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In the Studio

In the Studio takes you into the minds of the world’s most creative people, with unprecedented access.

Tous les épisodes

  • 20.10.2020
    15 MB
    31:33
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    Sharon Olds: Poetry coming down my arm

    The American poet Sharon Olds has been one of the leading voices in contemporary poetry since her first book was published in 1980. She won the Pulitzer Prize in 2013 for "Stag’s Leap", her extraordinary collection of poems chronicling the breakup of her marriage, with its themes of love, family, sorrow, desire and memory, which have echoed throughout her work.But her career as a poet nearly didn’t happen. Her first poems were dismissed by some editors who saw them as not literary enough, perhaps objecting to the intense way she wrote about sexual love and the minutiae of being a woman. But it’s precisely those qualities that have won her new generations of fans and critical praise across the world.Now after a period of long isolation due to the pandemic, Sharon talks to Emma Kingsley about her work and how lockdown has affected her perception of the world. She describes how she creates new poems and how the words and images literally come down her arm and out through the pen.

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  • 13.10.2020
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    32:11
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    Es Devlin: Artist and Stage Designer

    Es Devlin is an artist and one of the world’s most influential stage designers - conceiving what she calls stage ‘sculptures’ with the likes of Louis Vuitton, Beyoncé, Adele, Kanye West, The Weeknd and U2, as well as designing the Opening Ceremony of the Rio 2016 Olympics and the Closing Ceremony of the London 2012 Olympics.Her striking creations are equally well-known in the world of opera and theatre - from Bizet’s Carmen to Pinter’s Betrayal - all of which she does alongside her own solo work as an artist.From her studio in London, Es Devlin talks to Ella-mai Robey about her work and creative process.

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  • 09.10.2020
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    30:28
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    Eric van Hove: Sculpture that Goes 'Vroom'

    Eric van Hove makes sculpture that goes “vroom”. For the past few years, this conceptual artist has been working in Morocco on a project called the Mahjouba Initiative, which involves building a series of motorbikes using only traditional craft materials. Eric calls this work “a socio-economic sculpture”, the idea being that the pieces can be exhibited as artworks but also used as the prototype for a new vehicle.Anna McNamee meets Eric and his team as he works on the latest model – the Mahjouba III – which was to be put on show at the 1-54 Contemporary African Art Fair in Marrakech in 2018.This story was recorded back in December 2017.

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  • 06.10.2020
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    30:52
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    Lisa Reihana: Maori History in 3D

    Lisa Reihana is one of New Zealand’s most important artists. Her work, In Pursuit of Venus [infected] became one of the highlights of the 2017 Venice Biennale. It is a 26 metre long animated wallpaper that was many years in the making - a reinterpretation of a 200-year-old panoramic wallpaper created by Joseph Dufour that painted an exotic portrait of the life of Pacific people as described by Captain Cook.In this story - recorded back in 2017 - Lisa is working on a short 3D film titled Nomads of the Sea which again looks at the meeting of two cultures, featuring an epic encounter between two female warriors. Presenter Tim Marlow joins Lisa Reihana in her New Zealand studio to talk about art, film and creativity.

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  • 29.09.2020
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    30:39
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    Juan Gabriel Vásquez: Literature in the centre of my life

    The Colombian novelist and journalist Juan Gabriel Vásquez is widely regarded as one of the most important Latin American writers today – known for his novels published in 28 languages, including the award-winning The Sound Of Things Falling, The Shape of the Ruins, and five other works of fiction, plus stories, literary essays, and political commentary.Born outside the capital city of Bogotá and having lived there as a student, Vásquez says it's a place that helped shaped his creative life and consciousness as a writer. After 16 years in Paris and Spain, he returned to Colombia to live and write. Now, as he embarks on his latest novel due to be published in December, Natalia Guerrero talks to Vasquez in Bogotá to find out how he works on his books.As he writes he describes his creative process from thought to page and start to finish. We hear how Bogotá has influenced his writing as "a life calling" with "literature in the centre of my life"; and how he keeps to a daily writing routine – including wearing noise-cancelling headphones so that he can have the silence he needs to create his work.And there are the very intimate moments of writing the final words and sharing his new book with its very first reader - his wife.

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  • 22.09.2020
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    30:10
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    Loyiso Gola wants to make you laugh

    What does it take to prepare a new stand-up show for the world’s biggest comedy festival? Loyiso Gola is one of South Africa’s most loved comedians - he's performed across the globe and his satirical TV show Late Nite News with Loyiso Gola has had two Emmy nominations, one of television’s greatest accolades.In this story, recorded back in 2017, In the Studio follows Loyiso as he embarks on the challenge of taking his show, Unlearning, to the Edinburgh Festival in Scotland. With Unlearning, Loyiso takes on those everyday ideas that we’ve learnt throughout our lives, such as who we are as people and how our perceptions of culture and history, race and politics shape how we see and treat each other. But how do you make an audience laugh for an hour, as well as question their perception of the world?

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  • 15.09.2020
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    31:31
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    Lynette Wallworth: Changing the way we see reality

    Australian artist and director Lynette Wallworth loves to push the limits of technology and works with mixed reality developers, inventing new ways of experiencing art.Back in the Summer of 2018, Laura Hubber joined Lynette as she worked with the team at the Technicolour Experience Center in Los Angeles, to create a new immersive interactive walk around section to her film Awavena.Awavena explores the way of life led by the Yawanawa community of the Amazon and their first female Shaman Hushahu. The new section was shown for the first time at the Venice Film Festival that year.

