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Artefact Therapy

  1. 1. FREE MAGAZINEThe Therapy Issue ISSN 2056-919X
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  3. 3. 3 Editor’s letter “I put my faith in therapy as others do in religion, or philosophy,” Anais Nin wrote in the seventh volume of her diary. A lot of us do too. My therapist says that’s normal. A quick Google search explains the etymology of the word therapy is from the Greek, meaning “minister to”, “treat medically”, or “healing”, but today the word stands for a range curative processes: any type of means to recovery – per- sonal (physical, emotional, psychological), financial and environmental. In this issue, themed Therapy, we consider therapies offered to paedophiles, and ask if the UK economy is recovering. We've interviewed Green Party leader Na- talie Bennett about our suffering planet, written about the brain steroid modaf- inil, and embarked on a journey to the Sufi shrine of Baba Shah Jamal for some therapeutic music and dance. We’re honoured to feature Grande Riviere by ac- claimed painter and UAL alumni Peter Doig for our centre-fold. This is the final edition of Artefact produced by the BA Journalism class of 2015. What a journey we’ve been on! Quoting Mark Twain , “for business reasons [we] have done our best to preserve the outward signs of sanity" - we hope you haven’t thought of us as too insane! It’s been a somewhat therapeutic process - I think we have all learnt a lot about ourselves. Contents 04 IN BRIEF 08 DEALING WITH DARK DESIRES Yasaman Ahmadzai 09 A RECOVERING ECONOMY? Max Schwerdtfeger 10 IS GREEN THE NEW BLACK? Isabella Smith 14 ASHER SVIDENSKY: CHASING THE WHISPERS OF TALES IN ASIA Danielle Agtani 18 SYNAESTHESIA: BLURRED SENSES Olivia Broome 20 WHY LONDON STUDENTS ARE TAKING BRAIN STEROIDS Alex Smith 24 WOMEN IN TAXIDERMY: NOT JUST A BIG GAME Divya Bhavani 26 PETER DOIG: THE MAKING OF A MODERN MASTER Astrid Madberg 30 THE DARK NET Sebastian Moss 34 NADIA LEE COHEN Paula Wik 38 MEDICINAL MAGIC MUSHROOMS Ed Oliver 40 SEEING GHOSTS Luke O’Driscoll 41 THE COURTYARD OF BABA SHAH JAMAL Hasham Cheema 42 NAZI HUNTERS Yordan Georgiev 43 FROM WARZONE TO WORLD CUP Ryan Davies 44 FAKE IT TILL YOU MAKE IT Ed Oliver 45 REJUVENATING THE PHILIPPINES Danielle Agtani 46 REVIEWS 48 SEEN ON CAMPUS 49 CHEAPNESS 50 LAST WORD Luke O’Driscoll #5. March 2014 Cover image Photography by Elliot Kennedy, makeup by Gigi Ham- mond, Hair styling by Adam Garland us- ing Balmain Hair UK Model: Ella Yates Contributors Editorial Managing editor: Paula Wik Deputy managing editor: Danielle Agtani Print output editor: Louise Bonner Print production manager: Amy Kirby Chief sub-editor: Sebastian Moss Sub-editors: Hasham Cheema, Andrew Postlethwaite Layout sub-editors: Arek Zagata, Dominic Brown, Jacqueline Owusu, Fraser Thorne Features editor: Storm Simpson News editor: Aurora Bosotti Deputy news editor: Yasaman Ahmadzai Lifestyle editor: Rose Stoker Deputy lifestyle editor: Rachel Willcocks Entertainment editor: Ria Sajit Deputy entertainment editor: Lucia Campolucci-Bordi Culture editor: Astrid Madberg Deputy culture editor: Max Schwerdtfeger Opinions editor: Fleur de Boer Deputy opinions editor: Molly Turnley Social media editor: Holly Oxley Multimedia editor: Arij Limam Online output editor: Ed Oliver Online production manager: Bianca Pascall Online producers: Katherine Carruthers, James Wood Sports editor: Sean Coppack Picture editor: Pieteke Marsden Assistant picture editors: Raya Barghouti, Joe Ackerman Journalists/photographers/illustrators Thalia Aboutaleb, Hunter Bennett/Flickr, Divya Bhavani, Olivia Broome, Tom Buttrick, Nelson Campos, Ricardo Cavolo, Sean Carpenter, Martin Cervenansky, Vicki Cheng, James Childs, Mary Clarke, Josh De Souza Crook, CS photography, Ryan Davis, Arran O’Donnell, Luke O’Driscoll, Marlene Dumas, Jennelyn Estacio, Finead Fen- ton/Flickr, Feiticeira_org/Flickr, Thuvika Ganeshalingham, Yordan Georgiev, Sophie Had- ley, Bryndis Hjartardottir, Corali Houlton, Antonella Huka, Ella Jukwey, Elliot Kennedy, Yeasin Khan, Otto Linder, Guy Longbottom, Ele- na McDonough, Emma Morrison, Shannei Morri- son-Brown, Montrose Pictures, Nadiyah Naidoo, Elvira Nuriakhmetova, Ebi Osuobeni, Jasmine Perkins, Playstation/Ready at dawn, Carlotta Righi, Zanna Rollins, David Rothwell, Katri- na Schollenberger, Stephanie Shaw, Isabella Smith, Charlotte Somerville, Diana Tleuliyeva, Hallam Tweddell, Sam Walker, Wellcome Library/ Wellcome images, Simon Upton/Interior Archive/ Corbis, Sara Furlanetto, Danielle Thomas Art Direction Design Oswin Tickler, Smallfury Designs Creative Consultant Scott King Publishing information Published by the London College of Communication, London SE1 6SB Website: Facebook: artefactmagazine Twitter: artefactlcc Instagram: artefactmag Feedback to:
  4. 4. 4 IN BRIEF Wakie app If you hate getting out of bed and you're constantly hitting the snooze button, then the Wakie app might just be the best, and weirdest, solution for you. The Wakie app was originally launched in Russia back in 2011, but got re- built earlier this year as one of the funniest applications available on Android and iPhones. The free app lets users set times for random people across the world to give them a wake-up call. It doesn't reveal phone numbers for privacy purposes but gives the ʻwaker’ 60 seconds to make the phone call, with a remaining 10 seconds as a warning before the call gets cut off automatically. I decided to try the app myself and see how it feels to be woken up by a complete stranger. I set the alarm for 7am in the morning: “Hello?” I said a little awkwardly. “Good morning. Wake up. I hope you have a really good day” said a female voice with an American accent. “Hey, thanks hope you have a good day too,” I replied in a daze. I don't know if she had just woken up too or if she was stoned, but the lady on the phone seemed rather dazy too. It was a fun experience but I would have been happier to wake up to some- one a bit more cheerful. We both hung up the phone. The call was quick and casual, it wasn't the time to social- ise. Hrachik Adjamian, co-founder of Wak- ie, said “We make people happy with the voice of friendly strangers from all over the world who try to make you smile in the morning. When you use this app, you get to start your day with a smile on your face instead of a frown.” Words: Nelson Campos ELLIOT KENNEDY The man behind the lens of Issue Four’s cover shot is Jersey-born, Lon- don-based photographer Elliot Kennedy. At just 28 years old, he’s an up-and- comer with serious credentials al- ready under his belt, having assisted acclaimed British photographers Nick Knight and Gavin Watson before focus- ing on his own career. It’s a career that’s seen him shoot subjects as revered as Sir Ian McKel- len, John Cooper Clarke, Josh Homme, MF Doom, Bishop Neru and Flying Lotus, while also racking up a client list that includes Adidas and Mr Porter. Now adding Artefact to that list, El- liot brings his “sensitive, raw and honest approach” to our appropriate- ly themed Therapy issue. His work is informed by a fascination with British subcultures and timeless style, with images that blur the line between doc- umentary and fashion photography. “I painted from a young age and as I developed as a painter I found myself wanting to try out other mediums.I tried my hand with sculpture and some- how found myself being drawn to pho- tography. I take great influence from the ordinary moments that surround our everyday. The things that may not seem a lot but hold so much value,” says Elliot. Words: Ed Oliver
  5. 5. 5 The Age of L.U.N.A With a unique combination of Neo Soul and London rap over ’90s- inspired production, The Age of L.U.N.A are the lat- est to cause a storm in the London underground music scene. Forming in 2013 and hailing from west London, the band made their debut with Indigo which impressively featured on Noisey, Vice and Clash. They were also mentioned in the 2015 Ones To Watch list by DJ Semtex for BBC Radio 1Xtra. Gearing up to release their debut album under Clash Digital Records, The Age of L.U.N.A consists of singer Daniella, rappers Butch and Kyote and 16 year-old producer NK-OK. Their style and sound are a direct influence of their di- verse heritage, from the Caribbean to the Philippines. Their sound can be described as retro, golden-age hip-hop mixed with jazz. Imagine Erykah Badu meets the Fugees, wrapped in UK lingo and stylish clothing. Lead singer Daniella describes the album as “very diverse, there is hurt but there is also joy, love and happiness which inspire a brighter sound.” Six Feet Deep, their most recent music video, captures the essence of London culture and the freshness of the group with the lyric: “I didn’t come dressed to impress, I’m fly as fuck. I don’t need to stress to prove I’m the best.” Words: James Childs THE IMAGE AS BURDEN A new retrospective at the Tate Modern is the biggest ex- hibition of Marlene Dumas’ work ever staged in Europe and chronicles her career from the 1970s to the present. Chronologically displayed with occasional exposure of later works, the exhibition spans over 14 rooms and showcases more than 100 of her most iconic paintings, collages and drawings. The wide range of themes from sexuality to death are seen in Dumas’ paintings as well as references to art history, popular culture and current affairs. The title of the exhibition takes its name from one of her 1993 works, depicting one figure carrying another. It was inspired by a film still of Greta Garbo and Robert Taylor, but also references images of Mary holding a dead Jesus in her arms. According to Marlene Dumas, the title of the exhibition was chosen to emphasise the complexity of the relationship between painting and image. Dumas became famous in the mid-1980s for her series of paintings based on the human form. The exhibition’s quite personal, as texts that go alongside each room’s walls are written by Dumas herself to give visitors an insight into her mind. Some of the featured paintings such as Martha - My Grandmother (1984) are from Dumas’ private collection, giving the exhibition a more intimate feel. There’s also a political aspect in many of her paintings. Marlene Dumas: The Image as Burden runs until May 10 2015 at Tate Modern and costs £16 with concessions available. Words: Diana Tleuliyeva The horror game that helps victims of trauma What started off as a university project has turned into a biofeedback based interaction game called Nevermind, which helps players deal with trauma through stress. Creator Erin Reynolds told Artefact that, “in Nevermind you play as a ‘neuroprober’ – a theoretical “therapist of the future” who can venture into the minds of psychological trauma victims in order to help them unearth the root cause of the symptoms they have been suffering from. “As you venture through the surreal areas of each patient’s mind, the game will respond to the your ‘psychological arousal’ (stress, fear, anxiety, etc.) and this is where the biofeedback technology comes in. Some responses are more punishing than others, but each specific environmental reaction relates to the overall story of each patient, pro- viding clues as to what the original trauma actually was,” she adds. The game uses heart rate variability to determine the play- er’s fear and stress at any point during gameplay, sending it back as biofeedback-based interaction that helps players through different levels of stress and fear. “We hope that Nevermind can help expand awareness of the breadth and complexities of psychological trauma as well one day, being able to serve as a direct therapeutic tool for trauma victims,” said Reynolds as she aims to give players something back in gaming. Words: Josh De Souza Crook
