Somerset House Studios

Beyond Telepathy feat. Florence Peake, Essi Kausalainen & more

Thu 20 Apr 2017
River Rooms
New Wing

Beyond Telepathy presents an evening of new performances and discussions investigating the potential of communication without a shared language with Florence Peake, Essi Kausalainen and Jenna Sutela.

How can we leap beyond telepathy - to respond to affinities beyond kinship, connections woven without words? What may telepathy imply in the age of omnipresent 'action at a distance' that challenges the distinctions between spiritual mediations, technological networks and material affects? The performances draw together emergent thought and embodied practices, driven by the ecological urgency to experiment with modes and meanings of co-existence for the future. The discussions will shed light into the research that has informed the performances, encouraging engagement with concepts and phenomena such as fungal symbiosis, natural computing, and energetic transference.

Essi Kausalainen, Symbiogenesis, 2016 Bildmuseet. Photo Maxim Vlasov.
Essi Kausalainen, Symbiogenesis, 2016 Bildmuseet. Photo Maxim Vlasov.

Beyond Telepathy includes contributions from Somerset House Studios resident artists Florence Peake and Erica Scourti, alongside artists Essi Kausalainen, Jenna Sutela, Gary Zhexi Zhang, Anne de Boer and Eloïse Bonneviot. They will be in conversation with Luciana Parisi, Jamie Sutcliffe, Ros Gray and Lotte Juul Petersen.

The event is curated by Taru Elfving in partnership with Wysing Arts Centre and in collaboration with Somerset House Studios and SPACE Art + Technology. Supported by The Finnish Institute in London.

Jenna Sutela, Gut-Machine Poetry, Photo: Mikko Gaestel
Jenna Sutela, Gut-Machine Poetry, Photo: Mikko Gaestel


The Mycological Twist
Eloise Bonneviot & Anne de Boer 

Introduction: Beyond Telepathy
Taru Elfving

Nam-Gut (the microbial breakdown of language)
Jenna Sutela

once the workers have been enslaved, a state of erotic communism will be declared, globally
Gary Zhexi Zhang

Discussion: Jenna Sutela, Gary Zhexi Zhang, Luciana Parisi and Jamie Sutcliffe

Erica Scourti

The voracious Cunt aka Inter-penetrating waves of energy constellating in time and space
Florence Peake

Essi Kausalainen

Discussion: Florence Peake, Essi Kausalainen, Ros Gray, Lotte Juul Petersen and Taru Elfving

The Mycological Twist, Eloise Bonneviot & Anne de Boer
The Mycological Twist, Eloise Bonneviot & Anne de Boer


Anne de Boer & Eloïse Bonneviot
The Mycological Twist as an intervention invites you to educate your way into fungi wisdom, multilayering tutorial videos, 'how-to' tricks, creatures dancing to trance music. Absorb as much as you can dance.
Since 2012 Anne de Boer and Eloïse Bonneviot examine the life form of fungi as an example for sustainable network structures and as an ecological model for human action. They studied at Goldsmiths College, live in London, and teach at Rietveld Academie, Amsterdam (as HARD-CORE).  Currently their movie 'Respawn' is on show in the Temporary Gallery, Cologne, and a collaborative film with Christopher Kulendran Thomas is exhibited at Hamburger Bahnhof, Berlin. Bonneviot is in residence at SPACE Art + Technology, London, in 2017.

Jenna Sutela
Jenna Sutela’s installations, text and sound performances seek to identify and react to precarious social and material moments, often in relation to technology. Most recently, she has been exploring exceedingly complex biological and computational systems, ultimately unknowable and in a constant state of becoming. At Beyond Telepathy, she will present a homebrew computer, operated by a symbiotic colony of bacteria and yeast, producing a new kind of language.

Sutela (based in Helsinki and Berlin) has exhibited her work at Haus der Kulturen der Welt in Berlin, The Institute of Contemporary Arts London, and Kiasma Museum of Contemporary Art Helsinki, amongst others. Her writing has been published by, for example, Fiktion, Harvard Design Magazine and Sternberg Press. Sutela is currently an artist-in-residence at SPACE Art + Technology.

Gary Zhexi Zhang
Emerging out of research into biological networks, Gary Zhexi Zhang's current project is entitled once the workers have been enslaved, a state of erotic communism will be declared, globally. The work is a speculative fiction concerned with distributed touch, featuring a 'loving symbiosis' between humans and amoebae.

Gary Zhexi Zhang is an artist and researcher interested in various systems, based in Cambridge. Recent exhibitions include All Channels Open at Wysing Arts Centre. In 2017, he will be in residence at SPACE Art + Technology, London and CCA Creative Lab, Glasgow.