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  • 09.09.2020
    14 MB
    30:47
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    Ocean Vuong: Becoming Briefly Gorgeous

    The young Vietnamese writer Ocean Vuong has been called “one of our most gifted poets”. He came to public attention when his poetry collection “Night Sky With Exit Wounds” was showered with awards. His first novel “On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous” followed last year and has also been critically acclaimed.Ocean’s work often mirrors his own experience as an immigrant. He was born in Saigon, Vietnam but at a young age he and members of his family left Vietnam, as refugees for the United States. After attempting a degree in business, Ocean found his true vocation as a writer and now divides his time between creating new work and teaching university students.Oonagh Cousins talks to Ocean about the way he creates his work, how ideas and images come to him and the importance of being uncomfortable when he’s writing.

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  • 09.09.2020
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    30:31
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    Alan Walker: Behind the mask

    Before face masks became compulsory for many of the world’s citizens, the Norwegian music producer and DJ Alan Walker was known for wearing a face covering on stage. It lent an air of mystery to his persona but there’s been no mystery about the popularity of the music he makes. From his first hit Faded, which has been streamed over a billion times, to packed-out stage gigs the world over and recent collaborations with musical giants like film composer Hans Zimmer, Alan – who’s still in his early 20s – has become a global phenomenon.Recorded during a visit to London, long before Covid-19 devastated live shows, Alan talks to John Wilson about his early upbringing in the UK, how he creates his music, and the crucial importance of ‘the drop’ to electronic dance music.

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  • 09.09.2020
    14 MB
    31:01
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    Nelson Makamo: celebrating children from rural South Africa

    Eighteen months ago the work of South African artist, Nelson Makamo, featured on the iconic cover of Time magazine. It placed the already popular artist - with fans like Oprah Winfrey, Ava DuVernay and Giorgio Armani – firmly onto the global stage.The painting Makamo created for the cover was of Mapule, his now 12 year old cousin, who he’s been painting ever since she was a child. In a touching and practical exchange, he pays for Mapule’s studies.As he prepares for an exhibition, In the Studio’s Mpho Lakaje meets Nelson at his studio in Johannesburg, to watch him at work and discover why he so often places children from rural South Africa centre stage.

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  • 09.09.2020
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    31:31
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    The Bold and the Beautiful: returning to our screens

    U.S. daily television soap opera The Bold and the Beautiful has been running since 1987, and at roughly 8,300 episodes and counting is a huge hit all around the world, making 250 new programmes a year.When coronavirus hit, filming stopped as the industry went into lockdown, but the makers are pioneering new creative ground as they go back into production in Los Angeles, and onto our television screens, at a time when Coronavirus is still rife.Laura Hubber follows the producers, directors and actors of the daily soap, which includes a lot of intimate scenes, as they use their Hollywood creativity to get the series safely back on air.How can they show an on-screen kiss in a world of masks and social distancing? We hear about a ‘new normal’ where actors’ real-life partners’ now work as ‘kissing doubles’, joined by a cast of mannequins, dedicated Coronavirus Coordinators, and strict new acting rules.

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  • 09.09.2020
    16 MB
    34:23
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    Costas Cacoyannis: Cyprus’s One-Man Orchestra

    Costas Cacoyannis is one of Cyprus’s most prolific composers – turn on the TV or head to the cinema on the Mediterranean island and there’s a good chance you’ll hear his music. Add to that his compositions for ballet, theatre, Hollywood soundtracks, and the more than 25 albums he has released and you get a sense of the scale of his creativity.He lives and works from his studio high up in the Troodos Mountains in central Cyprus and it’s there that the BBC’s Karl Bos went to meet Costas in 2018, as he prepared for a major performance of his music that June - his biggest live concert in over 18 years - at the Maison de l'UNESCO in Paris.Follow Costas on a walk through a nearby forest as he derives inspiration from nature, then to a rehearsal in Limassol with his choir, as he guides them on how to express and perform his music as the concert quickly approaches.

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  • 09.09.2020
    15 MB
    31:28
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    Mira Nair: the making of A Suitable Boy

    Mira Nair is one of the world’s great film directors. Born in India, but now a self-called ‘global citizen’, she has spent over 30 years making her mark, from Hollywood to Bollywood, and from the fun and laughter of Monsoon Wedding to the sharp politics of The Reluctant Fundamentalist.In the Studio joins Mira on location in the ancient city of Maheshwar, for her biggest and most ambitious project to date - a six-part television series for the BBC, based on Vikram Seth’s epic novel, A Suitable Boy.The novel encompasses many of the filmmaker’s favoured topics - family conflict, the portrayal of India, love, humour, beauty and politics. So when she heard it was being made into a TV series she says, “I threw my sari into the ring…It was something I had to do with every fibre of my creative journey.“Mira Nair talks exclusively to Ravinder Bawa about her own creative journey - from small town girl, to world famous director – and shows how some of the most evocative and dynamic scenes are put together, with the film crew she uses in almost every film she makes.

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  • 09.09.2020
    15 MB
    32:10
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    Eric Whitacre: Creating the Virtual Choir

    As Covid-19 has swept the world we’ve become used to seeing musicians in lockdown presenting videos of virtual performances. But for the Grammy-award winning American composer and conductor Eric Whitacre, the idea of a virtual choir is nothing new, because he pioneered the concept over 10 years ago. His first choir of 185 singers became a global phenomenon and has been seen by millions on YouTube. More virtual choir projects followed and the choir videos have featured as installations and as part of the 2012 Olympics and the Davos World Economic Forum.Now Eric’s just released his largest Virtual Choir project to date, which premiered on YouTube a few days ago. It features 17,572 singers from around the world performing his new piece “Sing Gently” for which he’s written the words and the music.Eric talks to Emma Kingsley about creating this latest project, the inspirations for his other compositions, the idea of the musical “golden brick” and how his early dreams of becoming a pop star changed through singing Mozart in the college choir.

