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The Cultural Frontline

The Cultural Frontline

Podcast The Cultural Frontline
Podcast The Cultural Frontline

The Cultural Frontline


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  • The Air That We Breathe: scent artist Anicka Yi; opera & breathing
    As Covid and climate change make us conscious of our breathing, our sense of smell, and the air around us: how the arts considers the very air that we breathe. Korean-born, leading international artist Anicka Yi on creating work that 'sculpts' the air using smells, and her new installation, In Love With The World - in which flying machines called aerobes fill the air with scent. How opera, lullabies, and breathwork are helping Covid patients breathe more easily: we hear how English National Opera's ENO Breathe has brought long Covid sufferers out of isolation and together online to sing lullabies to help in their recovery. Datshiane Navanayagam speaks to Jenny Mollica, a Director at the ENO, singing specialist Suzi Zumpe, and participant Sharon Sullivan. Plus writer Qiu Xiaolong on his crime fiction about air pollution in China. At COP26 China came under scrutiny for its reluctance to end its use of coal. Qiu Xiaolong tells us how he's so concerned about the air in his home country, he based the 10th instalment of his best-selling Inspector Chen crime series, Hold Your Breath China, on the air pollution problem. Producer: Emma Wallace (Photo: Lung Shape Leaf Skeleton. Credit: Getty Images)
  • Batila and Dandy: Why we make music
    What happens when Bantu-soul meets English pop? Congolese musician Batila and British singer Dandy talk to Datshiane Navanayagam about how making music helps them to make sense of the societies they live in. Liraz is an Israeli singer, actress and dancer, who’s one of Israel’s biggest stars. She speaks to Datshiane about her latest album, Zan which means "women" in Farsi. It’s a record that has had a lifetime poured into it, as it draws heavily on her family’s history and roots in Iran. Has a film, a song or an exhibition ever changed the way you see the world? Acclaimed composer and pianist Max Richter discusses the creative power of the Japanese artist Ryoji Ikeda. (Image: Batila and Dandy. Credit (Batila): Daron Bandeira)
  • Crime Storytellers: Michael Connelly
    This week, The Cultural Frontline investigates the world of crime in fact and fiction. Michael Connelly is one of the world’s bestselling crime writers. One of the key elements that shaped Michael’s writing is his past career as a crime journalist for the Los Angeles Times. He speaks to Anu Anand about his latest novel, The Dark Hours, and how his work has been shaped by the pandemic and the social unrest following the murder of George Floyd. We meet the podcast makers exploring African true crime. Investigative journalists Halima Gikandi of The Missionary and Paul McNally of Alibi discuss making podcasts that centre African experiences in telling true crime stories. Plus has a book, a film, or a song ever changed the way you see the world? The best selling Danish crime writer Jussi Adler Olsen on the Joni Mitchell song A Case of You, which helped him during one of the most difficult times in his life. (Photo: Michael Connelly. Credit: Mark DeLong)
  • Climate change: Amitav Ghosh, underwater sculpture, Sebastiao Salgado
    As world leaders meet at COP26, we speak to writers, artists, and musicians helping us understand climate change. Presented by BBC Environment Correspondent Matt McGrath. Authors Amitav Ghosh and Diana McCaulay discuss turning climate fact into fiction. Ghosh grew up in India, Bangladesh, and Sri Lanka, and now lives in America. A leading voice on climate change, his books on the issue include novel Gun Island; the new Jungle Nama; and non-fiction The Great Derangement, and the new Nutmeg’s Curse. McCaulay is a writer and environmental activist from Jamaica, and her latest novel, Daylight Come, is a work of climate fiction, set in 2084. Plus, Sebastiao Salgado’s musical portrait of the Amazon. The acclaimed Brazilian photographer spent seven years documenting the rainforest and its indigenous peoples. Now he and Italian-Brazilian conductor Simone Menezes have set the images to music from composer Heitor Villa-Lobos’s Floresta do Amazonas to create an Amazonia concert. They joined us to describe the work and climate change in the rainforest. An exhibition of Salgado’s Amazonia photos is at the Science Museum in London. And a world underwater – the sculpture park below the waves. Sculptor Jason deCaires Taylor’s unique installations can be seen around the world by divers, snorkellers, and the fish which swim around them, and tell a powerful story of climate change. He spoke to The Cultural Frontline about his latest work - an underwater forest off the coast of Cyprus. Producer: Emma Wallace, Lucy Collingwood (Photo: One of Jason deCaires Taylor’s underwater sculptures. Credit: Jason deCaires Taylor)
  • Colombia’s art of migration
    Experiences of migration and displacement are finding exciting form in the work of Colombian artists. Their art offers possibilities for new identities, questioning the very idea of home. Presenter Maria Wills Londoño, director of Bogotá’s Banco de la República art museum, meets migrant and displaced Colombian artists to explore art of the spaces ‘in-between’. Turner Prize-winner Oscar Murillo exhibits work around the globe, yet his starting-point is often family history. In the sound-piece My Name is Belisario, Oscar’s father recounts his migration journey, offering a universal message within a personal tale. In the Cauca region, Maria meets Julieth Morales, an indigenous artist from the Misak community. Julieth uses Misak fabric known as chumbe to weave textiles combining indigenous and Western knowledge. The fabric is an expression of resistance: to survive, the Misak must accept the world beyond their community. Colombian artist Carolina Caycedo lives in Los Angeles, but returns to her homeland regularly. She grew up by the Magdalena river, which became a major focus in her work when she learned it was to be dammed. She uses fishing nets as a metaphor for a sustainable mode of environmental engagement. In Popayán, Maria visits performance artist Edinson Quiñones. His extreme, sometimes violent performances heal past trauma. He explains the piece which defines his career: the ritual removal of a tattoo dedicated to his grandmother. Image: A tattoo on the shoulders of Edinson Quiñones (Courtesy of Edinson Quiñones)

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