Friday, 12 October 2012

House Magazine: The Brain Observatory

I went slightly off piste with this one, admittedly... but for the recent issue of Soho House's House magazine I interviewed Jacopo Annese of The Brain Observatory at the University of San Diego, California, about his team's efforts to digitally preserve donated brains in order to extend the realms of knowledge and research into how our old grey matter works. It's still largely a mystery, so the work The Brain Observatory is doing has potential for some groundbreaking discoveries in future. I've always found anatomy absolutely fascinating, so it was a real pleasure to branch out into a bit of (very basic) science writing. Don't be squeamish, it's very interesting...


The Brain Observatory

How one scientific team’s mission to photograph and analyse the human brain could unlock the secrets of our creative minds

Stop for a moment to consider the myriad of cognitive processes you’re currently deploying to read these words, all that wonderful action going on between your ears. Then, when you’re done, consider that conventionally, at the end of your life, your brain will be burned or buried along with the rest of your dead self. It does seem rather a waste – and whether you believe in an afterlife or not, you can’t take it with you.  Enter Dr Jacopo Annese, founder of The Brain Observatory at the University of California, San Diego, who works on the grey matter of a kind array of donors, allowing them to live on in the digital domain. In a process that takes place over eight months, Annese and his team pickle, freeze and then slice to a hairs-width each brain, before dyeing each slice and taking a 1-terabyte sized detailed digital composite image. There can be up to 2,500 slices in a brain and, Annese says, ‘once you dive into the high-resolution histological image at a cellular level, then it becomes an enormous landscape that, despite centuries of investigations, remains still largely uncharted.’

House Magazine: Tereza Zelenkova

Here's the article I wrote for House magazine on photographer Tereza Zelenkova. I posted about her previously as I also filmed an interview with her for House Seven having seen her work at the RCA 2012 show. She's definitely one to watch.


Invoking the occult, mortality and mysticism in her monochrome images, Tereza Zelenkova presents vistas and artifacts from nature that nonetheless shimmer with a mysterious supernatural aura. To her, death isn’t the gateway to another world but the all-pervading full stop to life, and she explores a universe where neither religion nor science can provide us with all the answers. Working with a spontaneity that belies the depth and integrity of the final body of work, she explains that it’s all about the fine balance of intuition and editing...

What made you choose photography as your medium as an artist?
When I was 16 I tried photography and I immediately fell in love with it. I guess I was seduced with the lightness with which one can create an image by using a camera.
Is your technique more impulsive or constructed?
Through the years I have learnt to work quite effortlessly. I realized that if I try too much the results are not as good as if I just get carried away by a moment or an idea. For me, photography is certainly about intuitive knowing rather than rigorous thinking.

Wednesday, 10 October 2012

Edible Cinema video on Cult Hub

My video on Edible Cinema is featured as part of an article on the forthcoming Edible Cinema Halloween screenings, as seen in Cult Hub Magazine.

Tuesday, 25 September 2012

VICTOR by Hasselblad

This summer I was very lucky to have been commissioned to write two features for the relaunched VICTOR by Hasselblad magazine. I interviewed Tom Nagy about his epic style of shooting, and Marco Grob about his moving set of post 9/11 portraits for TIME magazine. Both were fascinating people, consummate pros and very generous with their time. You can read these interviews and many more in VICTOR, which is out now. Plus for all you magazine and book pervs out there, it's rather beautifully produced in black hardback. Mmmmmm.

Friday, 21 September 2012

Soho House Video: Tereza Zelenkova, Photographer


Tereza Zelenkova is a photographer whose work I first encountered at the RCA graduation show this year. Given the massive scale of that show and the amount of things I looked at in such a short space of (press view) time, I'm amazed I remembered anything. But Tereza's work resonated in my mind long after, so I was really excited when she agreed to be filmed for House Seven. I also wrote a short article on her for House Magazine, which is due out soon. To see her work in the flesh, it's not long until New Sensations.

Wednesday, 12 September 2012

Wednesday, 5 September 2012

New Music Video! 'Human' for bassDrumsnareDrum

Here's a music promo I made for 'Human', a fantastic track by bassDrumsnareDrum, featuring the magnificent moves of artist and dancer Roberto Ekholm. Thanks also go to Matthew Holder and Jake Ridley. You can by bassDrumsnareDrum's new EP featuring 'Human' on iTunes now.