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  • 09.09.2020
    15 MB
    32:47
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    Janet Echelman: Bending Arc

    The artist and sculptor Janet Echelman works on huge pieces of public art that combine high tech design, history and visual imagination to soar above the heads of the public and interact with the environment. Her latest, Bending Arc, has been waiting out the Covid crisis before finally being unveiled to the public in St Petersburg, Florida.Spanning 427 feet, and held by some 180 miles of twine, this giant net sculpture has needed a team of architects, model makers, computer scientists, aeronautical and structural engineers - all led by Echelman - to create a billowing, multi-coloured artwork that will cast shade and inspire the pier walkers of St Petersburg. It is also an artwork that draws directly on Echelman’s own family history in ready-to-wear fashion.Andrea Shea has been documenting Echelman's creative processes and now, all that awaits, is the grand opening scheduled for July when the artist’s imagination will billow and dazzle in the sea breeze.

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  • 09.09.2020
    15 MB
    32:06
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    Operation Night Watch

    This week our guest is a Dutch icon - The Night Watch.This masterpiece by Rembrandt is nearly 400 years old and sits centre stage at the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam, where more than 2 million visitors come to see it every year. So when it became clear the painting needed a serious makeover, taking years to complete, the idea of removing it from display was rejected. Instead the museum’s Director, Taco Dibbits, decided to make Operation Night Watch accessible to all, by building a specially-constructed glass chamber for restorers, scientists and conservators to work under the public's watchful eye; both in the museum and online.Anik See follows Taco and his team during this key phase of Operation Night Watch, diving into state-of-the-art imaging techniques and discovering the masterpiece’s secrets and storied past, to find out why this painting remains so important to us.

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  • 09.09.2020
    15 MB
    32:18
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    Elif Shafak: Writing in Lockdown

    The British-Turkish writer Elif Shafak is renowned for her award-winning novels including The Forty Rules of Love and her most recent 10 Minutes 38 Seconds In This Strange World. She’s also known for being an advocate for women’s rights, LGBTQ rights and freedom of speech, which have led to her being investigated by the Turkish government. Now she’s writing a new novel and has completed a manifesto on staying sane in an age of division, which will be published later this year.Covid-19 has meant that Elif has been experiencing what it’s like to create and write in lockdown in her London home. In conversation with Emma Kingsley, she describes her new routines, how ideas come to her and the way in which her working life has been altered by the pandemic. She also talks about the importance of using fiction as a space to ask questions about contentious issues and the role of literature as a means of keeping people connected during this new age of self-isolation.

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  • 09.09.2020
    15 MB
    31:38
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    Eimear Noone and Craig Garfinkle: Composers in isolation

    Cellist Matthew Barley connects with composer and conductor team Eimear Noone and Craig Garfinkle, as they race to complete a film score from their temporary lockdown studio in rural Ireland.Eimear and Craig create soundscapes and soundtracks for feature films and video games, including the global hit World of Warcraft. Early in 2020 Eimear and Craig and their two young children travelled from the US to Dublin to compose and record the score for the animated movie Two by Two: Overboard. They recorded the first half of the score in February but then the Covid-19 restrictions radically changed their plans. They had to leave Dublin with what little equipment they could carry and head to Eimear’s family home on the West Coast of Ireland.With an out of tune piano, limited IT resources, no access to a recording studio or live musicians, and the delivery date looming, the pressure is on. From trying to write upbeat music at a moment of crisis, to managing the baby’s nap time and homeschooling while working out the perfect chord progression for a scene of utopia, Craig and Eimear are navigating new territory. Will they do it?

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  • 09.09.2020
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    31:45
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    Demond Melancon: The bead master of New Orleans

    This week’s In The Studio is presented by acclaimed actor and New Orleans resident Wendell Pierce (The Wire, Suits, Tom Clancy’s Jack Ryan). We join him as he meets Demond Melancon, a fine artist from New Orleans who is also the Big Chief of a Black Masking Indian tribe, the Young Seminole Hunters.The Black Masking culture of New Orleans is a centuries-old African-American tradition. Around 45 neighbourhood groups - or tribes - spend thousands of hours each year hand-sewing exquisitely beaded ceremonial suits, trimmed with rhinestones, velvet ruffles, and hundreds of brightly coloured feathers. On Mardi Gras day they take to the streets to compete against each other for the prettiest suit.Every suit tells a story, and this year Demond is depicting Ethiopian history and culture, beading an ancient Nyabinghi warrior on a white horse as the centerpiece of his front ‘apron’. Surrounding it on the left and right sides will be beaded portraits of Empress Menen Asfaw and her husband King Haile Selassie of Ethiopia. On his arms are patches with portraits of reggae music icon Vaughn Benjamin and an Ethiopian soldier.Usually it takes 12 months of beading to make a suit, but Demond is a rising star of New Orleans’ contemporary art scene, and in high demand for exhibitions and art fairs across the USA, so this year he has just three months to prepare. We join him and his wife Alicia as he works night and day in his Bywater studio doing ‘the needle dance’, as he calls it, in the run up to the city’s world-famous Mardi Gras celebrations.

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  • 09.09.2020
    15 MB
    32:07
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    Nnedi Okorafor: Creating sci-fi worlds

    The award-winning science fiction author Nnedi Okorafor always has a project - or three - on the go. From her home outside Chicago she creates stories driven by what she describes as Africanfuturism and Africanjujuism for children and adults - a legacy of her Nigerian roots. Her work now ranges across comics for Marvel, screenplays and yet another new novel due out in the summer.But she wasn’t always destined to be a writer. She spent her youth training hard to be a top class athlete until she developed curvature of the spine, which put an end to her dreams. After corrective surgery she became temporarily paralysed and it was then, during her darkest time, that she began to create stories.Now, as Chicago, like the rest of the US endures lockdown, Nnedi’s been adapting to her changed life and restricted movements. Mark Burman talks to her about her work and how her creative process has been affected during the Covid-19 pandemic. During recordings made in April and early May he eavesdrops on some of her writing moments including her fruitful collaboration with the Kenyan director Wanuri Kahiu and their story of an A.I. traffic police robot – and hears about the therapeutic distraction of her trumpet-playing daughter and magnificent cat which now has his own Twitter account!

