CCA Highlights – March/April 2019

From Keanu Reeves to corner shops, CCA’s spring programme flourishes with variety

Feature by Ben Venables | 06 Mar 2019
  • Nilufer Yanya

Matchbox Cineclub is on an excellent adventure. Having already curated Cage-a-rama and Weird Weekend – celebrating Nicolas Cage and obscure, avant garde cinema respectively – it comes as no surprise the independent exhibitors now announce Scotland’s first film festival dedicated solely to Keanu Reeves. From the history-crammed time travel of the first Bill and Ted instalment, and also the film Homer Simpson once described as being called ‘The Bus That Couldn’t Slow Down’, to the 22nd century reality of The Matrix, KeanuCon (27-28 Apr) is screening nine films over a single weekend. The Keanu-centric events continue with lots of bodacious extras and special guests. Yes way!

Arriving in Glasgow on the back of her debut album Miss Universe is 23-year-old Londoner Nilüfer Yanya (3 Apr). A fusion of R'n'B, soul and indie, her first LP is thematically inspired by Charlie Brooker's dystopian sci-fi anthology series Black Mirror. For this gig, part of her inaugural headline tour, Yanya is joined by Westerman, also on the Blue Flowers label, who brings his understated sounds.

Starting as an underground and experimental music festival, Counterflows (4-7 Apr) returns for its eighth year. Committed to being a platform for different voices and boundless thinking, this year the festival defines its opposition to the corrosive agenda of isolationism. And Counterflows' commitment to pluralism is certainly reflected in the international line-up. This includes the Iranian percussionist Mohammed Reza Mortazavi, Brazil's MC Carol and The Humming Dogs, who bound in from France with their mix of rock, pop and poetry.

Ten months after the second fire at Glasgow School of Art, when CCA’s surrounding area has undergone many transformations, Shadi Habib Allah’s latest exhibition (20 Apr-2 Jun) explores how local areas adapt to city planning strategies. Allah also looks at those secret economies that sprout in order for local businesses to survive. For instance, the further proliferation of chain supermarkets has seen a corresponding rise in old fashioned corner shops adopting new and illicit trade. These include the exchange of food stamps and welfare cards for money. If Britain is still ‘a nation of shopkeepers’, the exhibition offers contemporary perspective and commentary on small businesses' adaptive response to austerity politics and the free market-driven ideology that has favoured the fortunes of big business over the local.

In a new series of work produced during and since her residency in Cove Park, Danish-born artist Lotte Gertz presents Migrating Eye (until 9 Mar). Gertz’s interests are often found in the everyday and this latest exhibition is similarly rooted in down-to-earth personal histories and also typography. Gertz will be joining the CCA’s curator Ainslie Roddick for an artist talk on Thu 7 March.

Glasgow Zine Fest (20-21 Apr) is a treat for anyone involved in publishing, especially those with a DIY ethos. As the biggest fair of its kind in Scotland, anyone involved in the industry can benefit from a programme of practical workshops, talks, performances and readings. Glasgow Zine Fest is an annual opportunity to meet, learn and showcase work with other innovative publishing minds.