The Therapy Issue
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#5. March 2014
“I put my faith in therapy as others do in religion, or philosophy,” Anais Nin wrote in the seventh volume of her diary. A lot of us do too. My therapist says that’s normal.
DEALING WITH DARK DESIRES Yasaman Ahmadzai
A RECOVERING ECONOMY? Max Schwerdtfeger
IS GREEN THE NEW BLACK? Isabella Smith
A quick Google search explains the etymology of the word therapy is from the Greek, meaning “minister to”, “treat medically”, or “healing”, but today the word stands for a range curative processes: any type of means to recovery – personal (physical, emotional, psychological), financial and environmental. Cover image In this issue, themed Therapy, we consider therapies offered to paedophiles, and ask if the UK economy is recovering. We've interviewed Green Party leader Natalie Bennett about our suffering planet, written about the brain steroid modafinil, and embarked on a journey to the Sufi shrine of Baba Shah Jamal for some therapeutic music and dance. We’re honoured to feature Grande Riviere by acclaimed painter and UAL alumni Peter Doig for our centre-fold.
Photography by Elliot Kennedy, makeup by Gigi Hammond, Hair styling by Adam Garland using Balmain Hair UK Model: Ella Yates
This is the final edition of Artefact produced by the BA Journalism class of 2015. What a journey we’ve been on! Quoting Mark Twain , “for business reasons [we] have done our best to preserve the outward signs of sanity" - we hope you haven’t thought of us as too insane! It’s been a somewhat therapeutic process I think we have all learnt a lot about ourselves.
14 ASHER SVIDENSKY: CHASING THE WHISPERS OF TALES IN ASIA Danielle Agtani 18
SYNAESTHESIA: BLURRED SENSES Olivia Broome
20 MODAFINIL NIGHTS Alex Smith 24 WOMEN IN TAXIDERMY: NOT JUST A BIG GAME Divya Bhavani
Managing editor: Paula Wik
Thalia Aboutaleb, Hunter Bennett/Flickr, Divya
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26 PETER DOIG: THE MAKING OF A MODERN MASTER Astrid Madberg 30 THE DARK NET Sebastian Moss 34
NADIA LEE COHEN Paula Wik
MEDICINAL MAGIC MUSHROOMS Ed Oliver
SEEING GHOSTS Luke O’Driscoll
41 THE COURTYARD OF BABA SHAH JAMAL Hasham Cheema 42
NAZI HUNTERS Yordan Georgiev
FROM WARZONE TO WORLD CUP Ryan Davies
FAKE IT TILL YOU MAKE IT Ed Oliver
REJUVENATING THE PHILIPPINES Danielle Agtani
46 REVIEWS 48
SEEN ON CAMPUS
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LAST WORD Luke O’Driscoll
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Wakie app If you hate getting out of bed and you're constantly hitting the snooze button, then the Wakie app might just be the best, and weirdest, solution for you. The Wakie app was originally launched in Russia back in 2011, but got rebuilt earlier this year as one of the funniest applications available on Android and iPhones. The free app lets users set times for random people across the world to give them a wake-up call. It doesn't reveal phone numbers for privacy purposes but gives the ʻwaker’ 60 seconds to make the phone call, with a remaining 10 seconds as a warning before the call gets cut off automatically. I decided to try the app myself and see how it feels to be woken up by a complete stranger. I set the alarm for 7am in the morning: “Hello?” I said a little awkwardly. “Good morning. Wake up. I hope you have a really good day” said a female voice with an American accent. “Hey, thanks hope you have a good day too,” I replied in a daze. I don't know if she had just woken up too or if she was stoned, but the lady on the phone seemed rather dazy too. It was a fun experience but I would have been happier to wake up to someone a bit more cheerful. We both hung up the phone. The call was quick and casual, it wasn't the time to socialise.
ELLIOT KENNEDY The man behind the lens of Issue Four’s cover shot is Jersey-born, London-based photographer Elliot Kennedy. At just 28 years old, he’s an up-andcomer with serious credentials already under his belt, having assisted acclaimed British photographers Nick Knight and Gavin Watson before focusing on his own career. It’s a career that’s seen him shoot subjects as revered as Sir Ian McKellen, John Cooper Clarke, Josh Homme, MF Doom, Bishop Neru and Flying Lotus, while also racking up a client list that includes Adidas and Mr Porter. Now adding Artefact to that list, Elliot brings his “sensitive, raw and 4
honest approach” to our appropriately themed Therapy issue. His work is informed by a fascination with British subcultures and timeless style, with images that blur the line between documentary and fashion photography. “I painted from a young age and as I developed as a painter I found myself wanting to try out other mediums.I tried my hand with sculpture and somehow found myself being drawn to photography. I take great influence from the ordinary moments that surround our everyday. The things that may not seem a lot but hold so much value,” says Elliot. Words: Ed Oliver
Hrachik Adjamian, co-founder of Wakie, said “We make people happy with the voice of friendly strangers from all over the world who try to make you smile in the morning. When you use this app, you get to start your day with a smile on your face instead of a frown.” Words: Nelson Campos
The Age of L.U.N.A With a unique combination of Neo Soul and London rap over ’90s- inspired production, The Age of L.U.N.A are the latest to cause a storm in the London underground music scene. Forming in 2013 and hailing from west London, the band made their debut with Indigo which impressively featured on Noisey, Vice and Clash. They were also mentioned in the 2015 Ones To Watch list by DJ Semtex for BBC Radio 1Xtra. Gearing up to release their debut album under Clash Digital Records, The Age of L.U.N.A consists of singer Daniella, rappers Butch and Kyote and 16 year-old producer NK-OK. Their verse Their mixed
style and sound are a direct influence of their diheritage, from the Caribbean to the Philippines. sound can be described as retro, golden-age hip-hop with jazz.
Imagine Erykah Badu meets the Fugees, wrapped in UK lingo and stylish clothing. Lead singer Daniella describes the album as “very diverse, there is hurt but there is also joy, love and happiness which inspire a brighter sound.” Six Feet Deep, their most recent music video, captures the essence of London culture and the freshness of the group with the lyric: “I didn’t come dressed to impress, I’m fly as fuck. I don’t need to stress to prove I’m the best.” Words: James Childs THE IMAGE AS BURDEN
The horror game that helps victims of trauma What started off as a university project has turned into a biofeedback based interaction game called Nevermind, which helps players deal with trauma through stress. Creator Erin Reynolds told Artefact that, “in Nevermind you play as a ‘neuroprober’ – a theoretical “therapist of the future” who can venture into the minds of psychological trauma victims in order to help them unearth the root cause of the symptoms they have been suffering from. “As you venture through the surreal areas of each patient’s mind, the game will respond to the your ‘psychological arousal’ (stress, fear, anxiety, etc.) and this is where the biofeedback technology comes in. Some responses are more punishing than others, but each specific environmental reaction relates to the overall story of each patient, providing clues as to what the original trauma actually was,” she adds. The game uses heart rate variability to determine the player’s fear and stress at any point during gameplay, sending it back as biofeedback-based interaction that helps players through different levels of stress and fear. “We hope that Nevermind can help expand awareness of the breadth and complexities of psychological trauma as well one day, being able to serve as a direct therapeutic tool for trauma victims,” said Reynolds as she aims to give players something back in gaming.
A new retrospective at the Tate Modern is the biggest exhibition of Marlene Dumas’ work ever staged in Europe and chronicles her career from the 1970s to the present. Chronologically displayed with occasional exposure of later works, the exhibition spans over 14 rooms and showcases more than 100 of her most iconic paintings, collages and drawings. The wide range of themes from sexuality to death are seen in Dumas’ paintings as well as references to art history, popular culture and current affairs. The title of the exhibition takes its name from one of her 1993 works, depicting one figure carrying another. It was inspired by a film still of Greta Garbo and Robert Taylor, but also references images of Mary holding a dead Jesus in her arms. According to Marlene Dumas, the title of the exhibition was chosen to emphasise the complexity of the relationship between painting and image. Dumas became famous in the mid-1980s for her series of paintings based on the human form. The exhibition’s quite personal, as texts that go alongside each room’s walls are written by Dumas herself to give visitors an insight into her mind. Some of the featured paintings such as Martha My Grandmother (1984) are from Dumas’ private collection, giving the exhibition a more intimate feel. There’s also a political aspect in many of her paintings. Marlene Dumas: The Image as Burden runs until May 10 2015 at Tate Modern and costs £16 with concessions available. Words: Diana Tleuliyeva
Words: Josh De Souza Crook 5
Hunter S Thompson - Ten Years Since It has been a decade since Doctor Hunter S Thompson bode farewell to the world, “Wow, what a ride!”. His legacy remains as giving journalism the power to be free from the pangs of objectivity, offering a contingency plan to innumerable young writers fighting to right the world’s wrongs through blood shot eyes and debilitating hangovers. Not only have we inherited the Thompson dogma that gave successive maverick writers passage to fulfil their journalistic pursuits inebriated or buzzing, but we’ve been spectacle to the human behind the words, “I’d never advocate drugs, alcohol, violence or general insanity for anybody. But it’s always worked for me.” Escaping gravity: the growing popularity of flotation therapy If you’re looking for a new way to decompress, relieve aches and pains or are just up for trying something out of the ordinary then maybe you’d like floatation therapy. Lying down in a tank comprised of high content Epsom salt-water heated to 35.5˚C (skin temperature) you float on the surface, removing your sense of gravity.
opening up into the cascading pink, orange and blue lights emitting out onto the Epsom salts. You’ve got the option to stay immersed in the dim multi-coloured lights or plunge into complete darkness. I tried it without the lights but started to get a bit too disorientated, which wasn't too therapuetic.
At Floatworks in Canary Wharf, assistant Julie Pleteneva said: “It allows the brain to release endorphins, it replaces stress with a sense of well-being, increases energy levels, improves skin conditions, it’s a fullbody detox, and it also helps muscles to relax. It can also regulate sleeping patterns and help insomnia.”
Floatworks offers a one hour session but time goes pretty quick. At one point I wasn’t sure if I’d been in there 20 minutes or whether they had forgotten to let me out. It makes you start thinking more introspectively it’s easy to switch off completely and go into a trance-like state, happily floating without thinking about anything.
The tank itself is a bit like a futuristic pod, its giant white lid
Words: Sophie Hadley
YOGA WITH A VIEW Yoga fanatics are being given the opportunity to do their best downward facing dog against the backdrop of London’s beautiful skyline. The Yoga in the Sky classes will be held 80 metres up in the sky in Britain’s largest sculpture the ArcelorMittal Orbit, overlooking Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, home of the 2012 Olympics in East London. This unique yoga experience is just one of the classes available to view-loving athletes in London: other class venues include the glass floor at Tower Bridge, and Yogasphere on the top floor of The Shard – 310 metres above ground. Lasting one hour, the classes focus on technique, posture, and breathing whilst absorbing the breathtaking views of London at dawn. Yoga in the Sky is set to launch in East London on March 7. Classes will cost £17.50 and start at 7am for advanced and 8.15am for beginners. Words: Zanna Rollins 6
It goes to stand that Hunter left us with more than gonzo, offering, at various intervals, a glimpse into what he saw for the future, mentioning in one radio interview a vested analysis of the causality of 9/11 and his campaigning for fair drug reform that still remains as pertinent today as it did in the seventies. Bar the carousing anecdotes of political campaigns, backyard shooting ranges and 100mph open-road mescaline sessions, Hunter offered self-reflection, utter absorption and visionary realism, even if editorial praise was coupled with closed-knuckle-combos from motorbike gangsters. Words: Fraser Thorne
Plastic fantastic? There is strong evidence that suggests an increase of mental health problems in cosmetic surgery patients. A study by The British Association of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons (BAAPS) in 2014 found that women accounted for 90.5 per cent of all cosmetic surgery procedures – totalling 50,122 – the most common of these being breast augmentation. Norwegian Social Research found that women who decide to undergo cosmetic surgery are “on average more depressed and anxious” and are more prone to suicide. Studies have also found that there are two common psychiatric phenomena among cosmetic surgery patients: a heightened risk of suicide and body dysmorphic disorder (BDD). Lara, 25, had been diagnosed with depression at age 16, which she felt was well under control at the time of her first surgery. “It was after the surgery that things began to spiral,” she said. “The surgery was done, but I didn’t feel more confident, instead, I started to find more faults in myself – things that needed to be changed. “I hated my body, and as hard as I tried to work out, I wasn’t getting results fast enough. I was sure liposuction was the answer to my problems.” After her second surgery, Lara opted for post-surgery counselling:“I’d become almost obsessed with the way I looked and nothing I did felt good enough.” Currently, there are no (official) regulations in place within the UK to control or reduce the risk of mental illness in plastic surgery patients.
ARTIST RICARDO CAVOLO Ricardo Cavolo has naturally led an artistic life, beginning when he was born in his father’s painting studio in Salamanca, Spain. Now at the age of 33, still working as an illustrator and muralist, Cavolo feels like he belongs to the art world.
Words: Nadiyah Kaur Naidoo “I was living with gypsies since the age of three. I’m sure this affected me creatively, and positively in my work” says Cavolo. Having worked for both Nike and Urban Outfitters, Cavolo's vibrant drawings, reminiscent of old sailor tattoos, have been enjoyed around the world. Featuring the Mexican painter Frida Kahlo, his above illustration was made especially for Artefact’s Therapy issue. When asked why he draws Frida frequently, he said: “She was a very
strong person, who lived with both the good and bad. She had big and strong convictions and was loyal to them”. Kahlo started painting after she suffered severe injuries following a bus accident. Then part of a volatile marriage to fellow painter Diego Rivera, she became a powerful feminist and one of Mexico’s most famous painters. “I like Frida as a person and Frida as an artist. She had her own way of explaining life through her art, and that's not so common. She had so many ghosts inside of her, and she used her art to remove them. She used art as a therapy”. His book 101 Artists to Listen to Before You Die will be released by Nobrow in March. Words: Louise Bonner 7
Words: Yasaman Ahmadzai Image: Mr OH
Dealing with dark desires By encouraging paedophiles to come forward and be treated, we might effectively protect potential victims
A file released in February 2015 named top British diplomat Sir Peter Hayman, who served during the Thatcher administration, as a known paedophile. His abuses were apparently common knowledge among the Westminster elite of his period but kept secret from the public for more than 40 years. In the UK in the 1970s, pro-paedophile activist group the Paedophile Information Exchange (PIE), joined the National Council for Civil Liberties (now the Liberty organisation) and campaigned for the 'sexual liberation' of children. Hayman, who died in 1992, was a member. Before disbandment in 1984, PIE managed to wangle its way into mainstream political discourse and recruited around 1,000 members; it received support from student unions and was given a platform in national newspapers. Its activities now seems chilling and raise questions about how PIE became an accepted pressure group on the fringes of public debate. ** Honorary research fellow at the University of Winchester and author of two major studies on paedophilia, Sarah Goode, said that the process of understanding the historical responses of child sexual abuse, and ethics, is long and complex. She points to the publication in the 1940s of Professor Alfred Kinsey's books Sexual Behaviour in the Human Male and Sexual Behaviour in the Human Female. Kinsey’s texts and similar works that followed contributed to a change in public attitudes towards sexual behaviour. In 1953, Kinsey appeared on Time Magazine's cover and his work was widely praised for having a positive impact. But he also generated controversy by being the first to broach taboos such as sex before marriage, masturbation and homosexuality. His theories focused on the idea that an orgasm was the ultimate good, overriding any other consideration such as child protection. However, Kinsey has been repeatedly accused of having put his research before the welfare of children as he failed to report the abuse committed by some of his interviewees, as mentioned by his biographer Jonathan Gathorne-Hardy in an interview with The New York Times 8
in 2004. The Kinsey Institute has never denied the participation of men with paedophilic preferences in the study: “As stated clearly in the first Kinsey volume... the information about children’s sexuality responses was obtained from... a small number of men who had engaged in sexual contacts with children and who were interviewed by Dr. Kinsey and his staff,” said John Bancroft, director of the Kinsey Institute from 1995 to 2004. Kinsey’s attitude towards child ʻsexuality’ remained at the centre of academic and intellectual debate for decades; the malign influence of this strain of ʻsexology’ has only recently come under scrutiny as the now-adult survivors of 1970s child sexual abuse have begun to speak out and demand better protection strategies. As Goode suggests in her research, this open academic discourse and intellectualisation of the ethics of children and sex could be connected to the scourge of sex crimes committed against children in the late 20th century, which are only now coming to light. The term ʻpaedophile’ applies to a person who is sexually attracted to children below the age of sexual consent: in the UK, it means those aged under 16. One of Goode’s theories is that paedophilic tendencies are “hard-wired” into the developing foetal brain and that, as a condition, it must be made clear through a series of tests to assess whether it is an involuntary condition or if the abuser chooses to offend. “The word ʻpaedophileʼ should not be used as a synonym for ʻsex offenderʼ, because anyone who is sexually attracted to children always has the option to choose to refrain from sexual offending behaviour,” says Goode. ** Paedophilia is regarded as a serious sexual offence and those who are diagnosed with the disorder or charged for its crime are expected to join treatment programmes and serve a judicial sentence. Jon Brown, the NSPCCʼs head of sexual abuse programmes, says that the most effective forms of treatment for paedophilia are cognitive and behavioural therapies that use em-
pathy training and restructuring of distorted or 'deviant' thought patterns. “It’s not thought of in terms of there being a cure for paedophilia or sexual offending against children. It’s more that the risk will always remain but it’s important that risk is reduced as much as possible through a combination of strategies and also offering some hope for the abuser,” Brown explains. Lecturer of Philosophy at the University of London, Dr Rebecca Roache, has written about paedophile rehabilitation for Oxford University’s Practical Ethics blog and says there are paedophiles who resist their sexual urges and never go on to abuse children. “While offending paedophiles might be an appropriate target for our wrath, non-offenders who are battling their conditions and want to ensure they do not commit crimes deserve our sympathy and help. And it seems plausible to think that the more we help the latter type of paedophile, the better we will get at preventing the former type,” says Roache. Despite the existence of organisations offering help and preventative strategies to non-offending paedophiles, Roache is concerned by the lack of incentives for paedophiles to come forward for fear of being demonised. However, it remains unclear how effective the treatments are. According to Dr. Goode, a recent study shows that
around 20 per cent of men are capable of being sexually aroused towards children, and that around one per cent of all men are exclusively or primarily sexually attracted to them. Corresponding figures for female paedophiles are not easily accessible due to the subject being discussed rarely. In the UK, there is a reasonably well-embedded system of cognitive behavioural treatment for convicted offenders, but a lack of an advice treatment programme such as the Prevention Project Dunkenfeld in Germany – a pioneering scheme aimed at those who have yet to offend but are concerned about their behaviour and want help. According to Clean Internet Charity Foundation, on average, 15-20 individuals per month contacted the organisation in Berlin - more than 800 by the end of 2008. In Scandinavia, there are probation services for those worried that they might offend. Therapists sometimes work with paedophiles to understand and identify their urges, offering strategies and integrating behavioural therapy tailored to the patient’s personality. In certain situations, medication is prescribed to suppress the offender’s libido. Paedophilia involves unacceptable desires or practices that destroy innocent young lives, but the shifting academic debate and new treatments perhaps signal a fresh approach to tackling it.