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  • 09.09.2020
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    31:58
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    Julie Baines: The making of a movie, part two

    Starring Russell Brand and Matthew Goode – and featuring Michael Caine – the film Four Kids and It is a culmination of 8 years hard graft by award-winning British independent film producer Julie Baines.Never afraid to take risks to achieve her cinematic dreams this film demands more of her talent, insight and sheer hard work than ever before.Based on Jacqueline Wilson’s best-selling novel, itself inspired by the E Nesbitt classic 5 Children and It, the story requires an array of sophisticated special effects including flying, dare devil rock climbing and the staging of a pop concert at the O2 in London.After two failed attempts to finance the film, it was finally given the go ahead and shot in Ireland in the summer of 2018. It’s a wrap, the film is in the can – but this is where our story starts.Will the film be completed on time avoiding hefty financial penalties? Will the special effects make the grade, without access to the type of budget Hollywood studios can command? And finally, how well will it sell in a very competitive marketplace in a bid to get it in front of the family audiences it was made for?Hilary Dunn follows British independent film producer Julie Baines for a period of nearly two years, on a revealing journey into the little known art – and science – of post-production.

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  • 09.09.2020
    12 MB
    26:49
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    Julie Baines: The making of a movie, part one

    British film producer Julie Baines knows all about long lead times. She often has to work for years to get a project financed before any filming can happen at all. For over six years, Julie had been fighting to bring ‘Four Kids and It’, a script she loves, from page to screen. The story is based on a retelling of the 1902 book ‘Five Children and It’ by the hugely popular children’s writer Jacqueline Wilson.When we first met Julie in March 2017, filming was scheduled to start in just a few months but there were still deals to be done and actors to be cast. Film stars, including Russell Brand and Academy Award winner Michael Caine, were on board and the locations had been earmarked but would the money start flowing in time for filming to begin?Film director Joseph Adesunloye followed Julie through the ups and downs of wrangling with lawyers and financiers as she worked to get the cameras rolling.

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  • 09.09.2020
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    Tyler Childers: Run these roads

    Tyler Childers was nominated for a Grammy in early 2020. He’s an emerging talent who is true to his Appalachian roots.He grew up in the foothills of East Kentucky, his father worked in the coal industry, and his songs reflect the tough life in that part of the world - unemployment, broken relationships, drugs, alcohol. He draws on these themes in order to stay faithful to the place: "I hope that people in the area that I grew up in find something they can relate to. I hope that I'm doing my people justice and I hope that maybe someone from somewhere else can get a glimpse of the life of a Kentucky boy."The lyrics of one of his songs describes the exhilaration of driving recklessly: “A damn good feeling to run these roads". For his most recent Country Squire album, Tyler says much of it was written on the road, including love songs dedicated to his wife. He also drew inspiration from unusual sources, including Allen Touissant's 1970s album Southern Nights.We take a deep dive into the contemporary life, music and culture of East Kentucky, with help from Brett Ratliff, programme director of community radio station WMMT in Whitesburg, Kentucky, in the heart of Appalachia's coal fields, and hear about Kentucky story-telling from author Silas House.And with his US tour suspended because of the coronavirus lockdown, we hear how Tyler and his wife Senora May - also a singer songwriter - are drawing on their home, and their own relationship, for creative inspiration.

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  • 09.09.2020
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    32:32
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    Marc Quinn: Creating 100 sculptures of refugees

    British artist Marc Quinn has been one of the world's leading contemporary artists for over 30 years. A prominent member of the group known as the Young British Artists (or YBAs) who dominated the British art scene in the 1990s, his high-profile works have included Alison Lapper Pregnant, for the inaugural fourth plinth sculpture in London’s Trafalgar Square; and Self, a series of self-portraits of his own head - made out of ten pints of his own blood - cast and frozen every five years.In this episode of In the Studio, Marc Quinn takes Edwina Pitman behind the scenes of an ambitious new work called 100 Heads, in which he documents the stories, and casts in concrete the heads, of 100 refugees. Spurred by the images and news reports of the refugee crisis in 2015, Marc began to make plans for not-for-profit public artworks to both raise awareness and money for refugees around the world. 100 Heads is being created in part therefore to raise funds for another ongoing Marc Quinn public artwork called Our Blood, in which 2,000 litres of frozen human blood - drawn from 10,000 resettled refugees, celebrities and other participants - will be encased in a pavilion on the steps of the New York Public Library in 2021.From the initial meeting and interviewing refugees, through scanning, moulding and casting the concrete, Marc reveals the many processes as well as the technical and logistical challenges of creating 100 portrait heads of people from all over the world. The eventual creation will, he hopes, be a monument to our common humanity, one that emphasises through the power of art, that more unites than divides us.

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  • 09.09.2020
    15 MB
    31:39
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    Romesh Gunesekera: Breathing life into every word

    Sri Lankan born author Romesh Gunesekera does not transcribe reality, he recreates it from a mixture of memory and imagination. Nominated for one of the world’s most prestigious literary awards, the Man Booker Prize for Fiction, for his debut novel Reef – Romesh has been publishing novels, short stories and poetry for more than 30 years.Harriett Gilbert meets Romesh at his London home in early 2018, to find out how he is crafting his latest novel, Suncatcher. It tells the story of two boys growing up in 1960s Sri Lanka, examining their friendship and the beginnings of a political awakening. Romesh has been working on his book for several years and is now meticulously revising the text – questioning each word – as he prepares to send his precious manuscript out into the world.

