Gillian Orr

Gillian Orr writes about the arts for The Independent.

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'Manicomio': 'Built in the late 1800s, this mental hospital served a wide area in Tuscany,' says Soden. 'At capacity, it had 5,000 patients. It was right up in the hills and the architect built the pavilions in a scattered village style. I used a smoke pellet to diffuse the sunlight coming through.'

The beauty of derelict buildings: Gina Soden

Photographer Gina Soden has broken into places all over Europe to capture their eerie attraction

Why do we tolerate pop stars when they behave like idiots?

Sliding into smack addiction will be romanticised by followers, and shagging around is shrugged off as a rite of passage for any rising star

Hafsat Abiola in 'The Supreme Price', a film by Joanna Lipper.

Hafsat Abiola: The death of her parents and her family's battle for democracy in Nigeria laid bare in new film

A critically acclaimed new documentary, The Supreme Price, tells the story of the Abiola family, which battled for gender equality and democracy in a nation where both have been repressed for decades

Marjorie Salvaterra: Looks like rain

Marjorie Salvaterra - Portfolio: Umbrellas at Venice Beach

Marjorie Salvaterra's black-and-white photography creates a playful, surreal world that explores the multiple roles that women play in their lives. Sometimes poignant, often absurd, her series "HER" expresses the highs and lows of what it means to be female.

A quick ask around proves that there’s a lot more to vodka these days than a bottle of Glen’s and a carton of Ocean Spray. (image: Rex Features)

How did boring old vodka become the spirit of the age?

Its appeal, of course, lies in its blandness.

Erasmus scheme: How students who are part of the EU cultural exchange programme are falling in love, left right and centre

A quarter of those who take part in the Erasmus programme meet their long-term amour while studying abroad

Nicola Okin Frioli's photographs reveal cosplaying is more than just dressing up

Cosplay (simply a portmanteau of costume and play) has been a popular global movement since the 1990s, and sees communities come together to role play

You've been framed: Henri Matisse's colourful cut-outs at Tate Modern

From Matisse to Hockney: Here's what makes a smash-hit art show

Henri Matisse's cut-outs are the most popular exhibition the Tate Modern has ever had, but who else is top of the art charts?
The stored containers at the Container-Terminal

Bernhard Lang's aerial photographs reveal the impact humans have on the environment

It was flying over Russia on his way to Tokyo 10 years ago that first awoke Bernhard Lang's obsession with aerial photography; passing over Siberia's snowy landscapes in particular made an impression on him.

Nadav Kander 'Fengjie III (Monument to Progress and Prosperity) , Chongqing Municipality', 2007

From Berenice Abbott to Nadav Kander, the Barbican's architecture photography exhibition is an alternative history of modern man

Architectural photography not only documents our built worlds, but the very best will reveal something more about the societies in which they are taken

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Homeless Veterans appeal: 'You look for someone who's an inspiration and try to be like them'

Homeless Veterans appeal

In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
Could cannabis oil reverse the effects of cancer?

Could cannabis oil reverse effects of cancer?

As a film following six patients receiving the controversial treatment is released, Kate Hilpern uncovers a very slippery issue
The Interview movie review: You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here

The Interview movie review

You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here
Serial mania has propelled podcasts into the cultural mainstream

How podcasts became mainstream

People have consumed gripping armchair investigation Serial with a relish typically reserved for box-set binges
Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up for hipster marketing companies

Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up

Kevin Lee Light, aka "Jesus", is the newest client of creative agency Mother while rival agency Anomaly has launched Sexy Jesus, depicting the Messiah in a series of Athena-style poses
Rosetta space mission voted most important scientific breakthrough of 2014

A memorable year for science – if not for mice

The most important scientific breakthroughs of 2014
Christmas cocktails to make you merry: From eggnog to Brown Betty and Rum Bumpo

Christmas cocktails to make you merry

Mulled wine is an essential seasonal treat. But now drinkers are rediscovering other traditional festive tipples. Angela Clutton raises a glass to Christmas cocktails
5 best activity trackers

Fitness technology: 5 best activity trackers

Up the ante in your regimen and change the habits of a lifetime with this wearable tech
Paul Scholes column: It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves

Paul Scholes column

It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves
Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

Club World Cup kicked into the long grass by the continued farce surrounding Blatter, Garcia, Russia and Qatar
Frank Warren column: 2014 – boxing is back and winning new fans

Frank Warren: Boxing is back and winning new fans

2014 proves it's now one of sport's biggest hitters again
Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton: The power dynamics of the two first families

Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton

Karen Tumulty explores the power dynamics of the two first families
Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley with a hotbed of technology start-ups

Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley

The Swedish capital is home to two of the most popular video games in the world, as well as thousands of technology start-ups worth hundreds of millions of pounds – and it's all happened since 2009
Did Japanese workers really get their symbols mixed up and display Santa on a crucifix?

Crucified Santa: Urban myth refuses to die

The story goes that Japanese store workers created a life-size effigy of a smiling "Father Kurisumasu" attached to a facsimile of Our Lord's final instrument of torture
Jennifer Saunders and Kate Moss join David Walliams on set for TV adaptation of The Boy in the Dress

The Boy in the Dress: On set with the stars

Walliams' story about a boy who goes to school in a dress will be shown this Christmas