Curatorial coup: Nairy Baghramian and Phyllida Barlow share a show at the Serpentine

It's a good idea, from time to time, to forget what art is. We vaguely know what it's meant to be. But imagine you didn't know, and then you came across it, and tried to work out from scratch what role it might have in our lives. There's something that lies on the floor by the entrance. It's a small object. It has the form of a plastic inflatable, with ridged seams, roughly the shape of a biscuit tin, or a small cushion, but not firmly inflated, so that its form is rather squashy. But clearly it isn't literally squashy. It is black, and polished, and solid. It must have been cast in some hard medium – hard rubber, in fact. Doorstopper is its name. Nairy Baghramian made it.

Dancing all the way to Moscow

If you think you’ve got what it takes to be the best, and you dream of visiting a place that could change your career, you could be a British Airways Great Briton

Pandora: 'Godfather' star Duvall to be Gilliam's Don

Maverick director Terry Gilliam's ongoing battle to get his big screen version of Don Quixote off the ground has proved one of the movie industry's more fraught sagas in recent years.

Book Of A Lifetime: Pedro Páramo, By Juan Rulfo

For me, reading Pedro Páramo is like opening a small mosaïque box, only to discover that it is empty, save for the whispers of those who had opened the box in the past. The novel is set in the post-revolutionary dustbowls of early 20th-century Mexico, when rapid industrialisation left hundreds of ghost villages scattered across the rural south. Urged by his dying mother to reclaim his patrimony, Juan Preciado arrives at Comala, and finds that things are not as they seem.

Pandora: Depp's trip back in time with Gilliam called off

He may boast one of the most prolific big-screen careers in recent history, but it seems that Johnny Depp has been forced to abandon his long-planned project with the former Monty Python star Terry Gilliam.

Protocols of the Elders of Sodom and other essays, By Tariq Ali

Tariq Ali momentarily puts his politics aside, to write of books, films and sticky wickets

Pandora: Esther wins her most important endorsement

Esther Rantzen may have the unyielding support of the 24-hour news brigade, but not everyone has been quite so easy to win over in her bid to stand as an independent MP.

Screen Talk: Gilliam tilts at windmills again

One project certainly getting everyone geed up is the prospect of Terry Gilliam resurrecting his ambitions to make a movie based on Cervantes's "Don Quixote". Gilliam has hooked up with Oscar-winning British producer Jeremy Thomas. Screenwriter Tony Grisoni's script revolves around a film-maker who is charmed into Quixote's eternal quest for his lady-love, becoming an unwitting Sancho Panza. The move is the latest twist in a movie-making saga almost as epic as Cervantes' 17th-Century classic. Nine years ago, the original shoot suffered a series of setbacks captured in the documentary "Lost In La Mancha", which went on to became a cult hit in its own right.

Howard Jacobson: Someone should make a final stand for humankind before it's too late

Those who say we misplace the threat of terror are committing us all to suicide

The Complete Guide To: Spanish journeys

Whether you crave a spiritual pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela or prefer to follow in Don Quixote's fictional footsteps, you can find your perfect route

London Philharmonic Orchestra/Nézet-Séguin, Royal Festival Hall, London

You generally know within seconds of the start of a performance if a conductor has what it takes to take us to that other place where senses are heightened. It was the performance of Ravel's La Valse at the start of Yannick Nézet-Séguin's first concert as principal guest conductor of the London Philharmonic that will have convinced a lot of people of great things to come.

London Philharmonic Orchestra/ Nezet-Seguin, Royal Festival Hall

Conducting is a mystical business. You generally know within seconds of the start of a performance if he or she has what it takes to take an orchestra and an audience to that other place where senses are heightened and the air seems to move a little differently.

Kermit Love: Designer of Big Bird

With a background in designing costumes and marionettes for ballet productions, Kermit Love created for television a towering, iconic character that would achieve worldwide fame in a programme acclaimed for its educational qualities. The 8ft 2in Big Bird, with bright-yellow feathers, orange legs and big feet, is one of the mainstays of the American series Sesame Street, aimed at pre-school children and set to celebrate its 40th anniversary next year.

Christina Patterson: We are all following the gospel of recyling

In a wonderful short story, first published in 1939, the Argentine writer Jorge Luis Borges introduced the work of a minor French writer called Pierre Menard. In an extended passage of literary criticism, he contrasts the contemporary prose of Menard with that of Cervantes. While Cervantes, he says, indulges in "mere rhetorical praise of history," Menard's work, much "richer in illusion", explores ideas, about history and truth, which are "staggering". The texts he is comparing are, by the way, identical. The (fictional) Pierre Menard has sat down with Don Quixote and copied every word.

