Inside Little Dragon’s lair

Posted in London, Music by Kaity Chua on September 27, 2010

The first time I heard a song from Swedish band, Little Dragon, I was instantly hooked.  There was something so magical about the very beautiful vocalist, Yukimi Nagano’s sultry, soulful style that instantly made me wish that I could sing like her. But alas, the world is unfair and as soon as I accepted that, I became perfectly content just being mesmerized by the electronic soundscapes of Little Dragon.

Some months ago, I found out that the band was gonna embark on a UK tour and I was absolutely ecstatic! You see, if there was one band that I really, really, really wanted to see and hear in the flesh here, you guessed it, it would be them. And they certainly did not disappoint. It was a fun, wild, crowded night. Too fun, too wild, and too crowded that I just completely forgot to take photos. Oops.

The one shot I took before I started ignoring my camera.

Little Dragon performing one of my favorite songs of theirs, “Feather”

And it looks like I’m gonna see them play live again cos they’re gonna be on tour with the Gorillaz! Hellz yeah.

Tagged with:

A Night at the Opera

Posted in Exploration, London by Kaity Chua on September 22, 2010

When it comes to all things in the realm of culture and the arts, I never say no. That’s why I found myself willingly saying “yes” to Deng’s invitation to watch a modernized version of Mozart’s libretto called Così fan tutte at the majestic Royal Opera House. 

Even though the opera was considered a comedy, only about three restrained chuckles escaped my mouth. I found myself more intrigued with the architecture of the venue.

Before I could take a photo of the stage, an usherette reprimanded me. Tsk, tsk. That’s what I get for being a trigger-happy tourist.

Hyperreal Horticulture

Posted in Exploration, London by Kaity Chua on September 21, 2010

I never really gave flowers a second-thought. Yes, they are nice to look at, lovely to smell, and even better to receive but eventually, they wilt, wither, then are tossed into the waste. Call me unromantic but that’s what I think.

And then I walked into Joana Vasconcelos’ Garden of Eden at the Haunch of Venison. Planted in a dark, massive room is a labyrinthine garden of glowing, twinkling flowers – an artificial paradise made of optic-fiber plastic flora and fauna.

I think it’s quite intriguing how I found these eerie, fake glittering flowers more fascinating than its natural counterpart. Does it perhaps betray how much I’ve become a victim of the poisonous plasticity of this world? Maybe yes, maybe no. But maybe I was simply drawn to the magnetic twinkle of these phosphorescent posies.

This installation is really one of the most interesting I’ve seen here, by far. To give you a better idea of how surreal it was to be wandering around this garden, I made this video:

* This post is dedicated to my dear friends, Isabelle and Rick. Just because I know how both of you love, love, LOVE photographs of flowers. HAHA!

No flashlights. Only explosions.

Posted in Exploration, London by Kaity Chua on September 18, 2010

Heaven knows how many times I’ve crossed paths with wobbly, stumbling people taking sips or massively downing a bottle of wine or a half-empty can of beer in the cold, cold streets of London. And only heaven knows how many times I’ve judged these inebriated individuals. But I admit, I am a hypocrite because some days ago, I was one of these soused-up street stumblers. I have a very plausible excuse for such bad behavior though: Fireworks!

To culminate the Thames Festival, a fireworks show illuminated the night skies of London. What’s a better time than any to open a bottle of rosé and drink to that fine spectacle in the sky?

Ah yes. Drinking wine from dixie cups. Classeh.

And now, I have to bid you farewell because everything is starting to look like this:

This 15-hour marathon hangover has to end! Goodnight.

Tagged with: ,

A Riot of Color

Posted in Exploration, London by Kaity Chua on September 15, 2010

In my past entries, I was blathering on and on about B&W photography. It was really only a matter time before I cracked and came rushing back into the kaleidoscopic arms of the bright, the vibrant, the luminous. Obviously, it was a very colorful reunion. And the venue? The 2010 Colourscape Music Festival – a very strange albeit extraordinary event.

Sitting atop the greens of Clapham Common was an inflatable structure made up of a hundred or so chambers. As soon as you let yourself be swallowed up by the chambers, you instantly get transported into an otherworldly universe filled with color, color, and more colors. To make the whole experience even more bizarre/fascinating, the whole structure reverberated of the wails and echoes of a multitude of groaning instruments. The sound of music it was not, more a cacophony of wailing whales.