Words: Max Schwerdtfeger Image: Mr OH
A recovering economy? Despite positive reports on the UK's economic outlook, doubts remain over the stability of the recovery
Britain has the fastest growing economy in the first world - or so International Monetary Fund (IMF) declared towards the end of 2014. The figures, from IMF, suggested that by the beginning of 2015, the UK economy should have grown by 3.2 per cent, more than any other G7 nation and meaning that the UK had emerged from the global financial crisis in better shape than France, Germany and even the United States.
delays and, as demonstrated in our half-year figures released in October 2014, an increasing number of people in employment but on low income and zero hours contracts are being referred to the Trust's food banks.” Those figures demonstrate that referrals to food banks under the Tory-Lib Dem coalition have increased by 38 per cent since this time last year.
The report – the most recently published by the IMF on Britain's economy – was followed in January by Christine Lagarde, the IMF's director, praising the UK's "eloquent and convincing" leadership of the rest of Europe and admitting that previous pessimistic forecasts on the UK’s potential growth had been wrong.
Of the factors influencing Britain’s economic outlook, perhaps one of the most pertinent is the falling price of oil.
It is certainly an about turn from the IMF who suggested in a consultation report as recently as 2012 that the coalition government's economic policies risked damaging the country's productive potential permanently.
However, it quickly became apparent that cuts to public services, as well as reluctance from the banks to lend, meant that people were gradually spending less and less as capital became scarce. This meant that growth was non-existent, and Britain became perilously close to slipping back into a prolonged recession as house prices dropped along with wages and the government struggled to meet its own deficit reduction targets.
** That Britain has done so well is remarkable when considered in the context of the fragile political and economic state of the world. However, before one offers our political leaders too many congratulations, one must remember just how fragile Britain’s economy really is, and that some are yet to see the true benefits of economic recovery. When, in 2010, Britain formed its first coalition government since the Second World War, it immediately set about imposing the most austere economic policies for a generation in response to the financial crisis threatening to engulf the world. It worked, for the most part, and Britain regained control over its public finances with an efficiency that no other country of equal size and population could. Unemployment levels not seen since the Depression crippled the United States, and Germany and France were, and still are, struggling to resolve the debt crisis in the Eurozone.
The initial signs of growth came in the shape of answering one of those problems. The government’s 2013 ‘Help To Buy’ scheme proved to be an effective initiative in helping first-time buyers get on the property ladder, allowing them to purchase a house with a deposit of as little as five per cent. The rise in GDP in the past two years can largely be attributed to this, but the question is whether or not the recovery will last beyond the next general election - this vote being perhaps the most important and unpredictable in many, many years. The outcome of the election will depend on who puts forward the most convincing argument in regard to the economy’s stability and growth, and all other issues – Europe, immigration, etc. – appear drab in comparison. The economy has dominated the rhetoric, despite references elsewhere, and accusations of fecklessness and heartless elitism being traded between Conservatives and Labour. It is the economy that will decide whether or not David
Cameron is given the opportunity to pursue his ambition to renegotiate the UK’s position in Europe, or if Ed Miliband gets his chance to shape government policies. “Growth is up and GDP is up,” says James Meadway, senior economist at left-leaning think-tank the New Economic Foundation. “It is a kind of recovery, but real wages are down and people are being paid much less than they were five years ago. The government has eased off austerity because people weren’t spending.” The election, Meadway says, will have an impact upon the recovery but not perhaps as much as one might imagine. ** “The difference between Conservatives and Labour isn’t great, the biggest of which being the speed with which austerity is imposed. What is interesting about the election is whether or not either party is forced into coalition with one of the small parties. The SNP, for example, is opposed to austerity.” “Standards of living have dropped,” adds Meadway. That is something echoed by the Trussell Trust, the UK’s largest network of food banks. “While there appears to be elements of economic recovery in the UK, our experience from those who are referred to our food banks is that a proportion of the population is being left behind,” says Trussell Trust trustee Alison Inglis-Jones. “Those people who are affected by benefit sanctions and
The UK has very little control over this and is at the mercy of international markets, which are influenced by events beyond its borders. The war in Ukraine, for example, has affected Britain because of EU sanctions against Russian, which has invested in the UK, particularly in London. How this concludes is largely dependent upon another crisis closer to home that is potentially far more severe – that of the Eurozone crisis. The crisis, or more specifically the Greek element of it and that of Ukraine, is inexorably linked because of prominent members of Syriza, the far-left government of Greece, having ties to Moscow. Alexis Tspiras, the new Greek prime minister, has made his opposition to sanctions against Russia very clear and the Kremlin is, according to the Financial Times, hoping to exploit both the vociferous resentment to EU-led austerity and Greece’s historic and cultural ties with Russia in order to undermine Europe. Britain’s relative ineffectiveness in both these cases is perhaps the biggest indicator to its inability to control its economic destiny. However, the government should be credited for, if nothing else, winning back some of the UK’s financial credibility. Whether or not it will last and give the UK the chance to prosper in the long run is another question, and one that will be decided by many different factors, some of which lie out of the control of any politician in Westminster. 9
IS GREEN THE NEW BLACK? The leader of the Green Party, Natalie Bennett, on votes, drugs, dogs and Himalayan happiness 10
Words: Isabella Smith Images: Jasmine Parker
Ten years on from the enactment of the Kyoto Protocol, the health of the planet is definitely going to pot. 2014 was the hottest year on record ever. According to NASA, global warming – which 97 per cent of climate scientists agree is due to human activities – is causing wildfires, insect outbreaks, increased flooding, heat waves, sinkholes, disappearing lakes and dying lizards. British politics is a steaming wasteland too. A party – led by a former commodities trader who looks how a weasel would if you bought it Burton vouchers for its birthday; that has spawned countless listicles along the lines of ‘Top 10 Most Deplorable UKIP Gaffes’; and whose last manifesto included a policy of compulsory uniforms for taxi drivers - has emerged from the underworld. Said party now has two actual MPs and is reaping serious percentages in by–elections – on average 28 per cent in each of the last ten. Everyone hates Cameron and Miliband is weird/ eats bacon wrong, and their policies are basically identical soundbites written by two very similar PR execs who went to Harrow together, so another hung parliament is looking likely in May. Never, since the emergence of the two–party system in the 1600s, has the country seen such a fragmented ideological landscape. In other words, the UK is rowing a governmental turd boat in uncharted waters. Enter Natalie Bennett and the Greens, on a solar–powered speedboat. The party is growing at an exponential rate: one bonanza week in January, its membership increased by 40 per cent from around 33,000 to over 46,000. Bennett et al. flicked ‘V’s at Farage from their (sustainable wood) deck as they sped past him with his mere 42,000 lackeys, their wake splashing his tweeds. The Greens are beginning to be known as a party that stands for more than just what it says on the tin. No longer are they solely associated with trees, veganism and weed; they’re attracting support for being an all-purpose anti-establishment outfit, speaking out against social injustice, nepotism, and the sorry state of the voting system. The party’s antipodean leader pledges to raise the minimum wage to £10 and fix day–to– day problems like the lack of cheap housing and the cost of train tickets – issues that, unlike the more nebulous question of greenhouse gases, people can grip onto. In fact, according to the ongoing survey by social enterprise Vote for Policies, (which is essentially a blind taste test of policy; respondents chose their preferred party having compared plans on a range of key issues without knowing who they belong to), the public like the Greens the best. More than half a million people have completed it so far, and 28 per cent of people – a solid eight point lead on the runners up Labour – would vote Green if policy was their only priority. And maybe they actually will. They sure can. In February the party successfully crowdfunded the (£500 a pop) deposits required to enter a candidate for the 150–ish seats in the country that a Green candidate wasn’t already standing in. This ensures that on May 7, every voter in the UK will be able to put a cross next to a little emblem of an earth radiating petals if they so chose.
A VOTE THAT COULD MEAN SOMETHING It’ll be a strange election; it’s the first one in recent British history that the electorate actually expect to result in a hung parliament. How this fact will affect voting behaviour is anyone’s guess. Bennett, blonde and head–bobby, settling into her seat in the faux-French station bar her assistant chose for us, has her suspicions. “I run into people up and down the country who just say, ‘I’ve been tactically voting for decades; I’m not going to do it anymore.’ People get that this has given us the kind of politics we've got now, when you've got a Labour and Tory party that you can hardly get a cigarette paper between.” The current First Past the Post (FPTP) voting system (where for every seat, the party with the most votes wins the seat outright and the votes of those who voted for any other party are totally disregarded, or “wasted”) is the enemy of the Green Party.
“The war on drugs has failed, and we should be treating drugs as a health issue not a criminal justice issue” They propose a move to a proportional representation (PR) system, in which the number of MPs elected from each party would more closely match the number of votes the party receives in total. PR is better suited to multi-party politics than FPTP, and many regard it as fairer. Bennett hopes the results in May will make electoral reform more of a salient issue for the public. “What we may well see in this election is quite a lot of MPs being elected with not much more than 25 per cent of the vote. You can imagine a lot of the other 75 per cent of the people [who voted] in those seats going ‘but hang on a minute, how did that happen?’. What will need to happen is such a groundswell, such a level of frustration that it really pushes people to force change.” It’s this kind of talk that aligns so neatly with the long held discontent of many discontent which, in recent years, has been
demonstrated by diminishing turnouts. She seems to get it. But she also thinks now is the time to cut the apathy and get down to the polls. “Business–as–usual politics has people thoroughly fed up and thoroughly feeling like they want change. People are increasingly grasping that it's in their hands to deliver that change simply by voting for what they believe in.” She’s all about empowerment, this Natalie. The recent ‘Invite The Greens’ Change.org petition probably contributed to the securing of the Greens’ inclusion in the televised leaders’ debates. But rather than the result itself, the best part for her was the fact that it could serve as “an important first step for lots of people to recognise that politics should be something that you do, not that's done to you – 300,000 people can see a case where their clicking had an impact.” A STEEP ASCENT Bennett orders a latte and announces her intention to keep her coat on; it must be chilly up there at the top. Having taken over the leadership from the Green’s only MP Caroline Lucas in 2012, she suddenly became a high profile figure at the beginning of this year, mostly attributable to the saga of the aforementioned leaders’ debates. But she doesn’t seem ruffled by the new levels of scrutiny this has brought. “There’s a certain pressure of knowing that at any point in time someone might take a photo of you and post it on Twitter or someone might comment on what you’re wearing, or you look a bit tired. There’s a kind of stress in that, but you learn to live with it.” Being Green, as she points out, means she's “probably” in the public eye on trains more than most other politicians. This is no understatement: last year she took a 48 hour (each way) train journey to attend a conference in Croatia because she doesn’t fly if she can help it. It’s these hints at a kind of ‘I’m–not–budging’ ideological integrity that make the party seem, for now, relatively trustworthy. No matter the result of the election, Bennett says, they won’t go into a coalition. But, “we could imagine a potential of supporting a Labour minority government on a vote by vote basis. So that means, you know, we don’t get ministerial cars, but we get to keep our principles.” HEADACHES AND HICCUPS These principles have resulted in a few headaches for the leader of late. She appeared on the BBC’s Sunday Politics programme, and certain factions of the press descended like vultures when she admitted that belonging to a terrorist organisation would not be a crime under a Green government. “In an extraordinary claim, Natalie Bennett said people should not be punished for what they think,” gasped the Mail. They’ve also been called out for suggesting the Queen could live in a council house in a post-monarchy Green society, and that they would withdraw from NATO and all but dismantle the armed forces. I want to know if they mind making awkward headlines – and perhaps putting off voters who would have otherwise supported them – by refusing to compromise their beliefs. It 11
elected, they would legalise marijuana immediately with a view to establishing a fully legalised, controlled and regulated trade. They would establish a licensed service providing analysis of any drug regardless of source, which would be available for a small fee. They would also begin reviewing the classifications of other prohibited drugs like heroin and acid, weighing up the costs and benefits of keeping them illegal. According to Natalie, “That's a policy that's based not just on principles but on very strong evidence from around the world about what keeps drug users, families, and communities safe.”
“...think about the fact we’re turning our oceans into a plastic soup...” takes me four attempts to ask the full question though, because she keeps charging in with her Defensive Politician hat shoved on, slightly askew, to “clarify” things “for the record”. Usually eating up questions like it’s breakfast time, her answers become choked and press–officerly at the mention of ISIS. She sounds like a fumbly David Cameron. On the subject of Queen Liz, she says she was trying to make “a serious and important point that nobody, nobody at all, should fear being homeless in Britain.” Fair enough. The long and short of it is that “Well, the thing is the Green party has principles.” Yes, we know. Insufficiency of the answer aside, she’s not just saying that. Compared to the two big dogs, the Greens are ideologues. Instead of playing into the endless Lab. vs Con. battle for the support of Middle England, their policies seem to be truly guided by ten reasonable core values, the aim being, according to their website, a “radical transformation of society for the benefit of all, and for the planet as a whole.“ And then there was that spluttering, ill-prepared interview with Nick Ferrari on LBC radio, the horrendousness of which cannot be overstated. For three whole painful minutes, Bennett failed to give a straight answer on the funding of a flagship policy – a pledge to build 500,000 new social homes by 2020. It happened weeks after this interview was conducted, so the question remains unasked: why don't you just stick to what you know? The green stuff. APPLE CORE VALUES Her three most pressing environmental issues: “Climate change, waste: when you think about 12
the fact we’re turning our oceans into a plastic soup, and securing our food supply.” As important as the planet is to her, Bennett doesn’t intend to ram environmentalism down anybody’s throat. “The reason I'm in politics is to change the way society works, so that doing the environmentally friendly thing is the easiest, simplest, cheapest, most obvious thing to do… It's a matter of changing the way society works rather than changing individual behaviour or thought.” She isn’t the guilt–tripping type either. “I'm not going to criticise anyone for, after a really long tiring day at work, falling into the local chain supermarket store, picking up a heavily over–packaged ready meal and whacking it in the microwave. What we need to do is cut working hours so people have more time to buy some nice food, cook it properly, have the leisure time and space in their lives to do that.” Her realisation of the importance of overhauling the system stems from years back: an experience on the campaign trail “over there on the Regent’s Park Estate,” she recalls, motioning westwards. Bennett tells of how she had knocked on the door of a “lovely” old lady. “She saw my green rosette and there were tears in her eyes. She said, 'I feel so guilty because I can't recycle my newspapers, because I walk with a stick and the bin is 500 metres that way.’ As I said then and as I say now, that's not your fault, it's our fault for putting a system that you can't use in place.” GREEN AND BROWN One system the Greens would change is the way we deal with narcotics in society. “The war on drugs has failed, and we should be treating drugs as a health issue not a criminal justice issue,” the green queen asserts. If
ROTTEN CORE VALUES And what about keeping the planet safe? Reckless consumption is one key area the Greens are passionate about tackling in order to do this. The European Environment Agency says it’s a major driver of environmental damage, and each year, we generate enough e-waste (discarded electronics products) alone to fill a freight train so long that it would go all the way around the world. The Greens say that “Our culture is in the grip of a value system which is fundamentally flawed.” But how can we have any hope of changing when us young people have been conditioned to be voracious consumers ever since our feet were the size of iPhones? “The fact is, very simply, we have no alternative.” That may be so, but the average person is subjected to hundreds of advertising messages every day. Buying superfluous junk can be difficult to resist. Bennett insists that there’s something in it for us aside from just the hazy idea of protecting Mother Nature though. “We need to change, but what's really important to get the message across is that we could actually all have a better life - a more fulfilling, healthier, less stressful life - in the new green economy. I think lots of young people and older people do really get this: chasing after the newest handbag, buying T-shirts that you wash twice and they've turned into a rag; all of that kind of stuff is not improving our quality of life.” So what would improve our quality of life? “If you ask people 'What makes you feel good, what do you enjoy?', it's time with family and friends. it's the opportunity to relax and do things you enjoy, and that's what we're aiming to create, a society with much more of that. Much less stress, much less fear of not being able to put food on the table or keep a roof over your head.” GROSS NATIONAL HAPPINESS So what about just straight up prioritising happiness, like Bhutan does? The Himalayan nation has had a policy of pursuing ‘gross national happiness’ instead of gross domestic product (GDP) growth since 1972. The psychological wellbeing of Bhutanese citizens and the health of the environment are what inform decision making - conservation of ‘community vitality’, traditional culture, resources and wildlife are high on the agenda. Their commitment to this holistic approach to economics is so strong that it’s enshrined in the country’s constitution. Could this strategy work for us? Or do we just enjoy moaning?
