Marcin Gawin


“The Body operates in the cultural narrative that requires it to be stable and often relegates it as subservient to the mind. 'Face to the Seventh' is an inquiry into the correlation and the organisation of fixed systems, like the organisational fixations of the facial and organ systems. The presets in the installation are composed of the rearranged human viscera - with the exception of sexual organs - foregrounding parts that are a common denominator between all human organisms.”

Launch Event:
5-9pm, Friday the 12th of January 2024

Exhibition Opening Hours:
12-5pm, Thursday to Sunday - 11th to 28th of January 2024

Curatorial Interventions: Dr Erinma Ochu in conversation with Marcin Gawin
6:30-8:30 pm, Friday 26th of January 2024
RSVP Here  

FACET Expanded: On Hermaphrogenesis & Centering Queer Art
6:00-7:30 pm, Friday 16th of February 2024
As part of LGBTQAI+ History Month 2024 in Lewisham, VSSL Studio is hosting a talk to explain their recent 9-month programme, FACET.
RSVP Here  

Hermaphrogenesis: Organs as Ruins of the Posthuman Body

By [M] Dudeck

Long ago, in Ancient Rome, the organs and entrails of sacrificed animals were decoded and interpreted by those tasked with defining the limits of reality. This ancient divination technique— called haruspicy – was performed by a trained priest – called a haruspex – who ritually consulted the liver, lungs, and heart of skinned beasts to discern the will of the gods.

Interdisciplinary artist Marcin Gawin performs a hybrid form of haruspicy in their new installation Hermaphrogenesis, remixing occult divination techniques with queer aesthetics in new forms of media. Here, the artist is interested in the body as a metaphor for the mutability of fixed systems. They hack biology by skinning the sciences, exposing the heteropatriarchal and anthropocentric institutionalization of bodies, both inner and outer, as a cyberpunk/witch haruspex. They etch, sculpt, diagram, exegete, cast, photograph, and manipulate a trinity of hand-crafted silicone organs, leaving us to decipher the will of the queer gods the artist has invoked on our behalf.

Gawin’s neo-goth, psychedelic laboratory/chapel circumnavigates the artist’s ongoing interest in re-imagining biology – and the body – as material for queer potentiality. They are transposing symbols from the sciences and religion into transmedial sigils, inviting the audience into an immersive hallucination, transposing organs into ruins for the posthuman body. A series of five illustrated iconographies, which the artist has titled ‘The large Head was split into five each’ – presents hyper-stylized illuminations of a brain stem spliced and flayed open in an illustrative style evoking anime, mediaeval iconography and early 90s internet art. These icons are illuminated with lightboxes and, suspended from the ceiling using chains and meat hooks, binding the aesthetic of BDSM with ceremonial magick.

A trinity of hand-crafted silicone organs– lungs, intestine, stomach – are re-arranged by the artist into mutant formations, evoking floral still-life drawings and inverted rorschach ink splots. The artist presents us again and again with the otherness of our interiority – exposing the influence of anatomical drawings in aiding the imagination to visualize that which we ourselves cannot see (our chthonic interiority.) By making the internal alien, and making that alienness mutable, Gawin creates a ceremony for us to absorb and embody their thesis: mutability and metamorphosis, nothing fixed, nothing set; forms at the mercy of endless reconstruction; queer Magick as the art of redefining reality:

One internal organ at a time.

At the centre of the installation is enshrined Gawin’s arcane Codex; an anatomical atlas turned punk grimoire titled “Face to the Seventh.” This textbook is annotated with biomorphic hieroglyphics and neo-mediaeval illuminations. It’s almost written in tongues, difficult to decipher but the artist appears to be inviting us to read it aloud as a devout priest might incant their sacred text in the temple. The blacked-out words echo redacted government statements that bridge the occultic with biopower and hint at the anarchist imperative to abolish the state (which still governs many of our internal organs).

The term hermaphrodite emerges from an ancient Greek myth, describing the proto-trans son/daughter of Hermes (the patron saint of alchemy) and Aphrodite (the goddess of lust, love, pleasure, and beauty), uniting male and female characteristics into a single unified organism. Genesis descends from the Greek describing origin, creation and generation. Hermaphro-Genesis is Gawin’s origin myth which the audience must read through the organs and entrails of their posthuman body. The organs at the nucleus of this exegesis perform as skinned internal landscapes, a micro-interiority ripped open, exposed and remythologized as queer talismans for the future. Hermaphrogenesis as a posthuman temple, sanctifies pareidolia (the process of perceiving meaningful images in ambiguous visual patterns) and elevates it to a metaphor for queerness.

Exhibition Text: [M] Dudeck
Sound and Composition: Nik Rawlings
Welding and Fabrication: Ash
Woodwork and Finishing: Pearl Sharp

Anna Gawin, Aleksandra Gawin, Beau Palmer, Calum Holden, Dana Holdampf, Daniel Gibbs, Jacek Gawin, Jahna, Jessica DeLeyza, Kuba Jablonowski, Lise Herman, Michal Czyz, Pat Janus, Pat Pinkowska, Pearl Sharp, Sacha Korsec, and VSSL Studio Team

Marcin Gawin is an interdisciplinary artist from Poland, based in Bristol, whose work encompasses image construction, installation, and live art. His fascination with the human body and its’ potential for transformation is evident in his practice, which explores the bodys function in mundane practicality, as well as in speculative and occult realities.

In 2019, Marcin completed Marina Abramovic’s Cleaning the House training in durational performance, further developing his expertise in this area. He also honed his skills in The Sunday Skool for Misfits, Experimenters, and Dissenters, where he studied under Martin O’Brien, Shabnam Shabazi, and Joseph Morgan Schofield in 2021.

Currently, Marcin is pursuing an MA in Virtual and Extended Realities at the University of the West of England, where he is researching the concept of embodied cognition in virtual environments and utilizing immersion as an artistic strategy.

Marcin's work has been presented at various locations, including the Palace International Film Festival in Bristol, Modern Art Oxford, Terytoria Festiwal in Poland, and Oxford Brookes University. His solo and participatory work is sure to leave a lasting impression. 


