This July, as part of Back to Earth, Serpentine presents Queer Earth and Liquid Matters in collaboration with Stone Nest and QUEERCIRCLE, a two-day festival exploring transformation, queerness, the natural, the unnatural and the wild, as well as decolonial, Indigenous and submerged perspectives on the climate crisis.
“We are thrilled to present Queer Earth and Liquid Matters, an ambitious programme curated with a sense of responsibility and care for our current moment. The programme is dedicated to connecting and relating to each other, and explores ways of being that have often been overshadowed in Western environmental discourse. It brings together different voices and experiences of the climate emergency from around the world, in the hope of creating more connections in the present and inspiring new ways of coming together in the future. I am so grateful to co-curators Macarena Gómez-Barris and Jack Halberstam for their dedication to this programme, to all the artists for accepting our invitation to participate and to our partners, Stone Nest and Queercircle, for embracing the ideas with a unique sense of collaboration”.Kostas Stasinopoulos, Associate Curator, Live Programmes at Serpentine, said:
Queer Earth and Liquid Matters is curated by Jack Halberstam, Macarena Gómez-Barris and Kostas Stasinopoulos. The programme will feature talks, performances, film and more from a stellar list of participants including Xavi Aguirre, Seba Calfuqueo, Adham Faramawy, Ash Fure, Macarena Gómez-Barris, Jacob V Joyce and Rudy Loewe, Jack Halberstam, Victoria Hunt, Bhanu Kapil, Juan Francisco Salazar, P. Staff, Bones Tan Jones, and multidisciplinary dance theatre company Wringing Metamorphosis.
This live programme is part of a summer programme of activations for Back to Earth, Serpentine’s long-term programme responding to the climate crisis with an exhibition on view at Serpentine North from 22nd June – 18th September 2022.
Highlighting voices and experiences of the climate emergency, Queer Earth and Liquid Matters aims to unearth the binaries of Western knowledge often encountered in the environmental discourse. More specifically, the programme will shed light on land and water struggles, foregrounding queer and trans Indigenous embodiment in the Global South and around the world. It will explore apocalyptic visions and experiences and amplify Indigenous refusal and outrage at the consequences of extractive capitalism.
Queer Earth and Liquid Matters expands Serpentine’s exploration into queer ecology which started in 2021 with Queer Currents, a podcast launched for artists and thinkers to untangle the connections between queer theory, environmental activism, and climate justice. Together with guests Ama Josephine Budge, Macarena Gómez-Barris and Jack Halberstam, podcast hosts Sin Wai Kin and Kostas Stasinopoulos asked “where does wildness live?” and collectively explored questions of desire, pleasure, queer resistance and affinity within apocalyptic world making.
Queer Earth and Liquid Matters highlights:
Saturday 16th July, 2 – 8pm, at Stone Nest
- Bones Tan Jones will present an operatic performance inspired by Glaucus atlanticus, the hermaphroditic blue sea dragons that float on oceanic currents, and their changing lives in the face of rising sea temperatures.
- Macarena Gómez-Barris will present Sur in Tension. This talk will begin with Ursula Le Guin’s short story Sur, which rewrites the chronicles of male colonial exploration in the Global South. While Le Guin inverts gender tropes, Sur retains a focus on normative ways of describing geography, invoking the colonial gaze, and erasing Indigenous presences and absences in the Deep South. Gómez-Barris will focus on decolonising modes of thinking through queer South/South Indigenous relations. She will describe art and cultural practices that derange Western logics of seafaring, forms of being, and planetary dystopia. Gómez-Barris will turn to the rivers, ice, fluidity and sea edges as South/South cosmologies, analysing queer Indigenous Mapuche and Maori performance art.
- Juan Fransciso Salazar will present Nightfall on Gaia, a speculative documentary that depicts the lives and visions of human communities living transiently in the Antarctic Peninsula. Grounded in the artist’s ethnographic fieldwork conducted in Antarctica between 2011 and 2014, the film will be an experimental meditation on the future of the Antarctic as a newly extreme frontier for human habitation, exposing the complexities of a fragile planet at the verge of ecological collapse, our relationship to the ice and the uncertain future of the region.
- Seba Calfuqueo will approach the vision and sound of a waterfall through the body in a newly commissioned performance, Flowing like waterfalls. Using kaskawillas, a Mapuche instrument made of bronze, Calfuqueo will imitate the sound of falling water. The performance will draw on the Mapuche story of Copihue and Llancalahuen, two native plants that grew intertwined near humid areas of the native forest. Narrated as incarnations of Mapuche bodies killed by the colonial process, these plants embody resistance. Flowing like waterfalls will approach the power of water’s fluidity as a means to explore the body, gender, sexuality and the relationship between water and life, forests and ecosystems.
