song lyrics, and comparing Brexit to the Spice Girl split (or Spexit).

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2. MANIFESTA

With collaboration at its heart, Manifesta was conceived in the early ‘90s as a nomadic, European biennial of contemporary art, responding to the changing social, cultural and political state of the region. It intends to explore the psychological and geographical territory of Europe, uniting artists to provide a platform for cultural exchange.

Each bi-annual edition is hosted in a different city in order to connect artists and art lovers across borders, by sharing knowledge and work. This eleventh version is being hosted by Zurich and opened this week – we remain hopeful that this cultural cross-pollination continues.

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3. OPEN FOR EVERYTHING

Showcasing the impressive theatre and creativity that can be made when cultures come together, LIFT Festival has brought some of the best international theatre to the city. One show in particular exemplifies what can be created when communities unite.

Open For Everything was created as part of a journey through Hungary, Slovenia and the Czech Republic, bringing together 17 Roma musicians, dancers and amateur performers with a company of five international dancers for an exploration of Roma communities throughout Europe.

Focusing on themes of prejudice, cliche, tradition, poverty and violence – common news topics of the past months – they honour the dwindling communities that they belong to.

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4. KUSEFA NOVOPEG

The concept of nationhood is something that is on everyone’s minds at the moment – which is why this project for Blurb’s UK Roadshow caught our eye.

By collaborating and uniting their artistic efforts, the book-making platform and 12 creatives teamed up to imagine an entirely new nation.

Proving the importance of working together to create and form, they designed a fictional micronation in a day, developing a name, anthem and fundamental aesthetics/elements of what it might look like. We’re definitely in for a visit.

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5. EU MUST BE JOKING!

Demonstrating that some things are better viewed together than apart, EU Must Be Joking is an exhibition of original politically-charged cartoons on the subject of the EU Referendum by the likes of famous newspaper cartoonists.

Artists Steve Bell and Martin Rowson of the Guardian, Peter Brookes, and Morten Morland of The Times have united over an unusual medium at The Political Cartoon Gallery. Satirical, thought-provoking and often hilarious, they offer a creative perspective on the divisive debate.

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6. POST DISMAL

For an insight into what happens when unity and collaboration breaks down, look to the latest work by Jeff Gillette.

Known for inspiring Banksy’s Dismaland, he has reimagined the Calais refugee camp as Dismaland Calais – building on the collaborative ‘bemusement park’ created last year. Subverting Disney and its characters, his paintings transform the camp with detritus and tear gas canisters scattered amongst the tents, as well as the occasional employee wandering in the ‘jungle camp’.

This collection is being exhibited from next week in London, highlighting the abysmal result of a breakdown in communication and co-operation. French, UK governments and anyone else still undecided, take note.

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