  6. 6. 6 Escaping gravity: the growing popularity of flotation therapy If you’re looking for a new way to decompress, relieve aches and pains or are just up for trying something out of the ordinary then maybe you’d like floatation therapy. Lying down in a tank comprised of high content Ep- som salt-water heated to 35.5˚C (skin temperature) you float on the surface, removing your sense of gravity. At Floatworks in Canary Wharf, assis- tant Julie Pleteneva said: “It al- lows the brain to release endorphins, it replaces stress with a sense of well-being, increases energy levels, improves skin conditions, it’s a full- body detox, and it also helps muscles to relax. It can also regulate sleep- ing patterns and help insomnia.” The tank itself is a bit like a fu- turistic pod, its giant white lid opening up into the cascading pink, orange and blue lights emitting out onto the Epsom salts. You’ve got the option to stay immersed in the dim multi-coloured lights or plunge into complete darkness. I tried it without the lights but started to get a bit too disorientated, which wasn't too therapuetic. Floatworks offers a one hour session but time goes pretty quick. At one point I wasn’t sure if I’d been in there 20 minutes or whether they had forgotten to let me out. It makes you start thinking more introspectively - it’s easy to switch off completely and go into a trance-like state, happily floating without thinking about any- thing. Words: Sophie Hadley IN BRIEF Hunter S Thompson - Ten Years Since It has been a decade since Doctor Hunter S Thompson bode farewell to the world, “Wow, what a ride!”. His legacy remains as giving journalism the power to be free from the pangs of objec- tivity, offering a contingency plan to innumerable young writers fighting to right the world’s wrongs through blood shot eyes and debilitating hangovers. Not only have we inherited the Thomp- son dogma that gave successive mav- erick writers passage to fulfil their journalistic pursuits inebriated or buzzing, but we’ve been spectacle to the human behind the words, “I’d never advocate drugs, alcohol, violence or general insanity for anybody. But it’s always worked for me.” It goes to stand that Hunter left us with more than gonzo, offering, at various intervals, a glimpse into what he saw for the future, mentioning in one radio interview a vested analy- sis of the causality of 9/11 and his campaigning for fair drug reform that still remains as pertinent today as it did in the seventies. Bar the carousing anecdotes of po- litical campaigns, backyard shooting ranges and 100mph open-road mescaline sessions, Hunter offered self-reflec- tion, utter absorption and visionary realism, even if editorial praise was coupled with closed-knuckle-combos from motorbike gangsters. Words: Fraser Thorne YOGA WITH A VIEW Yoga fanatics are being given the opportunity to do their best downward facing dog against the backdrop of London’s beautiful skyline. The Yoga in the Sky classes will be held 80 metres up in the sky in Britain’s largest sculpture the ArcelorMittal Orbit, overlooking Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, home of the 2012 Olympics in East London. This unique yoga experience is just one of the classes available to view-loving athletes in London: other class venues include the glass floor at Tower Bridge, and Yogasphere on the top floor of The Shard – 310 metres above ground. Lasting one hour, the classes focus on technique, posture, and breathing whilst absorbing the breathtaking views of London at dawn. Yoga in the Sky is set to launch in East London on March 7. Classes will cost £17.50 and start at 7am for advanced and 8.15am for beginners. Words: Zanna Rollins
  7. 7. 7 Plastic fantastic? There is strong evidence that suggests an increase of mental health problems in cosmetic surgery patients. A study by The British Association of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons (BAAPS) in 2014 found that women accounted for 90.5 per cent of all cosmetic surgery procedures – totalling 50,122 – the most common of these being breast aug- mentation. Norwegian Social Research found that women who decide to undergo cosmetic surgery are “on average more depressed and anxious” and are more prone to suicide. Studies have also found that there are two common psychiat- ric phenomena among cosmetic surgery patients: a heightened risk of suicide and body dysmorphic disorder (BDD). Lara, 25, had been diagnosed with depression at age 16, which she felt was well under control at the time of her first surgery. “It was after the surgery that things began to spiral,” she said. “The surgery was done, but I didn’t feel more confident, instead, I started to find more faults in myself – things that needed to be changed. “I hated my body, and as hard as I tried to work out, I wasn’t getting results fast enough. I was sure li- posuction was the answer to my prob- lems.” After her second surgery, Lara opt- ed for post-surgery counselling:“I’d become almost obsessed with the way I looked and nothing I did felt good enough.” Currently, there are no (official) regulations in place within the UK to control or reduce the risk of mental illness in plastic surgery patients. Words: Nadiyah Kaur Naidoo ARTIST RICARDO CAVOLO Ricardo Cavolo has naturally led an artistic life, beginning when he was born in his father’s painting studio in Salamanca, Spain. Now at the age of 33, still working as an illustra- tor and muralist, Cavolo feels like he belongs to the art world. “I was living with gypsies since the age of three. I’m sure this affected me creatively, and positively in my work” says Cavolo. Having worked for both Nike and Urban Outfitters, Cavolo's vibrant drawings, reminiscent of old sailor tattoos, have been enjoyed around the world. Featuring the Mexican painter Fri- da Kahlo, his above illustration was made especially for Artefact’s Therapy issue. When asked why he draws Frida fre- quently, he said: “She was a very strong person, who lived with both the good and bad. She had big and strong convictions and was loyal to them”. Kahlo started painting after she suf- fered severe injuries following a bus accident. Then part of a volatile mar- riage to fellow painter Diego Rivera, she became a powerful feminist and one of Mexico’s most famous painters. “I like Frida as a person and Frida as an artist. She had her own way of explaining life through her art, and that's not so common. She had so many ghosts inside of her, and she used her art to remove them. She used art as a therapy”. His book 101 Artists to Listen to Before You Die will be released by No- brow in March. Words: Louise Bonner
  8. 8. 8 A file released in February 2015 named top British diplomat Sir Peter Hayman, who served during the Thatcher administration, as a known paedophile. His abuses were apparently common knowledge among the Westminster elite of his peri- od but kept secret from the public for more than 40 years. In the UK in the 1970s, pro-pae- dophile activist group the Paedo- phile Information Exchange (PIE), joined the National Council for Civil Liberties (now the Liberty organisation) and campaigned for the 'sexual liberation' of chil- dren. Hayman, who died in 1992, was a member. Before disbandment in 1984, PIE managed to wangle its way into mainstream political dis- course and recruited around 1,000 members; it received support from student unions and was given a platform in national newspapers. Its activities now seems chilling and raise questions about how PIE became an accepted pressure group on the fringes of public debate. ** Honorary research fellow at the University of Winchester and au- thor of two major studies on pae- dophilia, Sarah Goode, said that the process of understanding the historical responses of child sex- ual abuse, and ethics, is long and complex. She points to the publi- cation in the 1940s of Professor Alfred Kinsey's books Sexual Be- haviour in the Human Male and Sex- ual Behaviour in the Human Female. Kinsey’s texts and similar works that followed contributed to a change in public attitudes towards sexual behaviour. In 1953, Kinsey appeared on Time Magazine's cover and his work was widely praised for having a positive impact. But he also generated controversy by being the first to broach taboos such as sex before marriage, mas- turbation and homosexuality. His theories focused on the idea that an orgasm was the ultimate good, overriding any other consideration such as child protection. Howev- er, Kinsey has been repeatedly ac- cused of having put his research before the welfare of children as he failed to report the abuse com- mitted by some of his interview- ees, as mentioned by his biogra- pher Jonathan Gathorne-Hardy in an interview with The New York Times in 2004. The Kinsey Institute has never denied the participation of men with paedophilic preferences in the study: “As stated clear- ly in the first Kinsey volume... the information about children’s sexuality responses was obtained from... a small number of men who had engaged in sexual contacts with children and who were in- terviewed by Dr. Kinsey and his staff,” said John Bancroft, di- rector of the Kinsey Institute from 1995 to 2004. Kinsey’s attitude towards child ʻsexuality’ remained at the cen- tre of academic and intellectual debate for decades; the malign in- fluence of this strain of ʻsexol- ogy’ has only recently come under scrutiny as the now-adult survi- vors of 1970s child sexual abuse have begun to speak out and demand better protection strategies. As Goode suggests in her research, this open academic discourse and intellectualisation of the eth- ics of children and sex could be connected to the scourge of sex crimes committed against children in the late 20th century, which are