Soho House Video: Gavin Esler teaches Lessons from the Top

A short video I made for Soho House following a talk Gavin Esler gave for Books for Breakfast there last week. After all those episodes of Newsnight, he's an amazing speaker, so I kept things simple and let him do all the hard work.. His book Lessons from the Top explores how leaders and influential figures have harnessed the power of storytelling on their way to success, and how we can learn from their techniques (and mishaps). Well worth a read.

Tuesday, 4 September 2012

Exhibition: Head & Whole 2 at Abbey Walk Gallery

I'm delighted to have two prints showing in Head & Whole 2: Talking Heads at Abbey Walk Gallery, curated by Linda Ingham. It opens to the public today and there are some really interesting events going on to accompany the exhibition. Go see!

Thursday, 30 August 2012

Soho House Video: Edible Cinema


Combining two of my favourite things - food and film - Edible Cinema is a hugely fun concept from the folks at Soho House to bring a new taste dimension to the film experience. Here's a short promo I made to capture the atmosphere and concept at their screening of Spirited Away. Bon appetit!

Monday, 30 July 2012

i-D Video: Tom de Freston, On Theatre, at Breese Little

In our snap happy age it’s reassuring to know there are still people out there who’ll painstakingly mull over a single image for weeks before they’ve even got to the time-consuming stage of picking up a paintbrush to commit it to canvas. Makes you think there must be hope for us yet.

With its long and complicated history involving multiple reinventions and reincarnations, painting resonates heavily with its own meaning as a medium as well as the stories and opinions that the artist is trying to express. So working as what he provocatively calls a “contemporary history painter”, Tom de Freston plunders these narratives and melds them with scenarios from literature and his own imaginings to create paintings that startlingly depict historically grand themes from a modern perspective.

Here he talks i-D online through the process of translating ideas into brushstrokes, and gives us a sneak peek into his studio and the processes behind his work.

Tom de Freston, On Theatre runs until Saturday 15th September at Breese Little, 30d Great Sutton Street, London EC1V 0DU.

Text and Film: Laura Bushell

Monday, 23 July 2012

Music Video for bassDrumsnareDrum... coming soon

Some stills from the music video I made recently for bassDrumsnareDrum for the release of his EP on 6 August, featuring the dazzling dancing skills of Mr Roberto Ekholm. The video itself will emerge shortly..

Sunday, 8 July 2012

FAD Video: Jacob Hashimoto, The Other Sun, at Ronchini Gallery

Here's a recent video interview with artist Jacob Hashimoto for FAD. His latest exhibition consists of hundred of handmade kites strung from the ceiling of Ronchini Gallery in Mayfair - time consuming, but worth the effort!

Jacob Hashimoto
The Other Sun
Until 28 August 2012
Ronchini Gallery, Mayfair, London

Sunday, 1 July 2012

House Magazine Feature: Salaam Dunk

My feature on the Iraqi women's basketball documentary Salaam Dunk, as published in issue 21 of House magazine, the quarterly mag for Soho House members. 


‘For men only.’ One northern Iraqi man is responding to the concept of women playing sport. ‘I don’t agree with it, but this is the modern lifestyle,’ says another. The opening minutes of David Fine’s documentary Salaam Dunk massage our assumptions about where women figure in post-invasion, post-Saddam Iraq. That’s to say, even when they’re not in immediate danger of conflict, Iraqi women tiptoe around under conservative, restrictive rules.

‘I hear that the Western view is that Iraq is just a desert where women stay home to serve their men and are mistreated, covered up and uneducated,’ says Laylan Attar, a student at the American University of Iraq-Sulaimani who was captain of the women’s basketball team during filming. ‘I want the world to know this is another country and that despite the 100 years of wars and corruption we play sport, and by “we” I mean women.’ And that they do, with varying success, as Salaam Dunk charts the basketball team’s second year of existence at the University. At the helm is American coach Ryan Bubalo, who responded to students’ requests to build the team from scratch. Now back in the US, Bubalo recalls the challenges of coaching a team who had scant, if any, experience of training. ‘The whole first year was really spent learning the fundamentals of the game, and, more importantly, learning teamwork and accountability to one another. Things I sort of took for granted – basic health issues like drinking water or eating right or the idea that practice attendance was mandatory – had to be taught.’