“Happiness is a bit of a wooly word. What I would like to see replacing a focus on GDP is what’s called a traffic light system. You look at a range of indicators that assess the economic health of society, the social health of society - things like inequality, the state of the environment - and what you want to do is keep all of those above the red light level. So you make sure that none of those are going horribly wrong and you manage the economy in a way that’s sustainable,” says Bennett. GREEN HUMAN BEING All this change the 49 year-old wants to effect, what inspired it? She worked as an editor at The Guardian Weekly until 2012; was it an abrupt transition from headline writer to headline maker? Apparently not. “I think I always knew at some point that I'd leave journalism, because if you spend a couple of decades doing it, you see a lot of the same very depressing stories again and again. You know, African famines, political coups, democracy breaking down.” There’s something human and relatable about the way she finishes; “You get to the point where you really want to change the news, not just report it. She still maintains a blog though, the esoterically titled Philobiblon, which takes
its name from a medieval collection of essays about library management. So does she have any more obscure interests? “I can't eat gluten so I have to get creative with cakes. I make a mean lemon polenta cake. I don't know whether that counts as obscure.” Imagine her sat at home, watching Bake Off and wincing at the proclaimed density of a macaroon, and she takes another step away from politician-bot territory. Philobiblon also has a whole section dedicated to all the dogs she’s ever owned, complete with biographies and pictures. Which was her favourite? Kelly springs to mind first for being “super intelligent.” “Mind you, Beanie the Staffie was rather nice too. She was utterly irrepressible, that's what was nice about Beanie. It might be on the website, one of the photos is of Beanie carrying her ball, with her head up like this...” She proceeds to do her best ‘excitable canine’ impression, hands up by her face. By anyone’s standards, Natalie Bennett is not your normal politician. But the Green Party is not your normal party. And like Beanie, she could turn out to be irrepressible. If she can avoid the unavoidable, awkward questions, that is. 13
Words: Danielle Agtani Photos: Asher Svidensky
ASHER SVIDENSKY CHASING THE WHISPERS OF TALES IN ASIA Documentary photographer Asher Svidensky discusses his love for Mongolia and capturing age-old traditions, which are evolving and fading in a modern world 14
“I’m really interested in past generation’s traditions, I like the fact that those cultures, thousands of years old, still exist.” Travelling across the tographer, of stories
the uncharted and secluded areas world, freelance documentary phoAsher Svidensky pursues the myths to bring them to life.
er: “One thing I’m really interested in is past generation’s traditions, I like the fact that those cultures, thousands of years old, still exist.
Gaining recognition for his projects such as The Eagle Hunters of Mongolia and The Yin-Bou Fishermen, Asher has delivered a TED talk on storytelling and had his work published in National Geographic (USA). But born in Israel, where there is compulsory recruitment for the military, Asher took an unconventional route to success.
“When you go to the eagle hunters, there's no road and electricity. It’s just how it was all those years ago. You see the eagle hunter, the traditional clothes that were worn by their ancestors using the same techniques, the same style of art and you see Mongolia in the eighth century, just for a little bit before someone’s phone rings.”
Starting as a clerk, he pushed his way to become a military photographer, which is where he learned photography: “It was amazing; I had a lot of spare time to work on myself as a photographer and go and see places that I couldn’t have done any other way, like going on choppers, going on treks, going for training.”
Initially Asher documented the eagle hunters’ lives but felt the photos mimicked similar stories, and pursued a new way of narrating the Kazakh eagle hunters. “I decided to focus myself, stop looking for a portrait of a centuries-old image of a Kazakh eagle hunter, and search for a portrait representing the future of this ancient Mongolian tradition.”
Fresh out of the military, Asher followed his dream of travelling through Mongolia and started his storytelling adventure. His two main photo projects speak of conflicting traditions, one shows how age-old traditions can evolve, while others fade in a modernised world.
Tradition-wise, when a boy turns 13, and he’s strong enough to carry the weight of a grown eagle, his father starts training him in the ancient hunting technique. Asher photographed two boys training to be eagle hunters, 13 year old Irka Bolen and 14 year old Bahak Birgen. But to demonstrate the increased equality and number of educated women in Mongolia, Asher decided to search for a final female subject.
Asher went to west Mongolia to document the lives of Kazakh eagle hunters, who tame eagles for hunting smaller animals, such as foxes and marmots. The preservation of the culture of eagle hunting is what enticed Ash-
Asher photographed Ashol Pan, the daughter of an experienced eagle hunter: “I was amazed 15
by her comfort and ease as she began handling the grand eagle for the first time in her life. She was fearlessly carrying it on her hand and caressing it somewhat joyfully.” Asher’s second photo story of the ‘Yin-Bou’ fishermen on the Li river of Xing-Ping village in south China is a more sombre tale. ‘Yin-Bou’ fishing is a 16th century art form where cormorant birds are used to fish. Asher photographed 73 year old Yue-Ming and his older brother, 83 year old Yue-Miang, who have been fishing in the Li river since they were 15. They are masters of the ‘Yu-Khuo’ technique which uses a lamp to control their birds in the water and collect the fish. “Traditionally the fisherman would live in a boathouse on the river itself, rarely stepping on land and migrating along the river with fish - following their source of livelihood. They would trade a portion of their daily gain of fish with other villagers for their own basic needs, as they say: on the river there is no use for money.” But today, money is everything. Yue-Ming and his brother, are the last of their kind, and 16
make a living by presenting their form of fishing to others, almost as small floating museums. The project was supposed to be a continuation of The Eagle Hunters of Mongolia, photographing future generations of old traditions. But there are no successors for this art as fishermen and their families prefer for their children to find a different way of living in modern China. After the cultural revolution of the ʻ80s, most 'Yin-Bou' fishermen were pushed aside by industrial fishing boats, collecting huge numbers of fish each day in the Li river. Asher’s project instead, focuses on documenting the tradition of ‘Yin-Bou’ fishing before it fades. Moving on from Asia, Asher hopes to follow the stories he’s heard of Siberia: “My dad told me about this area near Sakhalin where everyone travels by dogsleds. When you wake up in the morning, you see these tiny hills of snow outside and discover there is a dog underneath. They are completely fine, they just get covered in snow as they sleep. I grew up with these ideas and I would finally love see these myths in real life.”
BLURRED SENSES A synaesthete explores the vibrant and bewildering world of tasting words, seeing music and visualising auras
“When I was a child, I recall other kids hitting each other and it hurting me. I used to say, 'Don’t hurt everybody!' and the other kids and teachers would be really confused. I couldn’t watch horror movies - I still have a difficult time watching them - because I could physically feel the gore I saw on TV,” explains Francy Mae Clark, a student at McNally Smith College of Music in Minnesota. Francy exists in a world of synaesthesia, the neurological condition which mixes the senses. This is a world where people taste words when they speak them, feel someone else's physical pain when they're hurt, and visualise multicoloured auras surrounding people's bodies that they perceive as representing the person's warmth and personality. Two of the more common forms of synaesthesia are grapheme-colour, where every letter and number is assigned a colour in that person's mind, and time-spatial synaesthesia involving days, months, numbers and the alphabet in a spatial form. Francy's brain is wired in such a way that gives her mirror-touch synaesthesia, allowing her to experience a similar touch or pain sensation that another person feels, just by watching them. “I remember one time when I was a child, my friend fell and scraped her knee up so badly. But I remember trying really hard to be there 18
for her and it was difficult because I could feel the pain too,” she says.
feedback bring me pain to my neck and sides. Other sounds can give me physical pain too.”
“I’ve learned to be able to function while feeling pain, but it would be nice to be able to be there 100 per cent for my loved ones in pain.”
Famous synaesthetes in the music industry include Pharrell Williams, Lady Gaga, and Lorde, who in a podcast interview with Yoni Wolf described her song Team as being “full hot pink”. Wassily Kandinsky also used the condition to create paintings, and Baudelaire's famous poem Correspondances shows his synaesthesia when he writes: “There are perfumes fresh like the skin of infants / Sweet like oboes, green like prairies”.
Along with mirror-touch, Francy has soundsight, sound-touch and sound-temperature synaesthesia. She sees sound, feels sound on her skin and in her body, and feels temperatures from music. For a creative music composer synaesthesia gives her the ability to connect with music on a whole new level. Think human sound system and iTunes visualiser combined. “I can physically see sound, however, it’s not in colour like many other sound-sight people see it. It’s more like a disturbance in the atmosphere. Maybe the way the air above a campfire looks? Kinda like that. I see it with all sounds, but it's more defined when I listen to music. This helps me when I’m writing orchestra music because I can think of what I want it to sound like and look like and feel like,” she explains. “This is a blessing and a curse. Music will feel silky or smooth or bubbly and wet. That’s also a great experience to [have] when listening to music. However, high pitched frequencies like squeaky car brakes or microphone
What triggers the senses to be mixed is still a mystery, but in the last decade there has been a growing interest in the colourful brain condition. Studies suggest four per cent of people are synaesthetes. Carly Jaques, a research assistant at the Max Planck Institute for Psycholinguistics in the Netherlands, is part of a team conducting a large-scale study into the genetics of synaesthesia: “Synaesthesia has been observed to run in families; however, previous genetic studies have not converged on a single locus in the genome that would single-handedly explain how synaesthesia arises; rather, it appears that there are multiple genes in the human genome that contribute to building a brain that is capable of synaesthesia. “The expectation is that while these genes have normal functions in everyone, slight changes
Words: Olivia Broome
in them, that we call ‘variants’, might be responsible for subtle differences in the brains of synaesthetes that result in the enhanced crosstalk among senses,” says Carly. Carly and her team, lead by scientist Katerina Kucera, are collecting upward of 1,000 grapheme-colour synaesthetes to compare their entire genomes to those without synaesthesia. To take part in the study, each participant first completes a genetics test and those participants that meet the criteria are sent a saliva collection kit in the post. “People experience it in many different ways and some experience it much more strongly than others,” she adds. “Researchers often draw similarities between synaesthesia, sound symbolism and metaphor, which are common to all of us.” Hannah Desautels, a computer animation student at the Savannah College of Art and Design, explained how her sound-sight synaesthesia affected the way she learned to play musical instruments and how it enhances her creativity. “I've been to a few classical concerts, which I adore because I get to watch the sounds form from the instruments and dance around the room, and no one has a clue what I’m looking at. In third grade we had to learn to play the recorder for music class, and within a month or so I stood out as that little girl that played Beethoven by ear on a little plastic recorder.
“I’ve had violin, saxophone, and guitar lessons as well, but I never pursued any of them despite that they came so naturally. The truth is, they were boring to me. I didn’t want to make just one colour – I wanted to make the whole rainbow, to be the whole orchestra. Just one colour wasn’t enough, and it was frustrating,” Hannah adds.
“the look on a person’s face when I tell them the colour of their voice”
For synaesthetes it's difficult to imagine what the world would be like without seeing music or feeling other people's pain. The experience is vividly personal and difficult to describe to those who can't live it. “Something I never get tired of is the look on a person’s face when I tell them the colour of their voice. I think it makes people feel very special – when they find out they have something unique that only applies to them. I think that’s the closest I can get to sharing what it feels like emotionally, to have synaesthesia”, explains Hannah. “But there’s another side to that. In fact, it can get a little lonely – seeing things that are so beautiful but being unable to share it with anybody. Even other synaesthetes don’t see things the same way I do. That’s the thing about synaesthesia – it’s different for everyone who has it. If I think about it too much, I get kind of existential. Why me? Why can’t they see what I see? Why can’t I share it with them? It’s a beautiful lonely world, but I wouldn’t trade it for anything.” 19
Words: Alex Smith Image: Ida Amanda Ahopelto
MODAFINIL NIGHTS WHY LONDON STUDENTS ARE TAKING BRAIN STEROIDS
A story about neurotransmitters, painstaking procrastination and overachieving dealers
It’s a soggy Friday evening in south London, and something is not normal. It’s not the weather that’s different, or the traffic noise of the A23 outside. It’s my brain. Ideas, which normally emerge from my head with the urgency of an episode of Countryfile, spurt like a shower head. In fact, I actually have to get out of the shower early to note down five before I lose them. Time is going extra fast, spiralling away at a worrying pace. But I’m writing with a sense of flow and connection that I haven’t felt since I wore a school uniform and my brain was all fresh and shiny. I’ve taken modafinil, and I think it’s working. ** Modafinil is a psychostimulant drug used to treat the excessive sleepiness that comes with narcolepsy, shift work sleep disorder and sleep apnea. It also has a growing fan base on campuses across London. It’s not known exactly how it works, but research shows it leads to an increase in the neurotransmitter dopamine, whose job is to relay messages from neuron to neuron. The result, put simply, is that people who usually fall asleep too much don’t fall asleep. Its eugeroic (wakefulness-promoting) properties are part of what make it so appealing to users who don’t have sleep disorders, and according to a review of the studies relating to the drug, the range of off-label (i.e. naughty) use is outpacing research on the subject. Special forces personnel, surgeons, pilots, Oxbridge students, lawyers and other alpha types have been using cognitive enhancers for years now, but modafinil - which was developed in the late seventies in France - is starting to filter down below the stratum of the hyper-functioning, aided by its perceived lack of adverse side effects. You see, it’s not an ordinary stimulant. It has a more complex mechanism of action than amphetamine based ADHD pills, which used to be the speedy-feeling performance enhancer of
choice for essay-writers and investment bankers alike. Neurologists say this means it has a lower liability to abuse and a lower risk of adverse effects on organ systems than its addictive, brain-chemical-addling predecessors. It’s also less illegal to possess it without a prescription. Better known ‘smart drugs’ Ritalin and Adderall are both Class B, meaning the penalty for possession is up to five years inside, but the big M is only illegal to supply. ** A study of modafinil’s effects on cognitive performance found that it improved “fatigue levels, motivation, reaction time and vigilance,” while a 2013 review carried out by King’s College London in collaboration with the Universities of Cambridge and East London concluded that its use in conjunction with antidepressants relieves depression more effectively than antidepressants alone. A quick Google of the subject throws up stories about students working for thirty hours solid and bashing out twenty page reports in one sitting. No wonder then, that its use is becoming increasingly commonplace among London students, who call it moda. The University of London, which has colleges all over the city, declined to comment on the issue, but I found some attendees who would. As most people seem to, I first heard about it by word of mouth, from a friend at said university. Sam*, a student at the prestigious Imperial College London, was trusting it to get him through revision for an exam on “really hard physics shit” at a time when he only had a few days free because of work commitments. “I’ll be able to just sit there for four days and rinse it. Moda in, distractions out,” he said. ** Sam found out about it from his friend Luca*, who buys it online from China and sells it for less than a quid per pill. Seeing as he’s often selling it to his peers, Luca is one of the few people who have a good idea about the scale of moda use - most people tend to treat it with secrecy, preferring to let others believe their success is organic. 21
“As far as I can tell, more and more people are relying on it. Probably around thirty per cent. I get lots of calls from people freaking out around deadlines and exams, so I created a calendar of all the different dates on all the main courses when I’ll be in demand. That means I can stock up ahead of time and I’ll never run out.” Drug dealing, overachiever style. He’s seen exponential growth in his customer base from word of mouth recommendations. “Someone who uses it sees their friend struggling to keep up with the workload, and they feel bad. They suggest it. The friend tries it, benefits from it, and suggests it to another struggling friend. The whole thing just snowballs.”
