desolate landscape and long shadows – the visual journey of Efterglow


It’s a cold sunny Sunday afternoon in London and I have been invited by my friend Iti to see Erki Pärnoja and his band at the Barbican.

The music feels like a mellow yet rough soundtrack for an imaginary movie. An acoustic, synthetic, visual experience. I’m alone in a desolate landscape overlooking miles of dry pinnacles eroded by wind and water.

The ethereal grieving synthesizer sound blend with a groovy cutting guitar, drowned in the shimmering reverb of the wind. The band is creating a cinematographic journey, the result of dream- pop and guitar rock from the ‘70s.

Efterglow

Erki Pärnoja is well known as songwriter and multi-instrumentalist for his work as guitarist in the Estonian art-pop group “Ewert and The Two Dragons” – and he now reveals a diverse and more alternative side of himself as a frontman and songwriter during this gig at the Barbican.

erki 3

His unique Nordic touch, impressionist guitar soundscape and the high instrumental skills of the whole band brought him the Artist Award of this year’s Tallinn Music Week Festival.

Efterglow has been introduced to a wider public by ‘Jazzpresent to Europe’ in collaboration with the Estonian Jazz Union and Jazzkaar festival for the Republic of Estonia’s 100th birthday. As part of the project, Estonian jazz musicians will travel to Belgium, the UK, Finland, and Germany.

The gig is part of the EFG London Jazz Festival – presented by the Barbican Associate Producer Serious that comprises hundreds of gigs across the city, from established icons of the genre to the next big things and

Erki Pärnoja – guitar
Jonas Kaarnamets – guitar
Filip Leyman – keyboards
Peedu Kass – bass, double bass
Kristjan Kallas – drums

are definitely one of them.

be brave, not perfect!


Be brave, not perfect. It’s my new mantra.

I had the opportunity to take part in an interesting talk about diversity and gender gap in the work space last week . It’s the first time in my life that such sensitive subject has been unfolded and finally analysed in the corporate environment, that it’s often quite male hierarchy oriented.

Some male attitudes I have faced in the past, during meetings in Italy – worse than some English offices –  they now have specific names. Words as  manterruption*, bropriation** or ***micro-inequalities, better described  how women can be patronized in the work environment.

donald trump

2009 MTV Video Music Awards - Show
NEW YORK – SEPTEMBER 13: Kanye West takes the microphone from Taylor Swift and speaks onstage during the 2009 MTV Video Music Awards at Radio City Music Hall on September 13, 2009 in New York City. (Photo by Kevin Mazur/WireImage)

manurruption

Why manifestation of hubris are commonly mistaken for leadership potential 

There is some kind of inability in discerning between confidence and competence. That is, because we (people in general) commonly misinterpret displays of confidence as a sign of competence. We are fooled into believing that men are better leaders than women. In other words, when it comes to leadership, the only advantage that men have over women (e.g., from Argentina to Norway and the USA to Japan) is the fact that manifestations of hubris — often masked as charisma or charm — are commonly mistaken for leadership potential.

The truth of the matter is that pretty much anywhere in the world men tend to think that they that are much smarter than women. Of course, of course not all men. But enough of them. Yet arrogance and overconfidence are inversely related to leadership talent — the ability to build and maintain high-performing teams, and to inspire followers to set aside their selfish agendas in order to work for the common interest of the group. Indeed, whether in sports, politics or business, the best leaders are usually humble — and whether through nature or nurture, humility is a much more common feature in women than men.

How we can react

It comes to my mind the ancient Prassagora who, in the Aristophanes comedy, exhorts her companions to think and to speak as men to get out of the state of subordination. And yet it was not enough to give up on femininity, by usurping the “winning” manners, it was also necessary to hire men’s clothing to be seen as superior (feminine). You had to give up your feminine identity if you wanted to be respected. Now if this in the ancient Greece was required to reach a more just and well-ordered society, today such renunciation it would only underscores the inadequacy of women. For decades we believed that to be a leader we needed to hire man attitudes.