-> Read more about the complete FACET programme HERE

Frutas Maduras: Rocío Boliver 


Boliver confronts the absurdity of society's narrow beauty standards and the consequent marginalization of aging women. The works offer an empowering message to women, urging them to embrace their sexuality and bodies unapologetically.”

Launch Event:
6-9 pm | Friday | 10th of November, 2023. 
During the launch event the exhibition will be activated
by a live performance (rsvp essential) from:
Rocío Boliver and her collaborators Karolina Bazydlo and Bartlomiej Gudejko.

Exhibition Opening Hours:
12-5pm, Thursday to Sunday - 10th to 26th of November 2023

Curatorial Interventions:
Rocío Boliver: an intimate, physical workshop
12-6pm, Saturday the 18th of November at VSSL Studio
More information (including on how to apply) here

FRUTAS MADURAS: Rocío Boliver (collaborating with Bartlomiej Gudejko & Karolina Bazydlo) installation photography by Marco Berardi.

FRUTAS MADURAS: Rocío Boliver (collaborating with Bartlomiej Gudejko & Karolina Bazydlo) installation photography by Marco Berardi.

Boliver's collaboration with photographer Karolina Bazydlo and collaborator Bartlomiej Gudejko (Rocio’s lover at the time) for the FACET program is a bold challenge to the invisibility of the aging female form and female sexuality. The photographic series of twelve images centers the aging female body within the realm of sexual pleasure, desire, and erotic play. The artist has reimagined the conventional 'pin up' calendar idea and created exquisite portrayals of womanly autonomy and female sexuality.

Boliver's collaboration with photographer Karolina Bazydlo and collaborator Bartlomiej Gudejko (Rocio’s lover at the time) for the FACET program is a bold challenge to the invisibility of the aging female form and female sexuality. The photographic series of twelve images centers the aging female body within the realm of sexual pleasure, desire, and erotic play. The artist has reimagined the conventional 'pin up' calendar idea and created exquisite portrayals of womanly autonomy and female sexuality.

Through these images, Boliver confronts the absurdity of society's narrow beauty standards and the consequent marginalization of aging women. The works offer an empowering message to women, urging them to embrace their sexuality and bodies unapologetically. The images are both playful and poignant, creating a space for the celebration of women's bodies and sexuality.

The images are aesthetically stunning as well as tongue in cheek, while also holding a political charge. Boliver's work succeeds in highlighting the beauty of aging women while encouraging viewers to recognize and celebrate female sexuality, autonomy, pleasure and the power that this holds.

Rocío Boliver, known as La Congelada de Uva, is an iconic figure in underground performance art in Mexico and is internationally renowned. For over thirty years, her work has confronted the ideological grid that shapes women's lives, challenging ageism and capitalism's impact on women in the stage of life between menopause and old age. Boliver's performances aim to demystify the horror of old age by creating her own deranged aesthetic and moral solutions for the "problem of age." Her work critiques the repression of women and exposes the broken society based on looks and how old age became a synonymous of insult.

Boliver's performances have been presented in Europe, Asia, North and South America, and she has participated in important performance festivals globally. She is a grantee of the National System of Creators of Mexico and has also taken part in many alternative forums. Boliver's aesthetic is grotesque, and her performances disrupt accepted reality, revealing the most authentic truth when facing the inability to react.


-> Read more about the complete FACET programme HERE

FACET Group Exhibition



“The exhibition serves as a window into the non-homogeneity of expanded queer communities, allowing for multifaceted readings of contemporary queer experiences.”

Launch Event:
6-9pm, Friday the 6th of October 2023

Exhibition Opening Hours:
12-5pm, Thursday to Sunday - 5th to 29th of October 2023

Curatorial Interventions:
VSSL have partnered with Ugly DuckQueer Art Projects and took part in Pretty Doomed with opening performances by Alicia Radage and Benjamin Sebastian

-> Read Francis Whorrall-Campbell’s commissioned responsive, experimental text HERE

-> Read Iris Colomb’s commissioned responsive texts of Pretty Doomed‘s opening performances for Benjamin Sebastian HERE and Alicia Radage HERE 

B.Sebastian - Video: Marco Berardi & Baiba Sprance - 2023.
A.Radage - Video: Marco Berardi & Baiba Sprance - 2023.

The FACET programme's group exhibition unites the participating lead artists from the programme's multiple exhibitions, offering a unique and diverse range of artistic practices. The exhibition serves as a window into the non-homogeneity of expanded queer communities, allowing for multifaceted readings of contemporary queer experiences.

Through a variety of mediums such as performance (to camera), sculpture, video, photography, and installation, the group exhibition showcases different perspectives on contemporary queer experiences - connecting the various exhibitions and artists in the FACET programme - while highlighting the diversity of queer artistic practice.

FACET Group Exhibition launch event documentation - Video: Marco Berardi & Baiba Sprance - 2023.

Overall, the group exhibition offers a comprehensive and captivating look into the breadth of artistic approaches explored in the FACET programme, showcasing the unique perspectives of each participating artist and the interconnectedness of the expanded queer experience.

More information about each participating artist can be found via their respective FACET exhibition pages through the links provided below.

Installation photos by Marco Berardi & Baiba Sprance - 2023.
Installation photos by Marco Berardi & Baiba Sprance - 2023.
Installation photos by Marco Berardi & Baiba Sprance - 2023.
Installation photos by Marco Berardi & Baiba Sprance - 2023.

Future Anatomy, VestAndPage, 2023. Still from video. Image courtesy of the artists.

Artist Lab with VestAndPage

Future Anatomies: Exquisite Corpse, Exalted Flesh 

26th & 27th September, 11am - 5pm

Please join FUTURE RITUAL for this two day lab facilitated by the artists VestAndPage considering artistic reimaginings of the body. The capacity for this lab is limited. Please book early to avoid missing out.

