Preview Thursday 13 June 6:30 - 8:30PM
14 June – 14 July 2019

Let’s imagine the future of language; not simply the languages that we hear most often and take up the most space today, nor those that experts predict will survive and those that will not, but every single possible future for all languages that have ever existed, and for everyone to whom they belong, and those that come to belong.

Second Tongues is the title of a speculative fiction narrative developed by Toronto-based artist Serena Lee, developed collectively with others and exhibited in multiple parts for Cubitt’s ongoing Structures That Cooperate programme.

The project departs from a premise where in the future, we all speak a second language not of our choosing. Second Tongues becomes a speculative fiction world-building framework for critically engaging with experiences of nationhood, kinship, market-driven globalisation as they relate to histories and practices of language. Second Tongues is a proposition for reimagining futures decentered and reorganised.

The exhibited elements of Second Tongues have been developed through conversations with London-based language education organisations, migrant worker and newcomer community services, socio-linguistic researchers and public audiences. In addition, the artist has collaborated with Black Shuck, a London-based cooperative, to develop and present an augmented reality layer to the exhibition space for further speculation and translation.

The narrative plays out as fragments of conversation with the Second Tongues collaborators across a 3-channel video installation (duration 11-minutes), and a constellation of augmented reality aspects.

The installation continues to use and adapt Clemence Seilles’ ongoing scenography for the Structures That Cooperate programme. The foam slabs, previously used as a sound insulating flooring for Ain bailey’s exhibition have been rolled to reference cylinder seals, an ancient form of communicating narrative. Salt dough magnets were produced with members of The Voice of Domestic Workers during a language discussion workshop; wall texts contain questions derived from conversations with Second Tongues collaborators. Second Tongues is an ongoing project that also lives online at:


Read Persilia Caton’s review for Canadian Art online here