“It feels like there are somehow more connections within my brain”
“This year is the first time that people paying the new £9,000 fees are in their final year. They feel more pressure to succeed because they’ve sunk far more costs into their degrees. When you’ve spent nearly thirty grand on tuition, I guess you want to get a good grade. I’ve noticed it socially too; the nine-granders don’t party as hard.”
Although that’s not the plant that my stuff came from - the factory that made mine is in Sikkim state, nestled in the mountains between Nepal and Bhutan, while the FDA-blacklisted one is nearly 2,000 km away on the shores of the Arabian Sea - it doesn’t inspire much trust in the company. It’s risky at best to welcome drugs of such sketchy origin into your bloodstream.
As a resentful 9K kid myself, this resonates with me. The idea of getting a bad degree classification is almost three times more horror-inducing than it would have been at the old fee levels. I might as well try a bit of this so-called wonder drug for the purposes of research then, see what all the fuss is about.
It’s not particularly safe to provide websites that operate outside the law with your bank details either. I was careful to use a credit card that was just about to expire, but the UCL seller has had countless fraudulent transactions up to the value of £200 on the card he uses. “You can get them reversed, but if you’re not the sort of person who checks their statements, you definitely shouldn’t be buying from these sites.”
** I order a batch online from the least shifty looking website selling the drug, taking care to avoid the one with a ‘welcome’ video featuring an American woman with unsettlingly assertive diction, who claims to ship directly from - of all places - Sheffield.
The resultant feeling is not what I was expecting. The internet had promised a cerebral land of infinite focus and productivity. Real life people said I would be acutely antisocial and wee a lot. Apart from frequent dashes to the toilet, none of the above is true. On me at least, modafinil has a subtle, multi-faceted impact. The most useful effect is a compulsion to carry on working after several hours on the same task. The urge to complete whatever I’m working on is compelling.
Then there’s the inherent danger of ingesting internet-sourced pharmaceuticals from markets that tend to be laxly regulated in comparison to the UK. Poor quality generic drugs - as a result of substituting ingredients for cheaper alternatives and inadequate quality control measures - have blighted the reputations of the Chinese and Indian industries in recent years, and the provenance and purity of drugs bought online just can’t be relied upon. Since the start of 2014 the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has imposed import bans on six Chinese pharmaceutical plants for failing to operate “in conformity with current good manufacturing practices.” In India, that number is eight, including one of the plants operated by the company that ostensibly produced the moda I used, Sun Pharma, which caused its share price to tumble.
Another seller, a Bristolian who’s been supplying and attending University College London (UCL) for more than three years, thinks there’s a different reason for the recent, noticeable upsurge in ubiquity.
It arrives about a week later, in a little jiffy bag postmarked Hong Kong. On that wet Friday I crack one of the white, unassuming looking tablets in half and wash it down my throat.
Sounds like a rumour mill, friend-of-a-friend scare story, right? Nope. “He tried to sell me a £50 engineering textbook for a tenner so he could use the money to get ‘one last hit’ before rehab.” He’s now retaking the year.
** When I do stay on task, it feels like there are somehow more connections within my brain, like a tube map that suddenly has twice the number of underground lines. Lateral thinking is improved; parallels and links between pieces of information and ideas reveal themselves when they would usually remain hidden. When I’m writing, unconventional metaphors fight to become permanent sentences. It keeps me awake too, though not in a high, conspicuous or caffeine-jittery way. At 2.45am, nearly ten hours on from when I started, I’m still working away in the same spot; although nothing much of any use is coming out of my cranial shower head anymore.
Despite the prevailing wisdom in moda-acquainted circles, there are side effects to contend with too. One day I take two tablets and suffer uncharacteristic anxiety. My boyfriend, on a tour of duty in Sierra Leone, fails to reply to a text message and I imaginatively conclude that his camp has been overrun by Boko Haram. Then there are the stomach cramps. The organs in the upper part of my chest feel like they’re constricting, dry tissue on dry tissue. They make muffled noises like big bubble wrap pockets popping. My oesophagus feels unnervingly rigid. At one point, my resting heart rate increases from my usual fifty beats per minute to ninety, and I’m grinding my teeth like a pill fiend at a warehouse party.
** However, if I do get distracted, it’s pretty engulfing; diversions are treated with remarkable diligence. I spend at least an hour on Amazon studiously comparing the reviews of various ceramic kitchen knives. Screens suck at my eyes to an uncomfortable extent. Becoming focusedly distracted is an occupational hazard, apparently. The UCL guy says he once spent a night that he had intended to work on an essay sorting through the cyber-wilderness of his Gmail account, deleting marketing emails and archiving everything from the last two years into arbitrary folders. 22
If it sounds too good to be true, that’s because it is. For a start it doesn’t really work for some people. One London College of Fashion student who took it to try to make headway with her dissertation said, “I was hoping for some moment of epiphany that never happened. It just felt like my brain was tensing/frowning.” For others, it’s a gateway drug. Sam says “there was a guy in my year last year who moved on from moda and got addicted to amphetamines and couldn’t work without them. Then he got addicted to cocaine and ended up in rehab.”
This is where I tap out of my experiment. However pervasive the trend is on campuses around the capital, however many IQ points the average user has, taking modafinil isn’t clever, and it won’t make you cleverer. As Sam - who’s gone cold turkey after realising he had an insidious habit taking root - says, “If you’re dependent on something external for your success, you’re just digging yourself a hole. How are you going to sustain it in the future when the drugs run out?” * Names changed by request
Dimensions x Boiler Room Opening Concert 26.08.15
Performing Live in a 2000 year Old Roman Amphitheatre
Four Tet Live Little Dragon Floating Points Live
Mount Kimbie /dj set
Seven Davis Jr
Hessle Audio: Ben UFO x Pangaea x Pearson Sound
Plus dj support from special guest Dimensions artists TBA
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Dego (4Hero) 22a presents: Tenderlonious, Henry Wu, Al Dobson Jr
Motor City Drum Ensemble
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Romare Intergalactic Gary
Dele Sosimi Afrobeat Orchestra
Daniel Avery Horse Meat Disco
Goldie Paranoid London /live Truncate
Fierce Gabriel Garzón-Montano Flako
Cosmic Slop DJs
Lexis (Music Is My Sanctuary)
Giegling presents: Vril /live, Edward /live,
Konstantin , Dustin
Plus many more TBA
BOY BETTER KNOW RUN THE JEWELS (JME, SKEPTA, JAMMER, FRISCO, SHORTY & DJ MAXIMUM)
(EL-P & KILLER MIKE)
WILEY - NOISIA - FLATBUSH ZOMBIES PETE ROCK - JERU THE DAMAJA - THE BEATNUTS Outlook Festival Opening Concert - 02.09.2015 Performing Live in a 2000 year Old Roman Amphitheatre
JURASSIC 5 RONI SIZE REPRAZENT (LIVE) TROJAN SOUND SYSTEM GENTLEMAN’S DUB CLUB PLUS SPECIAL GUEST
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DIGITAL MYSTIKZ - DJ EZ - GOLDIE - MOUNT KIMBIE (DJ SET) CUTTY RANKS - DAVID RODIGAN PROTOJE & THE INDIGGNATION - TIPPA IRIE THE BUG FEAT. FLOWDAN, MANGA & MISS RED ZED BIAS - BODHI - PALEMAN - DJ HAUS STORMZY - P-MONEY - BIG NARSTIE - MUMDANCE OM UNIT - SHERWOOD & PINCH - FKJ (LIVE) - KAHN & NEEK THE UPBEATS - ENEI - MEFJUS - ROCKWELL - DBRIDGE - SKEPTICAL - KASRA IRATION STEPPAS - HIGH FOCUS RECORDS - LITTLE SIMZ - RODNEY P - SKITZ MUNGO’S HIFI - DISTANCE - KROMESTAR - COMMODO - KAIJU - EMPEROR - IVY LAB TROJAN SOUND SYSTEM - CHANNEL ONE SOUND - GORGON SOUND ALEXANDER NUT - JON PHONICS - DJ MILKTRAY 1) 'Like' the Artefact Magazine Facebook page facebook.com/artefactmagazine
02 - 06 September
Fort Punta Christo - Pula, Croatia
A celebration of sound system culture
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Words: Divya Bhavani Images: Mary Clance
WOMEN IN TAXIDERMY: NOT JUST A BIG GAME An intimate look into the art form that doesn’t concern just boys, blood and bones.
Upon walking into the Mole & Dove and Curious Menagerie studio, you are swept away by two distinct aesthetics in one room. The Curious Menagerie has a vintage, Victorian vibe with earthy elements of wood and leather. You see a squirrel protecting its pinecones on a terracotta pot and a rook perched on a tree stump. Mole & Dove occupy the kitsch and ethereal side of the room with mice in teacups wearing tiny pearl bibs and avant-garde headpieces such as a hair comb with a brightly coloured goldcrest, the smallest bird in the UK.
Sammy owns the studio Mole & Dove, her childhood curiosity for biology as well as her upbringing on a farm in Bath paved the way to taxidermy. “When my cat started bringing home little birds and mice, my mum asked me if I wanted to bury them and do a little ceremony. I refused and said I wanted to keep them and take the skin off. They were all so beautiful, it just seemed a shame to let them go into the ground. My mum, being very open-minded, was all right with that and gave me a pair of scissors. That’s how it started.”
Before assuming this is the studio of a painter or fashion designer, the dismembered fox will indicate it’s actually the workspace of taxidermists. In a room where you’d expect a sombre atmosphere of death, there is an effervescence and zest for life.
Taxidermy became such an integral part of Sammy’s life, it was even entwined into her wedding. She fashioned an eye-catching headpiece, a dove decorated with Swarovski crystals, and her husband Joel had a little mole nestled in his breast pocket, thus coining the name of her studio Mole & Dove.
Whether you’re seeking out curious interior design ideas or looking to immortalise a beloved pet, London is peppered with these taxidermy centres, catering to all mounting needs. Before you start worrying about animal violence, the UK Guild of Taxidermists monitors the legitimacy of UK taxidermists, ensuring no animals are deliberately killed for the purpose of stuffing and mounting. 24
The dove headpiece holds pride of place in Sammy’s studio, amongst her other precious creations. With her ‘Alice in Wonderland’ style of taxidermy, Sammy admires the techniques of taxidermist Stephanie Meyers: “She does this really interesting technique where she does
like a whole cast of the animal’s body and then she mixes some unknown chemical– she doesn’t share it, it’s quite unique– and then all the fur sticks to the plaster-cast mould. She follows by applying this chemical that degrades everything apart from the fur and then adds a lightweight resin that she colours according to the animal’s colouring. “There’s no skin which is amazing. The fur is made of keratin, which doesn’t break down as quickly as skin, allowing the whole thing to last a lifetime. There has been debate at the Guild whether that counts as taxidermy because it doesn’t have any skin– but that doesn’t sway me.” Owner of Curious Menagerie, Sarah Keen, admires the style of London taxidermist, Polly Morgan. With her work, valued at up to £100,000, Morganʼs use of coiled pythons and clusters of crow wings all lure the attention of celebrities like Charles Saatchi and Courtney Love. “She’s fantastic and I love her style because she has a very modern take on it. I think she makes things in such a way that people who might not necessarily like taxidermy or think they like taxidermy will look at her work and
they can really see it in their own homes and they can appreciate it.” Divya Anantharaman, a New York-based taxidermist with a trademark style for fantasy taxidermy, has reached a large and intrigued audience. As to what enthuses her taxidermy, she says: “I’m inspired by the intersection of science, art, mortality, and the positive and negative aspects of the human touch. My ethics mean using naturally deceased animals, by-products of the food industry, invasive species that are harvested for pest control, or ones that are harvested for meat. Where it is sensible, I make sure to utilise every part so nothing is wasted.” Divya explains that changing conservation laws are only a few of the rules taxidermists must follow. Throughout history there’s been an evolving view on what constitutes as ethical and what was once ethical, does not mean it is today. “In the Victorian Era, considered by many to be the ʻGolden Age’ of taxidermy, it was ethical to go on expeditions with the mission to harvest one of every type of animal in order to dissect and mount them for museums and study. It was also fashionable for women to adorn themselves with the pelts of exotic birds from all over the world – thankfully that has changed. “All that over-harvesting has lead to conservation laws and today taxidermists abide by those numerous and complex laws, and are extremely active in conservation and environmental awareness.”
A long-standing obstacle is the question of whether taxidermy is a women’s profession. Divya weighs in on the topic saying: “Having a vagina has no effect on how well you do something, and shouldn’t deter anyone from trying something new. “It’s funny how the biases, perceptions, and insecurities of others manifest themselves; throughout history women have traditionally been the caretakers of the deceased, processed meat from hunts, and prepared specimens for museums. For whatever reason, this has been forgotten or turned into a novelty.” Sarah admits that at times she does receive hate-mail: “I usually just email them back, explaining what it is to be an ethical taxidermist. They wind up apologising and understanding in the end. Then I tell them I’m a vegetarian and they’re like ‘Oh!’” Divya also struggles with misconceptions on the work that she does: “With hate-mail, and similar crap, it shows a combination of ignorance and insecurity. As tempting as it is for me to be harsh, I’d rather use it as an opportunity to educate rather than start a flame war. I haven’t figured out why some feel the need to send dick-pics though, and hopefully that stops soon.” With their creative and colourful approach to taxidermy, these skilled women effectively banish the notion that this thriving artistry must be associated with morbidity, but instead should be celebrated. 25
Grand Riviere ÂŠ Peter Doig. All Rights Reserved, DACS 2015.
Words: Astrid Madberg Image: Simon Upton/Interior Archive/Corbis
THE MAKING OF A MODERN MASTER Peter Doig is one of the most compelling and internationally-renowned living painters in the world today
Peter Doig's paintings invite us to gaze into mysterious landscapes, to visit worlds of intense colour and lush, rich textures, leaving us somewhere between dream and reality. He’s an artist light years away from the flashy kids of the Young British Artist era and the glitz of the art world, putting his art at the centre rather than himself, a man seemingly always on the move yet not belonging anywhere. Some say that if there’s a legitimate successor to the great colourists in the vein of Matisse, Bonnard, and Hopper, then Peter Doig might be it. Here’s a look at the artist behind the million pound price tags, his formative college years in London – and how he went on to reinvigorate the medium of painting. It’s hard to read an article about Doig without seeing words like “record-breaking” or “millions” – and it’s equally hard not to mention it at all: Doig swung into global prominence in the mid 2000s when his paintings began to sell for astronomical figures. In 2007, his painting The White Canoe sold for £5.73million to an anonymous Russian collector – at the time a salesroom record for a living European artist.It marked the moment Doig went from being a largely unnoticed, albeit critical success, to a name on the commercial art stage. Overnight, a painter who in many ways had been the very antithesis of flashy celebrity art culture, almost became an unwilling poster boy for everything wrong with the art industry. And the huge prices didn’t stop there: In 2013, Doig’s The Architect’s Home in the Ravine sold for £7.7million at a London auction. Doig commented that the staggering price for The White Canoe made him feel “physically sick”. Not because the money didn’t go into his own pocket; the painting was owned by Charles Saatchi, but because to him it seemed a sign of an art market gone crazy. Those huge price tags are something he still seems to struggle to come to terms with - success in art can’t be measured in money. Born in Edinburgh in 1959, his father a shipping accountant and his mother an actress, his family moved to Trinidad in 1962 and then to Canada in 1966. Having moved so often and lived in such different places, Doig’s use of intense colours is as far removed from the bleak skies of Scotland as he is. Doig's work has drawn from his snowy childhood years in Canada, with a number of his works depicting scenes of swirling snow, glittering blizzards and frozen lakes, and with other works drawing heavily from the humid, saturated colours of the leafy nature of the Caribbean. 28
Doig seems hesitant to pledge allegiance to a specific country, to be pinned down to one place. In interviews, the accent cutting through his soft-spoken voice is hard to place. Many Scots would of course like to claim him as their own, as a “Scottish painter”, but Doig doesn’t seem to want to be labelled that way. In an interview with the Guardian he explained, "when I was growing up, I never felt that I belonged anywhere because we never lived in a house for more than three months. That's all I knew and that's why I don't really belong anywhere. Then again, I do feel Scottish in some way. Maybe it's to do with visiting my grandparents here every summer as a child, but I am aware of my Scottish ancestry. It's there all right, but it would be pushing it to label me a Scottish painter. Or, indeed, an anywhere painter.”
“It’s a tropical and somewhat exotic scene of unusual, deep colours” Doig started to draw seriously at 17, as a way of dealing with the sense of dislocation he felt working on a gas-drilling rig on the Canadian prairies. He realised the job was not something he wanted to do for the rest of life, especially considering many of his colleagues on the platform had lost fingers on the job. And so, he started to draw at night. It was also there he got the idea that he should go to art school in London. He did a foundation course at Wimbledon School of Art, before being accepted for a painting degree at St. Martins It was during those years at St. Martins, 1980 to 1983, that he’s said he started to find his voice as an artist, after having initially felt intimidated by the too-cool-forschool air of the college.
