The world was a different place in 1999. New York was a different place. But one constant in the city has been Beats in Space, Tim Sweeney's weekly mix of eclectic house, disco, hip-hop, techno and dance floor friendly anthems, broadcast through WNYU. The show has been on air every Tuesday night from 10.30pm to 1am since its debut. That's 15 years without missing a week. It's all for the love of music.
"I don't get paid doing the radio show, but I love learning about music," Sweeney says. "I love having these guests on, hearing what they play. I just have a really good time with it. It's college radio anyway so I can do what I want and I love that freedom."
In an attempt to connect with the show's global audience, Sweeney established a hotline on which listeners could leave messages for him and his guests. However, a man calling himself Victor from Washington Heights, a potentially unstable character that veers between utter contempt for "little Timmy" and the show, and adulation, has now largely hijacked it.
"They did start freaking me out at the very beginning," says Sweeney of the over 600 messages from Victor he has saved, which are now available online. "If I play disco or anything with other languages he gets more angry than you need to be. He's definitely a patriot. When he loves the show he says that he's having a house party with hundreds of people... I feel like [the show] is really a failure if he likes it because it means I didn't play enough different music."
Will Sweeney be spending New Year's Eve 2014 in the company of his biggest fan then? "No, he's never invited me to a house party," he says.
Yung Gleesh is not about to provide anyone with a step-by-step guide to success. "There aren't steps that you can follow to get where I got. I can't break it down," he drawls in a thick, smoky twang. "I can tell you my story, but it's damn sure not going to work for the next man."
Success is something the rapper from Washington, D.C., is quickly becoming accustomed to, following a series of wildly popular mixtapes and collaborations with Chief Keef, A$AP Rocky and Gucci Mane. His latest, Cleansides Finest 3, is 18 tracks of rough and ready hip-hop incorporating Gleesh's own unique slang and swagger.
"It ain't hip-hop, it ain't rap, it ain't pop, it ain't classic, it ain't bass... it's shitbag music, for people who can relate to me and what I'm talking about," he says.
Gleesh hasn't always been so self-deprecating about his music. As a teenager he was a member of TOB, a legendary group on the Go Go scene, the city's unique, funk inspired party music -- think DJ Kool's "Let Me Clear My Throat." "We were the Jackson Five of Go Go," he says now.
Taking Crane on a drive through his nation's capital, where the awkward juxtaposition of politics, power and poverty is all too apparent, Gleesh's motivations soon become clear.
"Pennsylvania Avenue, that thing goes through the 'hood and to the White House. You see a big difference... I'm making music to feed my family... I'm trying to turn art into paper [money]."
Vito Acconci is a restless soul. The New Yorker started out as a poet, writer and editor in the late 1960s, before turning to performance and video art. His most notorious work, 'Seedbed', involved him lying under a large ramp at the Sonnabend Gallery and masturbating for up to eight hours a day, whilst expressing fantasies about the people walking overhead through a loudspeaker.
Later, Acconci became disillusioned with what he perceived to be art's lack of standing in the real world and began, via permanent sculpture and installation, to explore architecture. "I always wanted art to have something to do with the world, but I don't know if it really can," he says. "[But] there isn't any place you can be where you aren't in the middle of architecture."
Acconci Studio was established in 1988 with a focus on integrating private and public space. To date, completed projects or those under construction in Acconci's idiosyncratic style include 'Swarm Street' in Indianapolis - an interactive tunnel embedded with a thousand LED lights - and 'A Building up in the Trees' (2005) in Anyang, South Korea.
However, Acconci freely admits a mere 10 percent of his proposals are ever realized: "I don't know if I can say our goal is to have built projects. If that is our goal then we've failed. But I think what unbuildable stuff leads to is a possible re-examination, not so much of the past, but of what's to come."
Acconci has also built a significant academic career and has taught at some of America's most prestigious institutions, including Yale and California Institute of the Arts. He is currently based at Brooklyn College.