only now coming to light. The term ʻpaedophile’ applies to a person who is sexually attracted to children below the age of sexual consent: in the UK, it means those aged under 16. One of Goode’s the- ories is that paedophilic tenden- cies are “hard-wired” into the de- veloping foetal brain and that, as a condition, it must be made clear through a series of tests to as- sess whether it is an involuntary condition or if the abuser chooses to offend. “The word ʻpaedophileʼ should not be used as a synonym for ʻsex offenderʼ, because any- one who is sexually attracted to children always has the option to choose to refrain from sexual of- fending behaviour,” says Goode. ** Paedophilia is regarded as a se- rious sexual offence and those who are diagnosed with the disorder or charged for its crime are expect- ed to join treatment programmes and serve a judicial sentence. Jon Brown, the NSPCCʼs head of sexual abuse programmes, says that the most effective forms of treatment for paedophilia are cognitive and behavioural therapies that use em- around 20 per cent of men are ca- pable of being sexually aroused towards children, and that around one per cent of all men are ex- clusively or primarily sexually attracted to them. Corresponding figures for female paedophiles are not easily accessible due to the subject being discussed rarely. In the UK, there is a reasonably well-embedded system of cognitive behavioural treatment for con- victed offenders, but a lack of an advice treatment programme such as the Prevention Project Dunkenfeld in Germany – a pioneering scheme aimed at those who have yet to offend but are concerned about their behaviour and want help. Ac- cording to Clean Internet Charity Foundation, on average, 15-20 in- dividuals per month contacted the organisation in Berlin - more than 800 by the end of 2008. In Scandinavia, there are proba- tion services for those worried that they might offend. Thera- pists sometimes work with paedo- philes to understand and identify their urges, offering strategies and integrating behavioural ther- apy tailored to the patient’s per- sonality. In certain situations, medication is prescribed to sup- press the offender’s libido. Paedophilia involves unacceptable desires or practices that destroy innocent young lives, but the shifting academic debate and new treatments perhaps signal a fresh approach to tackling it. By encouraging paedophiles to come forward and be treated, we might effectively protect potential victims Dealing with dark desires Words: Yasaman Ahmadzai Image: Mr OH pathy training and restructuring of distorted or 'deviant' thought patterns. “It’s not thought of in terms of there being a cure for paedophilia or sexual offending against children. It’s more that the risk will always remain but it’s important that risk is re- duced as much as possible through a combination of strategies and also offering some hope for the abuser,” Brown explains. Lecturer of Philosophy at the University of London, Dr Rebecca Roache, has written about paedo- phile rehabilitation for Oxford University’s Practical Ethics blog and says there are paedophiles who resist their sexual urges and nev- er go on to abuse children. “While offending paedophiles might be an appropriate target for our wrath, non-offenders who are bat- tling their conditions and want to ensure they do not commit crimes deserve our sympathy and help. And it seems plausible to think that the more we help the latter type of paedophile, the better we will get at preventing the former type,” says Roache. Despite the existence of organisa- tions offering help and preventa- tive strategies to non-offending paedophiles, Roache is concerned by the lack of incentives for pae- dophiles to come forward for fear of being demonised. However, it remains unclear how effective the treatments are. According to Dr. Goode, a recent study shows that
  9. 9. 9 A recovering economy? Words: Max Schwerdtfeger Image: Mr OH Britain has the fastest growing economy in the first world - or so International Monetary Fund (IMF) declared towards the end of 2014. The figures, from IMF, suggest- ed that by the beginning of 2015, the UK economy should have grown by 3.2 per cent, more than any other G7 nation and meaning that the UK had emerged from the global financial crisis in better shape than France, Germany and even the United States. The report – the most recently published by the IMF on Britain's economy – was followed in January by Christine Lagarde, the IMF's director, praising the UK's el- oquent and convincing leadership of the rest of Europe and admit- ting that previous pessimistic forecasts on the UK’s potential growth had been wrong. It is certainly an about turn from the IMF who suggested in a consul- tation report as recently as 2012 that the coalition government's economic policies risked damaging the country's productive poten- tial permanently. ** That Britain has done so well is remarkable when considered in the context of the fragile political and economic state of the world. However, before one offers our po- litical leaders too many congrat- ulations, one must remember just how fragile Britain’s economy re- ally is, and that some are yet to see the true benefits of economic recovery. When, in 2010, Britain formed its first coalition government since the Second World War, it immedi- ately set about imposing the most austere economic policies for a generation in response to the fi- nancial crisis threatening to en- gulf the world. It worked, for the most part, and Britain regained control over its public finances with an efficien- cy that no other country of equal size and population could. Unemployment levels not seen since the Depression crippled the Unit- ed States, and Germany and France were, and still are, struggling to resolve the debt crisis in the Eurozone. However, it quickly became appar- ent that cuts to public servic- es, as well as reluctance from the banks to lend, meant that people were gradually spending less and less as capital became scarce. This meant that growth was non-ex- istent, and Britain became peril- ously close to slipping back into a prolonged recession as house prices dropped along with wages and the government struggled to meet its own deficit reduction targets. The initial signs of growth came in the shape of answering one of those problems. The government’s 2013 ‘Help To Buy’ scheme proved to be an effective initiative in helping first-time buyers get on the property ladder, allowing them to purchase a house with a deposit of as little as five per cent. The rise in GDP in the past two years can largely be attributed to this, but the question is wheth- er or not the recovery will last beyond the next general election - this vote being perhaps the most important and unpredictable in many, many years. The outcome of the election will depend on who puts forward the most convincing argument in re- gard to the economy’s stability and growth, and all other issues – Europe, immigration, etc. – ap- pear drab in comparison. The economy has dominated the rhetoric, despite references else- where, and accusations of feck- lessness and heartless elitism be- ing traded between Conservatives and Labour. It is the economy that will decide whether or not David Cameron is given the opportunity to pursue his ambition to renego- tiate the UK’s position in Europe, or if Ed Miliband gets his chance to shape government policies. “Growth is up and GDP is up,” says James Meadway, senior econ- omist at left-leaning think-tank the New Economic Foundation. “It is a kind of recovery, but real wages are down and people are be- ing paid much less than they were five years ago. The government has eased off austerity because peo- ple weren’t spending.” The election, Meadway says, will have an impact upon the recovery but not perhaps as much as one might imagine. ** “The difference between Conserva- tives and Labour isn’t great, the biggest of which being the speed with which austerity is imposed. What is interesting about the election is whether or not either party is forced into coalition with one of the small parties. The SNP, for example, is opposed to austerity.” “Standards of living have dropped,” adds Meadway. That is something echoed by the Trussell Trust, the UK’s largest network of food banks. “While there appears to be ele- ments of economic recovery in the UK, our experience from those who are referred to our food banks is that a proportion of the popula- tion is being left behind,” says Trussell Trust trustee Alison In- glis-Jones. “Those people who are affected by benefit sanctions and delays and, as demonstrated in our half-year figures released in Oc- tober 2014, an increasing number of people in employment but on low income and zero hours contracts are being referred to the Trust's food banks.” Those figures demon- strate that referrals to food banks under the Tory-Lib Dem co- alition have increased by 38 per cent since this time last year. ** Of the factors influencing Brit- ain’s economic outlook, perhaps one of the most pertinent is the falling price of oil. The UK has very little control over this and is at the mercy of international markets, which are influenced by events beyond its borders. The war in Ukraine, for example, has affected Britain be- cause of EU sanctions against Rus- sian, which has invested in the UK, particularly in London. How this concludes is largely de- pendent upon another crisis clos- er to home that is potentially far more severe – that of the Eurozone crisis. The crisis, or more specifically the Greek element of it and that of Ukraine, is inexorably linked because of prominent members of Syriza, the far-left government of Greece, having ties to Mos- cow. Alexis Tspiras, the new Greek prime minister, has made his oppo- sition to sanctions against Rus- sia very clear and the Kremlin is, according to the Financial Times, hoping to exploit both the vocif- erous resentment to EU-led aus- terity and Greece’s historic and cultural ties with Russia in order to undermine Europe. Britain’s relative ineffective- ness in both these cases is per- haps the biggest indicator to its inability to control its economic destiny. However, the government should be credited for, if noth- ing else, winning back some of the UK’s financial credibility. Whether or not it will last and give the UK the chance to prosper in the long run is another ques- tion, and one that will be decided by many different factors, some of which lie out of the control of any politician in Westminster. Despite positive reports on the UK's economic outlook, doubts remain over the stability of the recovery
  10. 10. 10 The leader of the Green Party, Natalie Bennett, on votes, drugs, dogs and Himalayan happiness ISGREEN THENEWBLACK?
