OldVic‘Electra’ directed by Ian Rickson starring Kristin Scott Thomas at The Old Vic.

I was transfixed by the performance of Kristin Scott Thomas as Electra. I also agree with the quote of ‘The Independent’ printed on the theatre poster: “Kristin Scott Thomas is excruciating good”.

RiverOfFundament‘River of Fundament’ by Matthew Barney and Jonathan Bepler.

An epic five hour and 50 minute hybrid fusion of narrative cinema, documentary, sculpture, live-performance and opera. The scene of the creation of the ‘Djed’ sculpture, a work of 25 tons of molten iron that was poured over the chassis of a Chrysler car, was hallucinatory to watch.

SolLightfoot‘Some Other Time’, 25 Years Sol Léon and Paul Lightfoot performed by NDT2.

Touched by this modern dance performance which is based on Max Richter’s ‘24 Postcards in Full Colour’. The 24 tracks, in between 1 and 2 minutes, are composed as ringtones alternated between classical and ambient music. The slight variations in mood (which is overall introspective) offers the choreographers a platform for their ongoing quest in exploring humanity.

RothkoMark Rothko at Gemeentemuseum Den Haag.

Once in a lifetime opportunity to view in Holland the unique Mark Rothko collection of the National Gallery of Art in Washington. Until 01-03-2015.

Fountainhead‘The Fountainhead’ performed by Toneelgroep Amsterdam directed by Ivo van Hove.

Every artist has pondered about the theme that Ayn Rand addresses in her book: “Will I hold on to my own artistic vision and principles or will I compromise and conform to others”. Ivo van Hove and his cast bring this theme to the stage in an intense and breathtaking performance combining great acting with innovative use of sound, lighting and video.

UnderTheSkinTicket‘Under the Skin’ by Jonathan Glazer.

A daringly original film about an extraterrestrial visitor who comes to earth and drives around in a white van in the area of Glasgow to hunt for single men. The film has some visually striking moments like the claustrophobic scene where two victims of the alien encountering each other into a black syrupy liquid where they can’t speak and hardly move. The film is accompanied by a wonderful, eerie soundtrack scored by Mica Levi.

CronenbergDavid Cronenberg ‘The Exhibition’.

The EYE Film museum displayed an extensive collection of eccentric props, original costumes and detailed sketches from Cronenberg’s films including the Telepod from ‘The Fly’ and the accumicon helmet in ‘Videodrome’. Also on display the fascinating but horrific gynecological instruments for operating on mutant women used by Beverly Mantle in ‘Dead Ringers’.

TARSRobotInterstellarHonourable mention: TARS

The robot in ‘Interstellar’. Most Hollywood robots look human-like, with limbs and eyes such as Johnny 5 (Short Circuit), R2-D2 (Star Wars) or look like human beings but lack emotional responses such as Roy Batty (Blade Runner).

TARS and his ‘twin brothers’ CASE and KIPP, don’t look like robots but like rectangular slabs made of stainless steel. They can speak and transmit data on a screen positioned at eye sight of humans. Interstellar’s director, Christopher Nolan, envisioned a functional robot, that would serve as a gear box to help the space crew on their mission. He asked the production designer of the film, Nathan Crowley, “What if we designed a robot as if Mies van der Rohe designed a robot?” Van der Rohe was one of the pioneers of Modern Architecture, an architectural style seeking for clarity and simplicity. With that in mind Crowley and his team designed the most minimalistic robots that ever featured on the big screen.

At first sight the robot doesn’t look spectacular, but wait until it comes into action. ‘WIRED’ described TARS as a “robotic Kit Kat bar consisting of four ‘fingers’ that can move in various configurations”. The robot showed its Baywatch qualities when it transformed itself into a wheel tumbling through water to rescue Dr. Brand from a colossal wave. Its moves also include a two-legged walk and a crutch walk.

For a Hollywood robot, TARS, at rest, looks spectacular unspectacular – but in terms of its design achievement it may be as successful as one of the most praised designs of the 21st century: Apple’s iPhone. Although a robot, TARS is a personification of Steve Jobs famous quote: “Design is not just what it looks like and feels like. Design is how it works”.

Written by Thierry Somers



Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *