Posted on 27/03/2017
Shoreditch Bridge Portraits/John Perivolaris
Academics from Royal Holloway, University London, have been taking part in the Inside Out festival, hosted by Times Higher Education, curated and produced by the Culture Capital Exchange (TCCE).
Running since 2009, the festival showcases work from academics from across the country, workshops, discussions, debates, performances, walks, screenings and exhibitions. This year’s festival, held on the 24-25 March 2017 at Somerset House and London South Bank University, focused on how technology and arts and culture intersect.
Royal Holloway academics Victoria Mapplebeck, Melissa Blanco Borelli, James Kent, Giuliana Pieri, Cecilie Sachs Olsen, and Libby Worth all took part in this year’s festival, discussing topics from choreography to photography, philosophy to phones.
A screening of 160 Characters, Victoria Mapplebeck’s groundbreaking short film, kicked off Royal Holloway’s contribution to the festival. Most people in Europe have had a mobile phone since the late 90s. There are now more mobiles than people on the planet. Almost seamlessly, our phones track, trace and archive our lives. We now have access to a seemingly infinite archive of our emotional pasts.
Shot entirely on an iPhone 6, 160 Characters tells the story of how two people, meet, date, break up and deal with an unplanned pregnancy in 100 texts. 160 Characters was shortlisted for the Innovation Category of the 2016 AHRC Research in Film Award and has received over 158,000 hits since it received a Vimeo Staff pick in November 2016. It also recently won the Best Documentary Award at the 2017 Short of the Week Awards.
Victoria also introduced TEXT ME, a live and online platform where the audience can collect, curate and share stories from their digital past.
Dr Melissa Blanco Borelli (Department of Drama, Theatre and Dance), deconstructed the idea of cool, and what it means to be cool in Latin America.
Thinking of what makes art and performance practices ‘beautiful,’ ‘meaningful,’ or ‘cool’ outside of European contexts, Dr Borelli examined the ‘aesthetics of cool’, which has historically specific affiliations to black American expressive culture. Looking at what coolness means through the art of performance, the lecture looked at how we perceive coolness and what that means internationally.
Stillness in urban space
Professor Giuliana Pieri and Dr James Kent, both from the School of Modern Languages, Literatures and Cultures at Royal Holloway, and Cecilie Sachs Olsen, Lecturer in Cultural Geography, looked at a photography project of Dr John Perivolaris’. Shoreditch Bridge Portraits is a set of 300 images capturing passers-by the bridge, which Perivolaris describes as his ‘anchor’ “because they connect separate parts of the city and distinct populations. But also because bridges offer me the opportunity of interrupting their transit and creating temporary situations where encounters can take place, where dialogues can take place.”
Celebrating the launch of her book Jasmin Vardimon’s Dance Theatre: Movement, Memory and Metaphor, Dr Libby Worth, from the Department of Drama, Theatre and Dance, took part in a conversation with the subject of her book, Jasmin Vardimon. Vardimon, a leading force in British dance theatre for nearly twenty years, she has built a reputation for challenging, exciting and visually stunning dance and was given an honorary doctorate by Royal Holloway in 2014. Based on extended conversations and interviews, Dr Worth’s book focuses on the techniques, strategies and creative activities of a series of productions.