Sunday 17th July, 11am – 6pm, at Stone Nest
- A performance and reading by poet and writer Bhanu Kapil in collaboration with multidisciplinary dance theatre company Wringing Metamorphosis.
- Hans Ulrich Obrist in conversation with artists Seba Calfuqueo and Adham Faramawy.
- Jack Halberstam will present Unworldling, a talk examining experiments in art, literature and architecture unbuilding and bewildering rather than developing and enlightening. Unworldling will explore a different language for engaging with nature – one that recognises that what is wild stands alone from human desires to classify and contain. The wild, almost by definition, is what lies beyond, outside and around the human. It cannot become part of the human, nor can it be captured by the human, but it can be registered as present through a series of aesthetic, political and scientific gestures that confirm its presence. Wildness, in this talk, and by extension, nature, inheres to entropy, gravity, the random, the accidental, the unpredictable, the violent and the uncertain.
- Xavi L. Aguirre will present Acid Plumbing, a visualization of a conversation between P. Staff and Xavi L. Aguirre. A slow immersion into the 3-Dimensionalized installations of the 2019 exhibition ‘On Venus’ by P. Staff at Serpentine North and ‘someparts x hive rise’ by Aguirre at Berghain Club. In it, they exchange voice notes touching on themes of the queer body and its architectural ecology, piss and plumbing, and permeability and building coatings.
- Jack Halberstam in conversation with architectural designer Xavi Aguirre.
- Ash Fure will present Interior Listening Protocol, a participatory listening score developed to recuperate liveness and spatially dynamic, embodied listening back into our increasingly technology-saturated moment.
- Adham Faramawy will present Daughters of the River, a new performance that includes dance, sound and spoken word. Drawing on history, mythology and fiction, Faramawy will tell stories of the romances and toxicities of rivers and waterways.
Serpentine Presents, Queer Earth and Liquid Matters at Stone Nest 16th/17th July MORE
About Back to Earth
Back to Earth is a multi-year project that invites over sixty leading artists, architects, poets, filmmakers, scientists, thinkers and designers to respond to the environmental crisis. With the support of partner organisations and networks, these collaborators are devising artistic campaigns, protocols and initiatives.
Interdisciplinary at its core, Back to Earth manifests throughout all of Serpentine’s onsite, offsite and online programmes, sharing its resources in order to amplify ongoing projects or campaigns around the climate emergency, as well as to develop new ones. Back to Earth considers ecology as embedded in everyday practices and agencies.
Back to Earth is a programme about change and a catalyst for change. Echoing the global response to the climate crisis, Back to Earth is a complex web of interconnected research, interventions and activities. The project asks: What new ecosystems can foster agency within organisations? Which kinds of research-sharing, resource-sharing and collaborative working practices are necessary to present complex responses to complex problems? How can arts institutions bring visibility to climate actions that create positive change for communities, places and imaginations around the world?
The programme emerged out of Serpentine’s long-standing engagement with the topics of extinction and the disappearance of species, knowledges and customs, which began with the 2014 Extinction Marathon, co-curated with artist Gustav Metzger, as well as out of General Ecology, Serpentine’s overarching environmental research project. Collaborators include Judy Chicago, Sir David Adjaye, Vivienne Westwood, Etel Adnan and Olafur Eliasson.
About Xavi Aguirre
Xavi L. Aguirre is an architectural designer, director of stock-a-studio and Assistant Professor at MIT. Their research links material resources to the immaterial factors that affect their recirculation. stock-a-studio gleans intelligence from ordinary objects and situations to develop architectural material systems and often incorporates XR tools to create mixed media-built environments. Xavi’s recent commissions include projects for MOCA Geffen, Superblue Museum Miami, Berghain Club and Salone del Mobile Milan.
About Seba Calfuqueo
Seba Calfuqueo is an artist and curator at Espacio 218. They are part of the Mapuche collective Rangiñtulewfü and Yene Revista. As an Indigenous Mapuche non-binary artist, their work proposes a critical reflection on the social, cultural and political status of the Mapuche subject in contemporary Chilean society and Latin America. Their practice spans installation, ceramics, performance and video to address cultural similarities and differences as well as the stereotypes produced in the nexus between Indigenous and Western ways of thinking, doing, and being. Their work makes visible trans-feminisms, sexual dissidence and territorialized and embodied social movements.