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  • 09.09.2020
    15 MB
    31:44
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    Belarus Free Theatre: Directing from a distance

    The award-winning Belarus Free Theatre was founded 15 years ago to create drama around issues of human rights and creative freedom in a country which has been called Europe’s last surviving dictatorship. It creates provocative physical shows attended by audiences in secret locations around Minsk and has achieved international recognition and support.BFT’s founding artistic directors Natalia Kaliada and Nicolai Khalezin cannot rehearse the actors face to face because they are now political refugees living in the United Kingdom. So, for the past nine years they have been using a Skype line to connect with the performers hundreds of miles away.Natalia and Nicolai have been rehearsing the actors in a new play called Dogs of Europe, based on the novel by the contemporary Belarusian author Alhierd Bacharevic, which depicts life in a dystopian super state where individual freedoms are taken away. As well as performing in Minsk, the actors were also set to come to London and perform at the Barbican Theatre. But Covid-19 has put an end to that plan. So what will the company do instead?The BBC’s Olga Smirnova follows Natalia and Nikolai during the process of rehearsal and performance and hears from them and the actors about the techniques of directing from a distance. She also talks to the British actor and writer Stephen Fry who is taking part in BFT’s newest venture.

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  • 09.09.2020
    13 MB
    27:49
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    Mo Abudu: Creating blockbuster movies in Nigeria

    Mo Abudu has been described as one of the most successful women in Africa. She made her name presenting the chat show Moments with Mo, that earnt her the title of Africa’s ‘first lady of chat.’She is the CEO of Ebony Life Television, Africa's first global black entertainment and lifestyle network. In 2013 she set up Ebony Life Films and as Executive Producer is behind films such as the comedies The Wedding Party and its sequel, The Wedding Party 2, which became the highest-grossing Nigerian film in the country’s box office history.In 2018 Anna Cunningham followed Mo onto the set of her film Chief Daddy – which tells the story of what happens when a flamboyant billionaire industrialist suddenly dies and his family and friends uncover hidden secrets and discover who’s getting the money.With a star studded cast including Funke Akindele, Kate Henshaw, Folarin ‘Falz’ Falana, Mo hoped Chief Daddy would be a Christmas blockbuster in Nigeria. In this updated episode, find out if she got her wish.

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  • 09.09.2020
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    32:07
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    Jakub Józef Orliński: Countertenor in Karlsruhe

    The Polish countertenor Jakub Józef Orliński is rapidly becoming one of the most sought-after performers on opera stages and in concert halls around the world. A YouTube video of him singing Vivaldi has had more than 5 million views, his many prizes include a recent Gramophone Classical Music Award and he’s released 2 critically acclaimed albums.And he’s not just known as a singer - he also has an impressive record as a breakdancer and a fashion model.Earlier this year, Jakub was preparing to sing the title role in Handel’s opera Tolomeo at the Badisches Staatstheater in the German city of Karlsruhe. Emma Kingsley joined him there to watch him in rehearsal and to hear how he goes about not just perfecting his singing voice, but also writing his own musical ornaments and cadenzas for the solos and duets that he will be performing for these performances and the production’s revival in 2021.

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  • 09.09.2020
    15 MB
    32:36
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    Kari Kola: Lighting up the world

    Kari Kola developed his love of working with light in his native Finland, one of the world’s most northern countries, where the winters are long and very dark. Teaching himself to use light in those months - to utilise the darkness – is what inspired Kari to become…a light artist.For Galway 2020, European Capital of Culture, Kari and his team of Finns are setting their sights on the wild and beautiful Connemara mountain range, as he attempts to create Savage Beauty, the largest lit artwork ever made.Using the latest technology, and transporting a vast amount of kit to an Irish mountain range in the middle of March, has its own unique set of challenges. It’s a challenge that seems second nature to Kari, who taught himself to play piano without ever learning a note, and has overcome accidents which have left him unable to walk and hear at various times in his life. No wonder, perhaps, that the artist’s motto is “Nothing is impossible; it is just a matter of deciding how much you want to use your energy towards achieving it".Reporter Orla Higgins pursues the creative process in Galway, and we spend time with Kari in his studio in the easternmost province of Finland, but as the four-day event approaches amid gales and a Coronavirus pandemic, will it all come together?

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  • 09.09.2020
    13 MB
    27:20
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    Michael Rakowitz: Crafting ‘ghosts’ from Iraq’s lost culture

    Michael Rakowitz’s Iraqi heritage is a cultural thread running through much of his art. We follow him at work on a new installment of a long-running project called The Invisible Enemy Should Not Exist, which creates what he calls ‘ghosts’ of archaeological objects that have been destroyed or looted from Iraq in the 21st century. Sarah Geis follows him throughout the process of recreating carved reliefs which adorned a room of the Northwest Palace of Nimrud, destroyed in 2015 by the Islamic State group. However, he’s not making them from stone but colourful Arabic food packaging and cardboard – for a fast-approaching exhibition.We check back in with Michael in March 2020 to see how the project has progressed.

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  • 09.09.2020
    14 MB
    30:52
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    Celeste Mountjoy, aka Filthyratbag

    Best known by her alias Filthyratbag, 20 year old artist Celeste Mountjoy’s brightly coloured line-drawn illustrations and phrases are at once confessional and relatable, humorous and heart-breaking. Their appeal, as her 384k Instagram followers testify, extends far beyond Celeste’s native Melbourne. From partying and relationships to mental illness and social media vanity, the artist’s satirical observations about everyday life encapsulate her experience as a Generation Z’er, and a young woman navigating today’s world. As work begins on new illustrations, reporter Rosa Ellen meets up with Celeste to find out what makes her tick, how she creates her artwork - and why her alias is Filthyratbag.

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  • 09.09.2020
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    Dada Masilo: From Soweto street dancer to ballet star

    Growing up in the township of Soweto, Dada Masilo never thought to dream of ballet training or world tours. She liked street dancing to Michael Jackson and was only introduced to ballet two years after the end of Apartheid, at the age of 10. It was a strange world, she says, of pink shoes and tights. But she loved the discipline and went on to train internationally as a classical ballerina. Still only 34, she now tours the world with her very contemporary takes on traditional ballet. Her Swan Lake tackled Africa’s AIDs epidemic with male dancers playing the love triangle. Her Giselle is a feminist revenge story conceived long before #MeToo. She’s celebrated at Arts festivals from Perth to California, but the themes of her work make it less welcome in parts of Africa.

