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Not This Future Conversation Series

11th Mar 26th Mar 2021

Join us for a series of conversations with artist Youngsook Choi exploring grief as a space for community solidarity

Event Details
  • Conversation,
  • Collectivity,
  • Care
Creative Team
  • Artist: Youngsook Choi
  • Contributor: Tessa Qiu
  • Contributor: Annie Jael Kwan
  • Contributor: Ceara Conway

Not This Future is participatory performance. Employing pseudo shamanic ritual, Not This Future takes the emotion 'Grief' as a site for solidarity and communal care. This work commemorates and critically revisits the Essex 39 incident where thirty-nine Vietnamese were found dead in the back of a lorry having been abandoned by a people smuggler in 2019. As a core part of the commemoration, this spiritual performance accommodates 39 offerings from different parts of the world, gathered through the exclusive call out for those whose creative practice and research weigh on migrant justice and challenge the idea of borders.

Over the period of screening, three conversations will expand on the themes of the work. ‘Grief, it takes a community’ is the first iteration taking place on 11th March, followed by ‘Grief with strangers’ with curator Annie Jael Kwan on 18th March and ‘Prayer from the ancient future’ with musician/artist Ceara Conway on 26th March.

Not This Future Conversation Series:

Part 1: Grief, it takes a community

The role of grief in organising solidarity and collective healing

Thursday 11th March, 2:00-3:30 PM GMT

The tragedy is often documented in certain ways, serving the narratives to reinforce the system and usual prejudices. This way of telling becomes oppression on its own and adds more trauma. What/why we are mourning about renders a socio-political question, especially when the structural issues are the cause of the death and the loss is accepted as inevitable.

For the first iteration of Not This Future conversations, Youngsook Choi invites Tessa Qiu from the collective Remember & Resist for exploring grief as a site of solidarity and organising. This conversation will briefly tap into the group's endeavour of research on neo-colonial practices and campaigning around the tragic Essex 39 incident, and discuss the role of remembrance as post-trauma community care and healing. Prior to this conversation, the part 1 ‘Dead Yard’ of Not This Future will be screened.

Part 2: Grief with strangers

Healing through transnational kinship and promiscuous care

Thursday 18th March, 2:00-3:30 PM GMT

Social restriction rules for preventing the virus spread have fragmented us into our domestic units and digitised world. However, this doesn't stop us from caring for and supporting each other. Many of us have experienced and observed interdependent care during the pandemic. And this care practice often goes beyond the national borders and builds upon transnational kinship since we are reckoning structural damages within globally interconnected systematic flaws.

In the second iteration of Not This Future conversations, Youngsook Choi invites Annie Jael Kwan, the curator and co-founder of Asia-Art-Activism, to reflect together on the process of organising 39 grief offerings for Not This Future through transnational kinship. Further to the point, this conversation will delve into the idea of promiscuous care and experimental intimacies as an empathetic radical ground for healing worldly wounds. Prior to this conversation, the part 2 ‘Everywhere Dead Yard’ of Not This Future will be screened.

Part 3: Prayer from the ancient future

A sonic journey of collective healing and care

Friday 26th March, 2:00-3:30 PM GMT

As we are heading towards the post-pandemic era, the question ahead is what kind of future we wish to return to. The usual one plotted by the system that has been failing many of us? If 'not this future', what possibilities could be open to us? The third and last iteration of the Not This Future conversations takes you on a sonic journey of collective grief and healing for conspiring a different future. Manifesting this conversation as a prayer, Ceara Conway and Youngsook Choi will walk through the idea of community-led grief and planetary care. This immersive conversation will be composed of stories, poetry, lamentation and healing songs with a folk and indigenous approach.

Access information

Please book your place for this event via eventbrite, you can do this via the 'tickets' button at the top of this page. This event takes place online via Zoom and we will send you the link to the session via eventbrite. We will be using Zoom's webinar function which means you will be joining without your camera or microphone. Q&A will be available via the chat function. If you have any access needs or experience any barriers to accessing this event please contact us at

We will be recording the conversation and will share with full subtitles following the event.

Please note that Not This Future includes content which deals with death, state violence and racism. Watching this performance will be an emotionally challenging experience for those whose lived experiences are in/directly related to the Essex 39.

In joining this event you agree to our Safer Spaces Policy, which can be found here:


Youngsook Choi

Youngsook is a London-based artist and researcher with a PhD in human geography. Her practice relates to the subjective position as a woman, mother, and migrant of Korean Heritage, coming from a working-class background. Including Not This future, Youngsook’s recent performances explore the concept of 'political spirituality' and intimate aesthetics of community actions by composing speculative narratives with research evidence, folk tales, mythologies and performative instructions for audience participation. Youngsook is currently the recipient of Arts Council England Project Grant for her collective healing project Becoming Forest and artist resident for Radio Arts Catalyst 20/21.

Tessa Qiu, Remember Resist

Tessa Qiu (she/they) is an organiser and researcher from South London, with roots in Yunnan, China. Tessa is one part of ‘Remember & Resist’, a project led by members of daikon* zine and the Remember the Essex 39 Campaign, dedicated to expanding their work exploring and resisting the impact of borders and state violence on East and Southeast Asian communities in the UK.

Annie Jael Kwan

Annie Jael Kwan is a curator and researcher whose exhibition-making, programming, publication and teaching practice is located at the intersection of contemporary art, cultural and pedagogical activism with an interest in archives, feminist, queer and alternative histories and knowledges, collective practice and solidarity. She is founder of Something Human, a curatorial platform focusing on intersectional live art that launched the landmark Southeast Asia Performance Collection in London in 2017, co-founder of Asia-Art-Activism, the interdisciplinary research network, the recipient of a Diverse Actions Leadership Award 2019, and the founding council member of Asia Forum 2021/2022.

Ceara Conway

Ceara Conway is an Irish artist and singer working in performance, song and traditional folk practices. She produces experiential performance works that utilise singing, appropriated texts and visual art to explore social and cultural experiences of hope, healing and loss in response to issues such as cultural colonialism, migration and feminist concerns. Most recent commissions and performances include, ‘’O Greenest Branch’’ scent artwork in collaboration with olfactory artist EQ Factories, Bealtaine Festival (2021) , Viriditas, Galway European Capital of Culture & Saolta Arts (2020), fair is foul & foul is fair, Aideen Barry and Alice Maher, Katzen Museum, Washington DC ((2019) Dóchas-Hope, Waterways Ireland ( 2019).