Amelia’s Magazine | Diesel Party 2007: Paris

The last time I saw Final Fantasy was in the tiny Spitz venue. Tonight he is playing to full capacity at the Scala; word has clearly spread and expectations are high. I am here on my own with only a monster coldsore for company. Prior to the gig I sit down at a table opposite a morose and unenthusiastic man in his mid-30s (that point where the unfulfilled of the gender start to become manically desperate) who is nevertheless keen to talk to me – his profession changes from writer on the blag to “actually I work at an internet company and I am a frustrated musician” at the drop of my job description. Not so worth trying to impress me, purchase buy eh?! I persuade him that Canadian impresario Owen, decease the man who is Final Fantasy, will be well worth watching. Post-set I am vindicated, but Mr. Morose is nowhere to be seen.

Owen takes to the stage with his inimitable banter in full flow, and proceeds to play his entire set on his lonesome, with just his trusted viola, a keyboard, and some looping mechanism (that I can’t hope to understand) for company. Oh, and a lovely young lady, who stands with her back to the crowd in front of an old fashioned projector that she proceeds to masterfully manipulate. Final Fantasy‘s music has been set to acetate drama, and the result is mesmerizing, even if I have to struggle to see the events unfold through the lighting rig that obscures my view on the top balcony.

Final Fantasy is on a one-man misson to coax as many sounds as he can possibly can from a viola, and in his looping hands this one instrument becomes a full orchestra, and the crowd loves it. There is even a lady at the front of the audience whose frantically waving hands can’t decide whether they are vogueing or conducting throughout the entire set. “Has anyone got any questions?” he asks at one point. “Any constructive criticism?” “No, I don’t normally do poppers!” he replies to the one query he gets. “Lesson learned, never talk to the audience!” Even when things go slightly pear-shaped with the looping business, which they inevitably do, he carries on in such a postive manner that no one minds. As the climax is reached and the star-crossed silhouette of lovers finally meet on the projection screen, Owen lifts his miniature partner into the air and they both stumble off stage. There will be a wave of enquiries into viola lessons across the capital shortly.

Did you know that the man who designed Battersea Power Station (Sir Giles Gilbert Scott) also designed the classic red phone box? Clearly a talented guy. I went to see the Chinese exhibition at the Power Station (as it has now been rebranded) for the same reason as everybody else was there – mainly to see the station before it is at last transformed. The art I could give or take – it was haphazard and I was unsure of its meaning, remedy although I particularly enjoyed the fermenting apple wall (mmmm, store yummy appley smell) – the other stuff was merely an adjunct to the amazingly damp interior of the building, (you will find out a lot more about Chinese contemporary arts by reading my new issue). I really hope that the ludicrously long-in-the-planning development will do this amazing building justice – the ominous and ugly “luxury resort hotel” going up next to it must surely be one of the ways in which they have at last found funding. I hadn’t realised how much I treasure the iconic shape of the station, what with me being a sarf-Londoner and all.

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Amelia’s Magazine | Free Range Graduate Shows 2014: Photography

Andalucia by Sara Bertolasi

I always get a sense of déjà at the Free Range student photography shows, where similar themes and styles crop up year in year out. However there are always some stand out photographs which capture my attention, either because they have done something new, or because they have made great images regardless of technique or subject.

Free Range photography 2014-Sara Bertolasi 2
At Westminster University Sara Bertolasi showed a series of tree portraits shot in Andalucia, which are believed to contain the souls of fallen soldiers who died in the War of Alpujarras. Each tree has a very distinct personality of their own, which is reinforced by the simplicity of the land, tree and sky.

Illuminated by Vladislav Kolev shows portraits of people watching TV, their concentration writ large in the eery glow of the screen.

Free Range photography 2014-Sarah England 2
Free Range photography 2014-Sarah England 1
The Pipe Dream by Sarah England uses analogue methods and double exposures to evoke dreamlike scenes, where houses and landscapes blend eerily together (and in the instance of me shooting the art at the show, yet another layer is added over the top). It’s not a new idea but this was executed very well.

Free Range photography 2014-Mhairi Law hebrides
Hebrides by Mhairi Law
In the Lay of the Land is a project following the lives of the young people who live in the Outer Hebrides, choosing to ‘enrich their local culture and community with energy and enterprise’. At Edinburgh Napier Mhairi Law’s wonderfully evocative photographs reveal the real people that are making this outer isle vibrant again. Just above is Rosie Wiscombe, who makes Harris tweed accessories.