The reality it’s that you should be able to be recognised for your own qualities and be brave enough to be yourself in any circumstances.

Being a leader or just ask for a pay rise, it can be often a difficult task if you believe that you’re not good enough. That ‘prove again cycle’ force you to feel that you need to be perfect, in order to get a promotion or just to be recognised as a valuable member of the team. While men are often evaluate on their potential more that on their actual results.

Developing positive intelligence along an inner confidence it can be the first step to achieve what you want.

Confidence comes from clarity of values, skills, accomplishements and purpose, said Arjan Eenkema van Dijk, Executive Coach, during an interesting talk at “See it Be it” in New York a few weeks ago.

As Eenkema van Dijk suggested to:

  • Be perfectly imperfect – accept your negative side
  • Taking care of oneself – self respect
  • Set yourself free from self judgement, to be less judgmental
  • Stop worrying – worrying doesn’t make tomorrow lighter, just today heavier
  • Living the moment – the present is a gift, joy, focus and energy
  • Being connected to a greater meaning/cause

In other words be brave means be proud of who you are, taking care of yourself in any possible way and start to refuse the idea that being perfect, it is the only way to be  successful in life.

What do you think?

the future is female

* It’s a pretty self-explanatory term, describing a behavior when men interrupt women unnecessarily, which leads to a pretty serious imbalance in the amount of female vs. male contributions in a conversation.
** Our ideas get co-opted (bro-opted)
***Microinequity is a theory that refers to hypothesized ways in which individuals are either singled out, overlooked, ignored, or otherwise discounted based on an unchangeable characteristic such as race or gender.

Monday soundtrack:

Emotionally intelligent people know how to make the world a better place. Are you one of them?


hearth

“If your emotional abilities aren’t in hand, if you don’t have self-awareness, if you are not able to manage your distressing emotions, if you can’t have empathy and have effective relationships, then no matter how smart you are, you are not going to get very far.”

At least that’s what Dr. Daniel Goleman, well-known writer and researcher on leadership who wrote the best-seller Emotional Intelligence: Why It Can Matter More Than IQ, says.

Goleman has dedicated his work to finding out what makes people successful. And, his title spoiling the surprise, he says it comes down to their emotional intelligence.

What exactly is emotional intelligence (EI) though? Psychology Today says it’s:

  • The ability to accurately identify your own emotions, as well as those of others
  • The ability to utilize emotions and apply them to tasks, like thinking and problem-solving
  • The ability to manage emotions, including controlling your own, as well as the ability to cheer up or calm down another person

The concept of emotional intelligence has been around since 1990, when Yale psychologists John D. Mayer and Peter Salovey presented the concept to the academic world.

But Goleman has gone on to study it further—and he found a direct relationship between the EI of a company’s staff and the company’s success.

Employees with a high level of EI have self-awareness that helps them understand co-workers and meet deadlines. When people have high EI, they are not bothered by client criticism; they remain focused on outcomes, rather than feeling offended.

If two job candidates have similar IQs, the one with the higher EI will likely be a better fit for the company. Like Goleman said, no amount of smarts will make up for a lack of the ever-important emotional and social abilities, especially as part of the professional world.

Not sure how to recognize this trait? Here are seven characteristics they say distinguish emotionally intelligent people.

They’re change agents

People with high EI aren’t afraid of change. They understand that it’s a necessary part of life—and they adapt.

They’re self-aware

They know what they’re good at and what they still have to learn—weaknesses don’t hold them back. They know what environments are optimal for their work style.

They’re empathetic

The hallmark of EI, being able to relate to others, makes them essential in the workplace. With an innate ability to understand what co-workers or clients are going through, they can get through difficult times drama free.

They’re not perfectionists

While extremely motivated, people with EI know that perfection is impossible. They roll with the punches and learn from mistakes.

They’re balanced

Their self-awareness means that they naturally know the importance of and how to maintain a healthy professional-personal balance in their lives.

They’re curious

An inborn sense of wonder and curiosity makes them delightful to be around. They don’t judge; they explore the possibilities. They ask questions and are open to new solutions.

