Terror Impact: Preferential Coverage and Little Ears

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Last Friday evening following the repulsive terror attacks, we were careful to limit the news in our household, mindful of the fears that might awaken in our 6-year-old.

From Beirut through Paris, and in so many other regions, people were going about their daily lives when horror erupted. Accompanying death were traumatic, chilling sights and sounds imprinted on survivors and transmitted to onlookers near and far.

We began to weigh-in on what to tell a young child: whether to share or shelter her from the news that was, after all, not on our shores. The question of the location raised its head and merits some attention.

The continued pervasive coverage of France’s tragedy is neither surprising nor an insult to other countries or populations that have equally suffered. This is not a competition. In the UK the coverage of 7/7 was intense and on-going for months. Last year the October shooting in Ottawa, Canada saw international coverage but nowhere was this coverage more concentrated and extensive than in Canada.

Paris is an international city; one of the most visited and well-known even to those that have only toured it via films and books. This fact is precisely why coverage of the tragedy here in Canada is more intense than the coverage of similar attacks. Paris is a relatable, familiar location where many of us have participated in the exact activities, in the exact locations where these events unfolded. Familiarity breeds curiosity. The 2013 Westgate Mall siege provoked blanket media coverage. There have been attacks before and since in Kenya however that assault occurred in an everyday familiar location– a shopping mall – riveting global interest. Paris belongs not only to the French but is a global outpost which many call “home” whether they’ve taken up residence or not.  The population of Paris is not simply French but vibrant, massively multi-cultural; where Eid and Diwali are as well-known as Hanukkah or Christmas.

Comfort must overrule the cynicism in the perception of preferential coverage. If anything, the coverage of Paris shines a light on bias and can, if allowed, frame an understanding of life in war zones and build empathy towards refugees fleeing these exact horrors.

So, recognizing that media will be intense and pervasive, does one shelter or share with a child? We all make our own choices as parents but for me open discussion should rule. Parents, families, friends, aunts and uncles are best placed to open this sensitive dialogue even in a selective, imprecise manner. Children, even the very young, are acutely perceptive whether to a news report playing in their home, a magazine, newspaper or iPad story left open. A media-blackout at home cannot control what is overheard on the streets, schoolyards and playgrounds. Far worse than having this delicate, uncomfortable conversation is a child being burdened with almost incomprehensible information from another child who may have been exposed to the horrible details without an opportunity for follow-up and exchange. So we sit with our children and tell them that some people were hurt in Paris and that this has made us and the world incredibly sad.  We light a candle and take them to a memorial if they need comfort.  We start a dialogue enabling them to come back to us should they overhear disturbing news, have questions or fears. Together, regardless of age, we open that interchange, held in unconditional love: we fumble, we improvise, we speak; we simply do our best to ensure the communication is there for solidarity, empathy and reassurance.

 

By Jennifer Cavanagh

1 x Tab Breakfast – No Mushrooms, Poached Egg, 1 x Sides – Sausage: New Stories From The Tabernacle.

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It’s pretty interesting to me how, as an Artist I’m always looking for new ways to transform one dimension into another in a multi-dimensional fashion. I find it quite cheeky because really, if God wanted sound to be visual I guess she’d have made it just that yet the interconnectedness of all things fascinates me and compels me to want to share. One such example, whether by human consciousness or universal intelligence, occurred on the  25th of May at a gallery in The Tabernacle in west London.

Artists Emma Mudgway and Alexia Villard created an exhibition of their thoughts and experiences working within the legendary building in a way that can only be described as ‘Personal’.

I met Emma Mudgway (one half of the expression) in Queensway, west London, on a fine, sunny, Thursday afternoon. I asked Emma…

UDL • Is this your first exhibition in London?

Emma • Yes

UDL • Where else have you displayed your work?

Emma • I’m from New Zealand and have exhibited there.  If you are interested in my exhibition history it can be found on my website.

