Nocturnal Creatures: Emma Talbot

Performances and Readings

  • Emma Talbot, Detail from The Trials, 2022

    Emma Talbot Detail from TheTrials (2022). Watercolour on Khadi paper. Courtesy the artist © Carlo Vannini.

Past Event

This event was on Sat 23 July, 6 - 11pm

Access Information

Performance and Readings

Performances and readings responding and connecting to artist Emma Talbot’s new Whitechapel Gallery commission The Age / L’Età activate Gallery 2 and the foyer throughout the evening.  

The culmination of a bespoke six-month residency in Italy organised by Collezione Maramotti, the exhibition features epic silk-paintings, video animations, three-dimensional work, drawings and atmospheric sounds.  

With the exhibition suggesting alternative ways of existing in our contemporary world, and new modes of being that embrace climate care, feminism and age-positivity, the artist collaborates with dance and performance artists Iris Chan and Bettina Fung, who respond and connect to the workTalbot has selected readings from the book Truth or Dare by author and activist Starhawk, which focus on rethinking ancient power structures and celebrating the natural world through ritual, movement and sound.


About: Emma Talbot

Emma Talbot (b. 1969, Stourbridge) lives and works in London. She studied at the Birmingham Institute of Art & Design and Royal College of Art. Working in drawing, painting, animation and sculpture Talbot often articulates internal narratives as visual poems or associative ruminations, based on her own experience, memories and psychological projections. Incorporating her own writing and references to other literary and poetic sources, Talbot’s work considers complex issues such as feminist theory and storytelling; ecopolitics and the natural world; and pertinent questions regarding our shifting relationships to technology, language and communication. Her work is currently on show in Milk of Dreams at The 59th International Art Exhibition – La Biennale di Venezia. Recent solo exhibitions include: When Screens Break Eastside Projects, Birmingham (2020); Ghost Calls , DCA, Dundee (2020);Ghost Calls and Meditations Kunsthaus Pasquart, Biel (2021); Sounders of The Depths, GEM Kunstmuseum, The Hague, Netherlands (2019-20); Emma/Ursula, Petra Rinck Galerie Dusseldorf (2020); ArtNight 2019 commission: Your Own Authority, William Morris Gallery; 21st Century Sleepwalk, Caustic Coastal and Salford Lad’s Club, Salford (2018); Woman-Snake-Bird, Galerie Onrust, Amsterdam (2018); Open Thoughts, Neuer Aachener Kunstverein (2017); The World Blown Apart, Galerie Onrust, Amsterdam 2017; Stained With Marks Of Love, Arcadia Missa, New York (2017). Her work is held in the collections of Guerlain, Paris, British Council Collection, Arts Council Collection, City of Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery, David Roberts Collection, Saatchi Collection, University of the Arts London, Art Gallery of Western Australia, Perth, Fries Museum NL, Arnhem Museum NL, KRC Collection NL, AkzoNobel NL. 

About: Iris Chan

Iris Chan is a London-based dancer, performer, and producer from Hong Kong. 

She has been working in the UK dance sector with a range of choreographers, artists, and organisations for over 10 years in roles traversing administration, producing, performing, teaching, and facilitating, and performing in galleries, museums, theatre and site-specific contexts as a dancer and performer. Artists with whom Iris has worked and collaborated with include Sung Im Her, Hetain Patel, Jo Fong, Janine Harrington, Florence Peake, Zadie Xa, Laura Wilson, Ghost & John, Robert Clark, Pablo Bronstein, and Amina Khayyam, amongst others.  

With a background is in contemporary dance and classical Indian dance Kathak, she graduated with a BA (Hons) from University of Surrey and an MA from London Contemporary Dance School where she performed and toured internationally with the postgraduate dance company EDge. 

Working both within and outside of organisations/institutions, Iris draws from her experiences of tension between professional identities as well as cultural identities as a British Hong Kong-er to inform the work she does and environments that she co-creates. She enjoys collaborating as a dance artist, creating alongside others in an artistic process, whilst bringing her own interests in interdisciplinary collaboration, improvisation, somatic practices, and community-building projects. 

Festivals include EAREYE (Malmö, 2020), Chinese Arts Now (London, 2020), Dance International Glasgow (2019), Art Night (London, 2019), Venice Biennale (2019), Prague Quadrennial (2019), SPILL festival (Ipswich, 2018), Block Universe (London, 2018), and Do Disturb at Palais de Tokyo (Paris, 2018). 

About: Bettina Fung

Bettina Fung | 馮允珊 is a Hong Kong born, British-Chinese artist based in London, UK. Her practice centres on the expansive and immediate nature of drawing and often performs live, sharing her process as the work unfolds over time. She creates two dimensional, performative and site specific works that explore and question the subjects of legacy, belonging, ritual, futility, productivity and progress. With a strong interest in the ideas of ‘commoning’ and creative collective actions, her recent works are associated with the themes of shared authorship and the dynamics within working and building together. Bettina has exhibited nationally in the UK and abroad and was the recipient of awards such as the a-n Artist Information Company’s New Collaborations Bursary in 2014 and Arts Council England’s Grants for the Arts award in 2018. With a keen interest in peer-led learning, Bettina was a part of Syllabus IV, an alternative peer-led artist development programme delivered by six UK arts institutions in 2018/19, and was awarded the Airspace Gallery’s Artists Make Change bursary in 2020 to instigate a peer-led learning group to research the subject of artists making social change. Bettina is also an Associate Member of the Asia-Art-Activism Research Network.

About: Starhawk

Starhawk is an author, activist, permaculture designer and teacher, and a prominent voice in modern earth-based spirituality and ecofeminism. She is the author or co-author of thirteen books, including The Spiral Dance: A Rebirth of the Ancient Religion of the Great Goddess and the ecotopian novel The Fifth Sacred Thing, and its sequel City of Refuge. 

Her most recent non-fiction book is The Empowerment Manual: A Guide for Collaborative Groups, on group dynamics, power, conflict and communications.  

Starhawk founded Earth Activist Training, teaching permaculture design grounded in spirituality and with a focus on activism. She travels internationally, lecturing and teaching on earth-based spirituality, the tools of ritual, and the skills of activism.  

Starhawk was born on June 17, 1951. She holds a B.A. in Fine Arts from U.C.L.A. In 1973, as a graduate student in Film at U.C.L.A, Starhawk won the prestigious Samuel Goldwyn Creative Writing Award. She received an M.A. in Psychology with a concentration in Feminist Therapy from Antioch University West in 1982. She has taught in many Bay Area colleges and universities, including John F. Kennedy University, Antioch West, the Institute of Culture and Creation Spirituality at Holy Names College, and Wisdom University. She is presently adjunct faculty at the California Institute of Integral Studies. 

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