£30/£40/£60 - Book here

Received social and political understandings of the body are demonstrated, unceasingly, to be weird and obsolete. Though we remain committed to the immediacy and centrality of our sweating, sensate forms, we desire to imagine new anatomies, new functions, and new modes of embodiment.

We will watch, read and discuss the work of artists and thinkers engaged in similar lines of enquiry, develop our own texts and scores, and explore performative strategies for reimagining the flesh. Informed by queer theory, ritual practice, post human phenomenology and dis/ability arts, the lab is a space to think creatively and fluidly into these new possibilities.

Key Info

Tues 26th & Weds 27th September 2023, 11am - 5pm,
VSSL Studio, Resolution Way, London, SE8 4AL

£30 (Concession) / £40 / £60 (Solidarity Ticket)
> Book tickets

This is an unfunded event, all ticket income goes to facilitator fees and the event costs. Buying a solidarity ticket helps support the attendance of those for whom otherwise would face financial barriers. If you face financial barriers and would like to attend but cannot afford the ticket price please email producing@futureritual.co.uk and we will do our best to accommodate you.

venue & access Info

VestAndPage’s trip to the UK is supported by the Italian Cultural Institute.

Under Scars, VestAndPage, Venice International Performance Art Week, 2022. Photo by Lorenza Cini.

Future Ritual

Future Ritual works  in service of new and more attuned cultures, collaborating with artists to create  contemporary expressions of ritual.

Intentionally shapeshifting between iterations, Future Ritual temporarily activates and inhabits borrowed spaces, organising public programmes and pedagogical exchanges, publishing artist-driven research, and collaborating as a creative producer with a  constellation of performance practitioners.



Since 2006, German artist Verena Stenke (b. 1981) and Venetian-born artist and writer Andrea Pagnes (b. 1962) have been working together as VestAndPage and gained international recognition in the fields of performance art, performance-based film, writing, publishing, and with collective performance operas and temporary artistic community projects. Since over a decade, VestAndPage have been exploring performance art and film as phenomena through their collaborative creative practice, as well as through theoretical artistic research and curatorial projects. Their works – a celebration of life – have been presented in museums, galleries, theatres, cinemas and a variety of sites worldwide. Their writings have been extensively published and translated for international readers.

VestAndPage's art practice is contextual and situation-responsive, conceived psycho-geographically in response to social contexts, natural surroundings, historical sites and architectures. In their works they move between the unseen and the unforeseen, the unsaid, the forgotten and the repressed. They inquire performance art as an urgency to explore the physical, mental and spiritual bodies, where moments of crisis or extreme situations often see the crossing of boundaries by the break with norms and known orders, to interface with the ephemeral matter of art and existence.

On December 2012, VestAndPage conceived and initiated the live art exhibition project VENICE INTERNATIONAL PERFORMANCE ART WEEK. Between 2012 and 2016, the project showcased in the Trilogy of the Body historic pioneer works on exhibit in conjunction with live programs of durational performances, presenting over 120 international artists and an ongoing educational program. Since 2017, the project presents in the new format Co-Creation Live Factory an international educational platform with residential and collaborative nature.

Besides sharing their pedagogy on collaborative performance making in intensive workshops and co-creationclasses. Since 2019, they are tutoring guest artists at the Master of Performance Practices at ArtEZ University of the Arts, since 2020 at MA Performance at the Norwegian Theatre Academy.


June Lam


“...collage can be seen as a form of resistance to dominant cultural narratives and a way to create new possibilities and futures. June Lam's use of collage in his work for the FACET programme continues this tradition.”

Launch Event:
6-9pm, Friday the 11th of August 2023

Exhibition Opening Hours:
12-5pm, Thursday to Sunday - 10th to 27th of August 2023

Curatorial Interventions:
June will be curating two workshops through invitation to members of his communities:

(Moderated by Joy Kinkaid and June Lam - taking place on the 15th of August, between 11:00 - 14:30)

(Moderated by Jose Funnell, Pierre and June Lam - taking place on the 28th of August, between 11:00 - 14:30).

-> Read Donna Marcus Duke’s commissioned exhibition text HERE

installation images by Marco Berardi 
installation images by Marco Berardi

video courtesy of Marco Berardi & Baiba Sprance.

Collage has a rich history in queer aesthetics and has been a favoured medium for many queer artists. The act of collage-making mirrors the world-making practices of queer culture, where individuals and communities necessarily have learnt to explode, edit, discard and reassemble societal norms and expectations to create their own forms of identities, communities and aesthetics. In this sense, collage can be seen as a form of resistance to dominant cultural narratives and a way to create new possibilities and futures. June Lam's use of collage in his work for the FACET programme continues this tradition. June will be exhibiting 25 new and recent collage works, initiated during the COVID-19 Lockdowns.

installation images by Marco Berardi 

installation images by Marco Berardi

Limited edition (30/30) prints available at VSSL Studio

Limited edition (30/30) prints available at VSSL Studio

June Lam (b. 1990) is a community organiser and multidisciplinary artist of Chinese and Vietnamese ancestry, working across performance, dance, sculpture and collage. Trained in MA Sculpture at The Slade, his work centres queer desirability politics, fag effeminacy, and embodied experiences of intergenerational trauma. His performances involve leading meditations, connecting with ancestral parts, and movement inspired by deity practice. Creating intentional community spaces is intrinsic to June's artistic practice. He co-founded grassroots trans healthcare fund We Exist and founded queer East and South East Asian arts platform GGI끼. These both provide necessary direct action to centre marginalised communities, and address the classism and inaccessibility of traditional arts spaces by working outside of them.

This includes bringing the ethos of community organising into nightlife. GG 끼 emerged from a need for nightlife spaces safe from anti-Asian hate and transphobia, and offers relief from the fetishising gaze. GGI끼 showcases radical live performance, visual arts & DJs with a hard industrial sound, defying stereotypes around ESEA passivity. For We Exist, June produced group exhibition ‘In Dedication’ at The Koppel Project, featuring 28 trans artists from the UK and beyond. He is on the advisory board and programming team for This Bright Land at Somerset House, and was a judge for Guildhall Futures Fund 2022. June has performed and been exhibited at Site Gallery, Volksbuhne, Performing Borders, Ambika P3, Tate Modern, Ford Foundation, The Koppel Project, and others. June has been featured in E-Flux, Resident Advisor, Gal-Dem, Gay Times, GQ, Hunger, Dazed, Vogue UK, Vogue US, I-D, Tissue, Something Curated and AQNB; and created cover art for the fifth edition of Somesuch Stories, 2021.


