A Back to Earth LIVE programme exploring transformation, queerness, the wild, the natural and the unnatural, as well as, decolonial, Indigenous and submerged perspectives.
Queer Earth and Liquid Matters brings together artists, writers, filmmakers, sound and architecture practitioners to explore decolonial and queer ecologies. Highlighting different voices and experiences of the climate emergency, the programme aims to complicate the binaries of Western knowledge often encountered in the environmental discourse. Specifically, Queer Earth and Liquid Matters sheds light on land and water struggles, foregrounds queer/trans Indigenous embodiment in the Global South and around the world. It explores visions and experiences of apocalypse and amplifies Indigenous refusal and outrage at the consequences of extractive capitalism. The two-day programme features talks, performances, films, poetry and more. Participants include Xavi Aguirre, Seba Calfuqueo, Adham Faramawy, Ash Fure, Macarena Gómez-Barris, Ashley Joiner, 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.
Visual identity and programme design by Giles Round.
Curated by Macarena Gómez-Barris, Jack Halberstam and Kostas Stasinopoulos.
Presented in collaboration with Stone Nest and Queercircle.
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 is an LGBTQ+ led charity working at the intersection of arts, culture and social action. Through their holistic, community informed programmes, 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 arts, culture, health and wellbeing.
Please note that as this is a live two-day event the schedule might be subject to change.
- Saturday 16 July, 2 - 8pm
2 – 4pm
Hans Ulrich Obrist, Introduction
Macarena Gómez-Barris, Jack Halberstam and Kostas Stasinopoulos, Introduction
Seba Calfuqueo, Flowing like waterfalls
Artist Seba Calfuqueo approaches the vision and sound of a waterfall through the body in a newly commissioned performance. Using kaskawillas, a Mapuche instrument made of bronze, Calfuqueo imitates the sound of falling water. The performance draws 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 a resistance. Flowing like waterfalls approaches the power of water’s fluidity as a means to explore the body, gender, sexuality, and the relationship of water with life, forests and ecosystems.
Macarena Gómez-Barris, Liquid Traces: A Queer Anti-Narrative
Macarena Gómez-Barris proposes a critical queer decolonial femme reading and environmental writing practice as alternatives to the normative paradigm of sustainability. Through proliferation, mourning, practice, lingering, play, and acknowledging pain and exhaustion, new imaginaries of the queer otherwise can be made and reshaped. The river and sea edge ecologies offer ways of thinking and being. Gómez-Barris reaches for a writing and creative practice that is critical and full of queer potential, and not absorbable or prey to the conventions of disciplinary or narrative enclosure.
Followed by a conversation with Kostas Stasinopoulos
4 – 6pm
Artists Jacob V Joyce and Rudy Loewe in conversation with Macarena Gómez-Barris and Kostas Stasinopoulos
Artists Seba Calfuqueo and Adham Faramawy in conversation with Hans Ulrich Obrist
Bones Tan Jones, Angel Sting: the curse of the blue dragon
Artist Bones Tan Jones presents 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.
Performed with Magda Onatra.
6 – 8pm
Researcher, writer and videographer Juan Francisco Salazar and artist Victoria Hunt in conversation with Macarena Gómez-Barris (pre-recorded)
Juan Francisco Salazar, 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 is 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.
- Sunday 17 July, 11am - 6pm
11am – 2pm
Macarena Gómez-Barris, Jack Halberstam and Kostas Stasinopoulos, Introduction
Ashley Joiner, Founder and Director of Queercircle in conversation with Kostas Stasinopoulos
Bhanu Kapil and Wringing Metamorphosis, [humanimal]: an excerpt or score
In this performance, Wringing Metamorphosis derive a score from Bhanu Kapil’s humanimal [a project for future children], a book-length poem based on the story of the Wolfgirls of Midanpure, Kamala and Amala, raised by a wolf-mother and humanised by missionary Reverend Joseph Singh in 1921. Kapil reads non-consecutive excerpts selected then sutured by the collective, as the performance incarnates and transmutes the feral and heavenly realities of these girls. Inspired by Jack Halberstam’s notion of the queer as wildness, the feral becomes the queer which dances on the verge of animal and human, housewife and child, killer and killed, opening a hidden door to an invisible layer of fascia. This layer is so sensitive it feels everything, it allows the human body to receive love. And so, the stage becomes the fascia enclosing an organ whose pulse unwrites the possibility of fixed identity and documentation, converting it into a site of transformation, fissuring its outlines and limits even as it heals. Paired with a roaring accompaniment of sound: the Saz, Flamenco Guitar, Sufi chants and lullaby to birth an image of dawn and meat.
