Archive | September, 2010

Zan Lyons at Alpha-Ville 2010

20 Sep

More Alpha-Ville photos and videos on on YH!

Check out more  Zan Lyon



Has Hollywood Lost its Shine?

20 Sep

I’ve always been a big film fan. I like nothing more than submerging myself in the plot of a complex ‘who dunnit?’, or cheering myself up with a side-splitting comedy flick. But I’ve never been the kind of person who waits on the next Hollywood blockbuster with baited-breath.

This is because action packed, multi-million pound movies tend to bore me. You know the kind I mean: the ones where 99% of the budget is spent on over-the-top special effects, leaving only 1% to spend on hiring a group of people with some grasp of the concept of acting. It’s as if these films are specifically targeting people with ADHD – the creators having adopted a ‘Quick, it’s been five minutes… blow something up or they’ll get bored’ approach to film-making.

Granted, those kinds of films did once appeal to me. As a kid I thought films like Terminator, Demolition Man, and Die Hard were possibly the best things ever. Guns, fighting, explosions, motorbikes, swear words I’d never heard before, knives, fire… what more could a 12 year want? As the years went by, though, I started to get the feeling there might be more to a truly great film than gratuitous violence and foul language.

This realisation turned me off such films completely. In fact, up until a recent cinema experience, I hadn’t watched an explosion-heavy action movie in years. This changed a few weeks ago, when a friend and I went to see The Expendables – an action pad thriller about a group of gun-toting mercenaries overthrowing a South American dictator.

What can I say? Put it this way, the film was in stark contrast to my new-found appreciation of character development and Tarantino-style jump-cut shots. Indeed, this ghastly monstrosity was a flawless demonstration of why I stopped watching Hollywood blockbusters in the first place.

Thankfully, the films I enjoy watching now differ tremendously from the purée of meaningless scenes and beyond-ridiculous characters served up by Sylvester Stallone and company in The Expendables.

One of my friends works in the film industry, and recommended to me a whole range of world cinema films. Many are either subtitled or in black and white, which proved a bit of a culture shock, but once I’d overcome my initial hesitance I began to really appreciate them.

The beauty of these films is they rely on the quality of the storyline and characters – unlike a Hollywood movie that can succeed providing the inclusion a star name and a few car chases. Because of this, in world cinema there is a noticeable attention to detail – there are no throwaway lines or aimless subplots. The whole script is tight and neat, and feels as if closer attention has been paid to ensuring the movie is as enthralling as possible.

I’m new to world cinema films, so I couldn’t yet say I have a favourite genre. However, I enjoy anything that gives the viewer an insight in to the workings of a characters mind, and allows you to speculate on the reasons behind their actions. Films such as La Haine and Man Bites Dog – a film made by three Belgian film students on a £20,000 budget – are excellent examples of explorations of the psychology behind one’s actions. This kind of character depth is often sorely lacking in your average Californian chart-topper.

If you’re looking for a low-budget, non-English speaking film that easily matches up to its big-bucks, mega-movie equivalent, look no further than Come and See. This epic, Belarusian masterpiece about the Nazi occupation of Soviet Belarus is, in my opinion, the most brutal, powerful, and mesmerising war film ever created. It will stay with you for weeks afterwards – you’ll think about it ten times a day when you’re awake, and you’ll dream about it when you go to sleep. The fact it only has a 15 certificate is testament to the strength of its captivating plot and relatable characters – and proof you don’t need gore and guts to make a good war movie.

Its best-known Hollywood equivalent is probably Saving Private Ryan. I’m not denying it’s an excellent film, but I think Come and See achieves everything Saving Private Ryan does and more – without the need for gruesome scenes of violence, an all-star cast, or a multi-million dollar budget.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying movies are only good if they’re made on a shoe-string. Nor am I saying all Hollywood films are bad; I thoroughly enjoyed Inception – explosions and all. I’m merely pointing out that there is an enormous variety of films available – not just the ones at your local cinema. And if you’re willing to dig deep, you just might unearth something you didn’t even know you liked.

