The Surround x The Re-Imagined panel discussion. Photo: Anya Arnold
The Surround x The Re-Imagined panel discussion. Photo: Anya Arnold


09 November 2018

Last Dance: Re-imagined Futures commissions

Throughout May Lighthouse curated a series of free talks, workshops and events exploring ritual, ceremony and the future of culture. A variety of artists, musicians, entrepreneurs and presenters considered the future of culture. The programme centred around The Wave Epoch, a collaboration between Elijah (grime DJ/Producer), GAIKA (Artist/Musician), and artists Haroon Mirza and Jack Jelfs, conceived during their recent residency at CERN.

Two of the performances were selected through an Open Call for proposals from female and female identifying artists and curators, exploring what culture will be like in 2000 years.

Mimosa Pudica with Gaia Fugazza performance. Photo: Anya Arnold

Mimosa Pudica

Mimosa Pudica is a performance that imagines a future where humans expand their knowledge through interaction with other species. The performance is a shared ritualistic experience between audience, performer, and the Mimosa Pudica plant. Gaia Fugazza’s performance featured a video of the artist interacting with a Mimosa Pudica plant, and a live bellydance to a rhythm created by the artist’s steel bracelets. The audience were invited to hold tiny porcelain sculptures, resembling contraceptive pills, in their mouths for the duration of the piece.

Themes of nature, science and diversity of knowledge underpin the examination of fertility and female sexuality. The contemporary focus on scientific advancement and deference to pharmaceutical solutions may have replaced ancient knowledge about our bodies – “if there is a future we might get closer to knowledge in different ways”, Gaia explained.

Following the performance Gaia was joined by curator Nathalie Boobis and dancer Hasina Bellydance to discuss the themes of the work.

A performance during The Surround x The Re-Imagined. Photo: Anya Arnold

The Surround x The Re-Imagined

This special edition of The Surround, co-curated with artist and writer Sarah Gillett, was an evening of performances and talks inspired by science fiction, space exploration and new technologies.

The performances explored the power of improvisation and experimentation by creating a space to try new work without the usual pressures attached to performing a finished piece. The performers utilised normally unused spaces and pushed the boundaries of what we expect from a performance.

The Surround’s audiences are often art school graduates; taking the work outside of London brought a new and more diverse attendance. This inspired a discussion about the language used to talk about art and how it may create a barrier for some people by being overly academic. The panel considered how we could build The Surround’s ethos of collaboration and inclusiveness into more arts organisations, and how artists and art organisations should make the art world more inclusive.

The project is part of Re-imagine Europe, co-funded by the Creative Europe programme of the European Union. Last Dance is supported by Arts Council England’s Change Makers fund, which aims to increase the diversity of senior leadership in art and culture. The Wave Epoch is supported by Arts at CERN, in partnership with FACT.



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