Lars and the Real Girl, (12A)

Shy young man brings home his ideal woman – and she's an anatomically correct plastic doll! The premise shrieks indie quirkiness, and the opportunities for smutty humour abound; but as it turns out, Lars and the Real Girl is a humane, and often sweet, study of the strain of growing up and having adult relationships. Why, at times it's almost plausible.

Latest stories from i100
Career Services

Day In a Page

A
Independent Travel
Pompeii, Capri & the Bay of Naples
Seven Cities of Italy
Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence
Prague, Budapest and Vienna
Lake Garda
Minoan Crete and Santorini
Prices correct as of 15 May 2015
Fifa corruption: The 161-page dossier that exposes the organisation's dark heart

The 161-page dossier that exposes Fifa's dark heart

How did a group of corrupt officials turn football’s governing body into what was, in essence, a criminal enterprise? Chris Green and David Connett reveal all
Mediterranean migrant crisis: 'If Europe thinks bombing boats will stop smuggling, it will not. We will defend ourselves,' says Tripoli PM

Exclusive interview with Tripoli PM Khalifa al-Ghweil

'If Europe thinks bombing boats will stop smuggling, it will not. We will defend ourselves'
Raymond Chandler's Los Angeles: How the author foretold the Californian water crisis

Raymond Chandler's Los Angeles

How the author foretold the Californian water crisis
Chinese artist who posted funny image of President Xi Jinping facing five years in prison as authorities crackdown on dissent in the arts

Art attack

Chinese artist who posted funny image of President Xi Jinping facing five years in prison
Marc Jacobs is putting Cher in the limelight as the face of his latest campaign

Cher is the new face of Marc Jacobs

Alexander Fury explains why designers are turning to august stars to front their lines
Parents of six-year-old who beat leukaemia plan to climb Ben Nevis for cancer charity

'I'm climbing Ben Nevis for my daughter'

Karen Attwood's young daughter Yasmin beat cancer. Now her family is about to take on a new challenge - scaling Ben Nevis to help other children
10 best wedding gift ideas

It's that time of year again... 10 best wedding gift ideas

Forget that fancy toaster, we've gone off-list to find memorable gifts that will last a lifetime
Paul Scholes column: With the Premier League over for another year, here are my end of season awards

Paul Scholes column

With the Premier League over for another year, here are my end of season awards
Heysel disaster 30th anniversary: Liverpool have seen too much tragedy to forget fateful day in Belgium

Liverpool have seen too much tragedy to forget Heysel

Thirty years ago, 39 fans waiting to watch a European Cup final died as a result of a fatal cocktail of circumstances. Ian Herbert looks at how a club dealt with this tragedy
Amir Khan vs Chris Algieri: Khan’s audition for Floyd Mayweather may turn into a no-win situation, says Frank Warren

Khan’s audition for Mayweather may turn into a no-win situation

The Bolton fighter could be damned if he dazzles and damned if he doesn’t against Algieri, the man last seen being decked six times by Pacquiao, says Frank Warren
Blundering Tony Blair quits as Middle East peace envoy – only Israel will miss him

Blundering Blair quits as Middle East peace envoy – only Israel will miss him

For Arabs – and for Britons who lost their loved ones in his shambolic war in Iraq – his appointment was an insult, says Robert Fisk
Fifa corruption arrests: All hail the Feds for riding to football's rescue

Fifa corruption arrests

All hail the Feds for riding to football's rescue, says Ian Herbert
Isis in Syria: The Kurdish enclave still resisting the tyranny of President Assad and militant fighters

The Kurdish enclave still resisting the tyranny of Assad and Isis

In Syrian Kurdish cantons along the Turkish border, the progressive aims of the 2011 uprising are being enacted despite the war. Patrick Cockburn returns to Amuda
How I survived Cambodia's Killing Fields: Acclaimed surgeon SreyRam Kuy celebrates her mother's determination to escape the US

How I survived Cambodia's Killing Fields

Acclaimed surgeon SreyRam Kuy celebrates her mother's determination to escape to the US
Stephen Mangan interview: From posh buffoon to pregnant dad, the actor has quite a range

How Stephen Mangan got his range

Posh buffoon, hapless writer, pregnant dad - Mangan is certainly a versatile actor