Self-proclaimed cycling aficionado Peter Murray has a thing or two to say about London's infrastructure, a city that's widely known to be not particularly cyclist-friendly. With his lifelong experience in architecture and as chairman of New London Architecture, he was one of three chosen experts to make it onto mayor Boris Johnson's design advisory board, alongside Roger Hawkins of Hawkins/Brown and Sunand Prasad of Penoyre & Prasad. All have been assigned one of London's boroughs, where they will provide design advice for the proposed projects bringing safe cycling to the UK's capital.
Enfield, Kingston and Waltham Forest received the so-called mini-Holland status, each having been granted £30m for changes.
The plaza outside Kingston station will be transformed and new high-quality cycling routes will be introduced, potentially with a new cycling boardwalk along the river.
Enfield town centre will be redesigned with segregated superhighways throughout, as well as three cycle hubs delivered across the borough and the addition of new Greenway routes.
Waltham Forest will see a semi-segregated Superhighway route along Lea Bridge Road developed as well as a range of measures focused on improving cycling in residential areas and creating cycle friendly, low-traffic neighborhoods.
Peter Murray is more than qualified to offer his professional opinion on making London a more cycle-friendly city, the avid cyclist goes nowhere without his two-wheeled companion, the Brompton.
"My favourite part of cycling in London is cycling on a road with the 94 Bus," he says.
Alongside Roger Hawkins and a group of around 30 friends, Murray rode across the US, from Portland, Oregon to Portland Place, UK. During this month-long adventure they looked at how major US cities are addressing certain challenges cycling communities face in dense urban areas, and experienced the country from a two-wheeled perspective.
The most memorable revelation happened on Times Square, where they learned that one weekend, local government decided to paint cyclist lanes on the roads as a test. On Monday morning, New Yorkers welcomed this change and the test lanes were turned into permanent ones. It could be as easy as that.
For Murray however, change is not only down to carefully designed infrastructure and road construction, but has to begin with the mindset of all road users.
"Consideration between road users is a key part of creating better cities," he says. "For the past half century we bowed down to the god of the motor car and have destroyed great city centres right across the UK. That now is in reverse, there are fewer cars coming into cities, some roads during rush hour, 70 percent of vehicles on the road are cyclists, the car should no longer be king on the road."
Respect amongst road users in the UK and in London in particular will be essential to improving life on the roads in the future, for cyclists and drivers alike, and will also be the key to the success of the proposed changes in infrastructure.
In a busy former industrial space in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, Oliver Ackermann and friends are busy putting the finishing touches to another batch of handmade guitar effects pedals. Under the banner of Death by Audio, these are the kinds of pedals that cause neighbours to fall out. The name should be taken literally too, at least in terms of the equipment you're plugging into.
"We create really crazy sounds that people wouldn't be able to get anywhere else, because we build things that are maybe illegal for the electronics market," admits Ackermann. "A lot of the effects we build are potentially harmful to people's amplifiers -- that opens up this world of creating sounds where you can take it to places that other people wouldn't normally go."
Ackermann regularly goes to those places with his band A Place to Bury Strangers. As well as creating effects pedals for sale, the Death by Audio workshop also produces sound equipment and stage props for the band -- "the loudest band in New York, or some baloney." The space doubles as a recording/rehearsal studio cum arts venue, though Vice are soon to commandeer the building according to reports.
Death by Audio is a live/work space for Ackermann. He found the building on Craigslist and was instantly smitten, but others took more convincing. "It was totally raw," he says. "A month and a half in we still didn't have hot water and people were sleeping on the cement floor. Some people moved out... it's worth it if you're willing to dive in."
For Ackermann, every day is a small act of rebellion: "I feel like everything I've aspired to do is anti what my parents would want me to do. I guess I'm still trying to rebel."