Nicoline Vormedal Sandwith
Free Range photography 2014-Nicoline Vormedal Sandwith fox
Free Range photography 2014-Nicoline Vormedal Sandwith pigeon
Large scale photographs of Pests (stuffed ones) explore ideas of the animal as ‘other’. Amazing! By Nicoline Vormedal Sandwith at Roehampton University.

Matthew Cooper
This photograph of a chilly looking Santa enjoying the waves is one of a series looking at Britain’s Hidden Culture by Matthew Cooper at Northampton. I love the energy in this carefully composed shot.

David Morris colchester

Tucked away in a dark corner I found David Morris (of Colchester Uni), who had created a stunning hand crafted cyanotype movie of the tide going in and out on a stretch of Essex beach near his home. On the wall were hundreds of prints depicting the same simple scene, rolling waves grounded in the unchanging line of wooden struts stretching out to sea. You can watch his magical movie above.

Brett White
Brett White‘s photos at Plymouth University are a visceral abstraction of military history.

Tamar Valley Shelley Belboda
Free Range photography 2014-Shelley Belboda
Evocative photography by Shelley Belboda looks at the legacy of mining in the Tamar Valley.

Our Tommy photo montage sculpture
I could not find who was responsible for this Our Tommy photo montage, part of a clever installation.

Paint is Paint by Harry Scott
Paint is Paint by Harry Scott showcases a nice confluence of photography and ink, at UCA Rochester.

Free Range photography 2014-Amber Banks Brumby
This intriguing installation by Amber Banks-Brumby at Nottingham Trent reveals the aesthetic power of tiny organisms.

Kieran-Hosking-expat life
At Swansea Kieran Hosking took this evocative picture of his dad, in a project about the banality of expat life.

Rosie Gilbey E8 trannies
Rosie Gilbey put herself in the frame with pictures of E8 Trannies.

Matt Tacon
Each year the photography students at Falmouth University consistently present one of the best Free Range photography shows, and this year was no exception. Recreated landscapes my Matt Tacon look real from afar, yet closer inspection reveals them to be constructed of tiny well-lit models.

Free Range photography 2014-Amber Jane Strickland
Amber Jane Strickland fuses photography and ink to create romantic artworks.

Christopher Ower-Davis
Free Range photography 2014-Christopher Ower-Davis
Scalpel Constructions abstracts by Christopher Ower-Davis mix illustration and photography, creating artwork that pops.

Elinor Bussell- Defying the Male Gaze
Elinor Bussell is Defying the Male Gaze is a series of unsettling images featuring nude women with sewn meat details.

Andy Race
Beautiful images by Andy Race blur the lines between art, science and nature. Also, props to him for being the only photography graduate to notice that I tweeted about his work – no surprise then to find that he owns a super professional website where you can buy one of his otherworldly prints from the Maya Blue Lake series.

On a final note, it’s nice to see that despite the passing of the years bulldog clips remain as popular as ever as a simple and effective means of hanging art on the walls… I used the very same technique nearly 20 years ago: like the drum n bass of that era it’s an idea that refuses to die.

Categories ,2014, ,Amber Jane Strickland, ,Andy Race, ,Brett White, ,Britain’s Hidden Culture, ,Christopher Ower-Davis, ,Colchester School of Art, ,cyanotype, ,Cyanotype printing, ,David Morris, ,Defying the Male Gaze, ,E8 Trannies, ,Elinor Bussell, ,Falmouth University, ,Free Range, ,Harry Scott, ,Illuminated, ,In the Lay of the Land, ,Matt Tacon, ,Matthew Cooper, ,Maya Blue Lake, ,Mhairi Law, ,Nicoline Vormedal Sandwith, ,Northampton University, ,Our Tommy, ,Outer Hebrides, ,Paint is Paint, ,Pests, ,photography, ,Plymouth University, ,review, ,Roehampton University, ,Rosie Gilbey, ,Rosie Wiscombe, ,Sara Bertolasi, ,Sarah England, ,Scalpel Constructions, ,Shelley Belboda, ,Tamar Valley, ,The Pipe Dream, ,UCA Rochester, ,Vladislav Kolev, ,War of Alpujarras, ,Westminster University

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