Subscribe to The Culturist

Upside Down, Left To Right by Danny Cooke

Upside Down, Left To Right is a beautiful short film by Danny Cooke about the letterpress. It features one of the few remaining movable-type printing workshops in the UK, situated at Plymouth University.

The video features Paul Collier from Pymouth University who is obviosuly passionate about the letterpress. I completely agree when he says

The digital age does remove us form the tactile work, the more hands on - and i think there is a longing in our soul to get back to that. Even if we can't, there is something about these places that people want to occupy and try out.

It's good to hear that there are universities around Europe that are opening their own letterpress studios, so I hope the letterpress won't disappear.


I am curious to know any still exist in the Arab world. If you do know, please leave a comment with some info.


Call for Submissions - Mawtini (My Home)

© Hind Mezaina 

Tashkeel, the Dubai based gallery and studio space has announced a call for submissions for their next exhibition called Mawtini, which means My Home in Arabic. Submission date ends on 18th February 2012. The exhibition will run from 6th March - 30th April 2012.

I am very interested in this theme and looking forward to seeing what gets selected. Thinking of taking part myself. Here's the full brief. Good luck to everyone that submits their work. 


“Home, the spot of earth supremely blest, a dearer, sweeter spot than all the rest” - Robert Montgomery
We are living in an increasingly complex world in which barriers and borders are being broken down and where conventional concepts of “homeland” and “belonging” are being challenged. This is of particular relevance in the United Arab Emirates, where almost 80% of the population is living away from their so-called home country, and yet for so many of these people, this is truly “home”.
Within this context, we would like to invite both local and international artists resident in the UAE to explore the notion of what constitutes “home”. Do you consider “home” to be a country, a city, a particular building or place with a personal history and memories? Is home defined by the country of birth, country of residence, country of choice or by nationality or is it the place where one is, or where ones heart longs to be or where one simply feels that they belong?


Submission guidelines:

  • The call is open to all contemporary artists living in the UAE, creating original work using any medium.
  • Artists can submit up to 3 works, a series is considered as one work.
  • Previously exhibited artworks will not be accepted. Artworks presented must be made specifically for this call.
  • Application and images must be submitted not later than 18 February 2012
  • Shortlisted artists will be informed by email by 27 February 2012
  • Artists will be responsible for the framing and mounting of works selected for the exhibition before delivering it to Tashkeel.
  • Tashkeel reserves the right not to exhibit any work that differs substantially from the initial application or is deemed unsuitable for exhibition.


You can download the application form here. For more information, you can send an email to


Trailer Tuesday - Don't Think

Don't Think is a new film directed by Adam Smith featuring The Chemical Brothers' set at last summer's Fuji Rock Festival in Japan. It looks spectacular and I cannot wait to see it.

You blink awake and find yourself halfway up the side of a Japanese mountain. It's night time, right at the sticky middle point of summer. You're in an opening in a darkened wood surrounded by - say - 50,000 other revelers, each of them frenzied; delirious from an all-encompassing psychedelia that seems to be emanating from a stage somewhere in the near distance. Above you, lights swoop and strafe across armies of marching toy robots and galloping deconstructed horses; paint balls explode in front of borderline psychotic clowns. You're in the thick of it, consumed by the spectacle, absorbed into the crowd, surrendering to the noise and the visuals. Stunned by the jaw-dropping intensity of what you're witnessing, just one thought flashes through your febrile mind. Don't think. Let it flow.


Music Monday - Zulu Winter

Quite like the name of this London based band, Zulu Winter and really enjoying their music, particularly "We Should Be Swimming".





Same Hill, Different Day by Paul Octavious

© Paul Octavious

Same Hill, Different Day is a delightful photography project by Paul Octavious. He's been photographing the same hill in Chicago for the past few years, and he's also made a few short films of the same hill. This project goes to show, if you look hard enough, you will always find something new in what appears to be familiar. 

© Paul Octavious

© Paul Octavious

Here are three short clips of the hill filmed by Paul Octavious. They bring a smile to my face. I really, really love this project.  

Snow Day
"Time lapse of Sledders on the Hill after the first snow of the season." Paul Octavious

Kite Hill
"Maybe one of my favorite days." Paul Octavious

Ghana in Fog

"On a beautiful day in Chicago as I walked through the park, this insane fog rolled in! A soccer game started on one of the fields I was walking by. I photographed and took video of this experience. Later on after talking the video, I learned that the team was the Ghana World Cup Team! Amazing and random all at the same time." Paul Octavious 

Sixpenny Globe: The Round-The-World Web Series

Sixpenny Globe
is a new web series following two friends Kelsey Ogden and Kristen Refermat travelling around the world on a very low budget, spending $30 a day. They travel to 12 countries (France, Austria, Germany, Denmark, Egypt, Jordan, United Arab Emirates, India, Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam and Australia) in four months. 