Gary Zhexi Zhan, Kernel Process, 2017, video still
Gary Zhexi Zhan, Kernel Process, 2017, video still

Erica Scourti
Erica Scourti's work across different media draws on personal experience to explore labour, gender and love in a fully mediated world. Her recent research has focused on questions concerning empathy and emotional contagion, as well as channeling and citation of speech through automation.

Scourti has exhibited at the Kunsthalle Wien, Wellcome Collection, CTRL+SHIFT, Oakland, Microscope Gallery, New York, FACT, The Photographers’ Gallery, Hayward Gallery, Munich Kunstverein, EMST Athens, and Banner Repeater, amongst others. Based in London, she was in residence in 2015 at Wysing Arts Centre and SPACE Art + Technology, London, and is currently a resident of Somerset House Studios. 

Florence Peake
Florence Peake is looking at penetration from a vibrational and energetic perspective in her new work The voracious Cunt aka Inter-penetrating waves of energy constellating in time and space. She has been investigating with dancers the merging of spaces, flesh, substance and how we become porous with our environments. The idea of transference of energy is explored through vocal sounding and touch movement in the performance, which also invites participatory exchanges with the audience.
Peake is a London-based visual artist, dancer, choreographer, and teacher. Her work has recently been shown at SPACE, Serpentine Gallery, Modern Art Oxford, and Hayward Gallery, amongst others. She was in residence at Wysing Arts Centre in 2016 and is currently a resident at Somerset House Studios.

Essi Kausalainen
Essi Kausalainen explores interspecies communication in her new series of performances, Symbiogenesis. Approaching objects and spaces as co-performers, she builds companionships and complex interactions between humans, plants, animals and minerals. Focusing on the intimacy of the organic and inorganic bodies - the leaking, the digesting, the resonant - the work grows into systems that take the likeness of a mycorrhiza, the symbiotic body of plant and fungi.

Kausalainen (based in Helsinki, Finland) has presented her work recently in Moderna Museet Malmö, Frankfurter Kunstverein, Matadero Madrid, Nikolaj Kunsthal Copenhagen, and SAVVY Contemporary Berlin. In 2015 she was in residency at Wysing Arts Centre, which gave rise to her new work developed in collaboration with Dr Uta Paszkowski, Plant Sciences, University of Cambridge.

Luciana Parisi
Dr. Luciana Parisi is Reader in Cultural Theory at the Centre for Cultural Studies and co-director of the Digital Culture Unit, Goldsmiths. Specifically engaging with cybernetics, information theories, and evolutionary theories, her work analyses the radical transformations of the body, nature, matter and thought led by the technocapitalist development of biotechnologies and computation. Her publications include Abstract Sex: Philosophy, Biotechnology and the Mutations of Desire (Continuum 2004) and Contagious Architecture. Computation, Aesthetics and the Control of Space (MIT Press 2013). She is currently researching the history of automation and the philosophical consequences of logical thinking in machines.

Jamie Sutcliffe
Jamie Sutcliffe is a writer and publisher at Strange Attractor Press. His writing appears regularly in Art Monthly, Frieze, Rhizome, The White Review and EROS Journal. He is currently a contributing editor of A-or-ist, an independent journal of new art writing, and Berserker, a forthcoming periodical concerned with the exploration of high genre tropes in art and underground comics, published by Breakdown Press.

Ros Gray
Dr. Ros Gray is Senior Lecturer in Fine Art, Critical Studies in the Art Department at Goldsmiths. Her research explores the trajectories of militant filmmaking, and more recently with the intersections between artistic practices and decolonial environmentalism. She is currently preparing a monograph entitled The Cinemas of the Mozambican Revolution (Boyer & Brewer, 2017) and a special issues of Third Text on the topic of Botanical Conflicts: Contemporary Art and the Politics of Soil and Planting. 

Lotte Juul Petersen
Lotte Juul Petersen has been a Curator at Wysing Arts Centre since 2008 and has delivered numerous exhibitions, events and supported artists to take artistic risks and produce new work, including Jonathan Baldock, Emma Hart, Joey Holder, Evan Ifekoya, Essi Kausalainen, Florence Peake, Laure Prouvost, Giles Round, Cally Spooner and many more. She has a BA and MA in Art History and Cultural Studies from University of Copenhagen and University of Leeds. 

Taru Elfving
Taru Elfving is a curator and writer focused on nurturing transdisciplinary and site-sensitive artistic investigations with a commitment to the critical discourses on ecology and feminism. Her recent curatorial work includes Hours, Years, Aeons (Finnish Pavilion, Venice Biennale 2015), Frontiers in Retreat (HIAP Helsinki, 2013-2018), Contemporary Art Archipelago (Turku 2011, European Capital of Culture), and publications such as the anthology Altern Ecologies (Frame 2016). Based in London and Helsinki, Elfving holds a PhD from Visual Cultures, Goldsmiths, and is currently on research leave from her position as Head of Programme at Frame Contemporary Art Finland.