House Magazine: Jacob Hashimoto

Here's a short piece I wrote on the installation artist Jacob Hashimoto for issue 21 of House magazine:


Working with delicate bamboo rods and Japanese papers, Jacob Hashimoto creates gravity-defying collages of dozens of small handcrafted kites that amass in gallery spaces like kaleidoscopic clouds. Hashimoto asserts that his work is neither painting nor sculpture, but something in between. Using colour and monochrome to equally ethereal effect, he contrasts a feeling of mass with an airy lightness and sense of fluctuation, resulting in hypnotic interactive installations that echo patterns and forms from nature.

Jacob Hashimoto
Ronchini Gallery London
29 June - 1 September 2012

Tuesday, 26 June 2012

i-D Video: Jenny Saville at Modern Art Oxford & The Ashmolean

Flesh is monumental in Jenny Saville’s paintings, something you can only truly appreciate when you’re dwarfed by a two metre high canvas that’s been slathered, scraped and smeared in fleshy tones and visceral reds.

Nothing beats seeing her paintings for real, yet this is her first exhibition in a public gallery in the UK since she hatched fully formed and critically acclaimed from the YBA hype of the 90s. A studio dweller rather than a publicity magnet, Saville has developed a body of work that’s as much about the anatomy of paint itself as it is about the anatomy of the (mostly female) body, and the results are both stark and intricate.

Ask today’s upcoming painters who inspires them and many will name check Saville. Along with this solo show at Modern Art Oxford, two of her drawings sit alongside the likes of Titian and Veronese at the Ashmolean. Not many contemporary artists could hold their nerve in such company, but Saville does.

i-D online’s Laura Bushell met Saville at the gallery to talk about YBAs, bodies and babies.

Jenny Saville is at Modern Art Oxford and The Ashmolean Museum until 16th September 2012

Text and Film: Laura Bushell
Music: Peppi Knott

Monday, 25 June 2012

ArtSlant Review: Show RCA 2012

Zemer Peled, ceramics, photo by Laura Bushell

(Originally published on ArtSlant)

When the RCA say that their 2012 graduation show is the biggest in their 175 year history, they’re not joking. Held simultaneously across their Kensington and Battersea campuses, this sprawling show brings together works from over 500 students across fine art and design disciplines including (but not limited to) painting, jewelry, photography, sculpture, visual communication and printmaking.

 That’s a lot of ideas to negotiate in one show, and due to the nature of its layout (in fine art, mixed together and packed in), some pieces inevitably come off better than others. For visitors it’s a case of just getting in amongst it, then seeing what leaves a lasting impression following this brain-melting visual and conceptual onslaught. So to begin at the beginning with pieces that still resonate since:

Conceptual jeweler Hannah Louise Pittman took tiny casts of empty pill packet cavities for Prosperity Pills, her incarnation in sterling silver of the daily task of warding off the chronic pain disorder she contracted during her studies. Each tiny silver pill shape becomes part of a personal amulet; a positive outcome from an otherwise negative experience.

Friday, 22 June 2012

Clifford Chance Exhibition Opening

Last night was the opening reception of 'A Question of Sport: LGBT artists and their relationship to inclusivity', curated by Michael Petry for Clifford Chance in Canary Wharf. 

I worked as Editor on artist Roberto Ekholm's new video 109C, inspired by diver Tom Daley. See below for some stills, video to follow...

Monday, 18 June 2012

Photos: Show RCA 2012

From the top: Maja Johansson, Min Jeong Song, painting installation view, design installation view, print installation view, Tereza Zelenkova, Zemer Peled and Alessa Tine. All 2012 graduates of the various schools at the Royal College of Art.

All images copyright Laura Bushell.

Friday, 8 June 2012

i-D Video: Grayson Perry on Taste, at Victoria Miro and on Channel 4

Here's a video interview I did with Grayson Perry for his new exhibition of tapestries at Victoria Miro and the accompanying documentary on Channel 4.  We talked about taste, television and tribes for i-D online.

