Brexit Blog: Filming at Parliament

On Tuesday the we visited parliament to film VT’s on the never ending topic of Brexit. It was a lovely day, clear skies and nice sunshine, so with this a lot of people were out to play.

Union jacks, big red signs reading ‘betreyal’ , and the EU stars were the common sights outside the houses. The protest wasn’t huge but it had a presence. Cars would drive past and beep, even the occasional “BREXIT!!” scream from a window.

We first started by shooting some still shots on a tripod as we thought this would make a good background to the voiceover we had planned. Then we walked about the area looking for a pontential interviewee.

eventually we found the perfect candidate, political satire artist Kaya Mar. Originalluy from germany he has been in the uk for over 30 years and knows alot of individuals who could be afected first hand by the brexit backlash.

A lot of time could’ve been saved with appropriate planning, however, we were very happy with the outcome of our interview. A shot-by-shot plan would’ve come in handy in helping with editing and could’ve made everything a bit easier.

But it all came together easily enough and the footage only took us a couple of hours to gather. It was a good exercise and i wouldnt shy away from doing a VT again, maybe about something a little less mundane than brexit.

Help From Harford : Claims and Statistics

Voted 2017’s word of the year, the phrase’Fake News’ is now everywhere and with this people are beginning to question what they are being told more. Statistical claims are a huge opportunity for readers to consume fake news.

Tim Harford has said that people should observe their feelings toward a claim more, as this helps us understand if we really believe it to be true or not because we can’t change the way we feel. I can understand where he is coming from, as I’m sure most people have a gut feeling.

Harford says that the problem is solved by realizing that we have biases and we need to be aware. He also says that we need to get to the bottom of what a claim actually means.

Does it have any detail? does it use relevant data? observation and analysis of claims is the best way to process statistics and claims. A google search could be the thing that’s stopping us from knowing the truth behind a claim, so don’t be shy to open up safari.

On the whole Tim Harford encourages us to be more critical when reading statistics, data and claims. He says to ask yourself what’s been left out and understand what the back story is.

These points seem fairly obvious but in the rush of today’s world where nobody has time for anything, taking time to think about a claim could be the difference between you sharing fake news or not.

After listening to him, Tim Harford’s advice has really come to light when earlier this week I was presented with a statistic on Facebook’s relationship with its users.

It claimed that there are 30,000 people employed last year to help tackle the fake news problem it faces. I Hardly believed this and not to my surprise the claim actually included staff that was employed work for Facebook in all sectors of the company.

Harford’s advice boils down to encouraging us to take a step back and analyze what we are looking at but not to put our feelings aside.

The Hollywood Truth

Informationisbeautiful.net has completed a new set of research data that has analyzed how ‘true’ those big ‘based on a true story’ blockbusters really are.

The truth behind Hollywood 'true stories'.
Colour coded graph on informationsbeautiful.net. The pink is false information used in the films and the blue is the factual truth.

The data is broken down into scenes on each film, being color-coded on how true the events actually are. We can click on each scene to show the reason behind their analysis. providing facts that either stem from historical information or from the book the films are based on.

If there is some kind of truth behind the scenes the data also shows this and takes it into account when giving a final percentage on how true the film as a whole is.

The problem with this data is that there are many more false scenes than I expected. Films can serious shape perception of historical events for some individuals. In some way the films with a low percentage of true scenes could be seen as fake news.

Our understanding of what actually happened can be altered after watching films. We tend to trust those 5 words that pop up before the opening credits a little too much.

The data presented is a testament to how Hollywood is capable of constructing a political and social history designed specifically for public viewing.

Christian Marclay: ‘The Clock’ at the Tate modern

‘ TH:EC:LO:CK ‘ The entrance to the immersive cinema showing the film.

The clock is an installation created in 2010 by artist Christian Marclay. In essence it is a 24 hour montage of video footage from films and television. It has been critically acclaimed fro some time now and when it came to my doorstep I was sure to go see it.

The film tells the time.  The footage selected either has a clock showing the time or someone speaking about the time. Each clip is about 30 seconds to a minute long. When my watch read 4:47 so did the clock on the screen and the character speaking about it. The film moves with time and we are along for the journey.

Marclay was been able to keep my interest for two hours, and it would’ve been more if the Tate closed later. The clips seemed to flow effortlessly. He sometimes used the same film at a later time and this made me feel less distant from the film as I was already familiar with some of these characters. 