  11. 11. 11 Ten years on from the enactment of the Kyo- to Protocol, the health of the planet is definitely going to pot. 2014 was the hot- test year on record ever. According to NASA, global warming – which 97 per cent of climate scientists agree is due to human activities – is causing wildfires, insect outbreaks, increased flooding, heat waves, sinkholes, disappearing lakes and dying lizards. British politics is a steaming wasteland too. A party – led by a former commodities trader who looks how a weasel would if you bought it Burton vouchers for its birthday; that has spawned countless listicles along the lines of ‘Top 10 Most Deplorable UKIP Gaffes’; and whose last manifesto included a policy of compulsory uniforms for taxi drivers - has emerged from the underworld. Said party now has two actual MPs and is reaping serious percentages in by–elections – on average 28 per cent in each of the last ten. Everyone hates Cameron and Miliband is weird/ eats bacon wrong, and their policies are ba- sically identical soundbites written by two very similar PR execs who went to Harrow to- gether, so another hung parliament is looking likely in May. Never, since the emergence of the two–party system in the 1600s, has the country seen such a fragmented ideological landscape. In other words, the UK is rowing a governmental turd boat in uncharted waters. Enter Natalie Bennett and the Greens, on a solar–powered speedboat. The party is growing at an exponential rate: one bonanza week in January, its membership increased by 40 per cent from around 33,000 to over 46,000. Bennett et al. flicked ‘V’s at Farage from their (sustainable wood) deck as they sped past him with his mere 42,000 lackeys, their wake splashing his tweeds. The Greens are beginning to be known as a party that stands for more than just what it says on the tin. No longer are they sole- ly associated with trees, veganism and weed; they’re attracting support for being an all-purpose anti-establishment outfit, speak- ing out against social injustice, nepotism, and the sorry state of the voting system. The party’s antipodean leader pledges to raise the minimum wage to £10 and fix day–to– day problems like the lack of cheap housing and the cost of train tickets – issues that, unlike the more nebulous question of green- house gases, people can grip onto. In fact, according to the ongoing survey by social enterprise Vote for Policies, (which is essentially a blind taste test of policy; respondents chose their preferred party hav- ing compared plans on a range of key issues without knowing who they belong to), the pub- lic like the Greens the best. More than half a million people have completed it so far, and 28 per cent of people – a solid eight point lead on the runners up Labour – would vote Green if policy was their only priority. And maybe they actually will. They sure can. In February the party successfully crowd- funded the (£500 a pop) deposits required to enter a candidate for the 150–ish seats in the country that a Green candidate wasn’t already standing in. This ensures that on May 7, every voter in the UK will be able to put a cross next to a little emblem of an earth radiating petals if they so chose. Words: Isabella Smith Images: Jasmine Parker A VOTE THAT COULD MEAN SOMETHING It’ll be a strange election; it’s the first one in recent British history that the elec- torate actually expect to result in a hung parliament. How this fact will affect voting behaviour is anyone’s guess. Bennett, blonde and head–bobby, settling into her seat in the faux-French station bar her assistant chose for us, has her suspicions. “I run into people up and down the country who just say, ‘I’ve been tactically voting for decades; I’m not going to do it anymore.’ People get that this has given us the kind of politics we've got now, when you've got a Labour and Tory party that you can hardly get a cigarette paper between.” The current First Past the Post (FPTP) voting system (where for every seat, the party with the most votes wins the seat outright and the votes of those who voted for any other party are totally disregarded, or “wasted”) is the enemy of the Green Party. They propose a move to a proportional rep- resentation (PR) system, in which the number of MPs elected from each party would more closely match the number of votes the par- ty receives in total. PR is better suited to multi-party politics than FPTP, and many re- gard it as fairer. Bennett hopes the results in May will make electoral reform more of a salient issue for the public. “What we may well see in this election is quite a lot of MPs being elected with not much more than 25 per cent of the vote. You can imagine a lot of the other 75 per cent of the people [who voted] in those seats going ‘but hang on a minute, how did that happen?’. What will need to happen is such a groundswell, such a level of frustra- tion that it really pushes people to force change.” It’s this kind of talk that aligns so neat- ly with the long held discontent of many - discontent which, in recent years, has been demonstrated by diminishing turnouts. She seems to get it. But she also thinks now is the time to cut the apathy and get down to the polls. “Business–as–usual politics has people thoroughly fed up and thoroughly feel- ing like they want change. People are in- creasingly grasping that it's in their hands to deliver that change simply by voting for what they believe in.” She’s all about empowerment, this Natalie. The recent ‘Invite The Greens’ petition probably contributed to the secur- ing of the Greens’ inclusion in the televised leaders’ debates. But rather than the result itself, the best part for her was the fact that it could serve as “an important first step for lots of people to recognise that politics should be something that you do, not that's done to you – 300,000 people can see a case where their clicking had an impact.” A STEEP ASCENT Bennett orders a latte and announces her intention to keep her coat on; it must be chilly up there at the top. Having taken over the leadership from the Green’s only MP Car- oline Lucas in 2012, she suddenly became a high profile figure at the beginning of this year, mostly attributable to the saga of the aforementioned leaders’ debates. But she doesn’t seem ruffled by the new lev- els of scrutiny this has brought. “There’s a certain pressure of knowing that at any point in time someone might take a photo of you and post it on Twitter or someone might comment on what you’re wearing, or you look a bit tired. There’s a kind of stress in that, but you learn to live with it.” Being Green, as she points out, means she's “probably” in the public eye on trains more than most other politicians. This is no un- derstatement: last year she took a 48 hour (each way) train journey to attend a confer- ence in Croatia because she doesn’t fly if she can help it. It’s these hints at a kind of ‘I’m–not–budg- ing’ ideological integrity that make the party seem, for now, relatively trustworthy. No matter the result of the election, Bennett says, they won’t go into a coalition. But, “we could imagine a potential of supporting a Labour minority government on a vote by vote basis. So that means, you know, we don’t get ministerial cars, but we get to keep our principles.” HEADACHES AND HICCUPS These principles have resulted in a few head- aches for the leader of late. She appeared on the BBC’s Sunday Politics programme, and certain factions of the press descended like vultures when she admitted that belonging to a terrorist organisation would not be a crime under a Green government. “In an extraor- dinary claim, Natalie Bennett said people should not be punished for what they think,” gasped the Mail. They’ve also been called out for suggesting the Queen could live in a council house in a post-monarchy Green society, and that they would withdraw from NATO and all but disman- tle the armed forces. I want to know if they mind making awkward headlines – and perhaps putting off voters who would have otherwise supported them – by refusing to compromise their beliefs. It “Thewarondrugs hasfailed,andwe shouldbetreating drugsasahealth issuenotacriminal justiceissue”
  12. 12. 12 takes me four attempts to ask the full ques- tion though, because she keeps charging in with her Defensive Politician hat shoved on, slightly askew, to “clarify” things “for the record”. Usually eating up questions like it’s break- fast time, her answers become choked and press–officerly at the mention of ISIS. She sounds like a fumbly David Cameron. On the subject of Queen Liz, she says she was try- ing to make “a serious and important point that nobody, nobody at all, should fear being homeless in Britain.” Fair enough. The long and short of it is that “Well, the thing is the Green party has principles.” Yes, we know. Insufficiency of the answer aside, she’s not just saying that. Compared to the two big dogs, the Greens are ideologues. Instead of playing into the endless Lab. vs Con. battle for the support of Middle England, their pol- icies seem to be truly guided by ten reasona- ble core values, the aim being, according to their website, a “radical transformation of society for the benefit of all, and for the planet as a whole.“ And then there was that spluttering, ill-pre- pared interview with Nick Ferrari on LBC radio, the horrendousness of which cannot be overstated. For three whole painful minutes, Bennett failed to give a straight answer on the funding of a flagship policy – a pledge to build 500,000 new social homes by 2020. It happened weeks after this interview was con- ducted, so the question remains unasked: why don't you just stick to what you know? The green stuff. APPLE CORE VALUES Her three most pressing environmental issues: “Climate change, waste: when you think about the fact we’re turning our oceans into a plastic soup, and securing our food supply.” As important as the planet is to her, Bennett doesn’t intend to ram environmentalism down anybody’s throat. “The reason I'm in politics is to change the way society works, so that doing the environmentally friendly thing is the easiest, simplest, cheapest, most obvious thing to do… It's a matter of changing the way society works rather than changing indi- vidual behaviour or thought.” She isn’t the guilt–tripping type either. “I'm not going to criticise anyone for, after a really long tiring day at work, falling into the local chain supermarket store, pick- ing up a heavily over–packaged ready meal and whacking it in the microwave. What we need to do is cut working hours so people have more time to buy some nice food, cook it proper- ly, have the leisure time and space in their lives to do that.” Her realisation of the importance of over- hauling the system stems from years back: an experience on the campaign trail “over there on the Regent’s Park Estate,” she recalls, motioning westwards. Bennett tells of how she had knocked on the door of a “lovely” old lady. “She saw my green rosette and there were tears in her eyes. She said, 'I feel so guilty because I can't recycle my newspapers, because I walk with a stick and the bin is 500 metres that way.’ As I said then and as I say now, that's not your fault, it's our fault for putting a system that you can't use in place.” GREEN AND BROWN One system the Greens would change is the way we deal with narcotics in society. “The war on drugs has failed, and we should be treat- ing drugs as a health issue not a criminal justice issue,” the green queen asserts. If elected, they would legalise marijuana imme- diately with a view to establishing a fully legalised, controlled and regulated trade. They would establish a licensed service pro- viding analysis of any drug regardless of source, which would be available for a small fee. They would also begin reviewing the classifi- cations of other prohibited drugs like heroin and acid, weighing up the costs and benefits of keeping them illegal. According to Na- talie, “That's a policy that's based not just on principles but on very strong evidence from around the world about what keeps drug users, families, and communities safe.” ROTTEN CORE VALUES And what about keeping the planet safe? Reck- less consumption is one key area the Greens are passionate about tackling in order to do this. The European Environment Agency says it’s a major driver of environmental damage, and each year, we generate enough e-waste (discarded electronics products) alone to fill a freight train so long that it would go all the way around the world. The Greens say that “Our culture is in the grip of a value system which is fundamental- ly flawed.” But how can we have any hope of changing when us young people have been con- ditioned to be voracious consumers ever since our feet were the size of iPhones? “The fact is, very simply, we have no alter- native.” That may be so, but the average per- son is subjected to hundreds of advertising messages every day. Buying superfluous junk can be difficult to resist. Bennett insists that there’s something in it for us aside from just the hazy idea of protecting Mother Nature though. “We need to change, but what's really important to get the message across is that we could actually all have a better life - a more fulfilling, healthier, less stressful life - in the new green economy. I think lots of young people and older people do really get this: chas- ing after the newest handbag, buying T-shirts that you wash twice and they've turned into a rag; all of that kind of stuff is not improv- ing our quality of life.” So what would improve our quality of life? “If you ask people 'What makes you feel good, what do you enjoy?', it's time with family and friends. it's the opportunity to re- lax and do things you enjoy, and that's what we're aiming to create, a society with much more of that. Much less stress, much less fear of not being able to put food on the ta- ble or keep a roof over your head.” GROSS NATIONAL HAPPINESS So what about just straight up prioritising happiness, like Bhutan does? The Himalayan nation has had a policy of pursuing ‘gross national happiness’ instead of gross domestic product (GDP) growth since 1972. The psychological wellbeing of Bhutanese citizens and the health of the environment are what inform decision making - conser- vation of ‘community vitality’, traditional culture, resources and wildlife are high on the agenda. Their commitment to this holis- tic approach to economics is so strong that it’s enshrined in the country’s constitution. Could this strategy work for us? Or do we just enjoy moaning? “...thinkaboutthefactwe’returning ouroceansintoaplasticsoup...”
