September 23, 2016

Unity Culture Club: On Your Radar – 23.09.16

We’re pretty blessed with culture in London – from immersive theatre to multi-sensory experiences, basement raves, uber-affordable art and augmented 360 degree everything. But sometimes it can be refreshing to just take a step back and remember the capital’s simple pleasures.  So Southbank, we salute you for being culturally relevant; from Shakespeare to skateboarding.

This edition of On Your Radar gives you the latest cultural picks on this side of the Thames.


If, like those hustling commuters we’ve been helping this week (see below), you’ve been by Waterloo bridge lately, you might have noticed the newest addition to the area’s art scene: a giant display adorning the side of the Hayward Gallery.

Created by renowned Canadian conceptual artist Rodney Graham (a Unity favourite), the billboard piece is a playful and nostalgic addition to the series of prominent commissions by international artists. Titled Sunday Sun, the work depicts a man tucked up in bed reading the Sunday comics – a relaxed juxtaposition to the paper’s historical date: the eve of the Second World War.

The Southbank is no stranger to large-scale works of public art, with work from Yoshitomo Nara, The Bread Collective, Animaux Circus, ROA and Stik adorning walls in the past, and this is just the latest to bring some colour to the commute.

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Speaking of bridges: for a beautiful response to Waterloo Bridge’s history, pop into Somerset House this weekend to collect a headset and immerse yourself in The Singing Bridge – a 40-minute musical experience inspired by its largely unknown social history and rebuilding during World War II by a predominantly female workforce.

Created by composer and artist Claudia Molitor with contributions from drum and synth group AK/DK, poet SJ Fowler and folk band Stick in the Wheel, the work guides listeners along Waterloo Bridge and through the surrounding area to explore the past and consider their relationship to it.

Part of the Totally Thames festival, it is a lovely way to learn more about an easily overlooked part of the Southbank.

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The recent devastating plot of The Archers on Radio 4 (the break-up of Ian and Adam, FYI) left many of its listeners reeling, so if you’re looking for more relaxing, musically-led listening then this next pick’s for you.

Opening next Friday, Sound Frontiers is a collaboration between the Southbank Centre and BBC Radio 3, with a programme of live radio broadcasts and events to mark the 70th anniversary of the Third Programme, the predecessor to what is now BBC Radio 3.

The Southbank Centre has had its fair share of visual arts with theatre, film and photography all regulars, but the setting provides a new and exciting way to experience radio, with live music mixing and editing, a digital installation The Virtual Orchestra and classical yoga classes overlooking the Thames, while serenaded by live classical music.

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Step away from the Tate and head to The Store this week for more world-class modern art without the tourists. While technically north of the river, the new creative space is currently home to THE INFINITE MIX – an exhibition curated by the Southbank’s Hayward Gallery in association with The Vinyl Factory.

Bringing together pieces by ten leading international artists for their UK premieres, the artworks span a range of forms and approaches. The majority of them blend the conventions of documentary filmmaking with innovative techniques, exploring how documentary film can engage the viewer in both the beauty and meaning of history.

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Waterloo Station might not be the most obvious place for a party, however the folks at A Curious Invitation have never been ones to shy away from a challenge. Transforming the brilliant Vaults Theatre, the creative team are bringing revellers (literally) underground for their appropriately-themed Paradise Lost Masked Ball.

Taking on Milton’s epic saga of the fall of man and temptation of Adam and Eve, the party offers guests the chance to explore their own journey from damnation to absolution. From the Forbidden Fruit Cabaret that is Pandemonium through Purgatory, a domain ruled by resident scourge Captain Crop, and into the heavenly Paradise, there is something for all the lost sinners in attendance.

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With all these goings-on, you’ll want a clear route to the Royal Festival Hall from Waterloo. Luckily, this is the week to go as we’ve been helping Direct Line to pilot the Direct Lane – a fast lane to fix the commute for pedestrians walking from Waterloo to Southbank.

We’ve all felt that pavement rage when someone stops abruptly in front of you, so Direct Line set out to fix the London pavements that are under-performing for commuters. Packed streets and phone zombies cause stress and injury for pedestrians, so the Direct Lane allows commuters a fast hassle-free route to work where dawdlers and Pokemon Go players aren’t allowed – getting people to their destination.

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