A linguist does not live on language alone

Arts & Culture during the Lockdown

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Culture in digital format is nothing new, but due to the lockdown most of the world has been put in these last few weeks online museum tours, exhibits, and artistic manifestations of all sorts are experimenting a major revival.

Arts & culture is one of my passions and also one of my specialisms as a translator, this is why part of my free time indoors is spent enjoying places and things I can’t visit in person right now. In order to help you make this confinement more bearable (even exciting), I’d like to share my favourite platform – Google Arts & Culture. It’s an extensive collection of exhibits and stories that anyone can enjoy on the website or by downloading the free app. These are some of the features and exhibits I like the most:

1) The tastes of Spain. As a Spaniard and a foodie, I can’t help to share Spain: An Open Kitchen. Prepare yourself for hours of entertainment – maps, recipes, and even a peek into famous chef Ferran Adrià’s handwritten notebooks! And if you have nothing in mind for tonight’s dinner, you might enjoy cooking (and the challenge of turning over) a Spanish omelette with one of the videos! If you’d like to read it in Spanish, click here.

Chocolate con churros. Acción Cultural Española, AC/E

2) Cultural heritage and preservation. Interested in archaeology and mysterious civilisations? Exploring the Maya World will take you on an exciting journey through Mesoamerica. But don’t expect just pyramids and glyphs, the Maya are very much alive today and you can discover how they’re maintaining their heritage through music, sports, and popular culture in general. If you want to read it in Spanish, click here. (Translated by yours truly!) 

Climate change is one of the biggest challenges of our time, even if it has been forced to take the back seat for the time being in light of more pressing matters. It is closely tied to our health and life quality, as well as our economy. However, its impact on cultural heritage is often overlooked. Heritage on the Edge takes you on a tour of five sites around the world to show how the changes in weather patterns are destroying our history. Click here for the version in Spanish. (Co-translated by yours truly.)

3) This & that. Hard as it was to narrow it down to three, I’d like to share my personal favourites. Faces of Frida shows Mexican painter Frida Kahlo’s legacy, from her early works to her political views to a close look at her dresses. If you fancy, you can even take a virtual tour of the garden of the Blue House. It’s not like being there, but hey, there are no tourists trying to Instagram their full visit! Click here to enjoy it in Spanish.

I had to wait some time to take this picture without any Instagrammers around! It is certainly one advantage of seeing it online…

If you’re a Potterhead, or even if, like me, you’re not, you can lose yourself in a magical world for a few hours by learning about alchemy, herbology, divination, potions, and much more in Harry Potter: A History of Magic, which brings online the renowned and sold-out exhibition held at The British Library in 2017-2018. It’s available in several languages, but if you want to check it out in Spanish, click here. (Partly translated by yours truly!)

Last but not least, if you’re an avid yogi, you’ll love Stories of Yoga. Dive into the roots of this ancient tradition, learn the basic asanas step by step, and check out how yogis have been captured in painting throughout history. If this doesn’t inspire you to get down on the mat and start practising, nothing will!

4) Fun with art. And once you’re in a cultural coma, it’s time to decompress and have some fun. From the app, you can use Art Selfie to find your look-alikes hanging from museum walls around the world. Try it on a bad-hair day to see what happens! And if you want to take photo filters a step further, Art Transfer transforms your images into paintings with a specific style. Above you can see the Popocatépetl volcano in Mexico as Claude Monet would have portrayed it. The feature image at the beginning of the post shows my cat as Edvard Munch would have painted him. This is truly artistic fun!

Check out the website or the app and let me know what exhibits you like most. 


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