Grayson Perry wants to talk about taste: the good, the bad and the sometimes unfathomable. It’s a treacherous terrain to negotiate, let alone find a consensus within, since one person’s expression of refinement can be another’s gaudy nightmare. Grayson Perry believes our in-built inclinations are tied up with class, so in his latest quest to chronicle contemporary life through art, he took to the roads of the UK to seek out class tribes who could best encapsulate the taste of their particular strata of British society. The result is a series of narrative tapestries charting what he labels “a contemporary Rake’s Progress”, plus a TV series documenting the empirical research that was sewn into those threads. Now whether you’ll prefer the fine art tapestries in the London gallery or the reality TV on Channel 4, comes down to your own perfectly honed taste...


The Vanity of Small Differences at Victoria Miro runs from 7th June until 11th August 2012. Watch the first episode of ‘In the Best Possible Taste – Grayson Perry’ on 4oD here.

Monday, 21 May 2012

FAD Video: Edward Burtnysky on Oil at The Photographers' Gallery

Here's a short film I made for FAD with the photographer Edward Burtynsky, who I was lucky to meet at the opening of his exhibition at The Photographers' Gallery.

FAD Video: Brett Rogers on reopening The Photographers' Gallery

The Photographers' Gallery is open again, hooray! I spoke to the gallery's Director, Brett Rogers, about the work behind the recent refurbishment and extension of the space. This video appears on FAD

Friday, 4 May 2012

New Video for i-D Online: Bauhaus: Art as Life at Barbican Art Gallery

I made a little film at the Barbican's new Bauhaus exhibition for i-D online, which you can view by clicking here, see below for a short intro...

Bauhaus: Art as Life

Barbican Art Gallery host the biggest Bauhaus exhibition in the UK in over forty years.

Bauhaus is design for life. Despite its mere fourteen years of existence, the German school spawned some of the most innovative and imaginative thinking in art and design post-WWI, and we’re still living with the results. With a sense of common purpose and the bettering of society in mind, students and teachers including Walter Gropius, Josef Albers, Johannes Itten, Wassily Kandinsky, Paul Klee and László Moholy-Nagy set about fashioning a better way of living. The results spanned art, design, craft and fashion, and embraced tradition as well as technology, rigor as well as experimentation. But it wasn’t all work – those Bauhausers also knew how to party. Visual culture today wouldn’t be the same without the Bauhaus design principles. Based as they were in a sense of idealism rather than commerce and with some absolutely stunning results, there’s still a lot to learn from this school of thought.

Bauhaus: Art as Life runs from 3rd May until 12th August 2012 at Barbican Art Gallery, London EC2Y 8DS.

Tuesday, 24 April 2012

FAD Interview: Jan Manski for Onania at The Rochelle School

Photo by Laura Bushell

(Originally published on FAD)

Welcome to Onania, a world unlike anything you’ve seen outside of a David Cronenberg film. Artist Jan Manski envisions the most narcissistic character traits of our society as a disfiguring force, propelling us into a self-destructive future of unattainable pleasure and perfection.

Trained at Central St Martins, the Polish born artist works in 2D, 3D and film and has been fashioning his alternative universe over roughly two and a half years with a meticulous sense of detail and feeling for the grotesque.

The launch pad for the exhibition is his film, The Onanizer: Your Ultimate Masturbation Experience, which uses a seductive voiceover and pristine visuals to sell viewers the ultimate pleasure product, with a sense of the absurd, humorous and downright disturbing running the whole way through it.

But inevitably there’s no pleasure without pain, and what follows in Manski’s fictional world is a state of gradual disfiguration and destruction brought on by this experience of ultimate bliss. Such is the price to pay for our vanity.

Manski took FAD on a tour of his solo show, which includes the whole of Onania along with documentation of its creation along with an earlier work, Posessia. Onania runs until Saturday 5 May at the Rochelle School, Arnold Circus, E2 7ES. See

Where does Onania come from?

The roots of Onania are beauty magazines and also vintage magazines, fashion and design items that I’d selected when I was trying to find a style of the project. I was trying to get inspiration from some fetishistic and narcissistic level of fashion. It all begins from The Onanizer it’s the start. It’s supposed to give us happiness but in fact it mutates us.

Thursday, 5 April 2012

Little White Lies Interview: North Sea Texas

(Originally published in Little White Lies)

Bavo Defurne, Eva Van Der Gucht, Yves Verbraeken and Jelle Florizoone
The North Sea Texas crew sit down to chat about the bonding experience of making the film.