The film was shown in a huge projected cinema screen with extremely comfortable sofas. I sunk in and took in the film as much as I could. It’s on show until the 20th of January. Unfortunately there are no more 24hr showings of the piece, however I will definitely be returning at other times to see some of what I missed.

 

Waterloo fountain keeping passengers hydrated

Waterloo became the second train station in London to install a drinking water fountain. Following in Charring Cross’ footsteps Waterloo now provides customers with free drinking water.

It can be found on the balcony above the main area on the station opposite the entrances to platforms 1&2 in-between The Cabin and Carluccio’s. 

The drinking water station allows passengers to fill up their water bottles. This is in the bid that it will reduce waste and encourage them to re use bottles they have already purchased, this is also a huge way of saving commuters money.

Network Rail says it plans to install further drinking stations in London stations ” Keeping your hydration on track” 

Visualising through VR

Photo courtesy of Idaho National Laboratory

The 11 ideas chosen by the knight foundation all have potential to change the way we consume news. The one with most opportunity is ‘Dataverses: Information Visualization into VR Storytelling’ by The Outliers Collective. Their idea proposes the use of videos and sound to make the viewer feel immersed in the scene that they are watching.  

This could allow for viewers to be more sensitive with subjects such as war, famine and other natural or man-made disasters. The technology would allow a better understanding of circumstances that most readers would never experience otherwise. This could also be used to evoke empathy to viewers, which could be beneficial for fundraisers or awareness videos that could outline the suffering or struggle of others. 

There are a few pitfalls of this idea. The most prominent one being that some users may find it too immersive and it could take a negative effect on their mental health if they are not prepared for such emotional content. However, there could be a warning screen before the experience starts to alert viewers that they might find some content distressing. 

‘ZX The Roots of Running’ An Exhibition by Adidas

Adidas have opened the doors to ‘ZX – The roots of running’ an exhibition at 21-23 Earlham St, Seven Dials. Curated by Adidas’ own Gary Aspden, the exhibition is a testament to the influence and diversity of Adidas classic 80’s training shoe family; ZX. 

ZX The root of running 1
Original 80’s Adidas shapes that have stood the test of time.

As a fan of Gary’s work I headed down to see it in the flesh on opening day. Adidas running trainers have a cult following, they seem somewhat overlooked in terms of trend. But I suppose thats why they are so iconic. Since the release of the first ZX500 in 1984, Adidas have continued to innovate and create with this style, and the space shows just that.

An unreleased model called the ‘ZX SPZL’, by Gary Aspden, curator and lead designer for Adidas’ spezial range.

The room was filled to the brim with trainers. Everywhere you looked there was a different variation of the one before. The extent of Adidas’ ZX archive is out in full colour. A huge selection of OG 80’s shapes swell as new releases that have taken influence of design from those models. The development of the shape is clear and there are so many different trainers that have used parts such as soles, toeboxes or heel tab designs from the originals. There were people from all walks of life attending, office workers, builders and even Liam Gallagher’s youngest; Gene, all sharing a love for the 3 stripes. 

Ian Brown’s take on the ZXZ, Designed by Kazuki Kuraishi. Extremely limited and hugely desired amongst Adidas collectors.

The exhibition is open from the 23rd of November through to the 2nd of December, 12-8 daily. It is open for free entry, however donations are welcome. There is also a hardback book available for sale titled ‘ZX: The roots of running’, it includes words, pictures and 80’s adverts all depicting the iconic shoe. Priced at £20, the funds will be donated to teenage cancer trust. 

Peabody housing faces protests from Deptford community

In favour of saving the Reginald building and tidemill garden space in Deptford.

Deptford residents gathered outside the Newington offices of Peabody, in order to protest the proposed demolition of Reginald house and Tidemill garden space. 

The protests have been going on since late 2017 when Lewisham council announced that the  ‘Reginald House’ and  Tidemill community garden would be demolished to make way for a  209-home build, none of which will be at social housing prices.

Residents are fed up with noise pollution and the assault of concrete that Deptford faces. Originally planted by students, teachers, and parents of Old Tidemill School 20 years ago, the garden provides a space to plant and cultivate.

a ‘Deptford needs to breathe’ banner, raising awareness of the growing air pollution in the area.

