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Autobiography Company Wayne McGregor. Photo: Andrej Uspenski

This week: 23 – 29 July

23 July 2018 Suzanne Frost

Summer is getting to that stage where, if you are not on holidays yet, things can start to drag... We can't offer sandy beaches but let us give you a little lift with some events that still make London a great place to be.

Autobiography by Wayne McGregor
Autobiography, CompanyWayneMcGregor. Photo: AndrejUspenski

The “resident brainbox of British dance” (The Guardian), Wayne McGregor returns to Sadler’s Wells this week with Autobiography, a dance piece inspired by artificial intelligence and DNA.  Ever the visionary scientist, McGregor had his own genome decoded and turned the information into 23 dance sequences. Framed by a set beginning and end bookmarking the performance, an algorithm will select at random which volume of choreography is to be performed next, in which order and by which dancer. Every performance will therefore be completely unique and never to be repeated again. There are technically 24,000 possibilities… dizzying! One of the best things about McGregor’s work is his always visionary choice of cutting edge collaborators across the arts, this time set designs by Ben Cullen-Williams, lighting by long time favourite Lucy Carter, costumes by Aitor Throup and an original score performed live by artsy electronic music warrior Jlin.
Autobiography by Company Wayne McGregor is at Sadler’s Wells 26 – 28 July.

Asterix in Britain: Life and Work of René Goscinny, Summer 2018
copyright Les Editions Albert Rene/Goscinny-Uderzo
The Jewish Museum is currently showcasing a major retrospective exhibition about René Goscinny, the ingenious writer of beloved comics such as Astérix and Lucky Luke. The exhibition tells the story of Goscinny’s life and career and his biggest success: the creation of Asterix, the indomitable Gaul still holding out against the Roman invaders. Over the summer, you can delve deep into the world of comic book creations with a whole series of special events, from an Autobiographical Comic Book Workshop (28 July, 2 – 3.30pm), a celebration of women in graphic novels (Laydeez do Comics, 13 August, 6 – 9.15pm), a Comic Book Late Night extravaganza called Pow! Bam! Oy! (30 August, 6 – 9pm, bring your best costume!) and even a Family Cartoon Festival (19 August, 1 – 4pm ) with lots of child friendly comic related activities and workshops. There is also a curator’s tour and talk on 25 July and 29 August, and where 8 handpicked resident comic artists can be seen in action responding to the exhibition every day. There is a good chance you might find yourself in one of their drawings!
Asterix in Britain: Life and Work of René Goscinny is at the Jewish Museum until 30 September. For the full accompanying events program visit [url=][/url].
Sea Creatures
Hai Hai the Mink Whale

Artist Damien Hirst rose to fame by displaying a shark in resin and cutting a cow in half. The groundbreaking touring exhibition Sea Creatures kind of combines the two, displaying a Great White shark cut in half, along with other animals that live beneath the ocean, such as whales, seals and penguins up close and personal. Indeed, is it the same painstaking preserving process that Hirst employed, which allows us to view incredibly accurate ‘cross-sections’ of the sea creatures. The educational exhibition features interactive immersive experiences for children, a playful game to teach about the perils of plastic in our oceans, and a special augmented reality app, which provides fascinating facts, figures and videos to your phone. The centrepiece of the exhibition is Hai Hai the Mink Whale, a double record breaker (first ocean mammal to be preserved, including internal organs) whose preservation process took 50,382 man hours and whose 6.2 m body will be on display for the first time ever in the UK.
Sea Creatures will be in London’s RHS Lawrence Hall, Greycoat Street, SW1P 2QD from 20 July 30 August.

Brompton Cemetery

One of London’s oldest cemeteries (and part of the “magnificent seven”) is reopening its doors again, after a major £6.2m restoration. The National Lottery-funded project, managed by The Royal Parks charity, restored crucial monuments and architecture, breathing new life into the space with a new visitor centre and cafe, and the introduction of a community events programme. You can visit the catacombs or go on a ‘horticulture tour’ and find out more about the rich diversity of wildlife living in the cemetery, which includes more than 60 tree species, 200 moth species and many types of bats, invertebrates, moths and birds. Children can visit the newly-renovated Grade II-listed chapel, listen to the amazing story of Chief Long Wolf who was buried at the cemetery in 1892 or see the monuments to notable historical figures such as Emmeline Pankhurst, leader of the suffragette movement; Sir Henry Cole, founder of the V&A museum, and Dr John Snow, who discovered the link between cholera and contaminated water.

Brompton Cemetery reopens with a community event on 22 July.
People Powered Poetry

Poetry reading is on the rise. A recent study revealed that more young adults read poetry than ever before in the last 15 years, suggesting that this new found interest could be related to social media and online activism. People Powered Poetry, an improvised poetry event hosted by giffgaff, taps right into that with an Artificial Intelligence ‘poetry bot’, that picks lines from twitter and turns them into 14 line sonnets, reflecting exactly what kind of topics the UK population is discussing right now. Competing with the robot will be a line up of human poets who will give live improvised performances. Guests will have the chance to influence the evening using social media to tag topics they want to see transformed by the artists. A truly sci-fi event. Who said poetry was old fashioned?
People Powered Poetry will be at moth Club in Hackney on 25 & 26 July. Doors open from 6.30 pm. The event is free but book tickets here.

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