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  • 09.09.2020
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    Lady Pink: The first lady of graffiti

    Nicknamed the “first lady of graffiti”, Lady Pink’s work is known for its celebration of women. The Ecuadorian-American artist was one of the first women active on the New York graffiti scene at the end of the 1970s and early 1980s, earning her a lead role in the seminal hip hop film, Wild Style, in 1983.While still at high school Pink began exhibiting in art galleries and by the age of 21 she had her first solo show. More recently she has designed a perfume bottle for Lancôme and turned her signature designs into a clothing range.Pink’s latest project is to create a 33 foot long mural on the walls of one of the new World Trade Center buildings, built to replace those destroyed by terrorist attacks on September 11 2001. The artist’s creation for this particular space will be based on her Unity Tree design, because she says, “The world has never been the same, but what we can celebrate is all the peacefulness and happiness that we enjoy in New York City with all the nations and nationalities living together”.New York reporter Tara Gadomski joins Lady Pink over the course of a week to witness her new painting come to life.

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  • 09.09.2020
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    Zanele Muholi: photographer and visual activist

    What does it mean to be a visual activist? This week, In The Studio meets pioneering non-binary South African photographer Zanele Muholi, who aims to give the marginalised a presence in the visual archive with their striking portraits of the black South African LGBTI community.Ahead of Muholi’s first major UK retrospective at Tate Modern this Spring, reporter Mpho Lakaje follows Muholi, in Johannesburg and Durban as they work on their ongoing series “Faces and Phases”. This is an evolving photographic record and part of Muholi’s life’s work to map and preserve an often invisible community for posterity. It also serves to address the serious issue of hate crime in South Africa and its neighbouring countries, where the stigma of homosexuality can often lead to rape, violence, and murder.We follow Muholi capturing images, interviewing participants and hearing their stories before creating their powerful images in black and white, highlighting and celebrating the beauty of black skin.

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  • 09.09.2020
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    Madeleine Thien: The first draft

    The Canadian writer Madeleine Thien is working on her next novel, the follow-up to her prizewinning 2016 book Do Not Say We Have Nothing. But she’s finding that it’s difficult to find the internal peace and privacy to begin again, especially after having being catapulted into the public eye after the previous novel’s success.As the narrative and characters shift and evolve in the author’s mind, there’s much painstaking research and many rewrites to be done. How can Madeleine blend the aspects of past and present which are pre-occupying her at the moment? And will she ever be satisfied enough with the novel to allow it to see the light of day?Paul Kobrak follows her over several months as she creates different versions of the first draft of the new novel. It’s a process which moves from Berlin in Germany (and a coffee shop which is central to Madeleine’s writing process) to Brooklyn USA (where she teaches Creative Writing to University students) and finally to Portugal's capital city Lisbon, where she hopes to complete it.

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  • 09.09.2020
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    Artificial Improvisation

    Professor Gil Weinberg has created the world’s first robot musician. Shimon is a marimba-playing robot with eight arms that can improvise live music in any genre.The world is familiar with musical robots that can play programmed music, but Gil has created robotic musicians. This means they are musicians first, and robots second. In real time, these robot musicians come up with fresh ideas designed to inspire human musicians to play music in new ways.Award-winning jazz composer Kris Bowers (Green Book, Dear White People, How They See Us) is in the studio with Gil, and many of Gil’s students and local jazz musicians. Together, they are exploring how artificial intelligence can push our understanding of what humans are capable of, and examine whether AI can enhance the abilities of musicians. They also ponder the question of whether a robot can truly be as creative as a human being.Kris is examining three aspects of Gil’s robotic musicians, and taking part in some experiments that are happening publicly for the first time. The first aspect that Kris examines is Shimon’s ability to mirror the playing style of his fellow musicians; through this, Kris will be able to objectively analyse his own playing, with the hope of improving his craft in unprecedented ways. The second is exploring how Shimon has now been given the ability to improvise lyrics in a live rap battle, and the third is Gil’s work in the field of prosthetics. Kris plays with amputee drummer Jason Barnes, whose prosthetic drumming arm holds a stick that Kris can control with the music he plays.

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  • 09.09.2020
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    Ron Arad

    In The Studio enters the endlessly surprising and shape-shifting world of architect, designer and artist Ron Arad.Born in Israel but based in London for over four decades, Arad’s multi-disciplinary career has seen him design and produce everything from sunglasses to skyscrapers, and from hats to hotels.A Royal Academician and Professor Emeritus at the Royal College of Art, he has designed for numerous major international furniture and design brands, and his public art work can be found in cities across the world including Tokyo, Milan, Toronto, Tel Aviv and Singapore.Like the man himself, Arad’s work has always evaded categorisation. His constant experimentation with the boundaries and possibilities of materials and his keen interest in cutting edge technology means that nothing is ever as it seems. What at first glance appears to be a map on the wall, turns out to be a bookcase, a vast mirrored sculpture is in fact a ping pong table, a quartz pendant on a necklace doubles as a magnifying glass.In this programme, Ron welcomes Edwina Pitman into his labyrinthine studio, filled with prototypes and iconic design pieces, to chart the making of one of his many ongoing projects. Inspired by an object found in a flea market forty years ago, Ron’s idea is to create a string quartet that plays itself. Over the course of a year, he reveals how he and his team work on the technology, the design and the commercial possibilities to make this ghostly vision a reality.