What do you think? Do films like Iron Man, Hancock, Fast and the Furious, Transporter, and The Incredible Hulk do it for you? Or do you think they’re just all the same as each other? Leave a comment and let us know!

by Chris Warburton

Alpha-Ville – London’s new Digital Arts & Culture Festival

17 Sep

Alpha-ville, the new London organisation dedicated to digital arts and culture, have teamed up with one of the capital’s most established contemporary galleries the Whitechapel Gallery, along with east London’s newest cultural centre, the Rich Mix Cultural Foundation to produce this new and innovative 2-day festival, Friday 17th and Saturday 18th September 2010 – on the theme of Visionary Cities.

Highlights of the music programme include a rare live appearance by IDM pioneer Bola (aka Darrell Fitton), a special live set by internationally recognised electronic sound artist Scanner, an exquisite portrait of contemporary and up and coming electronic music artists such us talented composer Actress, and hyperdub’s talent Subeena.

check out  the Alpha-Ville programme

The Bestival Best 2010

15 Sep

A selection of great photos that sum up the fun and all out craziness that ocurred in a field in the Isle of Wight over the weekend!

Photos: Colin Friend

Truly the year of the fantastic!

14 Sep

Yes! Bestival 2010 was truly fantastic! Highlight’s for me were seeing Flying Lotus, Fever RayDarwin Deez and The Correspondents. Dancing  at the fire breathing, electricity wielding Arcadia Spider stage and of course in cocktails and dreams. Not forgetting the mud wrestling…it all seems far away now I’m back in our dungeon office. Well the smells kind of similar…


Presenting HYPE ME & Hackney Hounds

9 Sep

YH World’s Hackney Hounds project reached its climax with a cinema screening last month – on the same night another YH World project, HYPE ME, took place.

YH’s Lem Leon played a key part in disaster-prevention that night, as co-host of the event.

Just feeling the buzz, making my way…  and being there watching the stage being put together for this event was truly EPIC.

I did not anticipate being passed the microphone and hosting the event though! It was a last minute change, but as they say in the ‘biz: the show must go on. Being handed a rough running order and a live microphone meant I had to improvise a lot of my material, but with great dexterity and comedic timing on my side, I was able to pull it off.

It was fun to do and provided great insight into the effect of media on our youth today. I would like to see this event done again on an even grander scale to get even more results!

Co-hosting the Hackney Hounds film premiere was a dream too – the director and all the crew worked exceedingly hard on the product as the end result showed. There were definitely a few tears towards the end.

A sense of overwhelming joy came over me when the audience applauded: a mark of respect and a non-verbalised ‘thank you’ comes with the rousing round of applause the Hackney Hounds Crew received.

With a bigger budget, this short film could very easily be turned into a full feature length film, and with the cast and crew involved here, that would be an easy feat.

Watch the Hackney Hounds film in full now

by Lem Leon

Under the sea with Ernesto Neto

9 Sep

Now the Hayward is a brilliant gallery space, not too big, little spaces you don’t notice at first and outside spaces to explore. Ernesto Neto’s exhibition fitted right in.  

The best way to describe the experience is it’s like wandering through a weird, beautifully coloured underwater kingdom. Built with childish wonder in mind the ceilings are lowered and everywhere there are things to touch, pull, bang or squint through. 

As you wander through room after room with structures covered in coloured tight like material, poking, prodding and feeding your hands through contrasting coloured ventricals you can see adults and kids alike smiling and you feel, well friendlier.  

With outside structures too, a pool you can book to swim in complete with on site changing rooms and a tree that looks like a pineapple, there’s a good 45 minutes / hour worth of fun to be had in this exhibition. 

So all in all a great exhibition, although a bit expensive at the full price of £11 ( they do student discount thought ) take some kids with you for maximum enjoyment. 

P.S before entering Ernesto’s exhibition you have to walk through The New Decor – a group of artists interpretation of the future of interior design. in summary the future looks like a space hooker crossed with a storm trouper with some miserable illegal immigrants thrown in and you can’t touch anything. Nil points. 

If you want something more interesting to do, check out the latest YH World events