When small is big
Who says homes have to be big? Sometimes, even small spaces offer a lot. This is the philosophy projected on the YouTube channel Never Too Small—a space that showcases small footprint design and living, featuring award-winning designers and their micro apartments, studios and self-contained projects around the world. One of my favourites is a July 2018 episode where architect Jack Chen takes you around a 1970s-type street apartment unit, just 370 sq. ft, in Melbourne, Australia. Chen’s work on the apartment—creating an intricately designed office and home space—was also nominated for the 2018 House Awards. There are many more such insightful videos. In almost five years, Never Too Small has attracted over two million subscribers. —Nitin Sreedhar
Therapy and Tteokbokki
The title—a self-deprecatingly dark, sort-of funny phrase—hooked me. Korean writer Baek Sehee’s I Want To Die But I Want To Eat Tteokbokki (translated by Anton Hur) is a memoir that could also be a self-help book, or just a collection of transcripts interspersed with vignettes of journal entries. To me, this is the kind of genre-defying writing that must be read. Especially because once you get past any bias against reading just dialogue for the most part, this is a terribly matter-of-fact look at dysthymia. At one point, she writes: “I wonder about those like me, who seem totally fine on the outside but are rotting on the inside, where the rot is this vague state of being not-fine and not-devastated at the same time.” For a world that has just barely begun a discourse on mental health, the idea of giving weight to a mild, yet persistent form of depression may not be important. But these real and raw conversations—with a therapist and with oneself—speak to us all.
A Dreamy Show
On 30 July, the shapes and silhouettes of Amit Aggarwal’s showcase at the India Couture Week in Delhi took centre stage. Stunning was the word as models flaunted the Pedesi collection’s complex, intricate work. Aggarwal had moulded plastic and polymers with chiffon and crepe, silk and satin, to create a collection of sculpted dresses, saris, capes, suits and crop tops (yes, they are having a moment in couture too). Tribal elements blended with futuristic designs—a reminder that Indian couture doesn’t always need embroidery and wedding wear. These garments can also be deconstructed and reassembled to cater to client demands. Will the Indian customer buy such clothes? I don’t know. But in his 10-year journey Aggarwal has always brought magic to the ramp. I hope he continues to. —Pooja Singh
MUBI Notebook, Issue 1
The streaming platform MUBI, available in India since 2019, is the only option for arthouse and independent cinema viewing here. It has now come out with Issue 1 of its film magazine (there was a limited-edition “Issue 0”). The unassuming title, Notebook, indicates the scrapbook-like style but belies the eye-popping layouts. It has contributions from critics, artists and scholars, a remembrance by cinematographer Christopher Doyle (In The Mood For Love) and a conversation between director Ryusuke Hamaguchi (Drive My Car) and artist Yoshitomo Nara. But what sets it apart are the visual stratagems, the striking typeface and graphic design choices. This is a rather esoteric offering: no reviews, film business interviews or pieces dedicated to current releases (the closest it comes is a visual essay on the 2021 documentary Faya Dayi). At a time when few serious film journals survive in print, this is a sight for sore eyes. —Uday Bhatia