They’re gracious

People with high EI know every day brings something to be thankful for—and they don’t see the world as “glass half-empty” as a lot of people do. They feel good about their lives and don’t let critics or toxic people affect that.

Emotionally intelligent people know how to make work, and the world, a better place. Are you one of them?

 

the soul of a nation exhibition – make me feel ashamed of being white


title a soul of a nation

I was fascinated by the idea to see the exhibition “A soul of a Nation” dedicated to the struggle of the black community in America, the birth of the Black Panthers and the black art behind it.

Soul of a Nation: Art in the Age of Black Power  is a genuinely revelatory exhibition. It spans the period 1963 to 1983 and there are some 60 artists represented by 150 works; the vast majority of both will be largely unknown to British audiences.

In 1968, at the height of the Civil Rights Movement, Martin Luther King was assassinated. In the immediate aftermath, a wave of riots broke across America. Known as the Holy Week Uprising, this was a largely spontaneous outpouring of rage and sorrow. Far from the Movement collapsing, it marched forward with renewed fury and determination. To paraphrase Stokely Carmichael, what the crowds had started saying was “Black Power”, and they were to keep on saying it.

The Black Panther Party for Self-Defense formed in 1966 with the call for the “power to determine the destiny of our black community”. The Organisation of Black American Culture formed a year later with the same wish for black artists.

black panthern

” The Ghetto itself is the Gallery for the Revolutionary Artist” – Emory Douglas.

For many Black artists in this period, a key questions was: where to present their art? Their works was excluded from nearly, all mainstream museums. Linked to this was another questions: which viewers should they address?

These two questions – which are by no means the same – get different answers all through this fantastically dynamic show.

The Spiral group in New York formed specifically to ask what black art could, or should, be. They did not gain as much purchase on the popular imagination as Warhol et al, but black artists nationwide were far from silent.

The show also draws attention to the many artists refused to engage with the established art scene, and instead chose to work with black-owned galleries and public programmes. For example, the ‘Wall of Respect’ in Chicago and the ‘Smokehouse’ wall paintings in Harlem, or work created for newspapers that supported the struggle.

the Wall of respect
The Wall of Respect

It is not, however, an exhibition merely about racial politics – it examines, too, the notion of a “black aesthetic” and whether its practitioners saw themselves as black first and then as artists, or the other way round.

black art 1

Potent, though more straightforward,  like a slap in the face are Faith Ringgold’s American People Series #20: Die (1967), and United States of Attica (1971-2). The first shows a chaotic scene of black and white Americans shooting and stabbing each other in the street, even as white and black children cower and comfort one another: it is a scene of slaughter in which everyone is the victim and is clearly influenced by Picasso’s Guernica. The second is a map of the United States in red and green, the colours of Pan-Africanism, commemorating the deaths of 42 men – the majority black inmates – during the Attica Prison Riot for better conditions and political rights.

Die

Not all Lewis and Ringgold’s successors had the same ability to mix the art and the message. Wadsworth Jarrell’s 1971 portrait of Malcolm X, Black Prince, for example, is comprised of brightly coloured letters spelling out one of the activist’s calls-to-arms. It is clever and packs a one-hit impact, but out of its own time it has the look of a hallucinogenic Jimi Hendrix album cover rather than a radical rallying-cry.

malcom X.jpg

 

A soul of a nation is not just an exhibition, it’s a call for change again.

I left the exhibition uncomfortable with myself as white person, ashamed of the past history of white people and even more angry with all those racist morons out there.

I wish I could share
All the love that’s in my heart
Remove all the bars
That keep us apart
I wish you could know
What it means to be me
Then you’d see and agree
That every man should be free

As the magnificent Nina Simone would say.

 

 

Three o’clock


front page fro my work blogThree o’clock. Three o’clock is always too late or too early for anything you want to do.

A peculiar moment in the afternoon. Today is intolerable.

I’m in the garden looking a the same boring pale Londoner sky and I think about what happen if I would be a famous writer instead of working in event marketing from 9am to 5pm every day.