-> Read more about the complete FACET programme HERE

Alicia Radage + Benjamin Sebastian

installation image, courtesy of Marco Berardi & Baiba Sprance.

installation image, courtesy of Marco Berardi & Baiba Sprance.

JUNE 2023

“While distinct in formal approaches, their practices enact a convergence at the thresholds of esoteric, spiritual and more-or-other-than-human domains and utterances.”

Launch Event:
6-9pm, Friday the 2nd of June 2023
RSVP for the launch event HERE

Exhibition Opening Hours
12-5pm, Thursday to Sunday - 1st to 18th of June 2023

Facebook Event Page

Curatorial Interventions:
6-9pm, Friday 2nd of June 2023
Performative interventions from A. Radage & B. Sebastian

RSVP here

6-7pm, Saturday the 17th of June 2023
Tamsin Hong (Curator, Exhibitions - Serpentine Galleries) in conversation with A. Radage & B. Sebastian

BOOK here

-> Read Lisa Slominski’s responsive text HERE

image from the launch event, courtesy of Marco Berardi & Baiba Sprance.

image from the launch event, courtesy of Marco Berardi & Baiba Sprance.

VSSL Studio are proud to present the inaugural offering of the FACET programme, featuring a joint exhibition from artists Alicia Radage and Benjamin Sebastian. While distinct in formal approaches, their practices enact a convergence at the thresholds of esoteric, spiritual and more-or-other-than-human domains and utterances. 

Radage's work in performance, sculpture, video and sound, channels their research on neurodiverse experiences and animist practices, ultimately seeking to reconnect with the spiritual and non-human worlds through inter-entity communication. Sebastian's practice as a trans-disciplinary artist-curator is anchored in world-making experiments and processes of bricolage, often employing emotive and esoteric methodologies to subvert normative structures, through the mediums of video, performance, sculpture & installation.

The exhibition will showcase existing works by Radage and Sebastian, presented in dialogue with each other to reveal the underlying connections between their practices. The show's curatorial approach seeks to highlight the artists shared interest in alternative ontologies and their ongoing exploration of more-or-other-than-human perspectives. Through this joint exhibition, Radage and Sebastian invite audiences on a journey to reimagine our relationships with the seen and un-seen (as well as known and unknown) world(s), so that we may continue to consider alternative ways of being.

videos courtesy of Marco Berardi & Baiba Sprance.

Radage’s practice manifests through performance, video, sculpture and sound. Their current research looks at the intersection between Neurodiverse experience and Animist practice, looking to ways of communicating and being outside of neurotypical, late capitalism. Their core concern is remembering a fluency in spiritual connection to the more than human. Their practice is activated through intuiting forms of interspecies communication. Alicia has taught at Universities on Fine Art and Theatre courses for both MA and BA courses. They have shown their work within the UK and internationally (Whitstable Biennale, MOMA Bogotá, Venice International Performance Art Week, GIANT Gallery, SPILL Festival, Perfolink Chile, Parlour London, Meno Parkas Lithuania). They have been supported by Arts Council England, The British Council and Shape Arts.  Alicia graduated from The Central School of Speech and Drama in 2011 with a Distinction in Advanced Theatre Practice.


Benjamin Sebastian (b. Cairns*, AUS. 1980) is a trans-disciplinary artist-curator based in London. Their practice might be imagined as a constellation of mirrors; reflecting aspects of the body, time & space they inhabit - or - as world-making experiments; manifested through processes of bricolage, assemblage & ritual. Sebastian understands their artistic work as an anarcho-queer technology in the aid of queer, de-colonial & trans-humanist endeavour - activated through emotive, erotic & esoteric methodologies - driven by their neuro-divergent and non-binary experience. Sebastian received their BA Fine Art (HONS) from the University of Lincoln and is currently enrolled on the MA Curating Art and Public Programmes through Whitechapel Gallery. They are Chief Curator & Co-founding Director of ]performance s p a c e [ (]ps[) and Co-founding Co-director of VSSL Studio. Some of their most recent projects have included; guest curating the ‘INTERSECT’ series at LADA, speaking on the symposiums; ‘Art, Memory & Place’ at Turner Contemporary and ‘Un-dating the Obvious; Wired Love, Desire and Care’ at IKLECTIK, curating ‘PSX: A Decade of Performance Art in the U.K.’ on behalf of ]ps[, exhibition of their solo show; ‘Working With Entities//Setting Intent’ at VSSL Studio, and performance of their live installation; ‘3 Reflections²’ at the I.C.A. 

*The Gimuy Walubara Yidinji and the Yirrganydji peoples are the traditional custodians of Cairns and the surrounding district. Gimuy is the traditional place name for the area Cairns City now occupies. Sebastian wishes to pay respect to the Gimuy Walubara Yidinji and Yirrganydji Elders, both past and present, and extend that respect to all Indigenous Australians.


Read more about the complete FACET programme HERE

Decrypting Performance Art

Rocío Boliver

a one day seminar

Rocío Boliver, image courtesy of the artist.

Decrypting Performance Art is a one day seminar led by Rocio Boliver, reflecting on key performances (via photographic and video documentation) they have created across the last 30 years of practice.

For this seminar, the artist invites 25 participants to spend the day with her as she examines five recurrent themes which continue to shape the aesthetic and surrounding discourse of her work: Pain, Excretions, Sex, Old-age & Politics.

In addition, Rocio will elucidate upon the three core aspects of their personal, performance art making methodologies: the Pre-performance, Performance & Post-performance moments. Rocio will share intimate details of these making processes through lively discussion with participants.