We did precisely that. Emma has exhibited at the New Zealand Academy of Fine Arts, Toi Poneke Arts Centre, Wellington, NZ and Expressions Arts and Entertainment Centre in Upper Hutt, NZ.

UDL • Has Alexia had any in London?

Emma • Yes she has…

Alexia has previously worked on projects such as Cinema du reel Festival, Paris Cinema Festival, Cannes festival, Feast Festival and National Portrait Gallery.

Emma Mudgway

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UDL • Is this the first time you’ve done a joint exhibition?

Emma • With Alexia, yes it is. We met in Canada on an artist residency. I was on my way to London, and Alexia was already based here. We kept in touch, ended up working together at the Tabernacle, and often found ourselves sitting around Alexia’s Kitchen Table discussing our work. That’s how the Kitchen Table Collective was formed, and how we ended up exhibiting together.

UDL • What are your feelings about working together with somebody else?

Emma • It pushes you to think differently. You make decisions about your own work that you may not have otherwise made which to me is interesting.

UDL • I know that Alexia is not here but do you think her experience of it is similar?

Emma takes off her shades, it seems this question requires some concentration.

Emma •  I don’t know we haven’t really spoke about it yet, so I don’t really feel that’s something I can comment on.

After trying to answer, a sensitive Emma apologetically replied in the best way she could with a very caring consciousness to not misrepresent the absent artist’s viewpoint.

Alexia Villard
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UDL • I understand. So what is the exhibition about in your own words?

Emma • Our idea for the exhibition was always to do something that related to the space. There are many stories that could be told about the building, its history, and the unique place it holds within the community. We began by looking back at archives from the building, and in the meantime we were collecting little bits and pieces from the restaurant. Alexia collected food tickets and handwritten notes, and I worked from the architectural plans of the building. We were paying attention to the conversations we were having with staff and customers. It grew to be an archive of sorts, of our interactions as servers.

UDL • Were your expectations met from the exhibition, if you had any at all?

Emma • I don’t think I really had any, because I was so busy right up to the exhibition with the work, and with some other important things that needed to be sorted out in my life. I didn’t have time to form any expectations. It felt like it wasn’t even going to go on the wall. If I had a hope for it, it would be that it would engage the people who the work was about, the people who are regulars in the building, and that it would get them into the gallery. People seemed to really like it, and appreciate it, they connected with the work, the people who came to the space regularly.

UDL • Your piece in particular was to me an emotional expression on an emotional expression. By this I mean in the piece you express in words as well as you express in design. How did it feel baring this all with the extra dimension?

Emma • I was a little bit worried about how emotionally honest the work was. I thought people might find the work too earnest, d’you know what I mean? But I don’t….Emma pauses to find the words… Sentimental. I think whatever I’ve made has always been tied to where I am emotionally but I don’t think it’s ever been so obvious. But what was really nice was I might have been speaking about my experiences and interactions and how I reacted to them within that space but people related to it which was nice. People came up to me and told me it made them consider their own experiences, like the last time they cried. A friend said she thought the work was very Human, for me, it was the best compliment I could have received.

Emma Mudgway
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UDL • You painted the walls of the gallery. Is this something you have done before?

Emma • No, that was Alexia’s clever idea. Because most of the work was very white, it made a huge visual impact when it was hung on a black wall. I think whenever you have a show you need to think about how it works as an installation, as a whole. The whole space needs to be considered.

UDL • As a creator myself my initial conscious expression emerged out of the culture of music in the 90s which was my introduction to the combining of genres that created something  appropriately named Hip Hop. Because of this mind state I enjoy listening to and creating various types of music equally. Sometimes I would attempt to translate in musical expression the feelings of an inanimate object such as a bike represented in phonics. I mean how would a bike talk if it wasn’t seen?  This understanding of merging platforms as an expression of dimension is similar in your work.