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  • 09.09.2020
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    Bert & Bertie: Directing Troop Zero

    There are very few female film directors in Hollywood, but directing duo Bert and Bertie, otherwise known as Katie Ellwood (Bertie) and Amber Finlayson (Bert), are forging a name for themselves.Aleks Krotoski joins Bert and Bertie as they direct their latest film, Troop Zero, which stars McKenna Grace and Oscar winners Allison Janney and Viola Davis. The film is set in 1977 in rural Georgia, where a misfit girl dreams of life in outer space. When a competition offers her a chance to be recorded on NASA's Golden Record, she recruits a makeshift troop of Birdie Scouts, forming friendships that last a lifetime.To get a real insight into the Hollywood system and the role of directors in the making of a film, Aleks joins the Berts on location in Louisiana as they shoot the film, and in the studio during the edit. Not only are the directors both women with young children, but the writers, producers and the majority of the production crew are also women. Bert and Bertie talk to Aleks about how they are proactively trying to change women’s opportunities in the industry through their hiring practices.Other contributors to the programme include co-writer Lucy Alibar, executive producer Jenny Hinkey and cinematographer James Whitaker.

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  • 09.09.2020
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    Staging Semele in Shanghai - Part two

    In the second of this two-part documentary….the pressure is mounting.Producer Linda Wong Davies and the multinational cast and crew have reached Shanghai and have little more than a week before opening night, so there is a lot to do in a very short amount of time.The Shanghai Symphony Orchestra – who are celebrating their 140th anniversary – have no experience of performing the baroque music required for Handel’s musical drama, Semele.Shanghai Symphony Hall – a concert hall not designed to house a theatrical set – is about to welcome one through its doors for the first time.Plus, the lighting and petals are causing a bit of a stir!With unrestricted access to the making of this cultural event in China, Ella-mai Robey tries to keep up with the action.

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  • 09.09.2020
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    Staging Semele in Shanghai - Part one

    The mythological story of Semele - a woman so confident in her own desires and ambition that she attracted the King of the Gods as her lover - became the first-ever baroque opera to be performed in China, just over a decade ago.Ten years on and a completely re-imagined Semele is back, this time in the city of Shanghai, to help celebrate the 140th anniversary of the Shanghai Symphony Orchestra.With rare and unrestricted access to the creation of such a cultural event in China, Ella-mai Robey joins the multi-national cast and crew for all the drama involved in taking the show from planning stages to first-night performance.The production is the brainchild of Lady Linda Wong Davies, founder of the KT Wong Foundation, which aims to foster a mutual understanding between China and the rest of the world through creative projects. Together, with Royal Opera House director Julia Burbach, conductor Maestro Long Yu and a cast including soprano Jane Archibald - they have just six weeks to prepare the production from scratch.The clock is ticking. Will the arrival of a theatrical set – the first in the history of Shanghai Symphony Hall – prove too much?

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  • 09.09.2020
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    Conserving the works of the Van Gogh Museum

    The Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam in The Netherlands is one of the most visited museums in the world. It houses the largest collection of works by the hugely popular 19th century Dutch painter Vincent van Gogh, as well as many paintings by his contemporaries. All of these pictures need to be looked after and preserved for future generations and in this episode, the BBC’s Karl Bos goes behind the scenes to discover the hidden art of conservation.Once a painting leaves an artist’s studio, it is at risk of physical damage from poor storage, movement or accident and only becomes more vulnerable as it ages and the materials weaken. You can add to the list of dangers past repairs by well-meaning museum staff that have gone terribly wrong. It’s a hard life being a work of art. We meet Senior Conservator at the Van Gogh Museum, René Boitelle, as he restores a badly damaged painting by Dutch artist Jacob Maris and shows us how Van Gogh’s painting The Furrows, is being cleaned.

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  • 09.09.2020
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    Arwa Al-Ammari

    Saudi fashion designer Arwa Al-Ammari is one of a handful of haute couture designers to emerge in recent years. She has recently begun combining traditional Saudi design with striking modernity and elegant modesty. Her latest line reaches back into the textures, history and geography of her nation and fuses them with the catwalk elegance of Milan.Arwa's journey into design began as a painter and sculptor and she brought those multimedia disciplines, and attention to detail, to the fashion scene with her brand ArAm Designs in 2013. In 2016 she won the international reality show Fashion Star and remains determined to put Saudi elegance on the fashion map.Reporter Cyma Aziz visits Arwa at the design table in her workshop as she prepares a new range for the catwalk.

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  • 09.09.2020
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    Superflex: Deep Sea Minding

    What do you get when you put a Danish artist group together with oceanographers, material scientists, and marine biologists? The answer is an idea which might just change the way we imagine and design our environments in response to rising sea levels.As warnings about the effects of global warming escalate, Superflex – an art group founded by Jakob Fenger, Bjørnstjerne Christiansen and Rasmus Nielsen in 1993 – have been working on a long term project to imagine a world where the original function and aesthetics of our carefully designed world may be lost to the tide.Commissioned by TBA21-Academy, the project is called Deep Sea Minding and it considers whether it’s possible to design and create structures that could serve the needs and desires of both humans and marine life.So in their headquarters in Copenhagen, the team at Superflex are mixing concrete and amino acids together to see whether they can create bricks to make houses and schools which can be occupied by humans first and then fish. They’re also preparing a prototype structure to be placed on the seabed to test the responses of fish to this new material.Over the course of nine months Laura Hubber joins Rasmus Nielsen from Superflex for one leg of their epic journey – taking in California, Copenhagen and Jamaica – and meeting a Mermaid along the way.

