The Body Series
Somerset House Studios

The Body Series: New Suns

Sat 16 Nov 2019
17.30 - 21.00
Lancaster Rooms
New Wing

The Body Series is a new programme of four events focused on the exploration of feminism, sexuality and expression through text, movement and sound.

Taking the body as a physical or metaphorical concept, The Body Series will explore the social and political concerns with the power structures in which bodies are created, exist within and how they can disrupt those structures through personal or collective strategies. The first event in the series will be in collaboration with New Suns, a feminist curatorial and storytelling project founded by Sarah Shin.

“The Gethenians do not see one another as men or women. This is almost impossible for our imaginations to accept. After all, what is the first question we ask about a newborn baby? … There is no division of humanity into strong and weak halves, protected/ protective. One is respected and judged only as a human being.”

Ursula K. Le Guin

Inspired by Gethen, an ungendered world also known as Winter in visionary author Ursula K. Le Guin’s novel The Left Hand of Darkness, New Suns and Somerset House Studios presents a celebration of all gender identities and expressions, with a performative reading from The Left Hand of Darkness, music, astrology readings, poetry and protection spells and rituals from Roz Kaveney, Francesca Lisette, So Mayer, Lola Olufemi, Nisha Ramayya, Linda Stupart, Ayesha Tan-Jones, plus more.

YaYa Bones aka Ayesha Tan-Jones, Aaks Bharania and Chantel Foo offer a protection ritual through sound, dance and breathwork. Calling upon the queer ancestors, the people who walked before us, you are invited to offer your body in momentary ritual movement to collectively create an energy vortex shield, manifesting protection and strength for our queer and trans siblings.

Linda Stupart performs ... always winter some strange reason . . . long hours of darkness . . . now this . . . this . . . quicker and quicker . . . the words... Climate change is melting permafrost soils that have been frozen for thousands of years, and as the soils melt they are releasing ancient viruses and bacteria that, having lain dormant, are springing back to life. After the Ice, the Deluge is a long term project, figuring relationships between the melting polar ice caps and other traumatised, abject, alien, and outsider bodies - queering the question of survival towards less boundaried ways of being in crisis.


Host: Lola Olufemi
Poetry: Caspar Heinemann, Himali Singh Soin
Performative reading from The Left Hand of Darkness: So Mayer, Nisha Ramayya, Roz Kaveney and Kim Pearce (Director) and Joe Benjamin (Sound Design)
Astrology and Tarot: Francesca Lisette
Reading: Linda Stupart
Ritual: Ayesha Tan-Jones
Music: New Scenery Collective


Ayesha Tan-Jones
Ayesha Tan-Jones is an artist and musician whose spiritual practice seeks to fuse activism and art to present an alternative, queer, optimistic dystopia. Approaching activism through art, creating diverse, eco-conscious narratives that aim to connect, their practice traverses pop music, sculpture, alter-egos, digital image and video, encouraging audiences to think more sustainably and ethically. Tan-Jones is the founder of Shadow Sistxrs Fight Club, a physical and meta-physical self-defence class for women, non-binary people and QTIPoC. In 2016, Tan-Jones was awarded the Yorkshire Sculpture Park’s graduate residency award.

Ayesha Tan-Jones.jpg

Ayesha Tan-Jones
Ayesha Tan-Jones

Caspar Heinemann
Caspar Heinemann is a poet, artist, and academia-adjacent independent researcher based in London and Berlin. Their research interests include critical mysticism, gay biosemiotics, illegitimate communisms, and professional irreverence. They have previously written on a pantheon including John Wieners, Diane di Prima, Paul Thek, and Derek Jarman. They hold a BA in Fine Art from Goldsmiths, University of London. Novelty Theory is their first book.

Francesca Lisette
Francesca Lisette is a poet and artist working with embodiment and utterance, gender and fluidity, intimacy and performance. Lisette’s most recent book is sub rosa: The Book of Metaphysics (Boilerhouse) and their work has been performed and published widely across the UK, Europe and USA. Francesca also practices spiritual counselling through astrology, tarot and somatics as the Glitter Oracle.

Himali Singh Soin
Himali Singh Soin works across text, performance and moving image. She makes metaphors from nature and outer space to construct speculative cosmologies in which human and non-human life are entangled. Her poems utilise a non-linear illogic that invites an alchemical way of knowing the world.

Kim Pearce
Kim Pearce is an activist and theatre director. Working across a range of disciplines including new writing, dance, street performance, spoken word and invisible theatre. Productions include Tiananmen30 and  Forgotten遗忘. Forthcoming work; Hidden In The Screen at the Southbank Centre.

Lola Olufemi
Lola Olufemi is a black feminist writer and organiser from London. She is the co-author of A FLY Girl’s Guide to University: Being a Woman of Colour at Cambridge and Other Institutions of Power and Elitism (Verve Poetry Press, 2019) and the forthcoming book Feminism, Interrupted: Disrupting Power set to be published by Pluto Press in March 2020.

Linda Stupart
Linda Stupart is an artist and writer from Cape Town, South Africa. There work has been shown at Tate Galleries; Lisson Gallery; Nottingham Contemporary; De La Warr Pavilion; The Horse Hospital... They recently produced Some Men Have Mistaken Me for Death, a play at the ICA with Carl Gent about climate change, queer sex, and Ecco the Dolphin.

New Scenery Collective
New Scenery is a London based collective, label and event series for and by Womxn, Non binary and Queer people. Consisting of members Marni Tempo, SOW & JASPER JARVIS, collectively pulling some of the most ambitious nights in London over the last two years. Striving for more equality and safer spaces in the underground scenes, NS sets cover the vast spectrum of underground club.

Nisha Ramayya
Nisha Ramayya grew up in Glasgow, and is now based in London. She is a poet and Lecturer in Creative Writing at Queen Mary University of London. Her pamphlets include Notes on Sanskrit, Correspondences, and In Me the Juncture, as well as Threads, co-authored with Sandeep Parmar and Bhanu Kapil. States of the Body Produced by Love is her first full-length book.

Roz Kaveney
Roz Kaveney is a writer and activist, editor of Reading the Vampire Slayer and author of Rhapsody of Blood vol. 1: Rituals and the poetry collection Dialectic of the Flesh.

So Mayer
So Mayer is a writer and activist. Recent works include Political Animals: The New Feminist Cinema (IB Tauris), (O) (Arc) and <jacked a kaddish> (Litmus). They work with queer feminist film curation collective Club des Femmes.

Header Image: Artwork: Linda Stupart, Photo: Ryan Sloan