Emma •  Artists have the choice to work in any medium that they want and many are multidisciplinary.  It’s really about finding the best way to say what you want to say. What I’m saying is that …Emma giggles… I feel that I have to watch every word that I say..more giggles… No, you find a way that best expresses the idea.

UDL • Yes I love the idea of transferring one dimension into another dimension this is why I was so deeply affected by the work.

Emma • I don’t make work thinking about what I want to say to someone, it’s a way of processing my own thinking. If there is one thing I would like people to take from the work, it’s that it is about interaction and connection, and how that is fostered within a space. No matter how small and insignificant the transaction may seem, even if it’s just making someone a coffee.

Alexia Villard
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UDL • Have you met any other artists in London or anywhere else in the world that you like?

Emma • I have met so many interesting people in London, sometimes in the most unlikely of places; artists, creatives, people from all the around the world. I value their perspectives and have learnt a lot in the short time that I have been here. The access to art and culture here is something I don’t take for granted. Alexia and I met in Canada- I like her work because I feel like she quietly demonstrates that there is beauty and value to be found in places that others overlook. I also work with young adults with learning disabilities in an art class one morning a week, I love the quirky art they make and I find they can be as sophisticated and uncompromising in their vision as anyone else, and shouldn’t be underestimated.

UDL • Now that the pieces are taken down and packed away, what happens now?

Emma • The installation of the work in the space is finished, but there is still work relating to the exhibition to be done. For example, websites need to be updated, and there are some last little admin tasks to wrap up. Most importantly, its time to build on what we have started and the opportunities that arise from the show. On a personal level, that means reflecting on the work I made, and not losing momentum in my own making practice. Its also important to me that the Kitchen Table Collective continues to grow as a platform for our ideas, however they are manifested.

Emma Mudgway
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I feel honoured to be included or at least a thought in both Artists expression on paper. An exhibition that was every bit emotionally, touching and personal, not only to the staff and patrons of the Tabernacle but, also to those who render services (all of us) and  hold such expressions locked up deep within. I have to bow to the execution of the  many forms that these feelings have been transmitted through their Art.

Please explore more of Emma Mudgway and Alexia Villard below. 

Angel Lewis

All Photographs compliments of Alexia Villard

•  Emmamudgway.com   •   Alexiavillard.com  •

Les Urban Dandy by Soraya Boyd

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Ah sacré bleu, ces bloody French! But we love them really. They have un je ne sais quoi. Yes, that’s it: joie de vivre. Du petit déjeuner à l’apéro* en passant par La Petite France de Londres**, alors allons-y***, out and about in Kensington pour les Urban Dandy:  une expérience inoubliable****

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Bonjour, La Belle France © vous salue.  Aside from English, French is regarded as the second most sought after and studied modern foreign language in the world. It is perhaps not surprising then to note that French is spoken on no less than five continents.  Still having doubts about why you should learn French? Well apart from being fun, French is a deeply nourishing language. So when the following comes to mind la haute cuisine, les grands crus, les fromages délicieux, les arts, la music, la haute couture, les maisons de parfumeries, la litérature, l’architecture, l’amour (mais bien sûr, ah toujours l’ amour), one can only be thinking of France.  Whether you are a complete beginner or wish to improve on existing knowledge of the language n’ayez pas peur! Ouf, help is at hand with me – a native speaker.  

Regular group tuitions and weekly sorties held in a supportive, enabling and fun learning environment will help you progress towards building your confidence as well as improving your fluency and accuracy.

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The weekly conversational sortie, taking place in and around the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea (our very own ‘La Petite France’) is especially designed to immerse you in an authentic French setting. By expressing yourself in French, you will consolidate your learning. Il n’ y a rien de mieux pour apprendre!  

The next enrolment phase is now open. For more information please email labellefrance123 (at) gmail(dot)com  

Alors à bientôt Cordialement De la part de votre professeur de Français

 

*from breakfasting to sipping an aperitif

** strolling through London’s Little France

*** alright, let us go to it

**** an unforgettable experience