  13. 13. 13 “Happiness is a bit of a wooly word. What I would like to see replacing a focus on GDP is what’s called a traffic light system. You look at a range of indicators that assess the economic health of society, the social health of society - things like inequality, the state of the environment - and what you want to do is keep all of those above the red light level. So you make sure that none of those are going horribly wrong and you man- age the economy in a way that’s sustainable,” says Bennett. GREEN HUMAN BEING All this change the 49 year-old wants to effect, what inspired it? She worked as an editor at The Guardian Weekly until 2012; was it an abrupt transition from headline writer to headline maker? Apparently not. “I think I always knew at some point that I'd leave journalism, because if you spend a couple of decades doing it, you see a lot of the same very depressing stories again and again. You know, African famines, political coups, de- mocracy breaking down.” There’s something hu- man and relatable about the way she finishes; “You get to the point where you really want to change the news, not just report it. She still maintains a blog though, the es- oterically titled Philobiblon, which takes its name from a medieval collection of essays about library management. So does she have any more obscure interests? “I can't eat glu- ten so I have to get creative with cakes. I make a mean lemon polenta cake. I don't know whether that counts as obscure.” Imagine her sat at home, watching Bake Off and wincing at the proclaimed density of a macaroon, and she takes another step away from politician-bot territory. Philobiblon also has a whole section dedicat- ed to all the dogs she’s ever owned, complete with biographies and pictures. Which was her favourite? Kelly springs to mind first for being “super intelligent.” “Mind you, Beanie the Staffie was rather nice too. She was utterly irrepressible, that's what was nice about Beanie. It might be on the website, one of the photos is of Bean- ie carrying her ball, with her head up like this...” She proceeds to do her best ‘excita- ble canine’ impression, hands up by her face. By anyone’s standards, Natalie Bennett is not your normal politician. But the Green Party is not your normal party. And like Beanie, she could turn out to be irrepressible. If she can avoid the unavoidable, awkward ques- tions, that is.
  14. 14. 14 ASHERSVIDENSKY CHASINGTHEWHISPERS OFTALESINASIA Documentary photographer Asher Svidensky discusses his love for Mongolia and capturing age-old traditions, which are evolving and fading in a modern world Words: Danielle Agtani Photos: Asher Svidensky
  15. 15. 15 Travelling the uncharted and secluded areas across the world, freelance documentary pho- tographer, Asher Svidensky pursues the myths of stories to bring them to life. Gaining recognition for his projects such as The Eagle Hunters of Mongolia and The Yin-Bou Fishermen, Asher has delivered a TED talk on storytelling and had his work published in National Geographic (USA). But born in Isra- el, where there is compulsory recruitment for the military, Asher took an unconventional route to success. Starting as a clerk, he pushed his way to be- come a military photographer, which is where he learned photography: “It was amazing; I had a lot of spare time to work on myself as a photographer and go and see places that I couldn’t have done any other way, like going on choppers, going on treks, going for train- ing.” Fresh out of the military, Asher followed his dream of travelling through Mongolia and started his storytelling adventure. His two main photo projects speak of conflicting traditions, one shows how age-old traditions can evolve, while others fade in a modernised world. Asher went to west Mongolia to document the lives of Kazakh eagle hunters, who tame ea- gles for hunting smaller animals, such as foxes and marmots. The preservation of the culture of eagle hunting is what enticed Ash- er: “One thing I’m really interested in is past generation’s traditions, I like the fact that those cultures, thousands of years old, still exist. “When you go to the eagle hunters, there's no road and electricity. It’s just how it was all those years ago. You see the eagle hunt- er, the traditional clothes that were worn by their ancestors using the same techniques, the same style of art and you see Mongolia in the eighth century, just for a little bit before someone’s phone rings.” Initially Asher documented the eagle hunters’ lives but felt the photos mimicked similar stories, and pursued a new way of narrating the Kazakh eagle hunters. “I decided to fo- cus myself, stop looking for a portrait of a centuries-old image of a Kazakh eagle hunter, and search for a portrait representing the future of this ancient Mongolian tradition.” Tradition-wise, when a boy turns 13, and he’s strong enough to carry the weight of a grown eagle, his father starts training him in the ancient hunting technique. Asher photographed two boys training to be eagle hunters, 13 year old Irka Bolen and 14 year old Bahak Birgen. But to demonstrate the increased equality and number of educated women in Mon- golia, Asher decided to search for a final female subject. Asher photographed Ashol Pan, the daughter of an experienced eagle hunter: “I was amazed “I’mreallyinterestedinpastgeneration’s traditions,Ilikethefactthatthosecultures, thousandsofyearsold,stillexist.”
  16. 16. 16 by her comfort and ease as she began handling the grand eagle for the first time in her life. She was fearlessly carrying it on her hand and caressing it somewhat joyfully.” Asher’s second photo story of the ‘Yin-Bou’ fishermen on the Li river of Xing-Ping vil- lage in south China is a more sombre tale. ‘Yin-Bou’ fishing is a 16th century art form where cormorant birds are used to fish. Asher photographed 73 year old Yue-Ming and his older brother, 83 year old Yue-Miang, who have been fishing in the Li river since they were 15. They are masters of the ‘Yu-Khuo’ technique which uses a lamp to control their birds in the water and collect the fish. “Traditionally the fisherman would live in a boathouse on the river itself, rarely step- ping on land and migrating along the river with fish - following their source of live- lihood. They would trade a portion of their daily gain of fish with other villagers for their own basic needs, as they say: on the river there is no use for money.” But today, money is everything. Yue-Ming and his brother, are the last of their kind, and make a living by presenting their form of fishing to others, almost as small float- ing museums. The project was supposed to be a continuation of The Eagle Hunters of Mon- golia, photographing future generations of old traditions. But there are no successors for this art as fishermen and their families prefer for their children to find a different way of living in modern China. After the cultural revolution of the ʻ80s, most 'Yin-Bou' fishermen were pushed aside by industrial fishing boats, collecting huge numbers of fish each day in the Li river. Asher’s project instead, focuses on document- ing the tradition of ‘Yin-Bou’ fishing before it fades. Moving on from Asia, Asher hopes to follow the stories he’s heard of Siberia: “My dad told me about this area near Sakhalin where everyone travels by dogsleds. When you wake up in the morning, you see these tiny hills of snow outside and discover there is a dog underneath. They are completely fine, they just get covered in snow as they sleep. I grew up with these ideas and I would finally love see these myths in real life.”
