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  • irishtimes.com - Posted: March 26, 2012 @ 10:04 pm

    Culture shots: Deceptive, epic photos, stunning snow and new publications

    Laurence Mackin

    THE ABBEY IS gearing up for perhaps its most raucous show, and its first musical in more than 20 years – here Phillip McMahon, one half of Thisispopbaby, goes down the rabbit hole that is Alice in Funderland. Later in the week we’ll have a competition for tickets, so check back with us, and if you want a little taster of what to expect, why simply watch this video.

    JOTTA IS AN excellent, diverse design website that launched in 2009 as an initiative of the University of the Arts in London, to facilitate collaboration in contemporary art and design. It puts designers and artists together to create work, exhibit and critique their own output. Now it has taken the jump off the screen and on to the page with its first publication, a poster-sized compendium of selected artists from the site. Click here to have a look and order a hard copy for the entirely reasonable sum of £5.

    SPEAKING OF PUBLICATIONS, a new one is now making its way into the world. The South Circular is a quarterly e-journal of short stories, which you can buy over here. Each issue contains four stories by four emerging authors, with original cover art – and it costs three of your regular euro. The first edition, which is available now, has stories by Adrian Duncan, Shane Hulgraine, Eddie Stack and Eley Williams and an illustration by Fuchsia Macaree. A lovely piece of grass roots arts work.

    MIDDLE-CLASS WHINGE ALERT – this year I did not get to go snowboarding. This pains me greatly. However, watching this video temporarily alleviated the frustration, and then made it worse once the effects had worn off. Bah. And huzzah. This is one of the most beautiful snow videos I’ve ever seen, whether you are into powder or not.

    I REALLY DON’T know if these photographs have been doctored or treated much in post-production but they look absolutely outstanding. What at first appear to be empty concert halls and strange, cavernous architectural spaces slowly reveal their much smaller-scale identity – these are picture taking of the inside of instruments. There is a strange, still and quiet beauty about them. They were created by photography Bjorn Ewers for an advertising campaign for the Berlin Philharmonic and are quite simply stunning.

    AND FINALLY … artist Grayson Perry recently did a public interview with Decca Aitkenhead (he’s the one in the spectacular dress) based largely on questions sent in by readers of the Guardian. He’s always informative and educational company, particularly his take on therapy – most artists, he admits, would be terrified of therapy as they think it would lessen their quirkiness and maybe tinker with their muse, but he likens it to “clearing out the toolshed”. Marvellous company to keep.

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