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  • 09.09.2020
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    Singing for the Pope

    In this special festive edition of In The Studio, Glyn Tansley goes behind the façade of the Vatican to meet the members of the oldest choir in the world, as they prepare for the biggest night on their calendar.The Sistine Chapel Choir has a history dating back 1500 years, but it’s still one of the most active cultural institutions at the very heart of the Vatican.It also has the prestige of being the Pope’s personal choir, performing for him whenever he’s in St Peter’s Basilica. As the Holy Father’s personal choir, it is called upon to play an ecumenical role, contributing to bringing together in art what has been separated by history and politics.In their rehearsal room, we meet the men and boys who make up the choir as they prepare for Christmas mass, an event watched around the world by millions of worshipers. We’ll come to understand why being in this choir so important to them, and the pressures of being always on display through the Vatican’s global TV and radio services.This is a rare glimpse into the real lives at the heart of an ancient tradition.

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  • 09.09.2020
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    Creating an Icon

    For this special Christmas episode, In the Studio goes on a journey with one of the world's most renowned iconographers. Not just to witness the creation of a beautiful painting - but to witness a transformation. The moment a physical image becomes a religious icon - a prayer in paint that, for the faithful, acts as a door between heaven and earth.Aidan Hart, a former hermit and Greek Orthodox monk whose icons you will find all over the world in churches and private collections - including that of Prince Charles - will paint an icon to celebrate the season of Advent.Phil Pegum joins Aidan in rural England for five days as he paints a Christmas icon, and shares the secrets of the art form by explaining their symbolism and strange perspectives.

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  • 09.09.2020
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    Designing the new Aston Martin

    The makers of James Bond's car are entering new territory. Aston Martin, the British manufacturer usually associated with 007's sports car, are launching their first family motor - an SUV.In The Studio has gained exclusive access to the design and manufacturing process. Presenter Andy Jaye joins Head of Design, Marek Reichman, in his studio, follows the car through rigorous testing, and finally, sees it launched to the public.

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  • 09.09.2020
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    Adrian Smith: Reaching for the skies

    Architect Adrian Smith designs the world’s tallest towers. How does he use his creativity to develop new designs for each of these buildings, and how does he ensure each building fits within the cultural landscape of the city or land in which it will be constructed?Adrian Smith’s name and company, Adrian Smith and Gordon Gill Architecture, is synonymous with tall buildings. Millions of people flock to the observation decks of Adrian’s buildings every year, desperate to get a glimpse of a city skyline from its highest point, and the Burj Khalifa in Dubai is now firmly in the top ten list of the world’s most popular tourist destinations.In Adrian’s studio in Chicago, Eleri Llian Rees sets out to discover what motivates and inspires the man who has created modern day wonders of the world. Adrian describes how he is working creatively with his team at the moment to design a new building for Nanjing, China, incorporating the geography of the land into the design to make it unique.Adrian tells us that collaboration is at the heart of the firm’s work, knowing that designs can change – sometimes significantly – throughout the construction process, and reveals the surprising part played by small chisels and super glue in creating the majestic art of the skyscraper.Adrian is a fascinating character, a visionary at the cutting edge of his chosen field, pushing the boundaries of architectural possibility with awe-inspiring imagination.

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  • 09.09.2020
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    Cecilia Paredes: Camouflage artist

    You might think the aim of most artists and performers is to stand out from the crowd, but not Peruvian-born Cecilia Paredes. Her aim is to blend in, quite literally.In her series of ‘camouflage’ self-portraits, Cecilia’s body is painstakingly painted - during a ‘performance’ which lasts many hours - to precisely match a colourful and patterned wallpaper or fabric in the background.The resulting photograph challenges the viewer gaze, to seek out Cecilia’s form from the scene behind. It is an idea which began 20 years ago, when Cecilia first arrived in the United States and found herself trying to blend in.Céline Ottenburgh finds the camouflage artist amongst a crowded airport, and accompanies her as she goes in search of the perfect wallpaper for her latest project, amongst the walls of an 18th century castle in Belgium.

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  • 09.09.2020
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    Pretty Yende: Taking on La Traviata

    Pretty Yende is a young South African opera singer at the top of her game. Having enjoyed a meteoric rise performing in opera houses internationally, this autumn she took on the lead role of Violetta in Verdi's 'La Traviata' at Paris Opera. In this ‘In the Studio’, the cellist Abel Selaocoe talks to her about her preparations for the role, follows her as the challenging production takes shape, and meets her after her triumphant first performance to find out what it means to her. ‘Even if I want to admit it or not, being the first black person to sing this role at Paris Opera is a huge deal’ Yende tells Abel after opening night. For someone who became interested in opera aged 16 after hearing the Flower Duet on a TV advert, success has come swiftly. She made her debut at the Metropolitan Opera in New York in 2013 when she was just 27, and released her first album in 2016. Abel talks to Yende about her background in a Zulu speaking home in Piet Retief in South Africa, and asks what it took for her to get where she is. She reveals the way she approaches her work, and reflecting on the opportunities she has had, says: “I represent every person that was never given the chance to be here. Every one of my brothers and sisters with tremendous talent that never got here. I get to be entrusted with the honour of saying ‘it’s possible’.

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  • 09.09.2020
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    Rafael Lozano-Hemmer’s Border Tuner

    Imagine huge searchlights which can be seen over a ten mile, 15 kilometer radius talking to one another across two countries. This is exactly what electronic media artist Rafael Lozano-Hemmer is creating this November between Ciudad Juárez in Mexico and El Paso in Texas.Called Border Tuner, the project will see enormous bridges of light connecting the US-Mexico border for the first time.When lights from the stations (three on each side) are directed at each other and they manage to make a connection, a massive bridge of light is formed. This activates microphones and speakers allowing participants to communicate with one another across the border. The “light bridge” flickers like morse code as the participants listen and speak to one another. If they don’t like what they are hearing they can retune to a different light beam.This is not the first time Rafael Lozano-Hemmer has used search lights in his art but he’s never done anything on this scale or with this complexity before. Born in Mexico City in 1967, he first produced a remote-controlled searchlight project in 1999 for the Zócalo Square in Mexico City. Since then he has created installations in dozens of cities around the world where the public controls the searchlights using the internet, mobile phones, megaphones or heart rate sensors.

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