About Adham Faramawy
Adham Faramawy is an artist based in London. Their work spans media including moving image, sculptural installation and print, engaging concerns with materiality, touch, and toxic embodiment to question ideas of the natural in relation to marginalised communities.
About Ash Fure
Ash Fure is a sonic artist who blends installation and performance. Called “purely visceral” and “staggeringly original” by The New Yorker, her full-bodied sonic experiences work on the senses in startling ways. Fure is an Associate Professor of Music at Dartmouth College and co-artistic director of The Industry.
About Macarena Gómez-Barris
Macarena Gómez-Barris is a scholar and writer who works at the intersections of art, environment, feminist-cuir politics, and decolonial theory and praxis. She is the author of three non-fiction books on the ecological crisis, cultural memory, and creative practice. She is the author of four books, Where Memory Dwells: Culture and State Violence in Chile (2009), The Extractive Zone: Social Ecologies and Decolonial Perspectives (2017), Beyond the Pink Tide: Art and Political Undercurrents in the Américas (2018), and Towards a Sociology of a Trace (2010, with Herman Gray). She is completing a new book on what she terms the colonial Anthropocene, At the Sea’s Edge: Liquidity Beyond Colonial Extinction (Forthcoming Duke University Press 2022). She is Founding Director of the Global South Center (globalsouthcenter.org) and the incoming Forbes Family University Professor at Brown University.
About Jack Halberstam
Jack Halberstam is Professor of Gender Studies and English at Columbia University. Halberstam is the author of seven books including: Skin Shows: Gothic Horror and the Technology of Monsters (Duke UP, 1995), Female Masculinity (Duke UP, 1998), In A Queer Time and Place (NYU Press, 2005), The Queer Art of Failure (Duke UP, 2011), Gaga Feminism: Sex, Gender, and the End of Normal (Beacon Press, 2012) and, a short book titled Trans*: A Quick and Quirky Account of Gender Variance (University of California Press). Halberstam’s latest book, 2020 from Duke UP is titled Wild Things: The Disorder of Desire. Places Journal awarded Halberstam its Arcus/Places Prize in 2018 for innovative public scholarship on the relationship between gender, sexuality and the built environment. Halberstam is now finishing a second volume on wildness titled: Unworlding: An Aesthetics of Collapse. Halberstam was recently the subject of a short film titled “So We Moved” by Adam Pendleton. It is playing at MoMA until January 30, 2022.
About Victoria Hunt
Victoria Hunt is an Australian-born artist working across the spheres of dance, choreography, culture, performance art and education. Her tribal affiliations are to Te Arawa, Rongowhaakata, Kahungunu Maori, English and Irish. She has a BA in Visual Arts (Maj. Photo-media) from Griffith Uni, QLD ‘97. She is a founding ensemble member of the Bodyweather dance company De Quincey Co. since 1999 and in 2007 became a co-curator of The Weather Exchange. Her work with Tess De Quincey spans fourteen years and over 40 productions.
About Ashley Joiner
Ashley Joiner is the founder and director of QUEERCIRCLE. Their community-focused approach is rooted in facilitation and direct action. Their debut feature-length documentary Are You Proud? was named “one of the most important LGBTQ+ films of the year” by the Independent, listed in the Guardian’s “Top Ten Documentaries of 2019,” and has since been entered into the British Film Institute’s permanent collection. In partnership with LGBTQ+ education charity, Educate & Celebrate, Are You Proud? has been developed into learning resources for Key Stage 3, 4 & 5 and made available to schools across the UK.
About Bones Tan Jones
Bones Tan Jones’ work is a spiritual practice that seeks to present an alternative, queer, optimistic dystopia. They work through ritual, meditating through craft, dancing through the veil between nature and the other. Bones weaves a mycelial web of diverse, eco-conscious narratives which aim to connect, enthral and induce audiences to think more sustainably and ethically. Traversing pop music, sculpture, alter-egos, digital image and video work, Bones sanctifies these mediums as tools in their craft. Selected recent commissions/exhibitions include: Shanghai Biennale (2021) Athens Biennale (2021) Solo Show at Underground Flower Offsite (2020) Serpentine, London (2019) IMT Gallery, London (2019) Mimosa House, London (2018), ICA, London (2018-2020) Cell Project Space, London (2018) Gropius Bau, Berlin (2018) Yorkshire Sculpture Park (2016-17).
About Jacob V Joyce
Jacob V Joyce is a multidisciplinary artist whose practice amplifies historical and nourishes new queer and anti-colonial narratives. They are currently researching the cultural legacies of Black British arts education for a PhD supported by C.R.E.A.M (The Center for Research in Education and Arts Media) and 198 Cal Arts Learning Brixton.
