Lumiere London 2015 Photo Highlights

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It’s rare to get people out of the house on a cold January evening that doesn’t involved sitting someone warm for a few drinks. Yet, Lumiere London, a free series of light installations and interactive art have hundreds, possibly thousands of people a night crowding the streets of central London over a long weekend in pursuit of experiencing the city in a new light.

Lumiere first began in 2009 with the first show installed in Durham, now in it’s seventh year the show has expanded to Derry and now London. Sites around our nation’s capital included Piccadilly Circus, Grovesnor Gardens and King’s Cross and features over * pieces.

Here are my highlights of the festival:

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Litre of Light by Mick Stephenson Central Saint Martins Students, MyShelter Foundation

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Les Voyageurs (The Travellers) by Cédric Le Borgne (France)

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1.8 London by Janet Echelman

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Garden of Light by TILT (France)

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The Aquarium by Bendetto Bufalino & Benoit Desielle (France

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Brothers and Sisters by Ron Haseldon (based on the drawings by school children from the Isle of Dogs, London)

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Les Luminéoles by Porté par le vent (France)

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Centre Point Lights

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195 Picadilly by NOVAK

 

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4 Unmissable Debuts of 2015

While Lady Gaga and Katy Perry were hibernating in 2015, new artists emerged to battle for the pop crown. A debut album is often years in the making, makes or breaks an artist and can catapult them into stardom faster than they could ever hope. The new generation of pop is less about ‘loving you girl’ and more about the authentic human experience.

Halsey – Badlands

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19 year old Halsey aka Ashley Frangipane is truly a child of mixed musical heritage. An album with the swagger of Biggie, the melancholy of Johnny Cash (she actually covers ‘I Walk The Line’) and the bubbling personality of Robyn, Badlands is like the younger, messier sister to Lana Del Rey’s Born To Die. Halsey’s lyrics are raw and yet her voice I sweet and implies innocence, a great example of this is the opening lines of ‘Ghost’ one of the singles “Want them wearing leather / Begging, let me be your taste test”. This LP is more than it’ds first hit ‘New Americana’, Badlands is a stunning ode to reckless youth.

Troye Sivan – Blue Neighbourhood

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Troye Sivan’s critically acclaimed debut is a heartbreaking piece of art. After a long build up from his first single ‘Happy Little Pill’, the Australian youtuber has delivered Blue Neughbourhood, a stunning and emotionally mature album at 20. This LP is simple, evocative and catchy, everything that makes a great debut stick.

Hayley Kiyoko – This Side of Paradise EP

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Hayley Kiyoko marked her first hit with the queer synth jam ‘Girls Like Girls’. Her lyrical honesty, and provocative visuals show that Kiyoko has got the talent to be a great pop artist. Another songwriter to emerge from girl group The Stunners – the other being Tinashe – to make honest pop music. The Other Side of Paradise is simmering pop road trip through California, it’s dreamy, airy and romantic. Kiyoko makes a clear point to explore sexuality without exploiting, a talent that a lot of stars are unable to control. She is definitely someone to watch in 2016.

Dumblonde – Dumblonde

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Dumblonde is a reincarnated duo of Aubrey O’Day and Shannon Bex, previously of Danity Kane fame. The duo is dynamic, both aurally and visually. Their self-titled debut shows a striking balance of power within the group and a love of good quality dance music in the 2010s. These two woman show have pumped out some great club-bangers such as ‘Dreamsicle’ and ‘You Got Me’ as well as some synth heavy love jams such as ‘White Lightning’ and the trance like’ Tender Green Life’. A nice change from the repetitive EDM boring slosh of the charts, Dumblonde breathe fresh air into a well worn genre.

Subverting The Male Gaze: The 2015 Challenge

There have been quite a few articles this year about how women in the media are challenging the male gaze. While I would love to sit are write a thousand word think piece on how women in music have poignantly challenged the male gaze through songs and videos, Kat George of Dazed Digital has already done that.

Her article looks at how women in mainstream music and comedy have challenged the passivity and sexualisation of women in music videos to pander to that of the male gaze. One of the great things that she does in the article is not berate women for being empowered in their sexuality; she acknowledges that it dominates the media and praises the artists who actively go against the status quo. It is an excellent read that highlights an important issue in visual media and a great way to end the year.

Click on Miley to read Kat George’s article ‘How music videos challenged the male gaze in 2015’

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Volez Voguez Voyagez: Louis Vuitton Exhibition at the Grand Palais, Paris

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While in Paris, I decided to discover a bit more about the culture, mainly by drinking lots of coffee and walking in awe down Avenue Montaigne which houses every French designer flagship and then go to look at an exhibit on Louis Vuitton because, what else is there for fashion lovers to do on a Sunday in Paris for free?

First of all, the Grand Palais is a magnificent building, it is stunning from the outside and historical on the inside. Best known for housing many of Chanel’s fashion shows and The Devil Wears Prada (for me anyway). The fact that the Louis Vuitton exhibition was held there shows just how important the building is to fashion, on top of that one of the guides told us that the building used to be for aviation exhibitions.

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This was an unexpected learning experience, as we went in expecting to look at handbags for Jessica Simpson, we discovered a voyage through time and travel (literally!). As we navigated through the exhibition we were met with knowledgeable guides that informed us of some of the intricacies of the Louis Vuitton brand such as the monogram logos in the contemporary collections being inspired by those of the customers of the past to differentiate between custom pieces. Or that the bucket bag was originally designed by LV to carry champagne on long car trips in the early twentieth century.

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The craftsmanship of each piece of LV luggage is well beyond it’s time, most pieces look almost new and the pieces that are over 100 years younger blend in perfectly. Vuitton’s beginnings as a box-cutter clearly has everything to do with the fact that each piece is crafted to perfection. This exhibition is a great example of quality over quantity as the best pieces are custom pieces that have stood the test of time.

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DNCE ‘Cake by the Ocean’ – Single Review

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My first ever review was Joe Jonas’ first solo single ‘See No More’ on my Tumblr, which was about six years ago, so it only feels right that I review the first single from his new band DNCE. ‘Cake by the Ocean’ is an infectious, funky pop tune, it kind of reminds me of Maroon 5 before they gave up on making good music. This is the most mature song we have heard out of Jonas and it’s really fun.  The band balances everything perfectly: just enough funk, just enough guitar, and most importantly just enough falsetto to make a swelteringly sexy pop jam. Written with one of this year’s pop hit makers Justin Tranter, my only problem is that this came out in September and not in June. What does ‘we’ll be cake by the ocean” anyway? I don’t really care, I’m gonna keep singing it until I figure it out.

5/5

Song of the Summer

From one of the best albums of the summer, Off Future’s The Internet have a sweltering, sexy summer jam in ‘Girl’ off their third LP Ego Death. The track, produced by KAYTRANADA and Kintaro was a perfect way to start the summer and the album itself is a breath of fresh air to follow you around the stuffy city of London. This is just a taste of what The Internet can do, with funky, hypnotic production and Syd tha Kyd’s gentle, airy vocals seducing the ‘Girl’, this song is a can’t miss.