Jack Halberstam, Unworlding
A talk that looks at experiments in art, literature and architecture that try to unbuild and bewilder rather than develop and enlighten. Unworldling explores a different language for engaging with nature – one that recognises how that which is wild escapes 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.
Followed by a conversation with Kostas Stasinopoulos
2 – 4pm
Xavi L. Aguirre and P. Staff, Acid Plumbing
Acid Plumbing is a visualisation of a conversation between P. Staff and Xavi L. Aguirre. A slow immersion into the 3-dimensionalised installations of the exhibition On Venus by P. Staff at Serpentine North and ‘someparts x hive rise’ by Aguirre at Berghain Club. In it, they exchange voicenotes touching on themes of the queer body and it’s architectural ecology, piss and plumbing, and permeability and building coatings.
Architectural designer Xavi L. Aguirre in conversation with Jack Halberstam
Ash Fure, Interior Listening Protocol
Interior Listening Protocol is a participatory listening event composed by sonic artist Ash Fure. Wielding two pint glasses as low-tech headphones, audience members follow subtle choreographies that filter and amplify the sound waves around them. Bones become contact mics, flesh becomes conduit, and a magically immersive soundscape emerges in the privacy of each listener’s ears.
4 – 6pm
Sonic artist Ash Fure in conversation with Jack Halberstam
Adham Faramawy, Daughters of the River
A new performance which incorporates dance, sound and spoken word. Drawing on history, mythology and fiction, Faramawy tells stories of the romances and toxicities of rivers and waterways.
Performance and co-choreography: Tylor Deyn and Joseph Funnell
Flute: Kitty Cameron
- Xavi L. 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 extended reality tools to create environments built from mixed media. Xavi’s recent commissions include projects for MOCA Geffen, Superblue Museum Miami, Berghain nightclub, and Salone del Mobile Milan.
- Seba Calfuqueo
Seba Calfuqueo is an artist and curator at Espacio 218. They are part of the Mapuche collective Rangiñtulewfü and indigenous-run magazine 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. Calfuqueo’s 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 territorialised and embodied social movements.
- Adham Faramawy
Adham Faramawy is an artist based in London. Their work spans media including moving image, sculptural installation and print, engaging concerns of materiality, touch and toxic embodiment to question ideas of the natural in relation to marginalised communities.
- 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.
- 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 four non-fiction books on the ecological crisis, cultural memory and creative practice: Beyond the Pink Tide: Art and Political Undercurrents in the Américas (2018), The Extractive Zone: Social Ecologies and Decolonial Perspectives (2017), Towards a Sociology of a Trace (2010, with Herman Gray), and Where Memory Dwells: Culture and State Violence in Chile (2009). 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 and is the incoming Forbes Family University Professor at Brown University.
- Jack Halberstam
Jack Halberstam is Professor of Gender Studies and English at Columbia University. Halberstam is the author of seven books including: Trans*: A Quick and Quirky Account of Gender Variance (University of California Press, 2017), Gaga Feminism: Sex, Gender, and the End of Normal (Beacon Press, 2012), The Queer Art of Failure (Duke UP, 2011), In A Queer Time and Place (NYU Press, 2005), Female Masculinity (Duke UP, 1998), and Skin Shows: Gothic Horror and the Technology of Monsters (Duke UP, 1995). Halberstam’s latest book is titled Wild Things: The Disorder of Desire (Duke University Press, 2020). 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: Unworlding: An Aesthetics of Collapse. Halberstam was recently the subject of a short film, So We Moved, by Adam Pendleton, shown at MoMA.