This tale of teenage first love in a sleepy Belgian seaside town marks a striking feature film debut for director Bavo Defurne, whose short films picked up plaudits around the world. North Sea Texas is a moving story, beautifully told and acted. LWLies caught up with Defurne in London recently, along with producer Yves Verbraeken, actor Jelle Florizoone, and actress Eva van der Gucht.

LWLies: Bavo, this is your first feature film after a series of successful shorts, how was it to make the leap?

BD: When I showed my short films, most of them deal with rejection or loneliness and a lot of young audiences would ask what happens next? I wouldn’t know because when you make a short film you’re happy that you finished it! I really didn’t know what would be the solution for these lonely teenagers, so all the shorts had an open ending and in that sense the feature finishes them a little bit.

What attracted you to this adaptation?

BD: I think the whole tone of the book it’s adapted from is quite optimistic and that’s something rare in gay coming-of-age films, if you want to call them that. There’s a lot of films dealing with loneliness, rejection, hate, and the struggle of coming out, but I think Pim’s struggle is more in convincing the other person that his love is valuable and important. So it’s much more a love film than a coming out film, and in that sense it’s something new and it charmed me very much. It’s still a little bit open to interpretation, but it doesn’t end with a suicide or unhappy marriage or loneliness for the rest of your life kind, thing that you would have in films like Brokeback Mountain.

You didn’t enjoy Brokeback then?

BD: I have nothing against Brokeback Mountain but the thing is that it’s so sad. Being such a sad story about negative things, it also confirms negative things. We’re not from a perfect country but in Belgium a woman can marry a woman and a man can marry a man, and as a filmmaker, as an artist, you should also reflect positive things in your society,

Little White Lies Review: North Sea Texas

(Originally published in Little White Lies)

In the opening scenes of North Sea Texas, a young boy named Pim (Jelle Florizoone) dresses up in his mother’s old beauty queen costume, complete with sash, tiara and lipstick. When she walks in on him, he’s shocked. But she’s not. She simply accepts the situation for whatever it might be.

Pim lives in a hazy, lazy Belgian coastal town and grows up to be something of a pensive, gentle soul. He is quite unlike his mother, who clings to memories of a glamorous childhood of pageants and performing, resulting in a parenting style that’s based more on dream than reality. So the teenager is often left alone, seeking refuge with neighbours, namely the more maternal Marcella and her kids, Gino (Mathias Vergels) and Sabrina (Nina Marie Kortekaas).

Thursday, 26 January 2012

FAD Video: Samsung Art+ Prize at BFI Southbank

Here's a video I made for FAD at the opening of the Samsung Art+ Prize for new media artists at the BFI Southbank. I interviewed the curators and a few of the artists, including the eventual winner of the prize, Semiconductor. For more info on the prize and the nominees, see here.

(Originally published on FAD)

Monday, 23 January 2012

ArtSlant Review: Anschlüssel: London/Berlin at Centre for Recent Drawing

(Originally published on ArtSlant)

Most of us picked up a crayon to scribble before we could read or write. Whether we continue to draw or not, we’ve all experiences the primacy of that flow from brain, eye and hand into line onto a surface. Drawings are little windows into a person’s mind; as unique as a fingerprint, yet readable like a universal language.
C4RD’s new exhibition, Anschlüssel: London/Berlin, demonstrates how artists hailing from the artistic hotspots of London and Berlin (and, of course, within these cities from around the world) are interconnected by the practice of drawing in its various forms.

ArtSlant Review: Avner Ben-Gal at Sadie Coles

(Originally published on ArtSlant)

It’s a cruel world, according to Avner Ben-Gal. In his paintings and drawings the Israeli-born artist unveils an uncanny world of shaken-up dream logic in which human forms are melded with Swiss Army knives, faceless women appear in graphic anatomical detail, and figures both human and fantasy appear in confrontation with each other. It’s the bad dream that haunts our waking hours, the sinister side of life that we try to brush away.

Over two rooms, this exhibition at Sadie Coles takes in a selection of Ben-Gal’s drawings in blue pencil, graphite and black marker pen as well as a small selection of paintings. It’s fair to say that crudeness, in both the execution of the works and their unflinching themes and depiction of the human body, runs through all of the works. 

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