The series will be available on Blip.TV, but no launch date has been announced. So make sure you follow the Sixpenny Globe website to get all the updates. 

I am really looking forward to this, I love to travel, in comfort I might add. So I'm curious to see how Kelsey and Kristen manage to do this by spending $30 a day.


Sixpenny Globe is a web series that follows Kelsey Ogden and Kristen Refermat as they circumnavigate the world on a budget of just $30 a day. They hitchhike, couchsurf, freeload, and street perform through twelve countries on four continents to prove that adventure, friendship, and broader horizons don't have price tags. 

There is no script. There is no cameraman. These are not filmmakers. They are two 22-year-olds 7 months out of college who set out with nothing but two backpacks, four cameras, and a tripod (which was lost the first day) to see the world on the cheap and bring the story home. 



LIFECYCLE: 365 days in the life of a bike in NYC

Red Peak Group, a design and strategy agency conducted a year-long experiment where they set out to photograph the same bike in the same spot for a whole year. Check out the result. 

Get a bike. Lock it to a post. Take a pic every day for a year.

Last year, Red Peak Branding conducted a unique urban experiment for Hudson Urban Bicycles. On January 1, 2011 we chained a fully loaded bike - bells, basket, lights and more - to a post along a busy Soho street. We took a picture of the bike everyday for 365 days, watching it slowly vanish before our eyes. The photos we took were then turned into a daily calendar. We call this project LIFECYCLE: 365 days in the life of a bike in NYC.


[Hat tip to @Stillsearching4 for finding this.]


Trailer Tuesday - Moonrise Kingdom

There's only one trailer to share this week - Wes Anderson's Moonrise Kingdom

Set on an island off the coast of New England in the summer of 1965, Moonrise Kingdom tells the story of two twelve-year-olds who fall in love, make a secret pact, and run away together into the wilderness. As various authorities try to hunt them down, a violent storm is brewing off-shore - and the peaceful island community is turned upside down in more ways than anyone can handle. Bruce Willis plays the local sheriff. Edward Norton is a Khaki Scout troop leader. Bill Murray and Frances McDormand portray the young girl's parents. The cast also includes Tilda Swinton, Jason Schwartzman, and Jared Gilman and Kara Hayward as the boy and girl.


And for the record, I want to live in Wes Anderson's world.



Music Monday - 2:54

© Maria Daun

Colette and Hannah Thurlow are two sisters that make up the band 2:54. Apparantly the name of the band comes from their favourite moment in The Melvin's song A History Of Bad Men when it goes from doomy to dreamy (according to Rob da Bank in this week's show when I first heard this song).

Join me and let's dreamily sway to this song.


An Ode to the Bicycle by Rob Penn

I really enjoyed this talk from Do Lectures by Rob Penn, an author, a journalist and a man that is passionate about bicycles. In this talk he shares the reasons why he loves the bicycle, his pursuit of the perfect bike and the relevance of the bicycle in the past, present and future. 

I ride a bike to get to work, sometimes for work, I ride a bike to bathe in air and sunshine. I ride a bike to go shopping. I ride a bike to stay sane. I ride a bike to escape when the world is breaking my balls. I ride the bike to savour the physical and emotional fellowship of riding with friends. I rid for a moment of grace. I ride to skip bath time with my kids. I ride for fun. I ride to hear my boy laugh. 

To Rob Penn, finding his dream bike was about,  

Craftsmanship and not technology... A bike that had character, that would never be last year's model. I wanted to savour the process of acquiring this bike because im not going to replace it. I wanted the bike im going to grow old with, the bike I'm going to ride for the rest of my life.

It's wasn't about finding the lightest, sexiest, trendiest, cheapest or most expensive bike. Penn was "looking for the best made", he was looking for artisans to create this bike. He goes on to say, 
Not long ago, much of what we owned was alive with the skill and even the idealism of the people who made it. We retain possessions that are well made and in time they grow in value to us and they enrich our lives when we use them, and we seem to have forgotten this as a society. Almost everything we own begins to deteriorate the moment it comes outside the box.


I now invite you to watch the talk An Ode to the Bicycle and I hope you enjoy it as much as I did. 

Rob Penn rides a bicycle to get to work, sometimes for work, to keep fit, to bathe in air and sunshine, to travel, to go shopping, to stay sane, to savour the physical and emotional fellowship of riding with friends, for fun, to scare himself and to hear his boy laugh. He’s ridden a bicycle most days of his adult life. In his late-twenties, he gave up a career as a lawyer and spent three years cycling round the world. His latest book, It’s All About the Bike: the Pursuit of Happiness on Two Wheels has been translated into eight languages. Rob lives in the Black Mountains, South Wales with his wife and three children and commutes to work across a heather moor on a mountain bike.