Yes, it was the trippiest time of my life. No, I wasn’t “energized” by any kind of mind-altering substance.

The view that greets you as soon as you enter this colorful chamber of secrets.

Just another day chillin’ in the labyrinth.

So this is how it feels like to be eaten up by a rainbow.

The pot of gold doesn’t exist but a hundred of photo shoot opportunities do!

I think I might have met Roy G. Biv in one of those chambers. He was a very colorful character, to say the least.

A sudden longing

Posted in Uncategorized by Kaity Chua on September 11, 2010

Exactly two months into my stay here in London, homesickness hits me right smack on the face.

What I would give to be driven around in my own private car, to have food ready at my beck and call without lifting a finger,  to never be on my knees cleaning the kitchen and bathroom floors, to have my mom constantly reminding me to drink my vitamins, and my dad tell me, “Sleep na, Kait. It’s late.” – in other words, to be babied, pampered, and spoiled.

Oh home, how I miss you.

Hello, Black & White. My name is Kaity. It’s wonderful to meet you.

Posted in Black & White Photography, Central St. Martins, London by Kaity Chua on September 11, 2010

So I was first introduced to the wonders of B&W photography during my first short course in Central St. Martins. Though it was a tricky and awkward first encounter, I think we got a long swimmingly after a while.

The following photographs are from the second B&W roll I took and developed myself. I guess you can say it was the second time I fell in love with the whole darkroom process.

When I get back to Manila, I am definitely going to convert my bathroom into a darkroom. It’s much easier to process B&W film that way. The only place that processes B&W film back home takes an incredible amount of time to do so. What a disappointment.

Now the most challenging part would be gathering all the chemicals to develop the film but I’m pretty sure that it will be worth all the trouble.

Monochrome Madness

Posted in Black & White Photography, Exploration, London by Kaity Chua on September 8, 2010

And so the B&W phase continues.

On one random night out, I took my camera out for a spin. It got home dizzy, wobbly, and out of sorts but I’m pretty sure it had one hell of a time.

The Color of Monochrome

Posted in Black & White Photography, Central St. Martins by Kaity Chua on September 7, 2010

When my teachers and classmates would comment on my photos, there was one thing that they pointed out almost repeatedly – that I had a penchant for colors. I never really noticed it before until I gave my photos another look. They were right.

I found it quite intriguing because I’m not one to choose loud, bold colors in the way I dress or decorate my surroundings. I’d rather stay in the palette of the mute, silent greys, whites, and blacks. I guess in my craft, it’s a whole different story. It has made me realize why black and white photography never piqued my curiosity, as it naturally seems to do so to anyone who’s ever picked up a camera. I was already living in total monochrome and my subconscious was up in arms, demanding for the punchy, brazen liveliness that only color can give. That’s why with a camera in hand, I automatically focused on the colorful, the bright, the vibrant. My intense fondness for neon lights and signs make perfect sense now.

But at the heart of photography, the color of light and shadow is best exemplified in monotones. Simply put, to know Color, one must be well acquainted with Black, White, and Grey.

That’s why I decided to leave color behind for a bit and give the ol’ B&W a go. Well, whaddaya know, the “getting-to-know-you” stage usually puts me off but this one, I quite like. A lot.

And now I leave you with two of my most favorite photographs that I’ve taken while on this OohLaLondon adventure: My friend, Sash unconsciously doing his best Joseph Gordon Levitt impersonation.

A Neon Indian Summer

Posted in Exploration, London by Kaity Chua on September 6, 2010

Last Thursday, I was able to watch Neon Indian live.

First time I heard their songs I thought to myself, “It’d be quite interesting to see them play in the flesh.” Fast-forward some months later, there I was in a club, nursing a Mojito, and grooving along with the crowd to the band’s dreamy, trippy synth-heavy sounds.

The vocalist (Alan Palomo) played this weird/intriguing instrument. Whenever he’d shake his hands furiously in front of those metal things, it’d create staccato synth sounds.

Not a bad way to spend a Thursday night at all.