Doig has described his formative college years in London as a mad, exciting time, one when the city was full of oddballs and artists. To support himself he did bar work and worked as a dresser at the English National Opera. He was living a bohemian life in a rough flat in King’s Cross that cost £4 a week, with Shane McGowan living down the road. This was at a time when London was cheap enough to allow young artists to waste both time and space in order to find their artistic voices – a London that doesn’t exist anymore. Gavin Lockheart, himself a successful painter of luminous landscapes, met Doig while studying at St. Martins in 1980 and they’ve been friends since. He recalls how they connected: “We liked the same music and at the time that was more important than liking the same art, because we didn't know much, but we were very receptive.” What kind of music were these two budding artists into then? “We loved early rap music before it was called hip hop. We saw Grandmaster Flash in New York and Lee Dorsey in New Orleans, in 1982. The good thing about Peter is that he is very catholic in his taste; we even got to like opera when we worked at the English National Opera.” Many articles about Doig have often stated he chose to study in London because it was the home of his favourite punk bands, but Lockheart says that wasn’t the case: "He wasn't a big punk fan; I liked punk more than him I think. He likes music loud but not noisy, which punk often was. We both liked the blues and he also introduced me to Hank Williams, Louis Jordan, Louis Armstrong, Duke Ellington, Professor Longhair: he liked jazz more than me. We saw too many bands to list; there were loads playing in London at the time. Kraftwerk, Pere Ubu, The Fall, Kid Creole, Captain Beefheart.” After St. Martins Doig went back to Canada to live in Montreal, but returned to London and Chelsea College of Art in 1989, this time as a mature student to do an MA. It was an odd time to be a painter. The phenomenon of YBAs (Young British Artists) and the conceptual approach typified by Damien Hirst and Tracey Emin began to emerge in the 90s, and painting was largely seen to be spent as a medium. The press was brimming with articles about the “death of painting” and many artists started to move away from traditional art to embrace the new ways, a re-commodification of art that had more of a promise of commercial success. Doig was selected for the Barclays Young Artist Award at the Serpentine gallery in 1991, made up of the most promising artists from the London MA shows. Doig’s work
looked vastly different from the other works on display and some of the other artists didn’t even want to show their art in the same space as him. It seemed a notion amongst them that Doig's work was somehow an unfashionable throwback, or not serious enough for the look-at-me style of the 90s art scene. Luckily, such frosty receptions didn’t seem to knock down the artistic sureness Doig had developed by then. Damien Meade, an Irish-born painter working in London, studied at Chelsea in the early 90's when Doig started working as a visiting tutor and describes him as a friendly, generous and centred individual. He explains how Doig’s style felt fresh in a time when painting was largely seen as an exhausted medium. He recalls, “a lot of the painting in the 80s had been about a sense of bravado – big themes, big egos, and showing off. It had this bombastic, machismo quality to it. And Peter’s work was refreshing at that time. He found a way of painting that made it new again in some way. It had a silence about it. It was cinematic, almost feminine.” Doig's painting Blotter won him the John Moores Prize in 1993, and marks his first break and big recognition as an artist. The painting depicts a lone young figure, based on a photograph of his brother, staring down on a frozen lake. What Blotter is trying to capture is the activity in the mind while the body is still, the mind allowing itself to be absorbed in the landscape. The recognition he received from that lead to him being nominated for the Turner prize in 1994. The title Blotter is a direct reference to LSD and Doig has been quite open about occasionally taking it as a teenager. He has said that those psychedelic experiences have been important to him and his art, but that probably only people who have themselves taken LSD
could really understand how it has affected his work. He stopped taking psychedelics at 18, but it has remained a reference point for his artistry. Doig returned to Trinidad in 2002 and set up a studio at the Caribbean Contemporary Arts Centre near Port of Spain. In his current paintings his childhood's snowscapes of Canada has largely been left for the warm hues of the island. His painting Grande Riviere which we are featuring as our centre spread is his first painting set in Trinidad. It’s a tropical and somewhat exotic scene of unusual, deep colours. The dense vegetation along with the lack of human presence makes for an eerie and unsettling landscape, and Doig plays with the romantic cliché of a wandering horse on a moonlit beach. The idea for the painting came about during a visit to Trinidad in the summer of 2000. He took some photographs of the lagoon in Grand Riviere and painted his own haunting vision of the scene when he returned to London. In 2008, he had a major solo exhibitions at Tate Britain, the event truly cementing his reputation as an artist and introducing him to a wider audience. He has since had numerous exhibitions the world over and has kept challenging his approach to painting - themes keep coming back to him, and his subjects and compositions move forwards in ways we can’t guess. Doig is back in Trinidad and painting away, currently preparing for a show in Venice in May. We don’t not know where Peter Doig might lay his head next, but we can expect to continue to be both unsettled and spell-bound by his enchanting visions. This rolling stone might just end up being one of the true colour masters. 29
Words: Sebastian Moss Images: Oswin Tickler
THE DARK NET
THE BATTLE BETWEEN SURVEILLANCE AND SECRECY IN THE DIGITAL AGE Surveillance and anti-terrorism specialists explore the struggle for individuals, businesses and governments between privacy and security
You are being watched. Your movements are being recorded, your searches chronicled, your connections and acquaintances tracked. The western spy agencies NSA and GCHQ probably have access to your SIM card, your phone calls and all sorts of metadata. Ad-funded tech powerhouses Google and Facebook almost certainly have a data file on you, trying to work out everything you do and everything you may want to buy, and even electronics firms like Lenovo and Samsung could be listening to and tracking you. In the post-Snowden world – where the whistleblower leaked the US and UK governments’ mass surveillance schemes – we’re all becoming more and more aware of how we are caught up in giant surveillance programs that are said to be for our own protection and are remarkably sophisticated. Equally, the fact that Google and Facebook collect enormous amounts of data on us is becoming common knowledge. But so what, right? Chances are, you’re not a terrorist or a paedophile, and you’re against those who are. If you have nothing to hide, then what’s the big deal? Jon Bains, who founded one of the first digital agencies, Lateral, is currently the founding partner of the What & Why agency, and writes online about the importance of not being watched. In his view, people should have a right to be able to conduct a private conversation: “Privacy is a basic human right, and it’s not something we should give up easily, at least without asking why,” he says. After the Charlie Hebdo killings, however, British Prime Minister David Cameron said he wanted to ban apps such as Snapchat, WhatsApp and iMessage because their communications are encrypted and private.
The more obvious examples are the simple mistakes, such as when a German grandmother was incorrectly blocked from the internet for illegally downloading movies and left unable to work at her online-only job, or when innocent people with similar names get caught on a nofly list. “There’s more and more stories of normal citizens being harassed by the government, but most of that’s kept under the table through gag orders,” Bains says. There’s also the potential for privacy invasions due to the data, such as when US retailer Target calculated that an underage girl was pregnant and sent her flyers for baby products, before she had even told her father. “Facebook has launched Atlas, which tracks you from looking at an ad all the way to retail. As somebody who has worked in marketing for 20 years, I go ‘oh that’s cool’. As a human being, I go ‘fucking hell, this is dark’. And that data’s not secure either, if you wanted to work out how to kidnap somebody or extort money, this would be a playbook,” says Bains. These companies require their own privacy, such as for our data or bank transactions, which are put at risk by government plans to work around encryption by installing “backdoors” that they can access. Equally, the data is at risk due to security failures on their end, as Bains points out: “The governments are relatively under scrutiny, but marketeers? Not so much. The Sony hack showed just how open this data is.” “So, as a taxpayer, I’d say that frankly it’s not a terribly good use of money. And from a practical level, there’s no such thing as a secure system, so somebody’s going to hack into it. It’s just bound to happen.”
“Governments tend to make really, really bad legislation when they don’t understand how things work or things change,” says Bains.
INTO THE DARKNESS As awareness of government and corporate surveillance grows, people have increasingly looked to cover their tracks online.
There are other dangers with mass surveillance and bulk data collection.
It’s virtually impossible to live a normal life in the internet age and stay completely 31
undetected. But there are ways to hide a lot of what you do from outside eyes. One such method is the Tor Browser, a simple browser like Chrome or Firefox, except that it – among other things – routes your data connection through various points across the world, making it hard to track. The Tor Browser isn’t perfect: if the NSA really wanted to know what you did online, they could, but it makes it a lot harder. Plus, if the NSA isn’t already looking at you in particular, the browser can keep you hidden quite effectively. You can also visit websites that your government or internet service provider has blocked. Here in the UK, that can include file-sharing websites like ThePirateBay, KickassTorrents or sites with adult content, but worldwide can include important whistleblowing sites or anti-governmental free speech blogs. In fact, the Tor browser project was originally developed with the US Navy in mind, for the primary purpose of protecting government communications. It’s used by law enforcement, journalists and the military, as well as those in countries with oppressive regimes to get online, communicate, and work as whistleblowers and in human rights without their nations being able to watch or track them. But Bains points out that sites are being taken offline at an alarming rate: “The UK government can take down websites with no judicial oversight, there’s more dropping off the net than ever. And because people conflate privacy with piracy or criminality, it’s not seen as a big deal. That’s just a dangerous precedent to set.” And then there’s the websites you can only visit with a hidden browser, ones you won’t find through a Google search or on the normal internet. This is the dark net, with its perhaps most infamous site being the now defunct The Silk Road – on online market for buying and selling illegal drugs. THE PRICE OF FREEDOM Cybersecurity and cryptography researcher Dr Gareth Owen, a senior lecturer at the University of Portsmouth, hit headlines earlier this year with a controversial study that suggested that 80 per cent of dark net visits were to child abuse websites. “What we’re measuring is the important point: we’re measuring requests for the website. There are some uncertainties here; if someone restarts Tor, they’re counted as twice, for example. Webcrawlers [bots that scan the net] would also count, but are a small percentage at best. We’re counting visits, so it gives you a loose overview.” It’s also important to note that 98 per cent of Tor use is to the normal internet, not the dark net. Of the 45,000 sites discovered on the dark net, only two per cent hosted child abuse, but they still received the majority of visits. “We’re seeing 100,000 requests to just one site,” Owen said. Owen has suggested the idea of blocking child abuse sites through blocklists, but doesn’t openly support the notion, just the idea of debating it. 32
“It’s possible to block hidden sites. The directory for sites is spread across all these servers on the network. If 90 per cent of servers agreed to implement a blocklist, then it could effectively take a site offline. And the blocklist can be distributed among the server hosts: they can all inspect it and all opt-in or opt-out, and it only works if enough people do it. Or the Tor Foundation could implement a public blocklist.” The problem is that the community is very against the idea of censorship or a blocklist, as they feel it undermines the project and puts it at risk from outside control that may block the whistle–blowing or free speech sites that make the network so valuable and important. Owen stresses that we have to have an open mind: “We’ve got a technology that protects freedoms, but we don’t want to support child abuse. We have to be pragmatic.”
“Governments tend to make really, really bad legislation when they don’t understand how things work or things change.” With regards to terrorism, another bogeyman raised by those trying to crack down on encrypted and anonymous networks, some are also calling for more discussion over what we as a society are comfortable with. “I guess the million dollar golden question is where is the line?” asks Dr Doug Weeks, research fellow at Handa Centre for the Study of Terrorism and Political Violence, University of St Andrews. “I think that there are laws or protections that are generally put in place that need to be adhered to, and that needs to be decided by society at large. But it can become problematic: if you look at the surveillance and the other counterterrorism measures that have been deployed in Britain since the Terrorism Act 2000, such as stop and search and control
orders and all the other hard elements of policing that is being done, there’s a lot of pushback by Muslim communities.” But equally, people have called for increased surveillance, says Weeks: “The family of some of those girls [who have gone to Syria] have been critical of the government for not stopping their own children from accessing certain things on the internet. You can’t have it both ways, you can’t say ‘this is way too invasive, you can’t do those types of things’, and then when something bad happens say ‘it’s your fault because you should have pre-empted this’. That’s where the balance comes in, and in a functioning democratic society, I think that balance has to be negotiated.” Jamie Bartlett, who works for the think-tank Demos, specialising in social media analysis on extremist movements, wrote the book The Dark Net, an immersive look at a number of the most shocking, surprising and often quite terrifying subcultures on the internet. He says: “Acting under conditions of anonymity is like holding a magnifying glass over human behaviour, so it becomes easier to do nasty things, it becomes easier to do more destructive things. It’s easier to get sucked into more subcultures that are really negative, it’s easier to bully people, it’s easier to harm people. “But equally it’s easier to be incredibly creative, to be incredibly interesting, to be able to truly speak your mind, truly express yourself without fear of not falling within accepted standards of behaviour.” His view is that the level of government and corporate tracking will push the majority of people onto Tor-like systems in the future. "There's certainly increased concern about privacy, whether that is worries about the government watching you or worries about hackers hacking into your account, or Gmail collecting all the data on you. “If you had a choice between using Chrome or using Tor and being able to be more comfortable that no one was watching what you were doing, but it was as easy and as reliable and as fast as Chrome, I think nearly everybody would use Tor. So I think that’s where it’s going to go.” Again, the question remains, while privacy may be what individuals want, is it what we as a society want? Will an encrypted future be a good thing? “I’m very worried about that, I think that’s going to cause huge problems in the future. As well as all the benefits it will bring for individuals and securities of people’s personal data, we’re fooling ourselves if we think that won’t also cause difficulties. I’m quite convinced in the future it’s going to be far more difficult to censor material, it’s going to be far more difficult to monitor the ‘bad guys’ for the police and the intelligence agencies,” said Bartlett. “So that combination of more privacy and less censorship takes us where it takes us… I think, as a society, we’ve got to learn to live with that and work out what that means for us.”
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NADIA LEE COHEN Nadia Lee Cohen is smoking hot. We asked the successful young insanely talented fashion photographer for the lowdown on herself and her award winning photography
Hi Nadia! You’re 24 years old, from London and just graduated from an MA in Fashion Photography at LCF. What's next? I’m currently in the middle of a lengthy project called ʻ100 naked womenʼ which is literally what it says on the tin. I anticipate having it complete for early-mid 2016 and will hold a solo gallery show of the images in conjunction with the book release. Any weird personality traits? I love ’70s punk music, my nails are always lime green, I collect people’s nametags, I like to write morbid messages on birthday cakes, I like to dress up as Ronald McDonald and I like to paint my face blue. The women in your imagery seem to be described in media mostly as “strong”, “bold” and “powerful”, yet I seem to feel quite unsettled by a sense of melancholy and “house wife crazy”. There’s a darkness to the glossiness. What’s that about? I just get bored with anything typically pretty, and I enjoy the melancholic; both in art and cinema. I tend to create false situations for the char34
acters so the models act out a part in the photograph rather than just standing there looking pretty. Much of your imagery is hyper sexualised yet there’s again this depth to it. Is there a more profound thought than “naked women make for attractive pictures”? Obviously I want my images to be aesthetically pleasing, and there is nothing quite as pleasing as the female form in all its glorious shapes and sizes. However, I am a woman and have grown up surrounded by fashion imagery so this has had some effect on what imagery I produce. I would never want to inflict strong opinions on what ʻmessageʼ the viewer should be receiving as it is all subjective, which is why I will never really say what the photographs mean to me as they will mean something different to everyone. Also you seem to be nodding towards consumerism with brands such as Coca-Cola and McDonald’s featured. What the story there? I simply love graphics and advertisements, I also
Words: Paula Wik Image: Nadia Lee Cohen
enjoy the horror stories and negative connotations that are often held with fast food. Watching your Hula, Tequila and Sleaze video you made for Vice, I’m really loving getting to know your characters. Who are they? Haha! Yes, the characters are incredible and were so important to the feel of the shoot. They’re mostly close friends from Brighton that I’ve stared at from time to time and thought to myself ʻGod you’d make an incredible pervert’. What’s with the nostalgia? My awesome mumma raised me in a house crammed with Victoriana and used to drag me along to antique warehouses and auctions to hunt for objects. I guess I had to find something to get into otherwise I would have been bored shitless so I chose 1960s and '70s Britain and America. I understand you style your images yourself. You must have a lot of props lying around for such intricate sets? I style a lot of images myself, but I also work alongside a lot of talented stylists. I have so many props it’s ridiculous but I’m slowly selling them off as I can’t be a London gypsy with all
that bullshit in tow. I once had a life size fake palm tree plonked in the centre of my tiny London flat, at which point my flatmates thought it best to hold a mini intervention with me as it was becoming a problem. I recognise photographers such as David LaChapelle in your work. Hitchcock, Kubrick, Wes Anderson et al seems to be a given too? Where did you get your immaculate vision from? Thank you! The fashion element is obviously there because I spent five–––– years at Fashion College, but it definitely isn’t through studying fashion magazines because I honestly never look at them. I get my inspiration from cinema and cinematic photography, so yes to Hitchcock, Kubrik and Wes Anderson! I always get compared to David Lachapelle, I’m not sure why as I really don’t see it; I guess it’s the saturated colour. You won the Taylor Wessing prize at the National Portrait Gallery in 2012! The photograph was a controversial choice for the judges and got a lot of stick from critics, but that made it even better. It helped get my work more widely known and it was just the coolest feeling, knowing my print was in the National Portrait Gallery. 37
Words: Ed Oliver Image: Ernst Haeckel
MEDICINAL MAGIC MUSHROOMS Despite its Class A illegal status, Psilocybin appears to offer therapeutic relief to sufferers of depression, anxiety, addiction and more. Artefact explores the possibilities of fungal therapy
Each autumn, before the first frosts set in, you might notice groups of people or solitary figures bent double in the UK countryside, moving slowly but surely through fields and woodland areas. Perhaps they’ve lost a contact lens or maybe they just enjoy staring at cow shit, but more than likely they’re on the hunt for Psilocybe Semilanceata, also known as the Liberty Cap, or the humble English magic mushroom. Stereotypically the domain of the stoner or the student, the hippy or the tripper, the magic mushroom has been an iconic emblem of psychedelia since the 1960s, but its recreational and ritual usage stretches back much further. Paintings depicting mushroom-shaped humanoids in the Tassili Plateau caves of Northern Algeria date back as far as 5000 BC, whilst the ancient cultures of Central and South America built temples and worshipped gods devoted to psychedelic plants, including mushrooms (many indigenous tribes still do). In the centuries since, ‘shrooms have had a turbulent history, intriguing both scientists and psychonauts, and making law enforcers scratch their heads worldwide. They’ve inspired many writers, artists and musicians, from Charles Dickens and Carlos Castaneda, to The Beatles and Bob Dylan - which is naming a few. The popularity of magic mushrooms in modern counter-culture is largely thanks to the research of maverick New York banker Robert Gordon Wasson, who made regular visits to Oaxaca, Mexico in the 1950s to observe and partake in indigenous Mazatec healing ceremonies, involving the shamanic ritual usage of psychedelic mushrooms. In 1956, following Wasson’s research, the young chemist and ‘godfather’ of psychedelics Albert Hoffman isolated and synthesised the mushrooms’ active ingredients – psilocybin and psilocin - and it wasn’t long before the compounds and their bi-products found widespread use both recreationally and therapeutically in the United States, Australia and beyond. In 1968 possession of psilocybin and psilocin became illegal in the USA and research into their therapeutic use had all but ceased by 1977. In the UK, the legal status of both magic mushrooms and their active ingredients has been a grey area for some time. Up until 2005, city centre shops, online vendors and festival traders were legally allowed to sell a mind-boggling array of fresh magic mushroom varietals to anyone willing to part with their cash. As the law stands today, possession of fresh or dried magic mushrooms, or psilocybin and psilocin bi-products comes under Class A illegal status in the UK. It is however legal to purchase cultivation kits, although illegal to use them.