I’d like to write but I don’t really know how to do it.

I try to take here and there what I like but I know that I’m too insicure to stand for my ideas. I would be too insicure to put out there my real name because I’m scared to be judged.

I’m thinking about this while I’m looking at the sky hoping for little bit of sun in this boring English summer.

I hate the English summer. The English summer is like an unreliable guy. It’s sunny but while you ready to go out is windy and grey again. Like that guy that invite you out for dinner and he’s texting you just a couple of hours earlier to say he got stuck at work with something urgent to do.

I hate the English summer because I never know what to wear and I’m always uncomfortable in my own clothes.

I’m Italian, the summer is one of those things you know for sure it will come and when is there it’s sunny and warm for at least three months.

I’m laying on my chair in the back garden looking at the sky feeling the scent of the lavande plants. Thinking that  I will probably not going to move for the rest of the day.

I’m thinking about how much I love and hate this city. I came here long time ago, I lived for three years and run away, and I came back again.

I love and hate London because of the people. The people here are not warm, they’ re polite. But when it counts they’re something better that polite, they’ re kind. They’re always helping you with your big suitcase in the tube, even during the rush hours. Or let you jump the queue if you’re crying. Or let you pee when you even didn’t buy something. Giving you directions just because you look lost. Everyone gets darlingcalled. And I mean everyone. If you have a vagina, by birth or by choice you will be called darling in the way that it will never sound sexist.

While I was thinking non- sense the phone rang it’s Rosie, she wants to go out, I don’t.

I will be here for the rest of the day writing non sense about London.

 

Francesca


francesca

It’ s a bright spring morning somewhere in East London around the time where most people are already at work, but as with the suburb of the city, it doesn’t much feel a weekday. People leisurely sip their coffees, proceed without a trace of haste along the tube platform and even the birds sound mirrier that their mates in West. Today I am on my way to a studio of my friend Francesca. Francesca is one of the best artists I know. Even if she doesn’t know it. Becoming her friend was like breathing fresh air. So different from some of the friends of mine in Italy. I was different in Italy. I was always scared of my ideas, without any confidence in my actions and words. Almost uncomfortable in my own skin. I gave the opportunity to take advantage of my self-doubt personality at that time. Forcing myself in some sort of unhealthy relationships, surrounded by bullying characters.

My friendships were mirroring my insecurities and so my love relationships. A disaster! Collections of unconfident, selfish men.

The first thing Francesca said to me when I came to her studio that morning was ” I’m so happy to see you” she was always happy to express her appreciation and love to everyone.

It’s a special bond what we have. We get over some difficulties in the past and I know I can rely on her.

I’m trying to be more independent from relationship now, less fan or groupie and more supportive and independently critical with people I like.

Francesca loves to say that we can travel the world together on the boat one day. She has a beautiful dark skin two years old daughter and a broken heart relationship now behind. She loves to say that being a single mum is the best thing had ever happened to her life.

Francesca is small and thin, naturally fit woman. The result of fast metabolism and a super excited fast thoughtful mind.

She has been travelling around South and Central America for more than three years and decided to come back to London when she got pregnant of her first daughter.

Laura is always with her. She is a small beautiful creature, the result of love between an Italian artist and a Colombian surfer that she met in Costa Rica.

Her studio is a bright space no bigger that my living room, full of old and new canvas, colours and ideas. I like to go there when I need some peace and inspirations.

We had a coffee together and start working in the most religious silence with Laura sleeping in her little confy bed.

Illustration: Kristine Bookshire – Print of original watercolor painting of girl in a kimono.

 

 

Eco-warriors designers celebrate discarded stuff


Transformation, the exhibition curated by Arpna Gupta by Create Culture put together eight amazing up-cyclers, eco-warriors, material scientists and artists whose work to give second life to unwanted materials.

transformation-title

Create Culture the Indian Design Platform back to the London Design Festival, after its 2015 debut – this time exploring the theme of Transformation.