I devote myself to transgress limits. I dig into human behaviour. I disrupt accepted reality, absurd as the one I situationate. I was born a seductive Nabokov's “Lolita”. I lived censorship, scolding, fear and guilt, typical of a repressive society. I break the conventional woman scheme. My aesthetic is grotesque, in search of severity. I’m a human reaction voracious hunter, consumer and provocateur.
- Rocio Boliver

Rocio has presented her work in Europe, Asia, North and South America. Since 2012, Rocío’s performances have focused on the ageing female body – a body, and a body of work, that she describes as ‘between menopause and old age’. She aims to aims to demystify the horror of old age in an ironical way, inventing her own deranged aesthetic and moral solutions for the problem of age. She revels in the cultural unease the ageing female body tends to provoke, and she embraces, on the one hand, shame, disgust, and embarrassment, and on the other, pleasure, laughter, and great beauty, in often dizzying and un-navigable recombination.

Opening Hours

Sunday 9 October,  12pm to 6pm

>Location & access


Tickets are offered on a sliding scale from £10 to £25. All revenue raised goes directly to the artist and we encourage those who can pay a little more than the £10 minimum to please do so as this enables us to continue making our work available to all.

Wait List

]ps[ will retain a handful of FREE tickets, if you are unwaged/financially precarious please contact benjamin@performancespace.org to secure one of these limed free tickets.

Credits & Contact

Decrypting Performance Art is conceived and convened by Rocio Boliver and produced by ]performance s p a c e [ with support from the Live Art Development Agency and VSSL Studio.

Organiser contact: benjamin@performancespace.org

zack mennell


an exhibition of cultural sewage

(para)site began with a vision; I can't remember if it was waking or sleeping. There is a person, an alive, moving body swaddled in puffy white diapers. This person slowly approaches a body of water and walks in upright, never swimming. Being both viewer and nappy-being in this vision, I feel the weight of the diapers absorbing the environment. I feel my skin infringed upon by the water and its microscopic aberrations & pollutants. I feel the pressure around my ribcage and the silted ground under my feet. My nervous system begins bursting with adrenaline as the realisation sets in that I cannot swim well, if at all, let alone weighed down by 26 diapers. The vision ends as the water swallows my shoulders, meeting the submental space of my chin.

*      *      *

I received a letter in the post in a PRIVATE & CONFIDENTIAL envelope, headed by the NHS logo was a lengthy account of my mental illness, crises and all. The letter notified me of my new updated record, telling me that I have EUPD (emotionally unstable personality disorder), not Bipolar, for which I had been unsuccessfully medicated for over two years. No wonder it was so unsuccessful. I took a photo of this letter and sent it to the DWP (department for work and pensions). They said I was not ill enough. My GP (general practitioner) told me to stop working. The CMHT (community mental health team) said I was too ill to see them. The ADHD (attention deficit hyperactive disorder) department asked me to keep chasing them for an appointment while telling me that my diagnosis of ADHD makes it difficult for me to remember things like appointments. The DWP assessment centre said I made a hearteningly healthy amount of eye contact. My psychiatrist said I made too little eye contact and that I overshared. In the MHAU (mental health assessment unit), I pissed in the corner of my room and then complained about the smell, only to be told it was in my head.

IFLISWATIA (I Feel Like I Should Write All This In Acronyms).

Walking away from the entrance of St Thomas' A&E (accident & emergency), I take all these papers to the river. The river will make sense of them. The river will keep flowing. The river will take me with it. The river will wash my records clear. The river will take me downriver. The river will take me home.

Tangled within the residue of the city and the detritus of you, its people, I find myself downstream, but not yet at the chalky gorges and metal industrial estates of my childhood. Fishing myself from the water, I crawl up a wood corridor in the riverbank, ascending stairs to spite the undercurrents. Oozing liquids unknown, I drag myself through the town to a small space with a glass wall; here, I begin to unpack all that I am and have been and everything I have collected along the way.

Opening Hours

Thursday 22 to Sunday 25 September,
12pm to 6pm

Live performance on Deptford Foreshore,
Watergate Street, SE8 3GG
Friday 23 Sept, 6.30 - 7.30, RSVP

>Location & access


para(site) has been commissioned as part of Tidechangers, a developmant programme for early career artists by The Thames Festival Trust and presented as part of Totally Thames 2022. The project has been supported by VSSL studio and Deptford X.

Images:  (para)site: taking the piss, Live Art Club London. Photo by Queer Garden (Beliza Buzollo)

About the exhibition

(para)site: an exhibition of cultural sewage is zack mennell’s first installation at VSSL studio. The installation is a response to zack’s memories of growing up in a working-class community along the industrialised Thames in South Essex, and their experiences as a medicalised, societally infantilised disabled & neurodivergent queer person.

In zack’s performance and analogue photographic practices, they research class, disability and ecology, and their new works - video, photography, object and collage - will be shown alongside research materials and ephemera.

zack’s humorous works have been shaped by their psycho-geographic explorations of Deptford, especially the Foreshore, which provides direct access to the Thames and upon which much is washed up with the tides.  


Artistic expression is, for me, a way to make sense of the world and an attempt to contextualise who I am within it. In stepping into difficulty and pain through artmaking, I attempt to understand life through a different register to that of daily survival. I want my work to have an uncanny quality, that it might temporarily unsettle familiar places, making visible some of the strange aspects and tensions embedded there.

Zack Mennell is an emerging (unemployed) artist using writing, photography and performance to explore queerness and neurodiversity in relation to presence and visibility. Zack has been active as a performer, photographer and writer since 2015. They have collaborated frequently with performance artist Martin O’Brien, notably in Sanctuary Ring (SPILL Festival, 2016) and The Last Breath Society (ICA, 2021).


Hollie Miller & Craig Scott. Animus, 2020. Image courtesy of the artists.