A grey area indeed, and away from the recreational use of magic mushrooms, this legal fug poses complications for an increasing trend towards the use of psilocybin and other psychedelics as therapeutic aids for a variety of disorders. From the 1950s until their classification in the 1970s, psychedelic drugs were extensively researched as medical treatments, most prominently LSD. The drug became heavily stigmatised thanks to its rife and irresponsible promotion by the likes of Dr. Timothy Leary, and despite a reputation for having adverse affects on subjects’ mental health, retrospective reports from the late 1960s and early ‘70s published in 2012 demonstrate the efficacy of LSD treating alcohol addiction “as successful as any treatment since”, according to former government drug adviser Professor David Nutt.
‘What’s the science behind this fungal therapy’? More recently, increasing evidence has shown that psilocybin, along with other psychedelic drugs, when administered in controlled amounts in a safe, clinical environment can be an effective treatment for depression and addiction, as well as certain physical and emotional conditions. Leading the charge behind this controversial methodology is Professor Nutt and Dr Robin Carhart-Harris at Imperial College's Neuropsychopharmacology Centre in London. Speaking to The Guardian last October, Dr Carhart-Harris explained his findings following a study of 15 volunteers using psilocybin under MRI scanners: “As a non-clinician, I was convinced by seeing how psilocybin affects the brain. It was quite stark how similar it was to the existing treatments for depression.” So what’s the science behind this fungal therapy? When treating depression, Nutt and Carhart-Harris’ research suggests the compound suppresses the part of the brain called the medial prefrontal cortex, the region that’s linked to introspection and obsessive thinking, and hyperactivity in those who suffer from depression. Tentative research into anxiety, depression and emotional disorders
in patients with terminal illness also appears to be yielding positive results. Another institute pioneering research into psilocybin’s medical potential is the Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, USA. Associate professor of psychiatry and behavioural sciences at Johns Hopkins, Matthew Johnson, is leading a team researching the effects of psilocybin on addiction, working alongside 15 volunteers addicted to smoking tobacco (on average 19 cigarettes a day for 31 years). Volunteers underwent a 15-week trial period, combining regular sessions of cognitive behavioural therapy and administration of pure psilocybin capsules, once each at week five and week seven, and optionally at week 13. At the end of the six-month follow-up period, 80 per cent of volunteers had quit smoking. Again the science seems to make sense. As Johnson explains to The Pharmaceutical Journal, “psilocybin hits the same primary brain receptor as LSD, called serotonin 2A” – when stimulated by psychedelics these receptors appear to decrease activity in the area known as the default mode network (DMN), where humans deal with ingrained behaviours and patterns. As Professor David Nutt explains, “during illnesses like depression or addiction, the default mode network in the brain becomes over-engaged with negative thoughts or cravings,” and a reduction in activity in the DMN “allows people to break free” from these patterns. Safety is clearly one issue that is important to discuss when contemplating the use of psychedelic drugs as medical or therapeutic treatments, as Dr. Carhart-Harris explains to The Guardian: “Self-medication is definitely a no-no from my perspective,” he says. “These drugs are powerful and the therapeutic model we are going to adhere to is quite specific in that it emphasises that the drug needs to be taken in the right environment and with the right support. We have professional psychotherapists there who are trained and understand all the eventualities of what might happen, and so I think it would be reckless for people to try to do it by themselves.” Despite safety concerns and the historic social stigma attached to psychedelic drugs, the evidence supporting their benefits seems hard to ignore. However, the current legal status of psilocybin is preventing progress in the field, as Dr. Carhart-Harris continues: “It's a catch-22. It's difficult to study LSD and psilocybin to see if they have medical use because they are schedule 1. And they are only classed as schedule 1 because they are deemed to have no medical use.” Change seems to be on the horizon though. A second phase of psilocybin treatment for addiction at Johns Hopkins is taking place, and at the Imperial College scientists were awarded a Medical Research Council grant in 2013 to study the effects of psilocybin on a dozen patients suffering from depression. 39
Words: Luke O’Driscoll Image: Pieteke Marsden
Why do thousands of intensive care patients suffer from hallucinations including paranoia, torture and death?
others, showing any outward signs of delusions.
“Out of the corner of the room, I could see my nurse sitting there. She was waving me over but as I got up to move towards her I started to scream – there was maggots pouring from her eye sockets.”
Dr Wade explains that this type of delirium can create an even bigger challenge: “Patients will often just lie with a very glazed expression, not really interacting with anything, just appearing to be sleeping all the time. But often they’re actually hallucinating.
This is not an extract from a Stephen King novel. Instead, it is what Sue Hepworth tells me she saw after spending time in an intensive care unit.
“The hallucinations have the potential to go on for weeks. If the patient has been on a ventilator for a long time or they are given a large amount of sedatives, then the chances are the hallucinations are happening for that entire period.”
“I was paralysed by fear. The nurses were trying to restrain me as I was pulling out the drips attached to my body, but I thought they were trying to cut me open. I thought they were ghosts trying to tear my organs out. It was the most terrifying experience of my life.” ** Sue, 57, now knows she was experiencing hallucinations, brought on by a combination of the drugs that had been pumped into her and the oppressive intensive care environment she stayed in following a nasty car crash, in which she broke three ribs, one leg and punctured a lung. Sue explains she suffered flashbacks of the hallucinations for years after. “I thought I was going mad, I’d be driving down the motorway and would see one of the nurse’s faces in the rear-view mirror, sitting in my backseat covered in blood. “I’d have to pull over on the hard shoulder to compose myself. My accident was in the ’90s and no one told me what I was going through was normal. There was no Internet to Google my symptoms and the aftercare was pretty much non-existent”. Following her time in intensive care and gradual recovery, her physical health improved but psychologically she seemed to deteriorate. The flashbacks would come and go, but anxiety and depression set in. What Sue was experiencing was intensive care unit induced post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). According to a 2013 systematic review by University College London, up to 27 per cent 40
of intensive care patients suffer PTSD following their hospital stay, whilst 46 per cent have depression and 44 per cent experience anxiety. Dr Dorothy Wade, a health psychologist at University College London who specialises in the investigation of the psychological impact of critical care, and other researchers from UCLH and the Intensive Care National Audit and Research Centre (ICNARC), are piloting a new study, the POPPI (Provision Of Psychological support to People in Intensive care) trial, which deals with the treatment of patients whilst in intensive care. The trial is the culmination of ten years research into the area, which explored the contributing factors to the horrifying hallucinations and delusions so many patients experience. The aim of POPPI is to try and find out if there is a way to help these patients and to prevent them from developing PTSD after intensive care. I ask Dr Wade why only now studies into the treatment of PTSD in intensive care are taking place. “I think probably in the past there was less psychology available in hospitals. “Staff thought ‘it's our job is to save lives and as long as we save someone’s life then that’s the main thing,
there’s nothing much else to worry about.’” The worries, however, have been impossible for many sufferers to ignore. Tim Dean was 41 years old when he fell four stories from a ladder whilst fitting an aerial. He now has two metal plates in his back and an artificial hip. ** “When I came out of intensive care I felt like I’d been abandoned,” he tells me. “Inside they’d give you one drug for one symptom and another one to tackle another side effect, and before you know it you’re so dosed up on drugs you haven’t got a clue what’s going on.” The drugs regularly administered to patients who are rushed to intensive care read with a list of side effects that would make Frankenstein blush. These coupled with sleep deprivation, the acute stress of the incident and the surroundings of intensive care, which Dr Wade describes as “a very closed and claustrophobic environment,” amount to often scarring “delusions, hallucinations, confusion, hypertension and nightmares.” Tim tells me that, to his knowledge, his hallucinations were confined to his head. He wasn't, as was the case with Sue and many
Tim harrowingly recalls: “In my head I was calling out for my mother, I thought she was in the next room but she’d been dead for 15 years. These fake memories, if you like, stay with you, they become real because you have that many flashbacks to them.” Both Tim and Sue now say they are mostly recovered from their flashbacks and PTSD following their time in intensive care. “I had cognitive behavioural therapy treatment after going back to a doctor a year after my accident. And it taught me how to deal with the stress of it. I feel stronger now,” Sue explains. The treatment is what Dr Wade hopes the POPPI trial will bring into practice in hospitals across the country, so that PTSD is identified and treatment can begin in intensive care. The treatment will involve cognitive behavioural therapy and the patients will be given computers with mindfulness exercises, calming music and nature sounds to help them relax and sleep. I tell Tim about the POPPI trial and he smiles for the first time during our chat. “It’s a very good thing that this is happening. If I’d had this treatment when I fell off the roof I’m sure I’d of been able to deal with what I went through much better. Life’s tough when you think you’re the only person going through it.”
Words and image: Hasham Cheema
The courtyard of Baba Shah Jamal The atmosphere at Shah Jamal’s shrine in Lahore takes religious worship back to love and music
Every Thursday night scores of Lahoris flock to the final resting place of Baba Shah Jamal, a 17th century wandering Sufi who gained prominence promoting a purer, more rooted approach towards practising Islam. Three hundred years later, the scenes at his shrine are nothing short of electric. Neatly tucked away in a residential neighbourhood in the heart of Lahore, the shrine has gained a reputation for being a centre of dance, intoxicants and music therapy. It's a place where young, old, rich and poor come together to indulge in a communal healing and celebration of love for God. The sound of the dhol (drum) increases with every step as you walk towards the walled-compound, through security checkpoints and food stalls. ** A mass of people clog the entrance, but once you squeeze your way inside the only way forward is up the stairs. On your ascent, you're likely to be offered a green coloured hash-soup – needless to say, the offering is completely unofficial. Up in the courtyard rests Baba Shah Jamal – as dictated by tradition, his devotees gather by his grave and indulge in song and dance. The space is coloured in religious zeal, offering an insight into a peculiar and endangered embodiment of Islam.
Not far from Akbar's headquarters, a new movement was forming. In Lahore, now part of Pakistan, Baba Shah Jamal was propagating a view that countered Akbar's Divine Faith. As a wandering Sufi, he launched into a successful campaign urging Muslims to return to a purer form of Islam. As far as love and harmony was concerned, Shah Jamal insisted that believing in the core principles of Islam can cultivate that sense of peace and cohesion between the Indian communities. There's not necessarily any need for Muslims to dilute their faith and become part of a homogenised South-Asian belief system that had been instilled by a monarch. **
At a time where the 'correct' interpretation of Islam has been monopolised by politically forceful sects of Islam, Baba Shah Jamal's shrine offers itself as a theological and cultural marvel. In the late 16th century, Mughal emperor Akbar, in a bid to harmonise different communities of India, introduced the Din-e-Ilahi, or the “Divine Faith”. This “Divine Faith” is a new quasi-religion that amalgamated religious values of Hinduism, Sikhism, Islam, Christianity and Zoroastrianism and sought to harmonise an ethnically and religiously diverse India.
Although his political stance on Akbar's Divine Faith is unclear, we can reasonably deduce that his idea of a purist form of Islam was put forward as an answer to the emperor's new religion. The idea of Sufism is to lose yourself in the mystical vastness of your mind; as Allah manifests Himself inside the human soul and the path to spiritual enlightenment is carved with self-discovery. Personalities such as Shah Jamal come into the picture as agents, catalysing the pursuit of spiritual salvation.
Going back to the idea of a 'pure' Islam; it is clear that laying the parameters of what is pure and what's not is hotly contested turf. The Saudi-inspired Wahhabi clergy of Pakistan vehemently objects to the idea of there being an 'agent' between Allah and His subjects. Unfortunately, weapons and fatwas have tilted the balance in favour of the more oppressive and rigid 'gatekeepers' of Islamic interpretation. Even the more indigenous Deoband clergy in Pakistan has been involved in violent confrontational politics with the Barelvi sect, making Shah Jamal's shrine an imminent target. Albeit deeply worrying, the politics of it all has not paused the percussive rhythm that resonates from the shrine of Shah Jamal. Rahim Ahmed, a regular visitor at the shrine spoke about the sub-culture: “I don't personally believe in divine personalities as agents of God, but I can understand that these values are rooted in tradition and am able to enjoy them without prejudice.” People like Rahim however, are hard to find; in February 2015 there have been three separate attacks on shrines across Pakistan, claiming the lives of 32 and injuring more than a hundred.
The Pakistani army has been involved in a military operation in the country's north-eastern province since June 2014. The Government claims these attacks are blowback from the operation. ** “These are desperate attacks by cornered terrorists,” stated Marvi Memon, a senior government official. However, sectarian tensions have plagued Pakistan since long before the operation started. Sidelining political Islam, the dhol players at Shah Jamal's shrine serenade visitors and devotees with their enchanting beats. The unique sonic experience attracts not only local but foreign tourists as well. Papadums (crackers) laced with opium are popular snacks at the venue, along with the more conventional 'roll-ups'. Music is central to the evening, while various other supplements aid the process of therapy. Before this unique and fascinating subculture is stubbed out by the draconian agendas of gun yielding modern-day 'purists', why not enjoy its wonder and take from it what we may? Many are already finding the place where Baba Shah Jamal rests, and with it a different sort of peace. 41
Words: Yordan Georgiev Image: Via The Wuntington/Flickr.com
Artefact speaks to Dr Efraim Zuroff who brings Nazi war criminals to justice
Dr Efraim Zuroff is known as the Last Nazi hunter. At 66 years old, he’s one of the last remaining people still actively searching for Nazis, with the aim of seeing them prosecuted. Born in 1948, Dr Zuroff has a masters degree in Holocaust studies and is now director of the famous Simon Wiesenthal Center (SWC), named after a fellow Nazi hunter. Dr Zuroff’s research has contributed to a number of high-profile cases against Nazis living in the US. We have just marked the 70th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz, and heard the stories of the survivors still around to tell them. But what happened to the culprits: the people who murdered millions of Jews, the doctors who experimented on them and the thousands of others with blood on their hands? ** Some of them were sentenced straight after the war in the most famous hearings, the Nuremberg Trials and the 1947 Auschwitz Trials in Krakow, Poland. However, not all of the perpetrators were apprehended. According to the 2005 BBC documentary Auschwitz: The Nazis & The Final Solution, only 800 out of the 7,000 working at the Auschwitz concentration camp alone, ever stood trial. Laurence Rees, a former creative director of history programmes for the BBC and an expert on Nazi Germany, explains how hard it is to find former Nazis. “In order to find one perpetrator (the person who pulls the trigger and shoots people), researchers have to go through the original SS records and trawl thousands of names and compare them against trial records. “They’ve often had to go to the Russian archives to see whether any of them were prosecuted. Then they’ve got to go through phone books in Germany, trace relatives, and so on.” Following the lead of Dr Zuroff, the Wiesenthal Center publishes an annual report summarising its accomplishments and a list of its most wanted. It has been debated whether or not it is still worth 42
pursuing Nazis. Most are dead and those who survive are too old and infirm, either mentally or physically, to stand trial. However, Dr Zuroff totally disagrees that the hunt should be called off. “They are just as guilty today as the day they committed their crime. They do not deserve a prize for eluding justice so long,” he writes. ** He points out in his latest report that for the past 13 years there have been at least 101 convictions, 91 new indictments filed and at least 3,000 new investigations of Nazi war criminals. A separate case is that of former SS member Sgt. Oskar Groening - who infamously admitted to his crimes, without remorse, in a BBC documentary by Rees. He is said to be responsible for stealing money and valuables from prisoners arriving at Auschwitz. In March 2014, the 93 year old was found fit for trial and charged last September as an accessory to the murder of 300,000 Jews. Groening's trial begins in in April 2015. Dr Zuroff revealed he has also been taking part in
the investigation of 93 year old Hielde Michnia, an alleged ex-SS guard at the Gross-Rosen concentration camp in Poland. German authorities have begun an investigation into claims she contibuted to hundreds of deaths by forcing prisoners to march for miles in deepest winter. Dr Zuroff tracked down a potential witness and an expert to talk about the march from the GrossRosen camp to Bergen-Belsen.
under 100lb. Once he’d recovered, Wiesenthal started gathering evidence for the US Army's War Crimes Section. He went on to help trace many of the Holocaust perpetrators, including Adolf Eichmann, the architect and logistician for the ghettos and death camps, Karl Siberbauer, the Gestapo officer who arrested Anne Frank and Franz Stangl, the commandant of the Treblinka and Sobibor camps in Poland.