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  18. 18. 18 “When I was a child, I recall other kids hit- ting each other and it hurting me. I used to say, 'Don’t hurt everybody!' and the other kids and teachers would be really confused. I couldn’t watch horror movies - I still have a difficult time watching them - because I could physically feel the gore I saw on TV,” explains Francy Mae Clark, a student at McNally Smith College of Music in Minnesota. Francy exists in a world of synaesthesia, the neurological condition which mixes the senses. This is a world where people taste words when they speak them, feel someone else's physical pain when they're hurt, and visualise mul- ticoloured auras surrounding people's bodies that they perceive as representing the per- son's warmth and personality. Two of the more common forms of synaesthesia are grapheme-colour, where every letter and number is assigned a colour in that person's mind, and time-spatial synaesthesia involving days, months, numbers and the alphabet in a spatial form. Francy's brain is wired in such a way that gives her mirror-touch synaesthesia, allowing her to experience a similar touch or pain sen- sation that another person feels, just by watching them. “I remember one time when I was a child, my friend fell and scraped her knee up so badly. But I remember trying really hard to be there for her and it was difficult because I could feel the pain too,” she says. “I’ve learned to be able to function while feeling pain, but it would be nice to be able to be there 100 per cent for my loved ones in pain.” Along with mirror-touch, Francy has sound- sight, sound-touch and sound-temperature sy- naesthesia. She sees sound, feels sound on her skin and in her body, and feels temperatures from music. For a creative music composer synaesthesia gives her the ability to connect with music on a whole new level. Think human sound system and iTunes visualiser combined. “I can physically see sound, however, it’s not in colour like many other sound-sight peo- ple see it. It’s more like a disturbance in the atmosphere. Maybe the way the air above a campfire looks? Kinda like that. I see it with all sounds, but it's more defined when I lis- ten to music. This helps me when I’m writing orchestra music because I can think of what I want it to sound like and look like and feel like,” she explains. “This is a blessing and a curse. Music will feel silky or smooth or bubbly and wet. That’s also a great experience to [have] when lis- tening to music. However, high pitched fre- quencies like squeaky car brakes or microphone feedback bring me pain to my neck and sides. Other sounds can give me physical pain too.” Famous synaesthetes in the music industry in- clude Pharrell Williams, Lady Gaga, and Lorde, who in a podcast interview with Yoni Wolf de- scribed her song Team as being “full hot pink”. Wassily Kandinsky also used the condition to create paintings, and Baudelaire's famous poem Correspondances shows his synaesthesia when he writes: “There are perfumes fresh like the skin of infants / Sweet like oboes, green like prairies”. What triggers the senses to be mixed is still a mystery, but in the last decade there has been a growing interest in the colourful brain condition. Studies suggest four per cent of people are synaesthetes. Carly Jaques, a research assistant at the Max Planck Institute for Psycholinguistics in the Netherlands, is part of a team conducting a large-scale study into the genetics of synaes- thesia: “Synaesthesia has been observed to run in families; however, previous genetic studies have not converged on a single locus in the genome that would single-handedly explain how synaesthesia arises; rather, it appears that there are multiple genes in the human genome that contribute to building a brain that is capable of synaesthesia. “The expectation is that while these genes have normal functions in everyone, slight changes BLURREDSENSESA synaesthete explores the vibrant and bewildering world of tasting words, seeing music and visualising auras
  19. 19. 19 Words: Olivia Broome in them, that we call ‘variants’, might be re- sponsible for subtle differences in the brains of synaesthetes that result in the enhanced crosstalk among senses,” says Carly. Carly and her team, lead by scientist Katerina Kucera, are collecting upward of 1,000 graph- eme-colour synaesthetes to compare their en- tire genomes to those without synaesthesia. To take part in the study, each participant first completes a genetics test and those partici- pants that meet the criteria are sent a saliva collection kit in the post. “People experience it in many different ways and some experience it much more strongly than others,” she adds. “Researchers often draw similarities between synaesthesia, sound sym- bolism and metaphor, which are common to all of us.” Hannah Desautels, a computer animation student at the Savannah College of Art and Design, explained how her sound-sight synaesthesia af- fected the way she learned to play musical in- struments and how it enhances her creativity. “I've been to a few classical concerts, which I adore because I get to watch the sounds form from the instruments and dance around the room, and no one has a clue what I’m looking at. In third grade we had to learn to play the recorder for music class, and within a month or so I stood out as that little girl that played Beethoven by ear on a little plastic recorder. “I’ve had violin, saxophone, and guitar les- sons as well, but I never pursued any of them despite that they came so naturally. The truth is, they were boring to me. I didn’t want to make just one colour – I wanted to make the whole rainbow, to be the whole orchestra. Just one colour wasn’t enough, and it was frustrat- ing,” Hannah adds. For synaesthetes it's difficult to imagine what the world would be like without seeing music or feeling other people's pain. The ex- perience is vividly personal and difficult to describe to those who can't live it. “Something I never get tired of is the look on a person’s face when I tell them the colour of their voice. I think it makes people feel very special – when they find out they have some- thing unique that only applies to them. I think that’s the closest I can get to sharing what it feels like emotionally, to have synaesthesia”, explains Hannah. “But there’s another side to that. In fact, it can get a little lonely – seeing things that are so beautiful but being unable to share it with anybody. Even other synaesthetes don’t see things the same way I do. That’s the thing about synaesthesia – it’s different for every- one who has it. If I think about it too much, I get kind of existential. Why me? Why can’t they see what I see? Why can’t I share it with them? It’s a beautiful lonely world, but I wouldn’t trade it for anything.” “thelookona person’sfacewhen Itellthemthecolour oftheirvoice”
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  21. 21. 21 It’s a soggy Friday evening in south London, and something is not normal. It’s not the weather that’s different, or the traffic noise of the A23 outside. It’s my brain. Ideas, which normally emerge from my head with the urgency of an episode of Countryfile, spurt like a shower head. In fact, I actually have to get out of the shower early to note down five before I lose them. Time is going extra fast, spiralling away at a worrying pace. But I’m writing with a sense of flow and connection that I haven’t felt since I wore a school uniform and my brain was all fresh and shiny. I’ve taken modafinil, and I think it’s work- ing. ** Modafinil is a psychostimulant drug used to treat the excessive sleepiness that comes with narcolepsy, shift work sleep disorder and sleep apnea. It also has a growing fan base on campuses across London. It’s not known exactly how it works, but re- search shows it leads to an increase in the neurotransmitter dopamine, whose job is to re- lay messages from neuron to neuron. The re- sult, put simply, is that people who usually fall asleep too much don’t fall asleep. Its eugeroic (wakefulness-promoting) proper- ties are part of what make it so appealing to users who don’t have sleep disorders, and ac- cording to a review of the studies relating to the drug, the range of off-label (i.e. naugh- ty) use is outpacing research on the subject. Special forces personnel, surgeons, pilots, Oxbridge students, lawyers and other alpha types have been using cognitive enhancers for years now, but modafinil - which was developed in the late seventies in France - is starting to filter down below the stratum of the hy- per-functioning, aided by its perceived lack of adverse side effects. You see, it’s not an ordinary stimulant. It has a more complex mechanism of action than amphetamine based ADHD pills, which used to be the speedy-feeling performance enhancer of A story about neurotransmitters, painstaking procrastination and overachieving dealers MODAFINILNIGHTSWHYLONDONSTUDENTSARE TAKINGBRAINSTEROIDS choice for essay-writers and investment bank- ers alike. Neurologists say this means it has a lower liability to abuse and a lower risk of adverse effects on organ systems than its ad- dictive, brain-chemical-addling predecessors. It’s also less illegal to possess it without a prescription. Better known ‘smart drugs’ Rita- lin and Adderall are both Class B, meaning the penalty for possession is up to five years in- side, but the big M is only illegal to supply. ** A study of modafinil’s effects on cognitive performance found that it improved “fatigue levels, motivation, reaction time and vigi- lance,” while a 2013 review carried out by King’s College London in collaboration with the Universities of Cambridge and East London concluded that its use in conjunction with an- tidepressants relieves depression more effec- tively than antidepressants alone. A quick Google of the subject throws up sto- ries about students working for thirty hours solid and bashing out twenty page reports in one sitting. No wonder then, that its use is becoming increasingly commonplace among London students, who call it moda. The University of London, which has colleges all over the city, declined to comment on the issue, but I found some attendees who would. As most people seem to, I first heard about it by word of mouth, from a friend at said univer- sity. Sam*, a student at the prestigious Impe- rial College London, was trusting it to get him through revision for an exam on “really hard physics shit” at a time when he only had a few days free because of work commitments. “I’ll be able to just sit there for four days and rinse it. Moda in, distractions out,” he said. ** Sam found out about it from his friend Luca*, who buys it online from China and sells it for less than a quid per pill. Seeing as he’s often selling it to his peers, Luca is one of the few people who have a good idea about the scale of moda use - most people tend to treat it with secrecy, preferring to let others be- lieve their success is organic. Words: Alex Smith Image: Ida Amanda Ahopelto