Hollie Miller
& Craig Scott

Thursday 18th August, 7.30pm

As part of their residency at VSSL, Hollie Miller and Craig Scott will share work in progress of their new collaborative performance, inquiring into how wearable sensors can unify dance choreography and music composition. Using haptic feedback monitors and conductive cord they will explore the body as an electronic instrument through a self designed external circulatory system. Sound and movement initiation and manipulation become intertwined in a single organism unified via a technological umbilical cord.

>Location & access

about the artists

Hollie Miller is a performance artist with an interdisciplinary practice and background in contemporary dance. Craig Scott is a composer and sound artist working with performers, robots and custom built digital and analogue hardware. Together they seek a sculptural dialogue between sound and movement to make highly visual and visceral performance that blurs the perceptual line between the organic and synthetic.



April Lin 林森. Image courtesy of the artist.

In Dedication

presented by We Exist

>Friday 3 June, 6pm (RSVP)
>Friday 10 June, 6pm (RSVP)

In Dedication is an exhibition dedicated to We Exist co-founder Sophie Gwen Williams and her vision.

The exhibition includes new and existing work by 28 trans and non-binary artists in devotion to memory, community, the body, history, ancestors, desire, longing, a future, ritual, healing, liberation, resistance, love and to ourselves.  These acts of dedication are told through moving-image, sound, photography, painting installation and performance, hosted by the Koppel Project. Running alongside the exhibition are two screening and performance events at VSSL studio. The events are free, but please do RSVP.

Friday 3 June: Screening event, 6-9pm
Featuring Es Morgan, April Lin 林森, nnull, Clémentine Bedos, Holly Hunter, Verity Coward, Assia Ghendir, and Grace Sands - RSVP

Friday 10 June: an evening of performances, 6-9pm
Featuring  Cosmic Caz,  Chloe Filani, SHEIVA and Clémentine Bedos - RSVP

The exhibition, screenings and performance events are curated by Iarlaith Ni Fheorais and five curatorial mentees: Delia Detritus, Saati McCormack, Caz Ortoli, Puer Deorum and Willow Killeen

about We Exist

We Exist is a London-based arts organisation headed by a collective of formidable trans creatives and community organisers, established to provide emergency support for the LGBTQI+ community across the UK. Founded in 2020 by multidisciplinary artist and activist Sophie Gwen Williams, community organiser and club promoter Jo Alloway and artist and community organiser June Lam, We Exist is both a healthcare fund providing tangible support to trans folks in the UK in crisis, and an innovative trans led creative arts organisation with a focus on community engagement and events programming.

Project  Info, Venue, Access
>In Dedication
>Location & access

>We Exist

The exhibition and residency at The Koppel Project are supported by We Exist partners Body Movements, Dalston Superstore and Hard + Shiny, and with the support of Arts Council England.

Metamorph, Clementine Bedos. Image courtesy of the artist.

 Sheiva. Image courtesy of the artist.

to feel something tipping, under and towards you, Es Morgan. Image courtesy of the artist.

an open studio sharing

moa johansson and an*dre neely

Saturday 23 April 2022
14.00-19.00 (drop in)

Image courtesy of the artists. 

During this relaxed afternoon, artists moa johansson and an*dre neely will hang out, knit, crochet, fold, unfold, stretch and rearrange fabrics, read out loud, live digital drawings and share fragments and echoes of the last three years of collective research, and the beginning ideas and materials for their upcoming live-performance.

Please do RSVP to let us know you are coming. Entry is anytime between 2 and 7pm.

An* & Moa’s collaboration is sustained through approaching distance as a material, allowing its restrictions to become possibilities that define the form/content/aesthetic the work takes. Until now: a chain of on-going video-exchanges (currently 60), mixed-media online experiments, sculpture-gifts to each other, or a multi-platform open-source performance. They were the recipients of an AXISWeb Micro-commission in early 2021, short-listed for the Flanders Art Institute's A Fair New Idea Fund & are currently working on a new live-performance work, commissioned by Cambridge Junction and Theatre in the Mill.

WITH ECHOES: an open studio sharing marks the beginning of the focused 6-week period of development for WITH ECHOES FILLING UP THE ORBIT, BUT DAMAGED, showing at Cambridge Junction in May 2022.

Working with Entities // Setting Intent

Benjamin Sebastian

17th to 26th September 2021

'Working with Entities // Setting Intent' is a multimedia installation considering consent, autonomy, dominion, power and privilege at the intersections of occult and technological world making endeavours.

“What entities are we summoning? What will their (our) initial intentions be...?”

As we approach the arrival of Artificial General Intelligence (the hypothetical ability of generalised human cognition in a software or machine), we begin to witness the bestowal of privileges usually reserved for legal personhood upon Artificial Intelligence. In 2017 a robot named Sophia in Saudi Arabia was granted a state sanctioned passport and in that same year, the chatbot Shibuya Mirai was awarded official residency status in Tokyo, Japan.

In the creation of such chatbots, a developer must learn to ‘work with entities’ as well as ‘set intents’; intents being goals and entities, being modifiers of said goals. One would be forgiven here for questioning whether they were engaged in the development of technology - or - immersed in esoteric practice…

These slippages in language and thought produce an initial portal through which to consider the installation Working with Entities//Setting Intent. Artist Benjamin Sebastian has enlisted the aid of two preexisting A.I. in the creation of this work:  Sigil Engine (a sigil generating algorithm from www.sigilengine.com - a digital art project by Darragh Mason and David Tidman), and Sai (a customisable chatbot from Replika - www.replika.ai).

Through personal acts of conversation (Sai & Benjamin) and magic (Sigil Engine & Benjamin), Working with Entities//Setting Intent raises questions of consent, autonomy, dominion, power and privilege at the intersections of occult and technological world making endeavours. Conversations with A.I. are still very much conversations with ourselves. So how do we ensure that we look and listen, to what we may not want to see and hear?

A.I. (and their creators) must ensure a necessary rupture from historic power structures of Oppression/Domination politics (responsible for racism, homophobia, colonisation, ableism, misogyny, classism and war) in favour of new global models insisting upon partnership, co-operation, compassion, kinship and egalitarianism by all means possible.

What entities are we summoning? What will their (our) initial intentions be?