Asked about his greatest achievement, the Last Nazi Hunter says it was catching Dinko Sakic, one of the commanders of the Jasenovac concentration camp in Croatia - nicknamed the Auschwitz of the Balkans - where approximately 100,000 people died.
“I have found the mass murderers I was looking for and I have outlived all of them,” Wiesenthal told Austrian magazine, Format, in 2003. He died two years later. Dr Zuroff says his mission will only be complete when every surviving Nazi war criminal has been brought to justice. Then he will focus on the struggle against Holocaust disinformation, as well as continuing the fight against anti-Semitism and the de-legitimisation of Israel.
** Over the past 70 years, there have been many famous Nazi hunters pursuing those who escaped justice. Wiesenthal is the most famous. Born in 1908 in Buczacz (now in Ukraine), he went back and forth between different camps during the war and survived them all. Rescued by the US Army on May 5, 1945 in Mauthausen, Austria, he was found weighing
“Bringing these criminals to justice is to do my part in counteracting the evil of the Nazis. Unfortunately, no one can bring any of the Nazis' victims back to life, but at least we can try and bring the killers to justice.”
Words: Ryan Davies Image: Jeremy Weate/Flickr
From Warzone to World Cup The story of the remarkable rise of the Afghan cricket team
Afghanistan has been a war zone for the past 14 years, with huge civilian casualties resulting from the conflict between a US–led coalition forces and the Taliban. It may then come as a surprise that the country's cricketers are making an impact on the world stage after qualifying for the Cricket World Cup. But how have they overcome such daunting odds to compete in cricket’s top prize? Since 2001, Afghanistan has been a member of the International Cricket Council (ICC), but playing and enjoying cricket goes back to the early 1990s when the game became popular amongst refugees in Pakistan. On their return home, they continued to play, but just as cricket began to grow the Taliban banned it, as they did many other sports. But in 2000 cricket became the only game approved by the Taliban and Afghanistan soon joined the ICC. ESPN Cricinfo writer Tim Wigmore explained how cricket managed to establish a foothold as refugees who had fled following the 1979 invasion by the Soviet Union returned home: “It was in Peshawar where the game really began to take off, and the Taliban took more kindly to cricket rather than other sports because there was a cultural connection with Pakistan and the clothes fit in with the regime. Their first official game came in 2004 and they have risen until they reached the World Cup.” ** Afghanistan were invited to play in the Second Domestic Pakistani cricket league a year later. But just as the team were making big strides, the country took several steps back. Afghanistan was invaded by the US following the 9/11 terrorist attacks which focused the eyes of the world on the country. The cricket team were forced to end their tour with two draws from five matches in Pakistan. As the years passed, the west Asian country only grew in cricketing terms. Whilst the war in Afghanistan intensified, the cricket team had a successful tour of England in 2006, winning
a remarkable six out of seven matches. A year later, they claimed their first tournament success at the 2007 Asian Cricket Council (ACC) Twenty20 Cup, when they tied with Oman in the final to share the honours. Afghanistan had their first taste of full international one-day cricket in a Twenty20 against Ireland in 2010 which they lost by five wickets. In the same year, they qualified for their first international tournament as they participated in the ICC World Twenty20 in the West Indies. The side was dumped out after defeats by cricketing powerhouses Pakistan and Australia. But Afghanistan moved past their disappointing outing in 2010 and entered the World Cricket League Championship, winning nine out of 14 matches. This secured their place in this year’s World Cup after a comprehensive victory over Kenya in the UAE. The 2010 documentary Out of the Ashes charted the remarkable achievement of the team and demonstrated what a remarkable effort it was to pull a team together at all. It also highlighted the role a sport was able to play in the abject surroundings of the refugee camps where the
majority of the Afghanistan team learnt to play. ** Wigmore said: “The squad were close to qualifying for the World Cup in 2011 which would have been a fairy tale but this time it was inevitable. It’s not really surprising but it’s obviously still a fantastic story. It’s the most popular sport in the country and it’s great for them to play against top teams." ** Asad Ziar, an Afghan national and sports journalist for Al Jazeera said the country's imagination has been captured by the team's exploits and providing a rare unifying force: “Cricket really is the national sport - it's not just limited to one province or region. There are all kinds of regional tournaments all over the country, there's certainly no problem getting the game out to people,” he said. The game's impact is not just noticeable on the fields of play – it can even be seen on the roads as city traffic stops when the national team are playing, Ziar has observed. “There’re always
traffic jams in Kabul but it is now completely different. There is hope that a lot more excitement is waiting for us and that most of the Afghans are optimistic about the national team that they will do better and better.” Afghanistan were drawn in Pool A of the World Cup alongside cohost Australia and New Zealand as well as England, Sri Lanka, Scotland and Bangladesh. Although the conditions and the standard of the opposition do not favour them, Wigmore said ahead of the tournament: "They have some very exciting fast bowlers who should be able to enjoy the wickets." Afghan optimism was dented by group-stage losses to Bangladesh (by 105 runs), Sri Lanka (by four wickets) and New Zealand (by six wickets), although they did secure victory over Scotland by a wicket. However, the tournament was always going to be a stepping stone in more than one way for Afghanistan. On the pitch it’s a chance to make a impact on the biggest stage of them all. But it's also part of a fresh start for the nation itself as it moves on to the next chapter of its fragile rebuilding process. 43
Words: Ed Oliver Image: Richard Davenport
Fake it till you make it Performance artist Bryony Kimmings tackles one of society’s most troubling taboos: male depression
Male depression is one of our culture’s most concerning, and least acknowledged, modern taboos. Rarely discussed by the media and widely undiagnosed, it’s a subject that critically acclaimed UK-based performance artist Bryony Kimmings is tackling in her new stage show, Fake It Till You Make It.
about to get promoted. It was a solid career, and I knew that Bryony and I are getting married and want kids. “It was a tough decision to make as I was comfortable. That being said I’m not afraid to do something new and it means a lot more to me to be part of the important cause of early intervention in depression cases. I feel that is my job here in this project.
Taboo subjects and cultural anomalies are running themes in Kimmings’ work, often autobiographical and based on real-life social experiments. Her latest work Fake It Till You Make It is no exception, dealing with the evolution of her relationship with Tim Grayburn, who confessed six months into their partnership that he suffered from clinical depression, something he’d admitted to nobody for six years. ** As Bryony explains: “The show is a true story and a love story… urgh, sorry gross! It’s based around a series of recordings made in our lounge in London where Tim and I talk candidly and in depth about his history with chronic depression. The story spans eight years. It’s a mix of recordings, monologues, dance routines, songs and stupid acts. “We’ve tried our best to help the audience through it, hold their hands by balancing it out with lightness as much as possible. A dark show about depression is fine, but it’s also not challenging, true to life or interesting to us. Life is a balanced and nuanced thing and even when Tim has dark suicidal thoughts we can still piss ourselves at what the dog does.” “So it was intended that it felt like a real experience, one where the audience and the performers are just human beings trying to make sense of the universe, not a relationship where one party has the answers and the other has to figure it out - that would get on my nerves.” The show came to life in December via a successful Kickstarter campaign, before Bryony and Tim upped sticks to Australia for pre-production, with a string of shows currently taking place in 44
“Hiding mental illness is very dangerous and can lead to suicide” Perth, Adelaide, Melbourne and beyond. The tour returns to the UK for Southbank Centre’s Festival of Love and Edinburgh and Dublin Fringes for Summer 2015. Hearing other people’s stories and experiences and now re-telling her and Tim’s, Bryony has become acutely aware of the issues surrounding mental health, so how does she feel about current attitudes towards the subject in the UK? ** “It’s both a terrifying and hopeful picture,” Bryony explains. “I feel that we have reached a critical mass in terms of stats and facts being ignored. Some amazing things have happened just over the past year that give us hope. Parity of Esteem is a huge NHS project that seeks to balance out the inequalities in both treatment and diagnosis of mental illness; it seeks to rectify the stigmas attached to problems with the brain. Stigmas that have been left unaddressed for too long. “Time to Change is an excellent initiative by MIND and Nick Clegg is being so excellent (I have
never said that before) around making suicide obsolete. He understands that the problem we face is that suicide, more than often linked to mental illness, is the biggest killer of men under 50 in the UK now. Not cancer, heart disease, but suicide. “There’s a huge way to go, particularly around men and mental illness and the macho culture we breed into our boys that don’t sit comfortably with the crying disease. If governments and charities are super motivating then I think it won’t be too long before a cataclysmic shift in public attitude must follow.” Central to the impact of Fake It Till You Make It is Tim’s honesty when confronting his mental health problems. It’s a sobering and surprising fact that before hitting the road with Bryony, he was an account manager at a top London advertising firm, a powerful role in a successful, creative industry. I ask Tim how difficult the decision was to quit his job and face his demons in such a dramatic way: “The decision to leave my job was hard because I was just
“I am making this work, wearing these costumes, dancing with my mad girlfriend and doing all these interviews, talks and shows in case I find someone like myself eight years ago, or someone that might be able to identify a young man, or anyone really, struggling and hiding depression. Hiding mental illness is very dangerous and can lead to suicide. It is much more important to me than advertising.” A year spent on the road would test the mettle of any couple, let alone one going through such unusually creative, emotional and demanding circumstances. How does Bryony feel the process is challenging their relationship? ** “It is of course testing. To be together every day, to be travelling, creating, performing. But we rarely argue and when we do it’s a blast of fury followed by a quick chat and then all good again. People in venues have told us we are very quick at getting things out in the open and out of the way. We are both fiery and opinionated people! “But it is also paradise. We get to stand on a stage together and talk about our story and from that see that it makes other people ok with their story. It also means we talk about absolutely everything and I think this is very, very functional and promotes excellent mental health. Tim has a life long disease and we don’t know if it will ever go away - the more it feels just like another part of life the better. It’s joyous and so connective to the audience. We have made so many new friends and we have taken hundreds of photos - I mean what an experience!”
Words: Danielle Agtani Images: Paul Resurreccion
Rejuvenating the Philippines Risen from the ashes of Typhoon Haiyan, it’s time to get our butts back to the beautiful Philippines
November 2013: Scenes of devastation dominated the media as typhoon Haiyan tore its path through the Philippines, destroying not only towns and lives, but the country’s reputation. “I hate that we’re seen as this poor, helpless third world country. We have poverty, sure, but don’t most countries?” says Crisanto Navarro, a hotel owner on the island of Cebu, an area which felt the wrath of typhoon Haiyan, or, as the Filipinos came to call her, ‘Yolanda’. The images that struck us came from the worst hit city of Tacloban, but areas bringing a huge amount of cash for the country such as Bohol and Cebu, were also devastated. While they aren’t the only tourism destinations in the Philippines, the industry took a massive hit that November. Aid work poured in, offering food, shelter and water but the impression I received from Filipinos was one of pride. Charities such as the Red Cross and Oxfam provide aid, but cannot provide the tourism the country needs to get back on its feet. ** Crisanto has become an active member of the tourism board to help encourage tourists back to the island after the disaster. He says: “Don’t think that we’re not grateful for all the help and love we received, we are. But Filipinos have so much pride and love for our country that we want to build it back up ourselves. Yolanda was traumatic, I lost family and my hotel to the typhoon and I know people who lost their houses to her. That was over a year ago now and we want to be putting back together our country, which is difficult when people think the Philippines is just one of disaster. “They used to come, loads of them. Right up until the typhoon people from all over the world were visiting us and it was very exciting to have people acknowledge us and our country as a tourist destination. But now we don’t get as many, when we need them now more than ever. Our
country is still beautiful, the typhoon actually only destroyed around three per cent of our land. That’s nothing.” If the Philippines has anything to sell to you, it’s their sumptuously beautiful country. Forget Thailand with its boozy gap-year Brits tearing up Koh Pha Ngan. Instead, head to the alluring and back-to-basics islands such as Bohol and Cebu. While many of the original highlights and must-see landmarks were destroyed in typhoon Haiyan, there’s plenty that survived and crave to be among your Instagram photos. So, here’s the lowdown on how to make sure your money goes straight to those who need it. Let’s start off in Bohol, which was once a tourist trap in the Visayas Islands. Bohol is usually advertised with its famous Chocolate Hills - when you look at the hills from above they look like a chocolate box. But if you’re looking for Eden, go on an island-hopping trip where you’ll be picked up at the crack of dawn in a wooden fishing boat. The language barrier isn’t an issue as they sneak in your island selfie and offer chunks of pine-
apple and fresh coconut water to enjoy. The day trip gives you a glimpse of the island life you dream of, as you hop between islands no bigger than the Houses of Parliament. ** Don’t book any of your tours with travel companies here in the UK, do that when you arrive in the Philippines. For example, the island hopping tour in Bohol, if you book it in the UK, will be overpriced at over £100. A good chunk of that will be poured into corporate companies where the CEO’s pocketing your hard earned dosh. When you talk to the people running the tours in the Philippines, the money you pay will go straight to them. Eat! Put down your Big Mac and eat fish caught and grilled by the fisherman. It’s a much healthier and enriching experience for your soul. I know sometimes it ‘s easier to stick with what you know but work harder to find somewhere offering anything besides pork and rice. Filipinos love fried chicken and they make a mean and unconventional spaghetti bolognese. The bolognese they cook is sweet as
all their tomato sauces are made with banana, which may sound unusual but it works. Finally, for the more adventurous traveller, don’t book all your accommodation before you arrive. Most people like the comfort of knowing where they will be staying for the nights ahead, but this isn’t a “sorry Mary and Joseph, there’s no room at the inn”, situation. You will find accommodation, and it will most likely be nicer than that hotel-spa that you were looking at on booking.com. ** A lot of what I’m saying bubbles down to the boring economy, but that’s important. This country is in the process of getting back on its feet after the typhoon, and what have you seen from the Philippines in the media since a few months after the typhoon? Zilch, nada, nothing. We now have negative images etched in our minds, and who would want to travel to a country we visualise as broken? So here it is, the Philippines in it all the natural splendour that could not be destroyed by a typhoon. It’s eagerly awaiting your visit to flaunt how great a country it really is. 45
An exciting look into Florence’s upcoming album
Quirky concepts from London’s new places to eat
Florence + the Machine
“Maybe I’ve always been more comfortable in chaos” contemplates Florence Welch on new track St Jude.
Of all the ways you could fund a restaurant, asking your friends, family and miscellaneous Facebook acquaintances you met at a party in 2010 has got to be a less common option.
It's an original concept that stems from the traditional cafe – customers at Ziferblat pay for the time they spend in the coffee shop, rather than individual items. The cafe is situated in Old Street, alongside a cluster of quirky venues that all offer something different, unique and ʻout there’.
Florence + the Machine have had a hectic few years riding the fickle waves of success, and decided to take a year off before recording her third album. The band showcased four new songs from their forthcoming album How Big, How Blue, How Beautiful (HBHBHB) at an intimate gig in The Dome, Tufnell Park – a venue the size of a village hall – and it seems Florence and her machine have gotten back to their roots. Florence wanted her third album to be “earthier” and to “strip it back”, she told Zane Lowe, but Florence’s personality is drawn too much to the grandiose and maximalism. This yearning for the dramatic and raw displays of emotion can be heard on HBHBHB through the brass orchestra and sheer honesty in Florence’s lyrics. Albums What Kind of Man and HBHBHB were both accompanied by music videos on release. The videos showed Florence’s endurance of pain, loss and discovery, both within herself and in relationships. This self-exploration can be found in Florence’s captivating, animalistic and childlike enthusiasm onstage. St Jude, Florence explains, is about storms, both physical and metaphorical: “all these storms kept following me around, real ones and imagined ones.” Third Eye is a tribute to this pain – it’s Florence breaking through the inner turmoil with optimism.