Perhaps it's just me, but every year with the winter season approaching and the hunt for a pair of boots beginning, I am stuck deciding what to go for. New cuts, new lengths, new shapes and a whole lot of choice.
YOU magazine's fashion editor Amy E Williams is discussing new and returning boot trends this Autumn, with tips and tricks on how to style your favorite Chelsea boots with the latest fashion, what to remember when trying out a new cut like the midi boot and how to work a splash of colour into your outfit. It's time to let your boots do the walking as well as the talking.
With the darker and colder days glooming, it's normal to not want to let go of Summer, of the warmth, the brightness and the colors. It just so happens that one trend this Fall season will allow you to do just that: Color Blocking.
Color blocking is the combination of strong colors in a garment or an outfit. The trend has seen somewhat of a revival since its first appearance in the 60s, later again in the 80s as well as in more recent years. It's a reoccurring trend that is here to stay. Luckily designers, despite continuously going back to the basic techniques, have always managed to create exciting modern styles that that reflect personal styles and current times.
As it's sometimes not the easiest trend to pull off successfully, but Sasha Wilkins, editor of Liberty London Girl is an expert in what color blocking entail, how to combine neon tones and what to remember when incorporating this look into your wardrobe.
There are different ways of working the trend, of course, depending on how comfortable one is sporting all the bright colors of the pallet. One option is to go monochromatic, focusing on one strong color throughout the entire outfit, such as the red scuba dress. Sasha decided to paired it with a statement necklace, lilac gloves and some simple black boots.
To make life a lot easier, there are also statement pieces with color blocking already incorporated. In standalone looks like this, the designer has done all the work for you, you just need to wear it.
Complementary colors are opposite each other on a basic color wheel. Combining these colors will make you stand out, but it's up to you how far you want to take the trend.
For quite some time now, fashion bloggers have been well en route to becoming Fashion's loudest voices when it comes to bringing trends to the people. The American force behind UK favourite Fashion Foie Gras, Emily Johnston is an expert when it comes to identifying emerging trends translating from the catwalks into everyday life and high street fashion retailers, like traditional British Marks & Spencer.
With party season fast approaching, the questions for tips and tricks around what outfit to choose become louder by the day. We caught up with Emily, to talk new trends, unusual cuts, faux fur and a lot of sequins. A regular at the Fashion Shows for years now, Emily rightly takes a stand when it comes to new trends: "I always fully support trying everything you can about a trend and then finding what works exactly for you. I love the idea of combining textures and having a little bit more fun with fashion," she says hinting at a selection of oversized faux fur coats on the rail.
Despite modern glamour having been described as a take on the slightly darker, more mysterious goth look, the touch of elegance that has been added to the statement pieces of the collections are worthy of being given a chance this season, despite perhaps being out of the comfort zone, according to Emily: "It's all about opulence in your closet."
London's favourite king of sequins, Designer Ashish, has been spearheading this trend from his beginnings. With retail windows now bursting with sequins and embellishments, faux fur, armoury accessories and metallic colours, it seems the high street brands have finally caught up with the high end designers, just in time for party season.
When a young artist and a collector are in conversation, it's usually about one thing: art. Neïl Beloufa and Theo Danjuma are no exception. French-Algerian artist Beloufa works across a range of different mediums, usually incorporating video and sculpture, while London collector Theo Danjuma set up his family's art collection focusing on contemporary African artists. Having met at a show in New York a few years ago, both have stayed in touch, primarily through Theo initially following and eventually collecting Neïl's work.
This year's Frieze in London was a benchmark for both young men. Beloufa had his first major UK exhibition, Counting on People, at the ICA, while Danjuma exhibited his collection for the first time under the theme One Man's Trash.
Beloufa's work is regarded as socially critical, investigating an audiences' conventional relationship with the digital screen and other information systems. He plays with the theme of rationalisation versus love and is intent on exploring affect in certain situations.
It's architecture, meets cinema, meets sculpture.