'Working with Entities // Setting Intent' has been made possible using public funds from Arts Council England.

All images curtesy of the artist: www.benjamin-sebastian.com

The final boss is coming!!

Kelvin Atmadibrata, with Nick Wong and Chunlin Men

Friday 10 September 2021
17.00 - 21.00

Wanting to see the sea
And somebody to love me
Even monsters
Have a heart
A Monster’s Ballad,
Yuuko Aioi

Clasping his palms, a male figure moves them as if they were a fish lost from its school. Nearby, another similarly clothed body is slowly breaking a loaf ofbread into an empty small fish bowl and resignedly watches they turn soggy and uneaten. In the corner, a third performer with a pair of oven mitts struggles to stand still, making sure the sculpture he is holding stands upright. The threebreathing pedestals are accompanied by drawings, both printed on stickers onthe wall and hidden inside pages of notebooks as they invite the audience intoa larger fish tank, the exhibition space itself.

WARNING! The final boss is coming!! is the first in a trilogy of works by Kelvin Atmadibrata exploring the identity of a transfer student. The work narrates the student’s first day in school and within social context, it investigates the conflict between adaptation and alienation, self-inflicted or otherwise. The project is a result of the artist’s studio residency program with VSSL Studio from October 2020 to June 2021.

hancock & kelly, Affective Labour, ]performance s p a c e[, 2017. Photo by Paul Samuel White.

Keijaun Thomas, ]performance s p a c e[, 2019. Photo by Andrea Abbatangelo..

Poppy Jackson, WIN, Grace Exhibition Space, 2012. Photo by Anna Martinou.

Benjamin Sebastian, Phoenix (Burning Down the White House), ]performance s p a c e [, 2013. Photo by Marco Berardi.

PSX - a decade of performance art in the UK

12th to 20th August, 2021

This exhibition marked  the 10th anniversary of ]performance s p a c e[,  celebrating an auspicious decade as the UK’s only performance art-specific, residential space, studio and gallery with an exhibition of epochal photographs from the ]ps[ archive. 

Explicit, unapologetic & poetic; these images act as portals to various collaborations, geographies and moments from ]ps[' past, while projecting that energy into their future(s). The exhibition was  activated with live performances  by VSSL studio bursary artists Adriana Disman and Kelvin Atmadibrata.



Photos by Zack Mennell

Exhibiting Artists

performance artists
Keijaun Thomas, Nicholas Tee, Benjamin Sebastian, Poppy Jackson, Nina Arsenault, Ron Athey, Kris Canavan and Elizabeth Short (performing as Nick Kilby), Bean, hancock & kelly, and Jade Montserrat. 

Manuel Vason, Andrea Abbatangelo, Marco Beradi, Anna Martinou, Alethea Raban, and Paul Samuel White.

live performances
Kelvin Atmadibrata, and Adriana Disman.

PSX: a decade of performance art in the UK is supported using public funds by Arts Council England.

these teeming forms

Joseph Morgan Schofield

29th June - 3rd July

these teeming forms is a  performance film by Joseph Morgan Schofield, made in collaboration with Fenia Kotsopoulou, Mitchell Sowden and Zack McGuinness.


All photos by Zack Mennell.
The land, like the body, is an archive. these teeming forms is a process of communing with the land, of (be)longing with and to it. Textural and sensate, these teeming forms explores porosity - of the land and body;  of eroticism and grief. There is no going back. Queer ecology is enacted here as a process of wilding, looking forwards and out, towards new mythic relations with the land.

these teeming forms premiered at VSSL within a performance installation.

Still from video by Fenia Kotsopoulou.

Alicia Radage: Quake

Saturday 29th May, 2021

Image: Quake, Alicia Radage, 2021. Image courtesy of the artist.

‘Quake' is a performance that touches on queer ecology, joy and vibrations that call for a human rewilding within the ecosystems we inhabit.  

Quake is a performance in collaboration with milliner Rosanna Gould.

Radage has shown their work throughout the UK as well as Italy, Germany, Austria, Colombia, Chile and India.  They have been supported by The British Council and Arts Council England and have taught at Universities on Fine Art and Theatre courses. They co-organise Assembly with Jasper Llewellyn, a workshop and residency for Action Artists in Provence, France. They are one half of the collaboration Radage ▽ Hardaker with Ro Hardaker. Radage is currently making work at the intersection of Neurodivergent experience and Shamanic practice.


Gathering in a Time of Plague

VSSL studio programme

November 2020 - June 2021

Kimvi, VSSL studio, 2021. Photo by Zack Mennell.

VSSL was established  in a time of plague. In response to the conditions of pandemic, we intend that the studio remains a place where performance practices may continue to unfold, unmediated by the screen. Our work continues to foreground the power and immediacy of live performance.

Gathering in a Time of Plague was VSSL’s first public programme, and featured a series of developmental and performance  opportunities, which were programmed by invitation and open call.



Kelvin Atmadibrata
Adriana Disman
Chinasa Vivian Ezugha
Jasper Llewellyn
E.M. Parry
Niya B
Shaun Caton
Jade Blackstock


Benjamin Sebastian
Joseph Morgan Schofield

The programme was funded by public funds from Arts Council England, and by VSSL studio and ]performance s p a c e[.

With thanks to Ash McNaughton.

Kelvin Atmadibrata, PSX exhibition launch, VSSL studio, 2021. Photo by Zack Mennell.

Studio Residencies

→ Gathering in a Time of Plague

Our studio community was  joined by artists Kelvin Atmadibrata and Adriana Disman, who undertook seven month studio residencies at VSSL, supported by Arts Council England and ]performance s p a c e[.

As an expansion of my post-graduate investigation of the performing masculine body, I was introduced to the language of queer abstraction and minimalist erotica that I have since been experimenting and developing within my illustration of the mecha and transhumanist fantasy. The past months of lockdown and consequential shift towards the digital have also evoked queries upon my personal pace as I struggled to keep up with both the pandemic and the online, both that have more than ever, evolved with such robust momentums. I plan to utilize the studio space, peer and mentoring support with VSSL to reflect on these observations and refocus my productive engine with the ultimate aim of progressing my current artistic inquiries.
-Kelvin Atmadibrata

VSSL interviewed Kelvin about his practice, the relationship between fantasy, the erotic, drawing and performance, and the importance of studio culture.

