Seeping watercolour colours meet and mingle in shades of orange, pink and yellow. The word 'intimacies' in lower-case pink font is seen in the centre
Visual identity by the unloved.

Serpentine Podcast: Intimacies

This series of Serpentine Podcast explores the complexities of closeness and asks how we can expand and evolve our connection with ourselves, others, and the world around us.

Serpentine Podcast: Intimacies considers many forms, ideas and understandings of intimacy. Last series reimagined the world, and it’s now time to look at ourselves and our relationships. Join our host, Gaylene Gould, as she gathers perspectives from artists, designers, writers, thinkers, and others on how we can rekindle trust, and open ourselves up to new possibilities for connection.

Delving into the feelings and experiences which we don’t always voice, this series interrogates intimacy in unexpected ways – from our relationships with family or strangers, to the things we fear most and our deepest desires, to our surroundings and our innermost selves. Each episode combines interviews, original audio works, conversations, pieces from the Serpentine archive, and tenderly crafted sound worlds to explore what is happening within and between us. This series itself is an exercise in intimacy: personal, emotional, reflective, and an exploration of vulnerability in many ways.

Contributors to Intimacies

Adrian Piper, Scottee, Hetain Patel, Angelo Madsen Minax, Tomás Saraceno, Lamin Fofana, Tiona Nekkia McClodden, Brontez Purnell, Pixy Liao, Lina Ghotmeh, Black Power Naps, Olivia Laing, Axel Kacoutié, and Hans Ulrich Obrist, with archival materials by Cecilia Vicuña, Helen Cammock and collaborators, Rehana Zaman and collaborators, P. Staff, Jakob Kudsk Steensen, Agnès Varda, and Luchita Hurtado.

Episode 1 | Intimacies: Strangers

For our series on intimacy, we start by considering interactions with strangers. The unexpected crossing of paths between people who have no knowledge of each other can be emotionally impactful, whether these moments leave us unsettled, or uplifted by a sense of hope and connection.

What forms of proximity arise between strangers in public spaces? How and why do artists make work which invites new encounters between themselves and audience members – and what possibilities and risks can emerge when they do?

Featuring a new conversation with Adrian Piper, an interview with Scottee, a performance by Cecilia Vicuña from the Serpentine archive, and Serpentine curator Tamsin Hong in conversation with Gaylene Gould.

Episode 2 | Intimacies: Family

Following strangers, we now turn to the people our lives were first entangled with: our families. Family is a contested and challenging space for some, while being a place where others find sanctuary, safety, and profound relationships. This episode considers different expectations and realities of love, care and identity within biological and chosen families, and asks how we intentionally nurture, negotiate and shift our family relationships.

How and why do artists involve their family members and homes in their work – and what do they need to take into consideration when bringing this to an audience?

Featuring an original sound work by Angelo Madsen Minax, an interview with Hetain Patel, audio excerpts from projects led by Helen Cammock and Rehana Zaman from the Serpentine archive, and Serpentine curator Elizabeth Graham in conversation with Gaylene Gould.

Episode 3 | Intimacies: Fear

Sometimes the things we fear live as intimately within us than the things we love. These fears are rarely distant from us: we are sometimes closely implicated in them, and fear is a visceral, personal experience. Fear and anxiety can be irrational, or rooted in realities that threaten us unevenly.

When can we transform our phobia into an embrace? How do we find ways to live alongside the threats of the world? And how are artists working closely – and in nuanced ways – with the instinctive feeling of fear?

Featuring an interview with Webs of Life artist Tomas Saraceno, an original sound work by Lamin Fofana, a reading by P. Staff from the Serpentine archive, and Serpentine curator Claude Adjil in conversation with Gaylene Gould.

Episode 4 | Intimacies: Desire

We now move from a space of fear into desire – asking how art can be a space to express, explore and experience the supposedly private sphere of sexuality.

In our desires, what is the interplay between distance and closeness? How do attraction and obsession intersect with other aspects of our lives? What happens when intimate pleasures and partnerships inform art-making – and when that work is brought before a public?

Featuring an original sound work by Pixy Liao, an interview with Tiona Nekkia McClodden, an unpublished sex column reading by Brontez Purnell, and Serpentine curator Hanna Girma in conversation with Gaylene Gould.

You can read a written version of Brontez Purnell’s contribution here.

Episode 5 | Intimacies: Surroundings

This episode opens up to consider intimacy with the world around us. Today, many of us feel – and are – disconnected from place, and not everyone feels equally at home in the spaces we move through. Ranging from urban and built environments to social and digital worlds, this episode asks what we need to be able to feel comfortable and intimate with our surroundings.

How are artists challenging and working with different forms of space and place? And what happens when we can reconnect with the elements, environments, people, and other beings around us?

Featuring an interview with 2023 Serpentine Pavilion architect Lina Gotmeh, an original sound work by Black Power Naps, an audio excerpt from a project by Jakob Kudsk Steensen from the Serpentine archive, and Serpentine curator Kay Watson in conversation with Gaylene Gould.

Episode 6 | Intimacies: Self

As our journey through intimacy draws to a close, it’s time to look inward and reflect on how we can get closer to ourselves. We’re considering ideas of self-knowledge, self-care and self-love, alongside what it means to draw on your own life and experiences in a creative practice.

What do artists who bring personal and intimate narratives into their work encounter? How can we open up to our vulnerability and decide when to safely share that with others? And could these acts bring us closer together – perhaps helping us build a deeper and more compassionate connection with both self and others?

Featuring an interview with Olivia Laing, an original sound work by Axel Kacoutié, audio excerpts from Agnès Varda and Luchita Hurtado from the Serpentine archive, and Serpentine Artistic Director Hans Ulrich Obrist in conversation with Gaylene Gould.


Intimacies is hosted by Gaylene Gould, and curated by Hanna Girma and Fiona Glen.  It was produced by Katie Callin at Reduced Listening, with production support from Nada Smiljanic and executive production by Anishka Sharma. The theme music was conceived and produced by Hinako Omori. The visual identity is by the unloved. Mix engineering is by Jesse Lawson. Sound description on transcripts is by Anton Spice.

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