- Victoria Hunt
Victoria Hunt is an Australian-born artist working across dance, choreography, culture, performance, and education. Her tribal affiliations are Te Arawa, Rongowhaakata, Kahungunu Maori, English, and Irish. After performing for many years with Tess De Quincy’s Body Weather company, Hunt began to produce her own dance works. Her work has been presented at national and international festivals, such as Liveworks Festival (Sydney); Dance Massive (Melbourne); Origins Festival of First Nations (London); Ecocentrix: Indigenous Arts, Sustainable Acts (UK); In-between Time Festival (Bristol); IMPACT 15 (Ontario); Scène Contemporaine Autochtone, Festival TransAmériques Arts Centre (Montreal); PuSh Festival (Vancouver); National Arts Centre (Ottawa); Public Energy (Peterborough), and the Biennale of Sydney.
- 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 Stages 3, 4 & 5 and made available to schools across the UK.
- 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. Tan Jones weaves a mycelial web of diverse, eco-conscious narratives which aim to connect and enthrall audiences, inducing them to think more sustainably and ethically. Traversing pop music, sculpture, alter-egos, digital image and video work, Tan Jones sanctifies these mediums as tools in their craft. Selected recent commissions/exhibitions include: Shanghai Biennale (2021); Athens Biennale (2021); 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), and Yorkshire Sculpture Park (2016-17).
- 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.
- Bhanu Kapil
Bhanu Kapil is a poet and Fellow of Churchill College at Cambridge University. She is the author of six books: How To Wash A Heart (Liverpool University Press, 2020), Ban en Banlieue (Nightboat Books, 2016), Schizophrene (Nightboat Books, 2011), humanimal [a project for future children] (Kelsey Street Press, 2009), Incubation: a space for monsters (Leon Works, 2006), and The Vertical Interrogation of Strangers (Kelsey Street Press, 2001). 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 of a Windham-Campbell Prize for Poetry from Yale University. On the 13th of July 2022, she was elected a new Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature.
- Rudy Loewe
Rudy Loewe engages histories and politics through painting and drawing, interrogating what has become truth in collective memory. They are undertaking a practice-based PhD at UAL, critiquing Britain’s relationship to Caribbean Black Power during the period 1967-1976. In 2020, Loewe was an artist-in-residence at the Serpentine, alongside their collaborator Jacob V Joyce.
- 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.
- Giles Round
Giles Round is an artist who currently lives and works in London & St Leonards-on-Sea. Round works across disciplines – including art, design and architecture – through a wide range of techniques and approaches including ceramics, furniture, painting, print, and sculpture. Recent exhibitions include: Back to Earth, Serpentine, London (2022); 91 days of clear blue skies, Quench, Margate (2021); Untitled, circa 1994, Brighton CCA, Brighton (2020); The Director (AKA A fairly inarticulate and insecure businessman), The Hepworth Wakefield, Yorkshire (2018); Living with Buildings, Wellcome Collection, London (2018); 1967, Goswell Road, Paris (2018), and They bow. Curtain. No applause., Spike Island, Bristol (2017).
- Juan Francisco Salazar
Juan Francisco Salazar is a researcher, author and videographer whose work explores the coupled dynamics of socio-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 project on Antarctica and to initiate new work on social studies of outer space. His films and video installations include The Bamboo Bridge (2019), Nightfall on Gaia (2015), De la Tierra a la Pantalla (2004), and Anatomia Monumental (1999),. Salazar’s works have been exhibited at: Serpentine Gallery (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), and Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes (Santiago 1999). Salazar is a Professor of Media Studies at Western Sydney University in Australia.
- 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 was on view at Canal 47, New York, USA and the 13th Shanghai Biennale, China, as well as forming part of the inaugural programme of LUMA Arles, France.
Queer Earth and Liquid Matters
Sleeper Cell Productions
Bea Redweik, Production Coordinator, Serpentine
Visual identity and programme design
Special thanks to all of the participants, Rose Dempsey, Nicoletta Fiorucci Foundation, Hanna Girma, Fiona Glen, Laura Gosney, Sarah Hamed, Hekate Studios, Ashley Joiner, Jamie Kodera, Rebecca Lewin, Youssra Manlaykhaf, Hannah Myers, Lucia Pietroiusti, Christopher Rizkallah, Holly Shuttleworth, Nicolas Smirnoff, Yesomi Umolu, Sophia Wee, Richard Williamson and Kit Withnail.