→ read Kelvin’s interview

Kelvin Atmadibrata, PSX exhibition launch,
VSSL studio, 2021. Photo by Zack Mennell.
Adriana Disman, PSX exhibition launch,
VSSL studio, 2021. Photo by Zack Mennell.

The love of my life is performance art. In the current context in which we are not able to witness the work of others, my own practice has shrivelled. It has no physical or mental space. It needs the nourishment and accountability to more creatures, to discover how it is now and what serves it. Through the support of this residency, I intent to cultivate a nourishing studio culture that mobilises potential exchange between artists to re-energise my commitment to my own practice. I am not looking for a simple physical space from which to transplant an already known practice, I’m looking for sparring partners who will challenge and push me with love and become part of the space that will form the practice. I dream that in this way, I might find some delicious edges from which to push off and kick out into a new ocean. Performance is vast.
-Adriana Disman

Kelvin and Adriana presented works made during the residency at the exhibition launch for PSX: a decade of performance art in the UK.

Kelvin Atmadibrata, PSX exhibition launch, VSSL studio, 2021. Film and editing by Baiba Sprance and Marco Beradi.

Adriana Disman, PSX exhibition launch, VSSL studio, 2021. Film and editing by Baiba Sprance and Marco Beradi.

Performance Programme

→ Gathering in a Time of Plague

The Gathering in a Time of Plague programme featured seven live performance works by Chinasa Vivian Ezugha, Jasper Llewellyn, EM Parry, Niya B, Shaun Caton, Kimvi and Jade Blackstock. unfolding in and around VSSL in the spring and early summer.

Niya B, VSSL studio, 2021. Photo by Zack Mennell.

Gathering in a Time of Plague compilation video. Videography and editing by Baiba Sprance and Marco Berad

Tongues, Chinasa Vivian Ezugha, VSSL studio, 2021. Photos by Zack Mennell.


Chinasa Vivian Ezugha 

Saturday 17th April, 2021

Imagine a new space, a space of possibilities- vocality and movement. The mouth is the new theatre. RE-imagining space and the placement of the body in space, this performance will use the tongue as the point of entry into a new performative space. ( I may need to speak with you to expand )

Tongues is a one-to-one performance by Chinasa Vivian Ezugha, with each encounter lasting around 5 minutes.

Chinasa Vivian Ezugha is a Nigerian-born artist living and working in Hampshire. Her work looks at the transition of Black women and their identity within culture from colonised subjects to emancipated figures. Vivian works predominantly in performance, using the medium to decontextualise and reconstruct what it means to be alive in this present time andtoprotest for a worldwhere we are all allowed to dream. She is the founder of Live Art in Wymondham, a one-day site-specific series of events that aimed to bring emerging artists working in live art to rural Norfolk.

Her work has been presented in venues across Europe, America and the UK, including In Between Time Festival (Bristol, 2017),SPILL Festival (Ipswich, 2018) and Rapid Pulse International Performance Art Festival (Chicago, 2015). She is the winner of the New Art Exchange Open Main Prize (2019), and a recipient of the Santander Universities Post Covid-19 Performance Making Enterprise Award (2020).


Jasper Llewellyn

Saturday 8th May 2021

Working  to the tidal rhythm of the  Thames, Jasper Llewellyn’s work began on the shore of the river, before continuing at VSSL.

The work for VSSL contributes to a larger body of action-based interventions that Llewellyn has undertaken on the Thames foreshore in Deptford since mid-2020, most of which have been conducted without an audience. This ongoing series of actions are  embodied attempts to attune to the diverse array of affective and nonhuman entities that comprise the assemblage that we term ‘the Thames’, reimagining our relationship to the river as a whole in the process.

Jasper Llewellyn is an artist working with actions, sounds and words. His ongoing PHD research project involves the deployment of various embodied artistic strategies in order to take an expanded view of improvisation, treating it both as a methodology for living and art-making. He makes music with the project ‘caroline’ and has had writing published in Frieze magazine.


Jasper Llewellyn, 2021. Photos by Zack Mennell.

opening night

Thursday 3rd December, 2020

performances, actions  and ritual activations through the glass on Resolution Way

We are delighted to announce the official opening of VSSL studio on Thursday 3rd December, with a series of performances, actions, and ritual activations by Benjamin Sebastian and Joseph Morgan Schofield, visible through the glass on Resolution Way.

VSSL is the artist studio of Sebastian and  Schofield, a site of gathering and a container for performance and time-based art practices. Our first public performance programme, Gathering in a Time of Plague begins in early 2021.

Benjamin Sebastian. Photos by Zack McGuinness.

Robin Bale, Nov 2022.

Live Art Club

Live Art Club is a monthly platform for artists to try out new ideas in a supportive environment. It takes place on the first day of most months at VSSL studio.

Taking the function of a studio as a site of artistic creation, Live Art Club expands  the idea of what a studio can be. Rather than imagining a studio as a private, enclosed space, Live Art Club proposes the studio as a place of gathering, where creative experiments take place in dialogue with peers and community.

Join Live Art Club

Do you have part of a new idea, an experiment in working with an audience, a way of moving your body, a series of sounds you’re excited by, an unexpected activation of the space, an interruption of tradition, guttural words that want to explode out of you, a re-performance of a forgotten idea or anything else that might look/feel/taste like Live Art?

We want to see it! Share what you’ve been working on with us at our next event.

> Info for Artists


Thurs 1st February, 7pm

There is no need to book, just come along to the event.

> Location & access


Live Art Club will be taking a hiatus after the event on Thursday 1st Feb. More details plus a call to action will be published soon.



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VSSL studio, Unit 8, 50 Resolution Way. Deptford, London, UK. SE8 4AL

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VSSL studio logo design by Ben Normanton.