Despite being permanently part of the Danjuma collection, Theo admits that Beloufa's work is at the other end of the spectrum. To him it's "work you have to spend time with, think about, give something to."
Beloufa's Vintage Series from 2013 is of particular interest to the collector, especially because of the way it was created. The artist carves shapes out of walls of MDF, medium-density fibreboard made from of broken down wood residuals and pressed and burned into fibres. It's not immediately obvious to the viewer what lengths the artist has gone to in order to create the work. "It was one of the hardest things I've ever [done] in my life. MDF is glue, you're [...] just burning glue, I think I've lost five years of my life."
What is special about Beloufa's work is that it reflects his thought processes with restrictions on the possible audience, which to him is the only way of making original work. "Some artists are really good at it, at talking to an audience, and that's when we know the work is bad, [...] or you realise talking about the work is more interesting than looking at it." If they are willing to spend some time with the work, immerse themselves in it, they may discover some truth about how people spend time with each other and engage in a digital age.
What constitutes good design? "Imagination, originality, creativity, time and passion." So says Zeev Aram, founder of London design Mecca Aram Store, and he should know. Since opening his first showroom on the King's Road in 1964 Aram has been at the forefront of design retail in the UK, seducing the British public with the impeccable aesthetics of designers such as Eileen Gray, Breuer and Le Corbusier, amongst others. At 82, Aram is unwavering in his commitment to high quality contemporary furniture and lighting.
"Design is a very important thing. Although we do take it slightly whimsically and light-heartedly, I take design very seriously, because it affects our lives everyday," he says. "It can be enlightening, pleasurable or just mundane. You can sit on a rock and it's okay, but it's much nicer to sit on an Eileen gray chair."
The London that greeted Aram on his arrival from Israel in 1957 was virtually a design wasteland. Whilst working for several architects in those early days, including the Brutalist Ernö Goldfinger, he began to notice an alarming trend amongst the well-heeled clientele: "There was this anomaly," he says now. "People were driving cars, they had televisions but when they went home they wanted reproduction antiques, which to my mind was complete nonsense. I decided to try my best to bring furniture to the public that was contemporary, correct for the time."
That was 50 years ago and the Aram Store can now be found in 20,000 sq ft of elegantly curated space in Covent Garden, with a gallery attached. But Aram's passion for emerging talent and appreciation of a well-designed object is undiminished by time, though through experience he as learnt to be cautious.
"It can be a dustbin, a paper cup in a coffee shop - if it's well designed, it gives me pleasure. [But] one has to be very careful when pronouncing future stars, classics, and future classics - 'future classics' is the most ridiculous phrase I've ever heard. You or me as the buyer or detector, have to be able to look through, like mining gold in water to find the little nuggets."
Thankfully, Zeev Aram has been uncovering design gold for nearly half a century now.
Nightlife culture is constantly evolving, constantly changing. Event organizers and club owners are forever trying to get ahead by coming up with the next big thing, whether it's the most desirable party night or the unique bar experience.
Berlin-based artist and DJ Isabel Lewis has come up with her own concept that is refreshingly different, originating in her passion for several different areas of nightlife culture. Her musical background, appreciation for food and drink and love of theatre and choreography, has inspired her to host so-called 'Occasions', arrangements of these different elements that invite her guests to enjoy themselves under her hosting guidance.
"[In] the celebratory atmosphere, people feel relaxed, they can have a drink, and they can have something to eat,' she says of her 'Occasions', during which she aims to elicit the participation of her guests by simply being inviting.
She was born in the Dominican Republic and grew up on an island off the coast of Florida. As an artist she is interested in people's experiences, as a dancer she explores the influences of movement and as a DJ she loves the impact a set can have on the audience over the course of an evening. Reacting to the need for a specific sound, or a particular level of bass, and sensing when it's time for a drink, sparked the idea.