  22. 22. 22 “Itfeelslikethere aresomehowmore connectionswithin mybrain” “As far as I can tell, more and more people are relying on it. Probably around thirty per cent. I get lots of calls from people freaking out around deadlines and exams, so I created a calendar of all the different dates on all the main courses when I’ll be in demand. That means I can stock up ahead of time and I’ll never run out.” Drug dealing, overachiever style. He’s seen exponential growth in his custom- er base from word of mouth recommendations. “Someone who uses it sees their friend strug- gling to keep up with the workload, and they feel bad. They suggest it. The friend tries it, benefits from it, and suggests it to an- other struggling friend. The whole thing just snowballs.” Another seller, a Bristolian who’s been sup- plying and attending University College Lon- don (UCL) for more than three years, thinks there’s a different reason for the recent, noticeable upsurge in ubiquity. “This year is the first time that people paying the new £9,000 fees are in their final year. They feel more pressure to succeed because they’ve sunk far more costs into their degrees. When you’ve spent nearly thirty grand on tu- ition, I guess you want to get a good grade. I’ve noticed it socially too; the nine-grand- ers don’t party as hard.” As a resentful 9K kid myself, this resonates with me. The idea of getting a bad degree classification is almost three times more hor- ror-inducing than it would have been at the old fee levels. I might as well try a bit of this so-called wonder drug for the purposes of research then, see what all the fuss is about. ** I order a batch online from the least shifty looking website selling the drug, taking care to avoid the one with a ‘welcome’ video fea- turing an American woman with unsettlingly as- sertive diction, who claims to ship directly from - of all places - Sheffield. It arrives about a week later, in a little jif- fy bag postmarked Hong Kong. On that wet Friday I crack one of the white, unassuming looking tablets in half and wash it down my throat. The resultant feeling is not what I was expect- ing. The internet had promised a cerebral land of infinite focus and productivity. Real life people said I would be acutely antisocial and wee a lot. Apart from frequent dashes to the toilet, none of the above is true. On me at least, modafinil has a subtle, mul- ti-faceted impact. The most useful effect is a compulsion to carry on working after several hours on the same task. The urge to complete whatever I’m working on is compelling. However, if I do get distracted, it’s pret- ty engulfing; diversions are treated with re- markable diligence. I spend at least an hour on Amazon studiously comparing the reviews of various ceramic kitchen knives. Screens suck at my eyes to an uncomfortable extent. Becoming focusedly distracted is an occupa- tional hazard, apparently. The UCL guy says he once spent a night that he had intended to work on an essay sorting through the cyber-wilder- ness of his Gmail account, deleting marketing emails and archiving everything from the last two years into arbitrary folders. When I do stay on task, it feels like there are somehow more connections within my brain, like a tube map that suddenly has twice the number of underground lines. Lateral thinking is improved; parallels and links between piec- es of information and ideas reveal themselves when they would usually remain hidden. When I’m writing, unconventional metaphors fight to become permanent sentences. It keeps me awake too, though not in a high, conspicuous or caffeine-jittery way. At 2.45am, nearly ten hours on from when I started, I’m still working away in the same spot; although nothing much of any use is coming out of my cranial shower head anymore. ** If it sounds too good to be true, that’s be- cause it is. For a start it doesn’t really work for some people. One London College of Fashion student who took it to try to make headway with her dissertation said, “I was hoping for some moment of epiphany that never happened. It just felt like my brain was tensing/frowning.” For others, it’s a gateway drug. Sam says “there was a guy in my year last year who moved on from moda and got addicted to amphetamines and couldn’t work without them. Then he got addicted to cocaine and ended up in rehab.” Sounds like a rumour mill, friend-of-a-friend scare story, right? Nope. “He tried to sell me a £50 engineering textbook for a tenner so he could use the money to get ‘one last hit’ be- fore rehab.” He’s now retaking the year. Then there’s the inherent danger of ingesting internet-sourced pharmaceuticals from markets that tend to be laxly regulated in comparison to the UK. Poor quality generic drugs - as a result of substituting ingredients for cheap- er alternatives and inadequate quality control measures - have blighted the reputations of the Chinese and Indian industries in recent years, and the provenance and purity of drugs bought online just can’t be relied upon. Since the start of 2014 the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has imposed import bans on six Chinese pharmaceutical plants for fail- ing to operate “in conformity with current good manufacturing practices.” In India, that number is eight, including one of the plants operated by the company that ostensibly pro- duced the moda I used, Sun Pharma, which caused its share price to tumble. Although that’s not the plant that my stuff came from - the factory that made mine is in Sikkim state, nestled in the mountains between Nepal and Bhutan, while the FDA-blacklisted one is nearly 2,000 km away on the shores of the Arabian Sea - it doesn’t inspire much trust in the company. It’s risky at best to welcome drugs of such sketchy origin into your blood- stream. It’s not particularly safe to provide websites that operate outside the law with your bank details either. I was careful to use a credit card that was just about to expire, but the UCL seller has had countless fraudulent trans- actions up to the value of £200 on the card he uses. “You can get them reversed, but if you’re not the sort of person who checks their statements, you definitely shouldn’t be buying from these sites.” ** Despite the prevailing wisdom in moda-acquaint- ed circles, there are side effects to contend with too. One day I take two tablets and suffer uncharacteristic anxiety. My boyfriend, on a tour of duty in Sierra Leone, fails to reply to a text message and I imaginatively conclude that his camp has been overrun by Boko Haram. Then there are the stomach cramps. The organs in the upper part of my chest feel like they’re constricting, dry tissue on dry tissue. They make muffled noises like big bubble wrap pock- ets popping. My oesophagus feels unnervingly rigid. At one point, my resting heart rate in- creases from my usual fifty beats per minute to ninety, and I’m grinding my teeth like a pill fiend at a warehouse party. This is where I tap out of my experiment. How- ever pervasive the trend is on campuses around the capital, however many IQ points the aver- age user has, taking modafinil isn’t clever, and it won’t make you cleverer. As Sam - who’s gone cold turkey after realising he had an insidious habit taking root - says, “If you’re dependent on something external for your success, you’re just digging yourself a hole. How are you going to sustain it in the future when the drugs run out?” * Names changed by request
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  24. 24. 24 Upon walking into the Mole Dove and Curious Menagerie studio, you are swept away by two distinct aesthetics in one room. The Curi- ous Menagerie has a vintage, Victorian vibe with earthy elements of wood and leather. You see a squirrel protecting its pinecones on a terracotta pot and a rook perched on a tree stump. Mole Dove occupy the kitsch and ethereal side of the room with mice in tea- cups wearing tiny pearl bibs and avant-garde headpieces such as a hair comb with a bright- ly coloured goldcrest, the smallest bird in the UK. Before assuming this is the studio of a painter or fashion designer, the dismembered fox will indicate it’s actually the workspace of taxidermists. In a room where you’d expect a sombre atmosphere of death, there is an ef- fervescence and zest for life. Whether you’re seeking out curious interi- or design ideas or looking to immortalise a beloved pet, London is peppered with these taxidermy centres, catering to all mounting needs. Before you start worrying about animal violence, the UK Guild of Taxidermists moni- tors the legitimacy of UK taxidermists, en- suring no animals are deliberately killed for the purpose of stuffing and mounting. Sammy owns the studio Mole Dove, her child- hood curiosity for biology as well as her upbringing on a farm in Bath paved the way to taxidermy. “When my cat started bring- ing home little birds and mice, my mum asked me if I wanted to bury them and do a little ceremony. I refused and said I wanted to keep them and take the skin off. They were all so beautiful, it just seemed a shame to let them go into the ground. My mum, being very open-minded, was all right with that and gave me a pair of scissors. That’s how it start- ed.” Taxidermy became such an integral part of Sammy’s life, it was even entwined into her wedding. She fashioned an eye-catching head- piece, a dove decorated with Swarovski crys- tals, and her husband Joel had a little mole nestled in his breast pocket, thus coining the name of her studio Mole Dove. The dove headpiece holds pride of place in Sammy’s studio, amongst her other precious creations. With her ‘Alice in Wonderland’ style of taxi- dermy, Sammy admires the techniques of tax- idermist Stephanie Meyers: “She does this really interesting technique where she does like a whole cast of the animal’s body and then she mixes some unknown chemical– she doesn’t share it, it’s quite unique– and then all the fur sticks to the plaster-cast mould. She follows by applying this chemical that degrades everything apart from the fur and then adds a lightweight resin that she col- ours according to the animal’s colouring. “There’s no skin which is amazing. The fur is made of keratin, which doesn’t break down as quickly as skin, allowing the whole thing to last a lifetime. There has been debate at the Guild whether that counts as taxidermy because it doesn’t have any skin– but that doesn’t sway me.” Owner of Curious Menagerie, Sarah Keen, ad- mires the style of London taxidermist, Pol- ly Morgan. With her work, valued at up to £100,000, Morganʼs use of coiled pythons and clusters of crow wings all lure the atten- tion of celebrities like Charles Saatchi and Courtney Love. “She’s fantastic and I love her style because she has a very modern take on it. I think she makes things in such a way that people who might not necessarily like taxidermy or think they like taxidermy will look at her work and WOMENINTAXIDERMY:NOTJUSTABIGGAMEAn intimate look into the art form that doesn’t concern just boys, blood and bones. Words: Divya Bhavani Images: Mary Clance
  25. 25. 25 they can really see it in their own homes and they can appreciate it.” Divya Anantharaman, a New York-based taxi- dermist with a trademark style for fantasy taxidermy, has reached a large and intrigued audience. As to what enthuses her taxidermy, she says: “I’m inspired by the intersection of science, art, mortality, and the positive and negative aspects of the human touch. My ethics mean using naturally deceased animals, by-products of the food industry, invasive species that are harvested for pest control, or ones that are harvested for meat. Where it is sensible, I make sure to utilise every part so nothing is wasted.” Divya explains that changing conservation laws are only a few of the rules taxidermists must follow. Throughout history there’s been an evolving view on what constitutes as ethi- cal and what was once ethical, does not mean it is today. “In the Victorian Era, consid- ered by many to be the ʻGolden Age’ of tax- idermy, it was ethical to go on expeditions with the mission to harvest one of every type of animal in order to dissect and mount them for museums and study. It was also fashion- able for women to adorn themselves with the pelts of exotic birds from all over the world – thankfully that has changed. “All that over-harvesting has lead to con- servation laws and today taxidermists abide by those numerous and complex laws, and are extremely active in conservation and environ- mental awareness.” A long-standing obstacle is the question of whether taxidermy is a women’s profession. Divya weighs in on the topic saying: “Hav- ing a vagina has no effect on how well you do something, and shouldn’t deter anyone from trying something new. “It’s funny how the biases, perceptions, and insecurities of others manifest themselves; throughout history women have traditionally been the caretakers of the deceased, pro- cessed meat from hunts, and prepared speci- mens for museums. For whatever reason, this has been forgotten or turned into a novelty.” Sarah admits that at times she does receive hate-mail: “I usually just email them back, explaining what it is to be an ethical taxi- dermist. They wind up apologising and under- standing in the end. Then I tell them I’m a vegetarian and they’re like ‘Oh!’” Divya also struggles with misconceptions on the work that she does: “With hate-mail, and similar crap, it shows a combination of ignorance and insecurity. As tempting as it is for me to be harsh, I’d rather use it as an opportunity to educate rather than start a flame war. I haven’t figured out why some feel the need to send dick-pics though, and hopefully that stops soon.” With their creative and colourful approach to taxidermy, these skilled women effectively banish the notion that this thriving artistry must be associated with morbidity, but in- stead should be celebrated.
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  27. 27. 27 Grand Riviere © Peter Doig. All Rights Reserved, DACS 2015.
