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It’s easy to forget the National Gallery’s paintings were made by radicals. Damned by heresy, humanism, immorality and fiendish capacities to fool the eye, many of the Old Masters inspired controversy, rage and social change. As society convulses again, art is suddenly relevant on the street. Our descendants will decide which artists to remember. But National Gallery X is joining the conversation - and finding its innermost spirit - by giving voice to the radical artists of today who will be the Old Masters of tomorrow.

The title of this talk, Gender*uck, presents gender not as fixed, but as fluid, open for interpretation, discovery, and self-interpretation. 99 years after Man Ray took a photo of his friend Marcel Duchamp as Rrose Sélavy, gender continues to remain as personal as it is political.

Media arts question boundaries and definitions of societal concepts, including notions and conceptions of gender. This event presented a new generation of artists investigating boundaries of gender concepts. These artists and researchers investigate gender fluid representation in diverse media: Where does technology empower, where does it limit our conceptions of self and other? How can we look beyond binary forms of representations in the context of the binary and digital in new media. In a tech-centric world of media abundance, what roles can artists play in questioning gender norms, gender representations and gender normativity?

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In this event, artists discuss limitations, possibilities and the future of technology for art; pointing to the potential of new media for self-expression beyond limiting, binary conceptions of gender. 

Speakers including and demonstrations from:

  • Paul Kindersley, who looks at gender representations inspired by the National Gallery’s collection
  • Time-based media artist Birgitta Hosea, who discusses gender in her animation and performance practice
  • Paula Callus, who presents her work with Nigerian women artists from an anthropological angle focusing upon the culturally located experiences of gender and space
  • The artist Peju Alatise, who uses diverse media to discuss questions of gender and power in Nigeria
  • James Nasmyth, who presents a selfie-photo booth that subverts gender conceptions
  • Artist Jake Elwes, who explores alternative gender representations in the context of machine learning algorithms: What happens when computers try to find patterns of beauty beyond gender concepts and their mathematical confinements
  • Drucilla Burrell, who investigates self-representation through the prism of self-isolation, influenced by classic portraits as seen at the National Gallery
  • Ro Greenberg and Maddy James, who discuss the challenges of transitioning music artists in their new film ‘Down by the Seafolks Live’


Visit the Gender*uck online exhibition.

What is National Gallery X?

National Gallery X (NGX) is a partnership between the National Gallery and King's College London. It brings together King's College London’s research with the art and audiences of the Gallery to create the new museum experiences technology could make possible in the future.

Find out more