Culture

The best things to do in London this week

Count: 1

What to do, see, eat and drink in the capital

January blues, begone – there’s too much happening in London this week to stay in hibernation mode. Here’s five cultural highlights for the week ahead.

Winter Lights in Canary Wharf

If you thought light displays were limited to Christmas, then you’ll be happy to learn you’re wrong. For five years running Canary Wharf has been lighting up its streets each January with an impressive display of light art, bringing together state-of-the-art technology and some of the world’s most exciting light artists. Winter Lights includes video displays and immersive installations, which, as well as being spectacular, also raise awareness for issues like plastic pollution, endangered animals and the environment. There’s even a handy map to guide you around the installations dotted throughout Canary Wharf, and an array of street food trucks will be on hand when hunger strikes.

15 January 2019 – 26 January, canarywharf.com

London Short Film Festival

More into arthouse than blockbuster? Multimedia than multiplex? Then the London Short Film Festival is for you. Now in its 16th year, the festival showcases over 500 short films, curated from more than 2500 UK and international submissions, in some of London’s leading film spaces, including the Institute of Contemporary Arts, Curzon Soho and Regent Street Cinema. From low budget gems and animated shorts to new releases – Maxine Peake makes her directorial debut – to retrospectives of cinematic greats, including East German documentarian Jürgen Böttcher, and the music videos of Derek Jarman, this 11-day festival is for the unapologetic film fanatic inside all of us – no matter how much time he or she has to spare.

11-20 January, shortfilms.org.uk

The Favourite

An early contender for Oscars glory, The Favourite has been making headlines since critics got their early viewings in back in the autumn. Now it’s everyone else’s chance to experience the bawdy performances and acerbic wit of Olivia Colman, Rachel Weisz and Emma Stone in this tragicomic courtly caper, as directed by Yorgos Lanthimos.

Out now in most cinemas

Switching Perceptions at the Bethlem Gallery

Until March, Bethlem Gallery is showcasing Switching Perceptions, an exhibition by artist Eleanor Minney in collaboration with Professor Liz Tunbridge and patients from the National Psychosis Unit, which is located next door in Bethlem Royal Hospital. In Switching Perceptions, Minney uses textiles, drawing, clay and handwriting to untangle the delicate threads of the human mind through detailed explorations into the sense of self, and the relationship between genes and psychiatric conditions. A fascinating glimpse into the depths of our psyches.

Until 30 March, Bethlem Royal Hospital, Monks Orchard Road, Beckenham, Kent BR3 3BX, bethlemgallery.com

We Live In An Ocean of Air at the Saatchi Gallery

We Live in an Ocean of Air is a immersive installation from London-based art collective Marshmallow Laser Feast, in collaboration with Natan Sinigaglia and Mileece I’Anson. They’ve transformed the Saatchi Gallery into a Giant Sequoia tree, the largest living organisms on the planet. Using virtual reality, heart rate monitors and breath sensors the exhibition allows visitors to experience the Giant Sequoia’s symbiotic life in an immersive way, as you follow the journey of your breath from body, to plant and finally to planet, making the deeper systems and connections that tie together all life on Earth visible.

Until 20 January, Saatchi Gallery, marshmallowlaserfeast.com