Stop Scrolling: long-awaited RiRi, SZA gets shirty and more culture for our hungry souls
Woo's cultural tonic for the endless cycle of doomscrolling
words Lucy O'Brien
Doomscrolling can take you into a grim place, being linked to both physical and mental health - a recent study said that of those with “severely problematic” news consumption, 74% reported experiencing mental health problems and 61% reported physical problems.
Our antidote for this sorrow, the endless blast of short-form nonversation and headlines about the end of the world, is to help you escape the news cycle and embrace what the great big world has to offer you. We know you're busy and there’s a lot to digest, so each week we’ll bring you a roundup of carefully curated reads, exhibitions, big-screen events and album drops to check out.
Listen to SZA’s long awaited single Shirt
Well, finally! When SZA first teased the chorus to this addictive track back in 2020, it’s lived in our heads rent-free ever since. The seconds-long audio clip made its rounds across TikTok accounts world-wide, with people dancing irresistibly to the seductive beat and itching for the full song to be released. Today, the singer has answered our prayers. She also treated us to an accompanying music video, directed by the incredible David Meyers (who you might remember has worked with some of the greats, like Missy Elliot, P!NK and Ariana). It seems Christmas has come early – all there’s left to say is, thank you, SZA.
Discover the sloppy, "supernatural" power of clay
Strange Clay: Ceramics in Contemporary Art is an essential stop on your London to-do list. The first exhibition of its kind, it brings together artists around the world who are using the medium of clay and ceramics in new and pioneering ways. Walking through the displays feels like a trippy technicolour wonderland - along your journey you will encounter everything from a cultural ode to traditional ceramic trinkets to fantastical representations of the everyday.
Pulling together the works of internationally-recognised talents, the exhibition interrogates the relationship between the artist and their craft, putting an emphasis on the tactility and physicality involved with sculpting. “Clay and ceramics both have appeal and familiarity as something we interact with on a daily basis. The material is so natural but you can do something almost supernatural with it and bring it out of its raw state,” says curator Dr Cliff Lauson.
The show standouts include Lindsey Mendick's immersive installation Till Death Do Us Part. Here, the domestic feminine erupts with raw, visceral emotion. Broken ceramic homeware, cupboards infested with vermin and an unexpected creature erupting from the toilet.
For Mendick, the process was therapeutic, “Some people, like myself, use these materials to tell stories and to create objects that don't really exist," the artist explains. "We're not just looking at the traditional ways in which clay has been used in craft, which is incredible in its own right, but we're seeing how artists are using it to convey different things.”
Lauson describes the show as the "opposite of a digital culture” and we can see why. Tactile and process-driven, Strange Clay encourages you to witness the transformation of raw materials into art.
Get inspo for your next trim
Excuse the pun but Taiwanese salon OOO-ing Studio is at the cutting-edge of innovative hair styling. In a new collab with streetwear label Sun Buddies, these hair artistes have crafted striking hairstyles inspired by accessories in the brand's latest eyewear collection. From electric green bobs to razor-sharp geometric cuts, the project re-imagines hair as not just a tool for artistic experimentation but a fashion accessory itself.
Listen to Fred Again’s new album
Boiler Room softbois, assemble! Brian Eno protégé and TikTok's fave producer Fred Again has dropped his latest album, Actual Life 3 (January 1 – September 9 2022). In its more contemplative moments, the project splices together spontaneous voice notes and audio recordings from the musician's tour life. But don't worry, there are some bangers in there too...
Support grassroots charities through art
Hackney born and raise, artist Neil Martinson is giving back to his local community with an exhibition pulling together vintage photos of the borough for his latest exhibition, Rare Hackney. On show at Two More Years in Hackney Wick, profits from the any images sold will help raise funds for Hackney Foodbank.
A love letter to the place Martinson calls home, Rare Hackney documents the area's evolution through the decades and shines a light on its inhabitants' enduring resilience.
Rare Hackney is on show at Two More Years, Hackney Wick, until 15 November 2022.
Staying out late? Visit this after-hours exhibition
If you're not already in the know, listen up: Friday Lates is the ultimate wholesome Friday night. The Victoria and Albert Museum’s long-running Friday Lates hosts an after-dark exhibition or cultural event on the last Friday of every month, free of charge! Ranging from experimental films and live performances to installations and DJ sets, it's like a cultural cheat sheat.
Tonight, you can discover Indelible Images, co-curated by photographer Tyler Mitchell (who shot Harry Styles' Vogue cover, btw) and creative Meneesha Kaur Kellay. Mitchell’s intimate photography will be set against immersive, cinematic experiences from different contributors. Exploring identity, Black desire and belonging in Britain, it’s a must-see.
Friday Lates shows on the last Friday of each month, excluding January, February, May and December. Tonight’s show is open on a drop-in basis between 6:30-10pm.
This is not a drill. Rihanna is back!
It’s official, Rihanna has released her first track since her 2016 Anti album, entitled "Lift me Up". As well as her first solo drop in almost seven years (too long!), the single will be featured in the one of the most anticipated films of the year, Black Panther: Wakanda Forever. While it wasn't the bop we've been waiting for, the stripped-back track is a beautiful re-introduction to the icon's musical talents. And with her Super Bowl halftime show performance on the horizon (scheduled for February 2023), we’re welcoming Rihanna back into the music scene with open arms.
Travel to the future with the Kid Cudi x KAWS x Mercedes collab
Grammy award-winning rapper Kid Cudi provided all the vibes with mesmerising celebrations for his new ‘Man On The Moon’ trilogy project at the Museé Rodin in Paris last week. Collaborating with KAWS and luxury car giant Mercedes Benz, the creatives pulled off a one-night-only party filled with larger-than-life art. Guests were surrounded by technicolour LED lighting, trippy mirrors and a galaxy-inspired array of KAWS’s artwork. With a performance from the rapper himself, accompanied by a humble 20-person-strong orchestra, it sounds like it was quite a night.
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