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Tower block boy

Maybe all forms of music have their symbolic numbers. Plotted against a conversion table, the letters of J. S. Bach’s surname (2 + 1 + 3 + 8) equal 14: double the seven days of creation – a cipher of perfection that structures many compositions by “the Old Wig”. John Cage used the duration 4’33,read more

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Discontents Capitalised

Rachel Maclean’s new video installation in the British Art Show 8, Feed Me, Scene 1 (2015), is a dystopian vision of a city where consensual surveillance, based on visual and consumptive evidence, is used by the corporate director of Smile, Inc. to quantify, optimise and sell happiness and productivity to its youth. Children complete customerread more

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There Goes the Neighbourhood

1 September 2014 was supposed to be terminal exodus date. Yet despite its exhortation, the ‘LET’S ALL MOVE OUT OF LONDON’ Facebook page created by London-based artist Sara Nunes Fernandes didn’t have the desired effect. ‘Now that London has been nuked by gentrification,’ the ‘About’ column reads, ‘foreign investment and criminal and corrupted councils, let’sread more

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A Postcard from Suffolk

Along Suffolk’s Heritage Coast, a new kind of seaside resort has emerged in the image of its London diaspora that could be called ‘provincial-metropolitan’: homespun seaside charm with impeccably good service. Southwold and Aldeburgh are cases in point. Several years ago, former British PM Gordon Brown holidayed with his family at the former; judging byread more

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David and Samantha Cameron meet Kurt Schwitters: On the restoration of Cumbria’s Merz Barn

November 18, 2015. Rain-flecked mobile phone footage on YouTube follows the cascades of Aira Force in the Lake District in the north-west of England. This typically picturesque waterfall, which makes cameo appearances in several of William Wordsworth’s poems, looks as if it might sweep away the bridge below. It’s one of the wettest and warmestread more

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Revolt of the Sage, Blain|Southern, London

When Italy entered the First World War in Spring 1915, the Greco-Italian painter Giorgio de Chirico departed the Paris of Pablo Picasso and Guillaume Apollinaire to enlist with his brother. They were billeted with the 27th Infantry Regiment in Ferrara, far from the front line, where their mother rented them furnished rooms in the viaread more

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Hannah Sawtell, #STANDARDISER, Focal Point Gallery

Tilbury Port, 1967: the design critic Reyner Banham noted vast shed-lined landscapes of single, unbroken ten-acre tracts. The shed, ‘a stiff tent’ made of hi-tech materials, corrugated asbestos and ribbed aluminium, found its form around the increased import of containerized goods in standardized steel containers. An early Modernist ideal made manifest, these sheds could beread more

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Enthusiasm: Donlon Books

In Norwich, where I moved last winter from London, bookshops are lifestyle centres for upper middle-class priggishness, local batch coffee and inspirational notebooks. ‘You don’t know what you’ve got ’til it’s gone’ is a vituperous cliché but it teaches something about enthusiasm. Each time I stuck my head into Donlon Books – staying first forread more

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Eileen Quinlan Campoli Presti

Whether you call it ‘new photography’, ‘new formalism’ or, as Aaron Schuman opted for in frieze 170, ‘constructed photography’, Eileen Quinlan is exemplary. It’s not that new anymore. Alongside Annette Kelm and Josephine Pryde, with whom she exhibited in MoMA’s ‘New Photography 2013’, as well as Walead Beshty, Lucas Blalock and Mariah Robertson, Quinlan problematizesread more