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Adham Faramawy, Sadé Mica, and more, explore gender through art and science

This exhibition challenges notions of female and male through a kaleidoscopic range of artworks and artists

New exhibition GENDERS: Shaping and Breaking the Binary presents a kaleidoscopic view of gender through a series of live performances, role-plays, gaming experiences, and more. With its aim to explore the relationship between gender and science by looking at factors such as class, culture, race, age, and sexuality.

Currently taking place at King’s College London’s Science Gallery, the exhibition is a collaboration between artists, social scientists, biologists, and neuroscientists at the university, and attempts to reflect the idea that gender is both biological and cultural.

“The season draws on growing scientific consensus that the fixed categories of ‘female’ and ‘male’ and the separation between the ‘natural’ and social sciences are simultaneously becoming less distinct,” explained curator Helen Kaplinsky. “We invite visitors to question the inequalities and adaptations emerging in relation to gender, identity, and society in this moment of flux.”

“(The exhibition) aims to create a space where greater nuance and complexity can play out” – John O’Shea, associate director at Science Gallery London

Alongside artists such as Adam Faramawy and Sadé Mica, Nina Wakeford, whose work is inspired by the repertoire of drag kings performing at London’s oldest queer pub, the Royal Vauxhall Tavern. Exploring ideas of desire, sexuality, and hormones, Wakeford presents the audience with audiovisual materials and live performances developed in collaboration with the Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology & Neuroscience at King’s College London.

London-based visual artist Cibelle Cavalli Bastos has designed a series of gender-fluid Instagram filters that, immersing visitors in an augmented reality environment, will give them the opportunity to experiment with different identities.

The creative duo composed of electric producer Jenna Sutela and writer Elvia Wilk have created a new audio work that challenges the ideas about the ‘bonding hormone’ oxytocin. Reflecting the research conducted by Yannis Paloyelis from the Centre of Neuroimaging Science at King’s College London, their project is co-commissioned with the Liverpool Biennial.

Animator Danielle Brathwaite-Shirley, whose work focuses on black trans representation, has co-produced an interactive video game-style animation exploring life as a trans person.

In Sarah Jury and Behrooz ‘Bez’ Shahriari’s newly created game, visitors experience the stories of characters and societies defined by different approaches to legal gender/sex status. The game was developed based on legal research from King’s College London. 

“In my work as an artist, I am interested in the intersections of scientific and personal narratives around gender,” said visual artist and GENDERS season advisor Victoria Sin. “By bringing together many voices from science and art this exhibition encourages a creative and open approach to the multitude of experiences of gender.” 

Sin, who has recently launched a collaborative film with Sophia Al-Maria, employs visual art as a tool to challenge dominant attitudes towards gender, sexuality, and identity. 

“As the discussion around gender has become increasingly polarised, this season at Science Gallery London aims to create a space where greater nuance and complexity can play out,” explained John O’Shea, associate director at Science Gallery London. “By bringing together the voices of artists, activists, researchers, clinicians, and young people, we hope to form better questions about the experience of gender today.”

GENDERS: Shaping and Breaking the Binary is on show at Science Gallery London until June 28