It takes inspiration from the reuse, re-purposing of everyday Indian objects. Economic growth and rapid urbanization has meant that India has gone through a dramatic transformation in recent years: places that were sleepy towns just a decade ago, have evolved into unrecognizable mega-cities. Both new and old cities produce large quantities of waste, which is by and large poorly managed. Most of the recycling is done by an unorganized group the ‘kabariwallahs’ – who handpick, sort and transport tonnes of waste in every corner of the country.

The exhibition showcases a group of Indian designers embraced the concept of transformation and reuse it as aesthetic principle.

transformation
The Light Wallah – Photo: Emelie Tornberg

Curator Arpna Gupta says: “With so much emphasis on high design and high-tech in typical design shows, an exhibition focusing on waste as a resource brings a new perspective to the international conversation about designing for life in contemporary cities.”

The exhibition is designed by Scottish-Indian artist Jasleen Kaur, whose work is focused on social histories manifested in materials and objects. For this exhibition, she creates display plinths using industrial-sized food cans, 2.5 kg containers for tomatoes, chickpeas, spinach, oil and other foodstuffs.

transformation 3.JPG
The Retyrement Plan by Anu Tandor Vieira
During the opening last night I had the opportunity to talk to Alkesh Parmar. Alkesh is a British- Indian design maker. The Light Wallah series that he proposes in Trasformation, it is a series of restyled iconic throwaway items, the clay cup or kulahad. The kulahad are handmade terracotta vassels, usually discard after a single use. He collected and  gives them a new exciting form and transforming in lamps. The second function takes advantage from the shape of the object and the thermal quality of the material. The result is spectacular!

Minimalist and experimental, the work of the  Mumbai based architects  Disney Davis and Nitin Barcha from Studio Material Immaterial. Each project reuse textile material. The Papier – Mache’ are lightings inspired by natural objects, from flowers, mushrooms, to fern and mosses.

transformation-2
Papier- Mache by Material Immaterial, photo: Emelie Tornberg

Transformation gives new creative ideas, pushes the boundaries of design and questions traditional perceptions to new challenges of consumption.

Transformation is part of the London Design Festival.

You can visit the exhibition from 19th -25th September at the Guardian Gallery – Kings Place, 90 York Way, King’s Cross London N1 9GU.

 

Idealistic design to re-think a better world! Welcome to London Design Biennale


For the first year takes place the London Design Biennale this month at the Somerset House. Installation from 37 countries around the world will showcase their idea of Utopia.

somerset

The exhibits look at existing and future solution to create an idealistic and happier world, like wise more hypothetical interpretations of utopia.

The exhibition is held at the Somerset House, the venue is fantastic and partly make the Biennale itself.

Some of the installation are really connected to the main topic, really imaginative some more provoking and difficult to understand…

While some of the installations appear convoluted and tenuously linked to the theme, there is also imaginative, thought-provoking and intuitive work, which proves design’s role in both tackling world issues, and helping to highlight them.

Here are my favorite from the show:

Japan: A Journey Around the Neighbourhood Globe
By Yasuhiro Suzuki

japan        japan3

Japan’s offers a clever look at how design can be interpreted in alternative ways.

The  Artist Yasuhiro Suzuki bases his piece on the Japanese concept of “looking at one thing as if it were another” and distorts everyday objects to make them appear as different things.

Visitors will be look at strange objects which create optical illusions, such as spinning portrait images, an hollow tree stump which has water dripping into it from an unknown place in the ceiling every few seconds.

The piece looks at the endless possibilities of design, and also spreads the message that utopia can be found in being open-minded to different points of view. ( add notes from exhibition)

Lebanon: Mezzing in Lebanon
By Annabel Karim Kassar Architects

Beirut.JPG

 

Lebanon was lucky enough to have been given the entire outdoor River Terrace space of Somerset House  – the perfect setting for a colorful, authentic imitation of the streets of Beirut.

Beirut 2.JPG

Lebanon takes on Utopia  as an interactive pavilion. It looks at how utopia can sometimes be found at home and give visitors the chance to temporarily absorb themselves within the culture of the country.