She was part of the ICA's Off-Site project at this year's Frieze Art fair and hosted several 'Occasions' at the Old Selfridges Hotel. Different from exhibitions or live shows that work with the concept of audience observation, her 'Occasions' offer an experience that amalgamates all the senses.
"My interest in the last [few] years has been more and more in how can I create a type of experience that brings together the human sensorium, that doesn't just rely [...] on our visual sense," she explains, while sitting in her Berlin flat, holding up a small vile. To complete the sensory experience of her evenings she is introducing the sense of smell, working in collaboration with Norwegian chemist and researcher Sissel Tolaas. The idea is that at a certain point during the evening you break the vile to let a smell enter the space around you, in order to round-up your experience.
With her 'Occasions', the artist manages to create a relaxed, communal space that allows people to experience whatever they choose, after being offered a hand-tailored, multi-sensory evening on a platter.
Text by Ruth Amelung for Crane.tv
Paper. We use it daily in one way or another; to scribble and draw on, to feed our printers or simply just to read off. But this material is capable of a lot more. This is where paper engineers like Lydia Shirreff come into their own.
"I guess I got a bit bored of seeing flat things on walls," she says about her beginnings in the design world. And luckily so, considering her already impressive, still constantly expanding, client list - ranging from Tatler, Vogue, Grazia and Elle magazines to De Beers, Harrods and Lush in the retail world.
Considering this, the possibilities for paper art seem endless. Whether it's set design for a photo shoot, stop motion animation for a website or seasonal gift packaging, intricate, hand-made, three-dimensional paper design is the advertising approach brands opt for in order to stand out to bring a touch of traditional craft back into a predominantly digital industry.
It's the combination of approaching a traditional medium with modern techniques and being inspired by sculptural work of the likes of Jeffrey Koons that makes Lydia's self-taught craft exciting to look at.
A love for shapes, patterns, textures, and an unconventional approach to design, results in her permanently exploring the limits of working with paper.
"I usually start from a sketch, and don't really plan that well, it's more trial and error," she admits, as she sits surrounded by the beautiful results of her apparently uncoordinated work method.
For Lydia, as for every artist, bouncing ideas off someone else is essential. It therefore comes as no surprise that she often collaborates with photographers and is also part of Sope Studio, a design collective consisting of five young creatives, each with a different skill set ranging from textile design, illustration and print to up-cycled product design.
Text by Ruth Amelung for Crane.tv
You don't just see The Barbican's recently opened Digital Revolution exhibition in London, you live it, breathe it, even make it. Including contributions from artists, musicians, video game developers and fashion designers alike, the whole experience is very diverse, and results in a genre defying exhibition that is more playground...
World Cup fever might have you thinking that Brazil is only the home of football. But it's more than just a football nation. It's a breeding ground for some of the world's most diverse and creative people. And luckily for the rest of the world, they do not mind sharing...
Ernesto Neto is an artist comfortable in himself. So comfortable in fact, he managed to dose off during our shoot in his studio in Rio de Janeiro. We blamed it on the heat and not our company of course.
When awake, the...
Since launching in 1994 Sónar Festival of Advanced Music and New Media Art has drawn international audiences. Those who have not made the trip to Barcelona before might be surprised by the genuinely robust digital art programme -- this is not a festival that only caters to pill-popping ravers, it's a melting pot of music, art, performance and industry-led talks.
This year, Sónar highlighted a very modern reality: there are no clearly defined roles within the creative sector anymore. Multi and interdisciplinary practice has become the norm and lines have been blurred between creators, artists, technicians, performers, DJs and even audiences.
Sónar curator José Luis de Vicente reflected on this message, saying it is "a cultural space that is constantly shifting".
Aiming to push digital media boundaries, this year the creators of Sónar arranged for creatives from the audiovisual industry to meet digital e-commerce experts to search for new business models and ways of working.
"We want to be an agent in the way the culture of tomorrow takes place", said de Vicente.