About Bhanu Kapil
Bhanu Kapil is a poet and Fellow of Churchill College at Cambridge University. She is the author of six books: The Vertical Interrogation of Strangers (Kelsey Street Press, 2001), Incubation: a space for monsters (Leon Works, 2006), humanimal [a project for future children] (Kelsey Street Press, 2009), Schizophrene (Nightboat Books, 2011), Ban en Banlieue (Nightboat Books, 2016), and How To Wash A Heart (Liverpool University Press, 2020). How To Wash A Heart was the winner of the 2021 TS Eliot Prize. Kapil is the recipient of a Cholmondeley Award from the Society of Authors and a Windham-Campbell Prize for Poetry from Yale University.
About Rudy Loewe
Rudy Loewe engages histories and politics through painting and drawing; interrogating what has become truth in the collective memory. They are undertaking a practice-based PhD at UAL, critiquing Britain’s relationship to Caribbean Black Power during 1967-1976. In 2020 Loewe was an Artist-In-Residence at the Serpentine Gallery, alongside their collaborator Jacob V Joyce.
About Wringing Metamorphosis
Wringing Metamorphosis is a multi-disciplinary dance-theatre company created and led by choreographers, dancers and directors Blue Pieta and Charis Taplin, with musical performance and design from Elinor Arden, Yasmin Rai, Jessica Raja-Brown and Ynys Barnard Masterson.
About Juan Francisco Salazar
Juan Francisco Salazar is a researcher, author and videographer whose work explores the coupled dynamics of social-ecological change and is underpinned by a collaborative ethos across the arts, science and activism. In 2020 he was awarded an Australian Research Council Future Fellowship to continue a decade-long cultural research on Antarctica and new work on social studies of outer space. His films and video installations include: Anatomia Monumental (1999), De la Tierra a la Pantalla (2004); Nightfall on Gaia (2015) and The Bamboo Bridge (2019) exhibited at: Serpentine (London 2022); Biennale of Sydney (2022); London International Documentary Film Festival (2021); Vision du Reel (Nyon 2020); CPHDOX (Copenhagen 2015); Antenna Film Festival (Sydney 2015 and 2019); Museo de las Americas (Denver 2005); Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes (Santiago 1999). He is a Professor of Media Studies at Western Sydney University in Australia.
About P. Staff
P. Staff is an artist based in Los Angeles, USA and London, UK. Their notable solo presentations include Serpentine, UK (2019); MOCA, USA (2017); and Chisenhale Gallery, UK (2015). They have been part of a number of significant group shows such as The Body Electric, Walker Art Center (2019); Made in LA, Hammer Museum (2018); Trigger, New Museum (2017); and the British Art Show 8, touring venues (2016). In 2021, their work has been on view at Canal 47, New York, USA; 13th Shanghai Biennale, China; and formed part of the inaugural programme of LUMA Arles, France.
About Kostas Stasinopoulos
Kostas Stasinopoulos is a curator and writer working at the intersection of art, ecology and identity. He is Associate Curator, Live Programmes at Serpentine, London, focusing on Back to Earth, General Ecology and Serpentine’s interdisciplinary live programme. He served as Associate Curator at The Stavros Niarchos Foundation Cultural Center, Athens, and has collaborated with the Whitechapel Gallery, White Cube, Frieze, Art Athina, Serapis Maritime and the Athens Biennale among others. Kostas received his PhD in History of Art from University of York (2016) funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council, the Onassis Foundation and NEON. He holds an MA in History of Art from the Courtauld Institute of Art (2011) and a BSc in Biochemistry from Imperial College London (2004). Together with Hans Ulrich Obrist, Artistic Director, Serpentine, he is the co-editor of 140 Artists’ Ideas for Planet Earth (Penguin, 2021).
Stone Nest is an arts organisation and performance venue in the heart of London’s West End, bringing exceptional and experimental art to a wide audience. A hidden gem nestled amidst the bright lights of theatreland, it offers a platform for bold, visionary artists and a space where audiences can encounter an eclectic programme of contemporary performance.
QUEERCIRCLE seeks to develop an ecology of artists, curators, writers, thinkers, community organisers, grassroots organisations and charities who collectively work together to strengthen links between culture, health and wellbeing. Since 2016, QUEERCIRCLE has hosted exploratory workshops and events with artists, curators, writers and community organisers to develop a programme that is befitting to the needs and aspirations of the LGBTQ+ community. Our new home opens its door in June 2022, providing a holistic environment which celebrates queer identity, champions arts and culture, and supports the wellbeing of our community.