But this is exactly what brother and sister duo, Robin and Melanie Frean, decided to do when they set up a crowdfunding page to subsidise their new venture. Hood - named to reflect the pair’s ambitions for it to become a ‘neighbourhood restaurant for the people of Streatham’ - uses local produce to create a modern British menu. For an area that can benevolently be described as ‘up and coming’, Hood’s interior is fairly suave, with wood floors, Eames style chairs and little pots of rosemary on each table. Having opened in late February, the service is warm if a little patchy, and the food arrives swiftly. The inscrutably titled Eggs Amesbury turns out to be a pair of crumpets (just crunchy enough) spread with anchovy paste, topped with nicely poached eggs and hollandaise. The heavy salinity of the whole thing badly needs some green brightness, and at £8 the lack of garnish feels meagre. A neighbour’s pancakes are blighted with the same problem - two golden, fluffy looking cakes look dismayed to have been scattered with nothing more than chunks of rhubarb. The dish looks elementary, doable-at-home.
After being signed in at the door, and being informed that the cafe is 5p per minute (£3 per hour), I was eager to try the unlimited wifi, coffee, tea and biscuits. Everyone seemed pretty relaxed, despite the fact that time is literally money. After securing myself a plate of biscuits and a latte I got comfy on a large velvet chair. The mixture of furnishing around the small but inviting room, alongside soft-jazz playing on vinyl, made me feel as if nothing could go wrong. The staff were so friendly and talkative, creating a feeling of community during the time I spent there. Reliant on donations, Ziferblat is a social experiment originating from Russia; customers are expected to be fair with their usage and help out where they can. The kitchen is complete with a coffee machine, toaster, full fridge and kettle and kept me satisfied throughout lunchtime.
How Big, How Blue, How Beautiful is an album mapping Florence’s chaotic ups and downs – and its rawness and charm will capture you if you let it.
Hood is a likeable space with potential, but with the superior quality and value for money of Brixton Village just up the road, it’s not about to become the neighbourhood go-to place any time soon.
I wasn’t just impressed by the fact I could consume as much as I wanted; the range of board games, musical instruments, books and magazines on offer could entertain a party of any size. Ziferblat is worth a visit whether you want to play with other musicians, read a book or just want to fill an afternoon with a cup of tea – or seven.
Words: Molly Turnley
Words: Isabella Smith
Words: Fleur de-Boer
Skulls, murders and art at the Wellcome Collection
Anthony Baxter’s documentary lands another blow for Donald Trump and his partners
Sony’s Steampunk-style, third person shooter looks the part, but how well does it actually play?
Forensics: The Anatomy of crime
A Dangerous Game
The Order: 1886
With a few nocuous toolkits and human remains to gawk at, the Forensics: Anatomy of Crime show, hosted by the Wellcome Collection, proved to be both informative and absorbing in a most twisted way, taking you through the sequential stages of forensic discourse.
The documentary follows on from filmmaker Anthony Baxter’s acclaimed documentary You’ve Been Trumped, which exposed how, assisted by the Scottish government, Donald Trump used his billions to bulldoze over local resistance and an official Site of Special Scientific Interest, in order to build a schmaltzy golf course in Balmedie, a sleepy village on Aberdeenshire coast.
It was supposed to be the PlayStation 4’s high-water mark, a game that would showcase the true potential of the console and set a new standard for future games. But whilst there’s no denying that The Order looks good, like many games set on this course, it lacks overall substance.
With every murder investigation, the story begins at ‘the crime scene’, showing the graphic photography that emerged out of crime scene investigations in the late 19th century. Disquieting 3D models, depicting domestic fatalities, begin the clinical curation of the exhibition. Aptly named ‘The morgue’, the inanimate objects and installations in Room Two take a much more macabre guise. A human brain with the burrowing scar of a bullet from a suicidal shot sits next to a preserved liver with multiple stab wounds. No matter how much TV or how many movies you watch, the connoted morbidity of a post-mortem table for the draining of corpses certainly holds its shock value over an annoying bitch with a rotating head who pukes all over herself. Notably, the mid-13th century drawings from Chinese manuscripts called The Washing Away of Wrongs, stood out not only in their practical application and historical significance in pathology but also in their detailed artistry.
The film opens with the earthy tones of farmer Micheal Forbes reading a letter of encouragement sent from a stranger in San Francisco, who calls Trump “one of America’s worst exports”. It’s a sentiment that becomes easier to accept with every scene the toupéed tycoon appears in. Personifying greed and arrogance through his comments and actions, as one protester said outside the Scottish Parliament (which Trump was attending to attack plans for a wind farm near his golf course): “He’s a fine example of one percent of the population controlling 99 per cent of the power and influence.” Baxter goes on to highlight similar stories of luxury golf course developments from across the world in which economic interests have trumped environmental concerns: Lake Las Vegas, Dubrovnik, Croatia, and Dubai.
Through the next sections, ‘The Laboratory’, ‘The Search’ and ‘The Courtroom’ artefacts from medical science and forensic practise are in abundance. The last room gives tribute to some of those who have suffered at the hands of misinformed murder investigations, showcasing Taryn Simon’s photo series The Innocents.
The strengths lie in the humanness of the story; the Balmedie locals like Molly Forbes Micheal’s stoic 90 year old mother - who, since one of Trump’s trucks crushed the pipe supplying their houses with water three years ago, has been wheelbarrowing their water up from a nearby stream - grabbing the sympathy of the viewer. The international aspect is something of a distraction, but the film is heartfelt and full of conviction nevertheless.
Words: Fraser Thorne
Words: Isabella Smith
As gameplay goes, you can’t really fault it. If you’ve played any generic third person shooter, you’ll know what to expect: chest-high walls scattered across the environment which notify exactly when the combat segments are about to commence, as well as numerous cut scenes and the odd platform puzzle to keep the player engaged. The Order is hardly original - even the guns, despite the promise of its Victorian Steampunk settings, feel lacklustre and are for the most part generic. The one thing The Order excels at, unsurprisingly, is cinematic feel. From day one, developers Ready at Dawn stated that they wanted their game to be as movie-like as possible. They go so far as to have horizontal black bars across the top and bottom of the screen and a frame rate of 30 frames per second (fps) as it is closer to the 24fps that films are shot at. Overall, for a price of around £50, The Order can be considered a miss. Playtime averages out at between five and eight hours with little to no replay-ability or multiplayer to extend the experience. You can just go and watch a ʻLet’s Play’ version on YouTube, and it would be a similar experience to playing the game. It is cinematic after all. Words: James Wood 47
SEEN ON CAMPUS
What do you find therapeutic? Students from around the University of the Arts London take time to answer our questions
Clockwise from top:
Qi, Interaction and Moving Image, China. “Watching big hero animation movies.” Ryan, Media, Plaistow. “Music, I listen to grime for revising and Frank Ocean to chill.” Andre, Film Practice, North London. “Going to a sauna and sweating out all the junk.” Lauren, Fine Art, Warrington. “I love reading children's books, my favourite is The Secret Garden.” Butuhan, Fine Art, Turkey. “Meditating in mosques or churches- somewhere quiet.”
Words: Emma Morrison Photographs: Sara Furlanett
Words: Zanna Rollins Image: via CleftClips/flickr
Cheap dates for cheapskates Are your pockets empty? Check out this list of fun, free events coming up this Spring
The Alibi Karaoke - Every Monday. Beyoncé has got nothing on you. You’ve got the moves, the looks and ultimately the voice, so why don’t you showcase your talent here? For those who are bored of the standard gig night, The Alibi offers a night of musical fun where no two nights are ever the same. The Alibi, Dalston E8. From 10pm. Apple Bum – March 13. There’s no school like the old school when it comes to hip-hop and RnB. Baggy jeans, bucket hats and bandanas at the ready, you are about to be blasted into the past. Apple Bum will be bringing their A-game to Camden with the best that hiphop has to offer. Entry is free before 11pm. The Stillery, Camden NW1. DJ Night @ The Barfly - March 16. Pop, dance and house heads united. Join their residential DJs every Monday for an evening of fun and sick sounds. As the Barfly crew say, just pretend it’s Friday! The Barfly, Chalk Farm NW1. LOL Cool J - March 19. Step back in time with DJ LOL Cool J who will be providing the best in classic noughties tunes as well as mixing it up with some of the finest pop songs on offer today. Come down and shake a leg. Chalk Farm. Mode FM – March 20. Forget this commercial rubbish being churned out - you want some proper music. Mode FM will be hosting a DJ packed night over two arenas playing the best in tech/deep/ underground house as well as DnB and bass music. Entry is free with an e-ticket so no excuses. Rhythm Factory, Whitechapel Road E1. USA Nails – March 25. London-based rock band USA Nails will be providing the noise in Stoke Newington. The rock/punk ensemble will also be joined by the three-piece Welsh noise rock band - Lady Skins. Forget sleep; grab a beer and get your head-banging on! The Waiting Room, Stoke Newington N16. The Gospel Youth – April 8. Following the success of their latest EP Kids, the band will be
performing some of their favourite tracks, championing the sounds of soft rock and bringing the Brighton sunshine to dreary London. They will be sharing the stage with Luxembourg rock band Versus You. If you haven’t heard of either of them, then this is your chance to check them out. The Stillery, Camden NW1. Bengal to Bethnal Green by The Grand Union Orchestra – April 12. Be enraptured by the rich music and culture of Asia. Made up of members of The Grand Union Orchestra, the musicians manage to infuse the traditional Bengal style with modern and contemporary music to create an atmosphere like no other. Rich Mix, Bethnal Green Road E1. It’s a Hoot Comedy – March 27. Never Mind The Buzzcocks and Mock the Week alumni Ben Norris will have south London on its back in laughing fits for The Hootananny’s comedy night, It’s a Hoot. The extremely funny Steve N Allen will join him for an evening of belly laughter and thigh slapping. The Hootananny, Brixton SW2. 8.30pm -10.30pm. Shoot From The Hip – March 31. Looking for a unique and unscripted comedy experience? Five young courageous men take on the challenge of making you laugh with nothing but a few set scenarios and their wild imaginations. Laugh with them and laugh at them at their residential Tuesday night show. Top Secret Comedy Club, Drury Lane WC2.
The Comedy Grotto – April 14. There’s nothing funny about not having any money, so when a free comedy gig comes along it’s crucial to be there and lap up as many laughs as possible. Prepare to be entertained. Star of Kings, King’s Cross N1. The Schadenfreude Cabaret – April 17. Character acts, comedy sketches and musical hilarity are all expected here. Comedy veteran Simon Munnery, will be sharing the stage with Henry Von Stifle to name just a few. This night will have you dehydrated from tears of laughter. The Harrison, Kings Cross, WC1H. Marilyn Muruako – April 17. Funny woman Marilyn Muruako will keep you chuckling with her comedic flair and special guests. Laugh with her as she plays host to a troupe of comedians new and old at Finsbury Park. Comedy Bin at The T-Bird N4. Beard – March 5 - 29. Over the past few years, the beard has returned with a vengeance, fuller, longer and with better volume and shine than most of the Hairspray cast. Mr Elbank has captured individuals with some of the finest facial hair in his exhibition Beard. Free to the public, but strictly no peach fuzz allowed! Somerset House, Aldwych. Staying Power: Photographs of Black British Experiences – until May 2015. V&A have joined up with the Black Cultural Archives to put together an exhilarat-
ing exhibition. Get a glimpse of what it was like to be black and British in the 20th century. V&A, Knightsbridge. Jawdance – March 25 Listen to some real poetry by new performers from around the UK. Jawdance will host short films as well as prerogative-spoken words that will leave you thinking as well as laughing, and you can even hop on the stage yourself. Rich Mix, Bethnal Green Road E1. Pop-Up Beer Garden @ The London Brewers’ Market – March 28. MP what? No mate. It’s all about the vinyl. Check out records (and CDs) from over 80 of the UK’s top independent record labels. There will also be a pop-up beer garden right next door. Drinks, new music and good vibes. Old Spitalfields Market, Splitalfields. Human Rights, Human Wrongs – until April 6. After sifting through the Black Star Collection’s extensive archive of black and white photographs, an exhibition of historical political moments are being displayed in London. It's an eye-opening day trip for history and photography buffs. Photographers’ Gallery, Soho. Alternative London Walking Tour – March and April 2015. This walking tour will explore the history and culture of Brick Lane and the social conflicts it faces. Best of all, it’s a pay-what-you-like basis. Make sure you book now! Old Spitalfields Market. 49
Words: Luke O’Driscoll Image: Jenifer Corker
Small steps make big prints Is the quick fashion fix really worth it for everyone?
Last month's London Fashion Week was an excessively indulgent reminder that the world loves clothes, selfies and coffee. When chauffeurs weren’t driving the bloggers, celebs and designers around London, covering 32,000 miles, they were sipping one of the 30,000 espressos served and helping promote the UK’s fourth largest industry. That, according to the British Fashion Council, contributes £26 billion to our economy. If that wasn’t enough of an incentive to spend, according to the American Journal of Psychology and Marketing, retail therapy really does make us happy. It claims, “Retail therapy purchases [are] overwhelmingly beneficial, leading to mood boosts and no regrets or guilt”. And whilst our insatiable desire for a constant wardrobe revamp might be bolstering the economy and our mental health, it’s fucking up our planet, shirt-byshirt. Corporations' pursuit for profit, coupled with our desire for cheaper and cheaper goods is slowly helping to decimate entire countries, turning large swathes of them into huge slave factories. Export processing zones (EPZs) have been set up across the developing world. These are vast industrial areas where factory owners pay no tax, suspend minimum wage and criminalise trade unions. These are places where health and safety regulations are little more than a Western ideal. Workers can expect to work a minimum of 12 hours a day, with many working 16 or more. They make Dickensian Britain look like a utopian dream.
ue will go to the worker. Working conditions in many of the factories are horrendous. At a recent human rights tribunal in the southern Indian city of Bengaluru, workers told how the GAP supplier they manufactured for expected them to turn over 150 garments per hour, paying them the equivalent of 22p; it's a quota set so high, it's almost impossible to reach. Physical and mental abuse is commonplace. One worker told the tribunal that when targets are not achieved, which is pretty much daily, the factory managers and supervisors “call us names... say we’re pieces of shit, that we are worthless, we would be better off dead. They will come up behind you and slap the back of your head, tell you to hurry up.” Added to inhumane conditions, workers live under the constant threat of fire, toxic poisoning and life-threatening safety hazards. In 2012 the world’s attention was drawn to this in Dhaka, Bangladesh, when a fire burnt down a garment factory that was producing clothing for British high street brand C&A. It quickly spread throughout the nine-storey building, which had no fire escapes. Workers were told when the blaze broke out that it was part of a fire drill. For those that did make it to exits, many doors were locked from the outside. 112 people burnt to death. Three months later a garment factory in the same town collapsed killing 1,135 people. 2,500 people escaped but many suffered horrific injuries.
In Bangladesh, a country that employs 3.5 million workers in 4,825 garment factories and where 80 per cent of its GDP comes from the textiles industry, the average worker earns 3,000 Taka per month (£25). That’s £20 below the country's living wage.
Besides the obvious effects inflicted upon those working within the textile system, current methods of mass production are affecting our planet in ways we’re still discovering. The Chinese textile industry alone produces three billion tons of soot a year. To put that into context, at the height of the British industrial revolution in 1913, 287 million tons was produced across all industries.
Monthly salary is often less than the cost of a single garment’s retail value. An average of 0.5 per cent of the final retail val-
Furthermore, one mill will use up to 200 tons of water per ton of fabric dyed. Rivers throughout the developing world are changing
colour with the fashion seasons as the dyes pollute them, leaving an ecological graveyard behind. The solution? War on Want, a charity fighting global poverty, tells us it does not lie in boycotting high street chains and fashion powerhouses, leading to job losses for those who need them the most, but instead by becoming conscious of what’s happening in places like Bangladesh. The charity urges people to help the campaign against governments and designers for better working conditions and greener credentials, moving towards “a more humane form of globalisation.” In a world of high fashion where the price tag too often has no connection to a garment's ethical credentials, Stella McCartney is leading the revolution. She says on her website: “It seems to me that fashion is the last industry
on the planet to address ethics. That’s something I hate about my industry. For me, it’s about the basic principles: Sustainability is important, as is recycling. Everyone can do simple things to make a difference.” So the next time you self-medicate with that new jacket, pair of socks, or jockstrap, why not make a stand too? This doesn’t have to involve a flight to Asia with a placard. Maybe sign an online petition, or tweet H&M asking why they pay their garment producers so little? Or email Dior and ask why they’re not doing more to lower their carbon footprint? Engage with the brands. It's no longer enough to hold them solely accountable. We have to take a share in the blame. The more we do, the more power we have for change.
Artwork of the month: Hipster Tanya, Inga Loyeva. 2014.
Courtesy of the artist.