CCA Highlights Nov-Dec 2016

We pick out some favourites from this winter's programming at Glasgow's Centre for Contemporary Arts

Feature by Sebastian Fisher | 01 Nov 2016

It’s November and Christmas is nearly upon us. Buchanan Street is starting to sprout red and green buboes. You’ve spent your day scouring St. Enoch’s for just the right shade of festive sock for your niece and stocking up on pre-emptive Easter Eggs; now you need some culture mainlined into your veins to remind you that some things do still matter. Look no further: the CCA has its usual eclectic mix of art, film and music, so grab that advent calendar sent by your over-eager estranged aunt and scrawl these events on the little doors so you can get some use out of it before the jolly oblivion consumes you.

First up, Turner-nominated artist Marvin Gaye Chetwynd is here in Scotland with her first full solo show, and she has gone the whole hog; transmogrifying the exhibition spaces at the CCA into an interactive set, Chetwynd has invited performers to populate the space as she explores abandoning her artistic autonomy and imbuing her set with a sense of lived experience. Scripted and live are spliced as imagination takes over and becomes not just an escape from the world, but a route into it. It runs from Saturday 12 November until 8 January. Go lose yourself.

Not art you’re looking for, but anti-art? Get serious and stupid with a History of Dada, the punkish, puckish, rebellious form that was unveiled to the world a century ago and still wreaks a trail of influence upon contemporary art. That’s a one night event, on 3 November, and it’s free!

While you wait for Hollywood’s next purse-snatching blockbuster to arrive, why not get some real cinema in you? The Jewish Film Festival is back with a selection of top-notch films, each exploring the human condition and its intense fragility in our politically fevered and severed world. In Glories of Tango, a psychiatrist wrestles with the familiar problem of a patient spouting Tango lyrics – and nothing else. 90 Minute War offers a pig bladder kicking disquisition on the melancholic savagery of the Israel-Palestine conflict. Rabin in his Own Words is everyone’s favourite Israeli prime minister (unless you’re an ultranationalist of course) seen through uncovered archived interviews. To round off, The Midnight Orchestra explores Jewish/Muslim relationships as a son estranged by the Yom Kippur war returns for his father’s wake and meets his bandmates. It runs from 6-19 November, so no excuse.

Once you’re done exploring the semiotics of the Southern Levant, then be prepared for a further eye-opening in the form of Africa in Motion film festival. It’s a tall order to unbundle the identities and histories of the world’s second largest continent but the festival brings a collection of documentaries and shorts that attempt to do just that. The audience will be invited to pick their favourite film, so you pleasingly get to be arbiter of the works on show. Chalk off the weekend starting 4 November, you’re needed.

Finally, music! Post-punk stalwarts The Raincoats – who Kurt Cobain thought were pretty rad (although neither he nor they would use the term) – arrive on stage on 19 November to bring their heady and determined slush of drums and snarly guitars and do what they’ve been doing for nigh on thirty years: things their own way and give people a damn good time doing it. If you’re in the mood for more upbeat fare, then pop along on Wednesday 2 November to check out Anna Meredith render Varmints, the Scottish Album of the Year winner (2016 – that’s this year, no less!), and its relentless ecstatic crescendos in all their glory. She’s one to watch, so get in early, then you can tell all your friends in five years about how the first album was better and they really should have seen it live because then they’d know.