Visitors can expect a microcosm of Beirut – authentic food and orange juice stalls, a barber, a cinema filled with hand-made mattresses and carpets and an area where they can play backgammon. A giant map of the city covers the floor, a reference to the fact that the city was until recently mainly navigated by landmarks rather than its map system.

Turkey: The Wish Machine
By Autoban

turkey

 

Turkey’s modern-day wishing well is a simple but poignant way of inspiring hope in a country which has been at the pinnacle of the migrant crisis.

Visitors can write their wish on a piece of paper, roll it up and slip it inside a futuristic pod, then step across a tunnel of transparent hexagonal tubes to drop it into the suction-powered machine.

They’ll then see it spiral through the tubes, and even make its way around the West Wing of Somerset House, where the tubes have been laced across the walls.

The destination of the messages is unknown. The installation incites hope and consideration for others through design. It brings an ancient concept ” make a wish”  into 2016 and openly invites visitors to interact with the display.

The London Design Biennale takes place at Somerset House, Strand, London WC2R 1LA from 7-27 September.

Special thanks to Damn Magazine to invite me to the  London Design Biennale and take part at their event organized by the Belgian Embassy at the Somerset Terrace!

 

Soviet Hippies: peace, love, and freedom in the Soviet Era!


 

soviet-hippies

 

I have always been interested and fascinated by subcultures. Yesterday I came across an amazing exhibition about the  Estonian Hippies  at the Red Gallery in Shoreditch.

“Soviet Hippies” curated by  KIWA and Terje Toomistu  is the result of the anthropological study and recorded interviews with fifteen people from the hippie generation in Estonia. The Soviet West which was distinguished by its unique scene of rock music and bohemian vibe.

stalin

Historically the Khrushchev Thaw (1956‒1964) that followed Stalin’s repressions brought a breath of fresh air to some places in the Soviet Union. In Estonia, which is often regarded as the Soviet West, the access to Finnish television and foreign radio broadcasts was the key source of divergence.

The “free world” were rocking in the spirit of the slogan “Make love not war.” The stagnation that accompanied Brezhnev’s rule (1964-1982), further marked with the events in 1968 in Prague, did not leave much hope for political progress nor the feeling of individual freedom. Thus the generation that grew up in late 1960’s took the world as a big lie and decided just to deal with their own things.

The hippie movement that captivated hundreds of thousands of young people and evoked various social movements in the West in the 1960s had a profound and lasting impact on the other side of the Iron Curtain. Affected by perceived Western freedoms and inspired by various spiritual traditions, a counterculture of flower children developed in the Soviet Union. Disengaged from the Soviet official ideology of proclaimed atheism, authoritarianism and Soviet morals, the Soviet hippie movement found its expression through rock music, the cult of love, pacifism, actual and cosmic travel, and self-fashioning that was generally considered unacceptable for Soviet citizens.

In the shadow of strict rules and harsh repressions, a colorful crowd of artists, musicians, freaks, vagabonds and other long-haired drop-outs created their own world, their own underground system that connected those who believed in peace, love, and freedom for their bodies and souls.”

hippies

However, the mere trend toward hippie fashions, long hair and great rock concerts was enough to make the Soviet authorities concerned. In the eyes of the KGB, the hippies were poisoned by degraded Western influences, posing real danger to the regime and the moral construction of Homo Sovieticus.

Highly reccomended!


Exhibition opens to the public from Saturday 3rd of September until September 18th From 12noon until 6pm daily. FREE ENTRY!

RED gallery: 1-3 Rivington St, London EC2A 3DT

More information:
Soviet Hippies exhibit homepage: http://www.hipid.ee/english/
Soviet Hippies forthcoming documentary film: http://www.soviethippies.com/
Red Gallery website: http://redgalleryldn.com/soviet-hippies-photography-exhibition-friday-sept-2-2016-1900-to-sun-sept-18-2016-1700/
Powerplant Bookings website: http://powerplantbookings.com/
Kiwa’s website: http://www.kiwanoid.com/;
KULTUSFILM: http://www.kultus.ee/