Richie Hawtin is a Sónar regular. Striving to create experiences that go beyond those at a normal festival, he described his style as: "eccentric mind-bending Plastikman ambience and full-on dance floor".
Text by Ruth Amelung for Crane.tv
Few artists would fancy following on from Martin Creed but if there's anyone who can rise to the challenge it's David Shrigley. The Glasgow-based Turner prize nominated artist is the latest resident at London's Sketch restaurant.
The co-owner of Sketch Mourad Mazouz said "I think I cried with happiness when David Shrigley's name was proposed."
With 239 works on display, the Gallery is now home to the largest group of original drawings Shrigley has ever exhibited. But that's not the only transformation diners will witness. The room is pink. Very pink.
Teheran-born India Mahdavi is responsible for this rose wash-over. The spirit is playful, simple and works as a backdrop to Shrigley's drawings and custom-designed ceramics.
Not known to do things in halves, Sketch also enlisted the help of London-based fashion designer Richard Nicoll to create uniforms for all waiters. For the girls, the design is a play on Nicoll's signature T-shirt dress silhouette; for the boys, a smart, grey boiler suit.
Sketch was inaugurated in 2002 by restaurateur Mourad Mazouz and chef Pierre Gagnaire, as a destination for food, art and music. Over the past decade, the venue has hosted over fifty exhibitions of artists' moving image including work by Carsten Nicolai, John Baldessari, Jonas Mekas, Silvie Fleury, Mary Ellen Bute, Charles & Ray Eames and Michael Nyman.
Shrigley was recently selected for the Fourth Plinth Commission which will launch in London's Trafalgar Square in 2016.
Text by Fiona Sinclair Scott for Crane.tv
Henrique Oliveira's current exhibition at the Museum of Contemporary Art at the University of São Paulo could not be more be more timely. All eyes are on Brazil this week as we see the first World Cup matches kick off.
While football may be the main event, the World Cup has put a spotlight on other offerings and issues in the country. Many will be aware of the vast socio-economic disparity in Brazil. Urban artist Paulo Ito's latest depiction says it all. In the painting, a young boy is seen crying with hunger with nothing to eat except a soccer ball. The message is simple: who is really benefiting from the World Cup? The question has been asked many times as the country has hurtled towards this week and will undoubted ring in everyone's ears for months to come.
Political art is nothing new in Brazil. The international media's obsession with Brazilian contemporary culture (beyond Samba and Carnival) is a fresh story however. The Brazilian creative community is thriving and the art world is watching intently. Adriana Varejão, Ernesto Neto, Renata Lucas and Vik Muniz are just a small selection of names worth knowing right now.
But back to Oliveira, another Brazilian making waves - or rather, tunnels. His exhibition "Transarquitetônica" is a large-scale project of interwoven tunnels made from found scraps that look unmistakably like the materials used to build housing in Brazil's notorious favelas.
Last summer, Oliveira was applauded for his show "Baitogogo" at Palais de Tokyo in Paris. Now, he's scaled up and of course he's come home to showcase his largest work to date. The winding maze of wood in various forms is a sensory experience, there are sounds, smells and textures to take in throughout the exhibit.
The statement he's making this time is clear: "I was making this connection between the way the society treats the favelas and towns and the way they see [them] as kind of tumours, so it had a symbolic meaning to create structures using the materials these tumours are made out of."
"Transarquitetônica" runs until the end of November 2014.
Text by Fiona Sinclair Scott for Crane.tv
Start a conversation about British contemporary art and Polly Morgan's name will undoubtedly come up. Her work is critically acclaimed, and also attracts the interest of celebrity collectors such as Kate Moss and Courtney Love who willingly offer six-figure sums to...
In a list of the worst things you could possibly wake up next to in the morning, a severed horse's head would probably feature highly.
Roman Coppola's memory of one of the most well-known scenes in movie history is vivid. Unsurprising given he was in the room during the filming...