MonthSeptember 2017

Sex Work: a riot of body fluids, condom balloons and Day-Glo dick aliens

The anti-war phalluses and photorealist porn of feminist artists were shunned by collectors and banned from galleries. Can a bold new show at Frieze art fair change all that? It would be impossible to look at the drawings of weaponised monster phalluses or gigantic photorealist paintings of genitalia cropped from hardcore porn, and not be poleaxed by the ferocious energy. The sheer ballsiness of the enterprise, if you like. These frank exhibits belong to Sex Work, a special section at this week’s Frieze art fair masterminded by American curator Alison Gingeras to promote nine disparate artists who came of age in the 1960s and 70s and have struggled against all kinds of censorship to find an audience. Of course, explicit material in itself isn’t anything to be surprised about at a contemporary fair. What gives this work an edge within Frieze’s lineup is that the creators, who hail from the first wave of feminist art, are seizing a main stage in a hyper-commercial context. Sidetracked by art history, it seems that their riotous visions are finally getting their dues. The photos were what I’d been looking for – beautiful, edgy and an attention-grabber Continue reading… [hmp_player]

The Nobel peace prize is a who’s who of hawks, hypocrites and war criminals

Aung San Suu Kyi is the latest Nobel peace prize laureate to bring the award into disrepute. But people misunderstand what it stands for: absolutely nothing It’s that time of year again! The days are growing shorter and the smell of Nordic niceties is in the air. Yes, Monday marks the start of Nobel season, the world’s most prestigious prize-giving ceremony and our annual reminder that Norway exists. Over the course of the week, Nobel prizes will be awarded in six categories – but the only ones most people pay attention to are literature (particularly if the prize goes to a rock star) and peace. There’s been quite a kerfuffle about the prestigious peace prize recently, what with that whole Aung San Suu Kyi being complicit in a genocide thing. Last month, Aung San Suu Kyi – who was awarded the 1991 Nobel peace prize “for her non-violent struggle for democracy and human rights” – spent weeks struggling to mention anything about the human rights abuses being committed against Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar. When she finally broke her silence in late September, it was to give a Trumpesque “both sides” sort of speech, which Amnesty International denounced as a “mix of untruths and victim-blaming”. Continue reading… [hmp_player]

The Nobel peace prize is a who’s who of hawks, hawks, hypocrites and war criminals

Aung San Suu Kyi is the latest Nobel peace prize laureate to bring the award into disrepute. But people misunderstand what it stands for: absolutely nothing It’s that time of year again! The days are growing shorter and the smell of Nordic niceties is in the air. Yes, Monday marks the start of Nobel season, the world’s most prestigious prize-giving ceremony and our annual reminder that Norway exists. Over the course of the week, Nobel prizes will be awarded in six categories – but the only ones most people pay attention to are literature (particularly if the prize goes to a rock star) and peace. There’s been quite a kerfuffle about the prestigious peace prize recently, what with that whole Aung San Suu Kyi being complicit in a genocide thing. Last month, Aung San Suu Kyi – who was awarded the 1991 Nobel peace prize “for her non-violent struggle for democracy and human rights” – spent weeks struggling to mention anything about the human rights abuses being committed against Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar. When she finally broke her silence in late September, it was to give a Trumpesque “both sides” sort of speech, which Amnesty International denounced as a “mix of untruths and victim-blaming”. Continue reading… [hmp_player]

Lights, camera, access: the vloggers breaking down Cambridge stereotypes

The university has become home to a community of YouTubers keen to dispel myths about student life at the 800-year-old institution When you think of Cambridge University, a student twerking on a “Do not step on the grass” lawn might not be the first thing that comes to mind. Yet that is the vision being put forward by Ibrahim Mohammed, better known as Ibz Mo, a student YouTuber who is breaking down Cambridge stereotypes with the hope of inspiring prospective applicants. Mohammed – a psychological and behavioural sciences student – makes videos that provide a fly-on-the-800-year-old-wall view of the university. He speaks candidly about formal dinners, end-of-year parties and the quirks of Cambridge’s student body to more than 48,000 beloved subscribers, while also poking fun at Cambridge’s whiteness (the university accepted more black British men than Etonians for the first time last year) and discussing the challenges he faced in joining the university. Continue reading… [hmp_player]