Any one interested in film might want to spend an hour at John Akomfrah’s installation, Purple in the Curve at the Barbican. With six screens it must have been quite a feat of editing, particularly considering the amount of archive footage it contains. In my opinion it more than fulfils its description as a “meditation on the effects of the Anthropocene” with “an immersive soundtrack.” It is profound, thought-provoking and at times disturbing, and I left wondering just how much longer the planet can sustain human impact. A depressing thought, but I felt Akomfrah’s treatment of the archive footage, blended seamlessly with the new film sequences was masterful.

I also visited Everything at Once, presented by Lisson Gallery + The Vinyl Factory on The Strand. I particularly wanted to see Susan Hiller’s large video installation, Channels and Natalie Djurberg/ Hans Berg’s The Black Pot, but I also enjoyed Shirazeh Houshiary’s Breath from 2003.   It is evocative and spiritual, but also permeated by tensions hinting at underlying political unrest.

Has seeing these exhibitions moved me any closer to producing my own work in the studio? Maybe. I have a few ideas but need to start formulating the concepts into something more concrete…….or maybe something more environmentally friendly….


Joanne Herbert