The protest has an official petition and donation page. Aiming to earn £21,000 in order to pay court costs and lawyer Richard Buxton; who has already saved other community spaces from demolition.

Peabody housing is Londons biggest housing corporation. Public Google reviews from Peabody residents have labeled them as ‘Greedy’ and some say that they are ‘appalled’ after in some cases rent increased at their housing by 27% in two years. 

Residents want new social housing but do not want to sacrifice valuable community assets.  Campaigner Andy Worthington has said that Lewisham council and Peabody housing ‘have nothing but spin and deceit’.  

The fundraiser can be found at https://www.crowdjustice.com/case/save-reginald-save-tidemill/

Fake news and the political dialogue

Photo by Auf Allen Knallen

Fake news on social media is a common occurrence now. It can easily be dismissed if we are not aware of them. Their impact on the political dialogue they convey is huge. They are able to blur the line between what is real and whats not and can lead us to subliminally take fake news as fact if we are unaware. 

It can be easy to read and share political news that is fabricated in order to benefit an individual or a group. The NY times has even developed a step-by-step guide on how to spot fake news. The problem seems to be more prominent in the US due to President trumps antics in distorting and altering what the media said about him and his party during the crucial election period.

With fake news it can become a war between real media outlets and those that have been posting distorted stories and facts. It becomes harder for the public to trust the voice of the media, be it a politician, a researcher or anyone who may be able to contribute to public interest. Gone are the days of believing everything you read online, or did that ever happen in the first place?

Graffcity: A Day with a writer

Grafitti is a major part of London. It’s unavoidable, plastered everywhere. For those not in the know, it easily goes unnoticed. I recently followed a graffiti artist Luke (not his real name) on his travels through the city, we spoke and walked through east London, and he gave me an insight into the secret underworld of graff.

We start the day off at Chrome & Black, London’s leading supply shop in Bethnal Green. He orders his paints, picks up some reading material and we head out for a walk. It all started fairly early for Luke, he used to tag his name on school tables like most 12-year-olds do.  The skatepark took him to his next level,  after asking around he got help with his tag and it went from there.

At work under the tracks, this is a famous spot amongst painters. People paint here on a daily basis.

”Painting trains is the biggest way of getting a name for yourself, its the ultimate risk for the ultimate reward. Your work is up and it’s running through the city ”

This was his final comment after a lengthy discussion about 3 writers; Trip, Lover, and K-Bag who sadly passed earlier this year painting at Loughborough Junction. The reaction from the graffiti community was fierce, defending their subculture from public criticism but also warning other painters about the dangers of painting on tracks. Former TFL board member Bryan Cooke took to twitter saying: “Why do the BBC keep referring to the guys killed at #LoughboroughJunction as graffiti ‘artists’ ? They are no such thing they are common scum and criminals who cost the railway millions”. British transport police have said ‘Graffiti in public places can make passengers feel unsafe’. It’s clear from this that there are only two sides to the graffiti coin. 

‘There have been writers who have been sentenced longer than rapists and pedophiles. But when Banksy stencils a wall and scrutinises the government, it’s kept safe and put up for auction. He’s a vandal. His stuff isn’t meant for a gallery ‘. We walk by the train tracks and I ask about damage on train panels. ‘It takes 10 minutes for a train to be buffed ( cleaned ).’ His frustration with the criminalisation of graffiti  is evident as we carry on walking through the east. 

Gold and gloves. “sometimes just taking one can and tagging until it’s done is the best way to get yourself up”

We stop at a spot under the train tracks and Luke gets to work, laying down burner chrome and detailing with Montana colours. His letters aren’t like the ones around him, they’re chunky and squishy, I like it. ‘Some people go to football on a Saturday morning, I get my paint and go use it.’ In a few minutes the piece is done, he packs his cans, sparks a cigarette and we head off. We walk through Brick Lane, occasionally stopping for him to tag a wall or a door.

‘Graffiti has always been the leading form in terms of subcultures. In music, fashion and skating, it’s influential but people don’t realise.’ It’s getting dark now, you can hear the pressure coming out of the cans before you see them. His crew shows up ready to go out. One crew member ‘Spot’ tells me bit about Luke: ‘His stuff is cool, It’s individual and not biting anyone’s style, that’s what it’s all about.’ Luke greets me goodbye and heads off into the night.

Names and identities have been altered for obvious reasons.