The Culture24/7: Art picks for May 2012

By Mark Sheerin | 01 May 2012
Colour photo of an office installation with green turf floor and potted trees
Olivia Plender, Google Office. Installation view, Taipei Biennial 2010, Taiwan© Image courtesy and copyright the artist
There's a global feel to the art Culture24/7 this month. Visit Italy via Edinburgh, Africa via Bristol and the Galapagos via Liverpool...

Olivia Plender: Rise Early, Be Industrious, MK Gallery, Milton Keynes, until June 17 2012

History is brought to life and up to date in Plender’s four participatory installations. There is a room for board games, a display about world fairs, a reconstructed 70s TV studio and an installation based on the Google offices. It promises to be educational.

La Nostra Terra, Italian Photography from 1970s to today, Stills, Edinburgh, until July 22

While all of Europe may be in need of another economic miracle, this show brings together nine photographers who respond to an original boomtime in 1950s Italy. The results include architecture old and new and scenes of the natural world which are somehow also affected.

Galapagos, Bluecoat, Liverpool, May 4 – July 1 2012

It is at once the least disturbed, most investigated location on earth. Scientists have gone to the Galapagos Islands for more than a century. But in recent years artists have been catching up. The 11 who do so here include Jeremy Deller, Marcus Coates and Semiconductor.

The Anabasis of May and Fusako Shigenobu, Masao Adachi and 27 Years Without Images, Gasworks, London, May 11 – July 22 2012

On the occasion of his first solo UK show, a French artist brings to light a radical Japanese militia army who settled in Beruit. The JRA may be less well known than the RAF but, as Eric Baudelaire shows, their story is all the more incredible for their wayward obscurity.

Suki Chan: A Hundred Seas Rising, Aspex, Portsmouth, May 18 – September 2 2012

The most exciting thing about this show is not just that Chan invites us to consider literature as a revolutionary force. It’s also the fact she takes inspiration from A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens. Expect a rabble-rousing sonic installation and a chance to add your voice.

Superpower: Africa in Science Fiction, Arnolfini, Bristol, May 5 – July 1 2012

Africa may be last in the queue of continents to represent a present or near future superpower. But a new show in Bristol uses examples of local sci-fi to turn this assumption on its head. Filmed monologues, photos, film and installation should all put this beyond the known world.

Yael Bartana: And Europe Will Be Stunned, Hornsey Town Hall, London, 22 May – 1 July 2012

Bartana’s trilogy of films about an exodus in reverse was one of the hits of last year’s Venice Biennale. The imagined return of 3.3 million Jews to Poland proved just the ticket for visitors to the Polish Pavilion. Now Londoners can see how well the migratory work travels.

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