Athens 2004 closing ceremony – Zhang Yimou

Medulla by Bjork

Vanity Fair by Mira Nair

Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow by Kerry Conran

The Diamonds of the Unique Celebrity Pictures Collection – Talents in Venice 1996-2004


Serena Williams, U.S. Open
Serena Williams made heads turn during the first round of the U.S Open when she appeared wearing a denim skirt, a studded black tank and black knee high boots. The collection, designed by Nike in collaboration with the tennis player, features a four-way stretch denim with moisture management properties and a new groundbreaking boot with Nike Shox technology marking the first time the technology is being applied to tennis footwear. Williams said her choice of denim was inspired by Agassi, who wore shorts made of that material back in the early 1990s.

About Face and BP Portrait Award 2004, London
wo interesting exhibitions about portraiture took place in London. In About Face, set at the Hayward Gallery, we found a critical photographic project: the artists in this show investigate the rules and assumptions of portraiture. Who is allowed to make portraits? Who is allowed to sit for them? Does the subject or maker control the portrait? Most tellingly, does the camera really ‘never lie’? The final answer seems to be that portraits today are just pictures of faces. The second exhibition was the BP Portrait Award 2004 at the National Portrait Gallery: this is a leading showcase for young painters specialising in the field of portraiture. All the artists demonstrated a huge technique knowledge, underlining once again the desire of painting to get back the leading role in portraiture.

Radical Middle: The Politics We Need Now by Marc Satin
“There is a hunger in this country for a new kind of politics. There is a hunger for a politics that can take us beyond the usual venomous blame games in Washington, D.C. There is a hunger for a politics that appreciates the genuine and often very reasonable concerns of the left and right, and builds on them toward something new.” This is a short abstract from the introduction to Radical Middle: The Politics We Need Now, by author Marc Satin. The book is an interesting new political programme which purposes a third way to politics in the US. In Satin’s opinion, the core of the politics must be the continuous research of liberty, equality, happiness and fraternity.

Livestrong yellow wristband
What have John Kerry, Angelina Jolie, Robin Williams, Andre Agassi and Andy Bono got in common? A yellow wrist band inscribed with the words ‘livestrong’ which has quickly become the 2004′s must-wear fashion accessory – The bracelets has been made by the Lance Armstrong Foundation, the charity set up by the cyclist in 1997 when he was diagnosed with testicular cancer. After recovering from cancer, Armstrong won the Tour de France in 1999. Since then he has won it every year, including 2004, entering the record books as the first man to achieve such a feat. His message for people to ‘live strong’ is aimed at helping cancer sufferers and survivors to cope with it, using education, research and support. The first five million bands were produced by Nike, who also gave $1m to the foundation. By mid July the bands had all been sold. Six million more were produced and already half have sold. So far the charity has raked in $8m from the bands.

Fuji Rock Festival, Japan
The Fuji Rock Festival at the Naeba Ski Resort of Niigata is a three days festival of pop/rock music. It is a perfect place to enjoy music, meet new people and open your mind. Franz Ferdinand, Courtney Love and White Stripes were amongst the bands who wowed fans this year. High up in the mountains, far away from city life and daily grind, you’ll love this festivaland it’s unique atmosphere. Walking long distances from stage to stage, trying to see all the artists on the many stages is a part of the experience. Cooperation’ and ‘Respect of nature’ are the keys to fully enjoy this festival.

The Trouble with Islam by Manji Irshad
Irshad Manji is a Canadian journalist, best selling author,TV personality, and a believing Muslim with a critical view of the Coran. Her book “The Trouble with Islam“, actually translated in several languages in many countries around the world, is a call for ‘critical thinking and independent reasoning’ reads like an open letter to the Muslim world. Her book inspires struggling Muslims worldwide to revisit the foundations of their faith troungh a change from the Jihad to the Ijtihad, the tradition of critical thinking in the Muslim world, bloomed during the ‘Golden age’ – between the 9th and 11th century. In Irshad Manji’s opinion we have to re-discover it precisely to update Islam for the 21st century. ‘Operation Ijtihad’ centrals around liberating the entrepreneurial challenges of Muslim-women through micro-business loans.

Eurogeneration, Milan
Estate Fotografia Milano 2004 is the first edition of a summer event dedicated to photography, held at the Palazzo Reale in Milan. The exhibit Eurogeneration shows 200 pictures by 14 different photographers together with texts by young European authors, to outline the new generation that will lead our future, living in the 25 countries of the wide European Union. The dream of a united Europe, an utopia born in the best minds of the generation preceding us, started to come true as a supernational structure after WW2. Only now, with the inclusion of 10 new states, does it become a large, complex and fascinating reality an extraordinary political and cultural challenge.

Mobile Phone Throwing World Championships, Finland
Finland knows what to do with mobile phones. They throw them. This weekend was the 5th international Mobile Phone Throwing World Championships organized by finnish translation company Fennolingua. This year was a new World Record with a Nokia thrown 82.55 meters. The new champion is Ville Piippo from Helsinki. A new world record was set also in junior category (age 12 years and under) Toni Kuusela threw the mobile phone amazing 46.20 meters. Altogether there were 117 contestants from five different countries, 57 in individual categories, 42 in team categories and 18 in juniors.

Big Brother, UK
The last 8th of August Nadia Almada won UK’s Big Brother 5th edition with four million votes (74 per cent of the total), her victory signing one of the unexpected TV highlights of the year. The eldest of six children, Nadia was born in Portugal but moved to England eight years ago. Her story into the house was marked, however, by gender: Nadia had a sex change years before and, according to her official declarations, wanted to be accepted ‘as she was’ by housemates, that have been kept unaware about the fact that she was not a ‘real woman’. A ‘social experiments’ made with Endermol’s agreement and with the public at home totally aware about her transgender identity. Phil Edgar-Jones, executive producer at Endemol, admits to being ‘thrilled and pleasantly surprised’ by Nadia’s win. ‘We never expected when we put the housemates in that a Portuguese transgender woman would end up winning.’ Shifting attitudes, tolerance and broadmindedness, at least among the nation’s youth that constitutes Big Brother fans, are still subjects of an open debate.

Festival de la luz, Argentina
Festival de la luz (The Festival of Light) is an international collaborative project bringing together more than twenty photography events from eighteen countries and creating a pathway of creativity around the world. The most interesting project this year was the one proposed by the city of Buenos Aires whith the theme “Anonymity, Synonymy, Antonymy”. Photographers, artists and the general public can choose from more than two hundred initiatives across the city, including exhibitions, conferences, debates and discussions regarding the art of photography.