  28. 28. 28 Peter Doig's paintings invite us to gaze into mysterious landscapes, to visit worlds of in- tense colour and lush, rich textures, leaving us somewhere between dream and reality. He’s an artist light years away from the flashy kids of the Young British Artist era and the glitz of the art world, putting his art at the centre rather than himself, a man seemingly always on the move yet not belong- ing anywhere. Some say that if there’s a legitimate suc- cessor to the great colourists in the vein of Matisse, Bonnard, and Hopper, then Peter Doig might be it. Here’s a look at the artist behind the mil- lion pound price tags, his formative college years in London – and how he went on to rein- vigorate the medium of painting. It’s hard to read an article about Doig with- out seeing words like “record-breaking” or “millions” – and it’s equally hard not to mention it at all: Doig swung into global prominence in the mid 2000s when his paint- ings began to sell for astronomical figures. In 2007, his painting The White Canoe sold for £5.73million to an anonymous Russian col- lector – at the time a salesroom record for a living European artist. It marked the moment Doig went from being a largely unnoticed, albeit critical success, to a name on the commercial art stage. Overnight, a painter who in many ways had been the very antithesis of flashy celebri- ty art culture, almost became an unwilling poster boy for everything wrong with the art industry. And the huge prices didn’t stop there: In 2013, Doig’s The Architect’s Home in the Ravine sold for £7.7million at a Lon- don auction. Doig commented that the stag- gering price for The White Canoe made him feel “physically sick”. Not because the money didn’t go into his own pocket; the painting was owned by Charles Saatchi, but because to him it seemed a sign of an art market gone crazy. Those huge price tags are something he still seems to struggle to come to terms with - success in art can’t be measured in money. Born in Edinburgh in 1959, his father a ship- ping accountant and his mother an actress, his family moved to Trinidad in 1962 and then to Canada in 1966. Having moved so often and lived in such different places, Doig’s use of intense colours is as far removed from the bleak skies of Scotland as he is. His work has drawn from his snowy childhood years in Canada, with a number of his works depicting scenes of swirling snow, glittering blizzards and frozen lakes, and with other works draw- ing heavily from the humid, saturated colours of the leafy nature of the Caribbean. Doig seems hesitant to pledge allegiance to a specific country, to be pinned down to one place. In interviews, the accent cutting through his soft-spoken voice is hard to place. Many Scots would of course like to claim him as their own, as a “Scottish painter”, but Doig doesn’t seem to want to be labelled that way. In an interview with the Guardian he ex- plained, when I was growing up, I never felt that I belonged anywhere because we never lived in a house for more than three months. That's all I knew and that's why I don't re- ally belong anywhere. Then again, I do feel Scottish in some way. Maybe it's to do with visiting my grandparents here every summer as a child, but I am aware of my Scottish ances- try. It's there all right, but it would be pushing it to label me a Scottish painter. Or, indeed, an anywhere painter.” Doig started to draw seriously at 17, as a way of dealing with the sense of dislocation he felt working on a gas-drilling rig on the Canadian prairies. He realised the job was not something he wanted to do for the rest of life, especially considering many of his col- leagues on the platform had lost fingers on the job. And so, he started to draw at night. It was also there he got the idea that he should go to art school in London. He did a foundation course at Wimbledon School of Art, before being accepted for a painting degree at St. Martins It was during those years at St. Martins, 1980 to 1983, that he’s said he started to find his voice as an artist, after having in- itially felt intimidated by the too-cool-for- school air of the college. Doig has described his formative college years in London as a mad, exciting time, one when the city was full of oddballs and art- ists. To support himself he did bar work and worked as a dresser at the English Nation- al Opera. He was living a bohemian life in a rough flat in King’s Cross that cost £4 a week, with Shane McGowan living down the road. This was at a time when London was cheap enough to allow young artists to waste both time and space in order to find their artistic voices – a London that doesn’t ex- ist anymore. Gavin Lockheart, himself a successful painter of luminous landscapes, met Doig while stud- ying at St. Martins in 1980 and they’ve been friends since. He recalls how they connected: “We liked the same music and at the time that was more important than liking the same art, because we didn't know much, but we were very receptive.” What kind of music were these two budding artists into then? “We loved early rap mu- sic before it was called hip hop. We saw Grandmaster Flash in New York and Lee Dors- ey in New Orleans, in 1982. The good thing about Peter is that he is very catholic in his taste; we even got to like opera when we worked at the English National Opera.” Many articles about Doig have often stated he chose to study in London because it was the home of his favourite punk bands, but Lock- heart says that wasn’t the case: He wasn't a big punk fan; I liked punk more than him I think. He likes music loud but not noisy, which punk often was. We both liked the blues and he also introduced me to Hank Williams, Louis Jordan, Louis Armstrong, Duke Elling- ton, Professor Longhair: he liked jazz more than me. We saw too many bands to list; there were loads playing in London at the time. Kraftwerk, Pere Ubu, The Fall, Kid Creole, Captain Beefheart.” After St. Martins Doig went back to Canada to live in Montreal, but returned to London and Chelsea College of Art in 1989, this time as a mature student to do an MA. It was an odd time to be a painter. The phe- nomenon of YBAs (Young British Artists) and the conceptual approach typified by Dami- en Hirst and Tracey Emin began to emerge in the 90s, and painting was largely seen to be spent as a medium. The press was brimming with articles about the “death of painting” and many artists started to move away from traditional art to embrace the new ways, a re-commodification of art that had more of a promise of commercial success. Doig was selected for the Barclays Young Artist Award at the Serpentine gallery in 1991, made up of the most promising art- ists from the London MA shows. Doig’s work “It’satropicaland somewhatexotic sceneofunusual, deepcolours” PETERDOIG THEMAKINGOFAMODERNMASTERPeter Doig is one of the most compelling and internationally-renowned living painters in the world today Words: Astrid Madberg Image: Simon Upton/Interior Archive/Corbis
  29. 29. 29 looked vastly different from the other works on display and some of the other artists didn’t even want to show their art in the same space as him. It seemed a notion amongst them that Doig's work was somehow an unfash- ionable throwback, or not serious enough for the look-at-me style of the 90s art scene. Luckily, such frosty receptions didn’t seem to knock down the artistic sureness Doig had developed by then. Damien Meade, an Irish-born painter working in London, studied at Chelsea in the early 90's when Doig started working as a visit- ing tutor and describes him as a friendly, generous and centred individual. He explains how Doig’s style felt fresh in a time when painting was largely seen as an exhausted medium. He recalls, “a lot of the painting in the 80s had been about a sense of bravado – big themes, big egos, and showing off. It had this bombastic, machismo quality to it. And Peter’s work was refreshing at that time. He found a way of painting that made it new again in some way. It had a silence about it. It was cinematic, almost feminine.” Doig's painting Blotter won him the John Moores Prize in 1993, and marks his first break and big recognition as an artist. The painting depicts a lone young figure, based on a photograph of his brother, staring down on a frozen lake. What Blotter is trying to capture is the activity in the mind while the body is still, the mind allowing itself to be absorbed in the landscape. The recognition he received from that lead to him being nominat- ed for the Turner prize in 1994. The title Blotter is a direct reference to LSD and Doig has been quite open about occa- sionally taking it as a teenager. He has said that those psychedelic experiences have been important to him and his art, but that proba- bly only people who have themselves taken LSD could really understand how it has affected his work. He stopped taking psychedelics at 18, but it has remained a reference point for his artistry. Doig returned to Trinidad in 2002 and set up a studio at the Caribbean Contemporary Arts Centre near Port of Spain. In his current paintings his childhood's snowscapes of Can- ada has largely been left for the warm hues of the island. His painting Grande Riviere - which we are featuring as our centre spread - is his first painting set in Trinidad. It’s a tropical and somewhat exotic scene of unusu- al, deep colours. The dense vegetation along with the lack of human presence makes for an eerie and unsettling landscape, and Doig plays with the romantic cliché of a wandering horse on a moonlit beach. The idea for the painting came about during a visit to Trini- dad in the summer of 2000. He took some pho- tographs of the lagoon in Grand Riviere and painted his own haunting vision of the scene when he returned to London. In 2008, he had a major solo exhibitions at Tate Britain, the event truly cementing his reputation as an artist and introducing him to a wider audience. He has since had numer- ous exhibitions the world over and has kept challenging his approach to painting - themes keep coming back to him, and his subjects and compositions move forwards in ways we can’t guess. Doig is back in Trinidad and painting away, currently preparing for a show in Venice in May. We don’t not know where Peter Doig might lay his head next, but we can expect to continue to be both unsettled and spell-bound by his enchanting visions. This rolling stone might just end up being one of the true colour mas- ters.
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  31. 31. 31 THEDARKNET You are being watched. Your movements are be- ing recorded, your searches chronicled, your connections and acquaintances tracked. The western spy agencies NSA and GCHQ proba- bly have access to your SIM card, your phone calls and all sorts of metadata. Ad-funded tech powerhouses Google and Facebook almost certainly have a data file on you, trying to work out everything you do and everything you may want to buy, and even electronics firms like Lenovo and Samsung could be listening to and tracking you. In the post-Snowden world – where the whis- tleblower leaked the US and UK governments’ mass surveillance schemes – we’re all becom- ing more and more aware of how we are caught up in giant surveillance programs that are said to be for our own protection and are re- markably sophisticated. Equally, the fact that Google and Facebook collect enormous amounts of data on us is be- coming common knowledge. But so what, right? Chances are, you’re not a terrorist or a paedophile, and you’re against those who are. If you have nothing to hide, then what’s the big deal? Jon Bains, who founded one of the first digital agencies, Lateral, is currently the founding partner of the What Why agency, and writes online about the importance of not being watched. In his view, people should have a right to be able to conduct a private conversation: “Privacy is a basic human right, and it’s not something we should give up easily, at least without asking why,” he says. After the Charlie Hebdo killings, however, British Prime Minister David Cameron said he wanted to ban apps such as Snapchat, WhatsApp and iMessage because their communications are encrypted and private. “Governments tend to make really, really bad legislation when they don’t understand how things work or things change,” says Bains. There are other dangers with mass surveil- lance and bulk data collection. The more obvious examples are the simple mis- takes, such as when a German grandmother was incorrectly blocked from the internet for il- legally downloading movies and left unable to work at her online-only job, or when innocent people with similar names get caught on a no- fly list. “There’s more and more stories of normal cit- izens being harassed by the government, but most of that’s kept under the table through gag orders,” Bains says. There’s also the potential for privacy inva- sions due to the data, such as when US re- tailer Target calculated that an underage girl was pregnant and sent her flyers for baby products, before she had even told her father. “Facebook has launched Atlas, which tracks you from looking at an ad all the way to re- tail. As somebody who has worked in market- ing for 20 years, I go ‘oh that’s cool’. As a human being, I go ‘fucking hell, this is dark’. And that data’s not secure either, if you wanted to work out how to kidnap somebody or extort money, this would be a playbook,” says Bains. These companies require their own privacy, such as for our data or bank transactions, which are put at risk by government plans to work around encryption by installing “back- doors” that they can access. Equally, the data is at risk due to security failures on their end, as Bains points out: “The governments are relatively under scru- tiny, but marketeers? Not so much. The Sony hack showed just how open this data is.” “So, as a taxpayer, I’d say that frankly it’s not a terribly good use of money. And from a practical level, there’s no such thing as a secure system, so somebody’s going to hack into it. It’s just bound to happen.” INTO THE DARKNESS As awareness of government and corporate surveillance grows, people have increasingly looked to cover their tracks online. It’s virtually impossible to live a normal life in the internet age and stay completely Surveillance and anti-terrorism specialists explore the struggle for individuals, businesses and governments between privacy and security THEBATTLEBETWEENSURVEILLANCE ANDSECRECYINTHEDIGITALAGE Words: Sebastian Moss Images: Oswin Tickler