Break into the Forbidden: Videos

“Break into the forbidden.” —Aimé Césaire

On 5 June 2020, 'Break into the Forbidden' brought together poets from the UK and North America to mourn, witness, dream, nourish and celebrate black life.

Raymond Antrobus, Jay Bernard, Victoria Adukwei Bulley, Inua Ellams, James Goodwin, Bhanu Kapil, Canisia Lubrin, Karen McCarthy Woolf, Fred Moten, M. NourbeSe Philip and Nisha Ramayya gave readings for this online fundraiser for black liberation organisations and bail funds in support of justice and resistance movements in the US. If you would like to make a donation, here is a list of organisations and causes. 


Raymond Antrobus was born in Hackney, London to an English mother and Jamaican father. He is the recipient of fellowships from Cave Canem, Complete Works III and Jerwood Compton Poetry. He is one of the world’s first recipients of an MA in Spoken Word Education from Goldsmiths, University of London. Raymond is a founding member of Chill Pill and the Keats House Poets Forum. He has had multiple residencies in deaf and hearing schools around London, as well as Pupil Referral Units. In 2018 he was awarded the Geoffrey Dearmer Award by the Poetry Society (judged by Ocean Vuong). Raymond currently lives in London and spends most his time working nationally and internationally as a freelance poet and teacher.


Jay Bernard is a writer from London. Their work is interdisciplinary, critical, queer and rooted in the archive. They won the 2018 Ted Hughes Award for Surge: Side A, a cross-disciplinary exploration of the New Cross Fire in 1981. Jay’s short film Something Said has screened in the UK and internationally, including Aesthetica and Leeds International Film Festival (where it won best experimental and best queer short respectively), Sheffield DocFest and CinemAfrica. Jay is a programmer at BFI Flare, an archivist at Mayday Rooms and resident artist at Raven Row.


Victoria Adukwei Bulley is a poet, writer and filmmaker. Winner of a 2018 Eric Gregory Award for promising British poets under 30, she has held residencies in the USA, Brazil, and the V&A Museum in London. Her debut pamphlet is Girl B, and she is the director of MOTHER TONGUES, a poetry, translation and film project exploring the indigenous language heritages of black and brown poets. Victoria is a doctoral candidate at Royal Holloway, University of London, the recipient of a 2019 Technē scholarship for practice-based research in Creative Writing.


Born in Nigeria in 1984, Inua Ellams is an internationally touring poet, playwright, performer, graphic artist & designer. He is an ambassador for the Ministry of Stories and has published four books of poetry: ‘Candy Coated Unicorns and Converse All Stars’, ‘Thirteen Fairy Negro Tales’ 'The Wire-Headed Heathen' and '#Afterhours'. His first play ‘The 14th Tale’ was awarded a Fringe First at the Edinburgh International Theatre Festival and his fourth ‘Barber Shop Chronicles’ sold out its run at England’s National Theatre. He is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature.


James Goodwin is a poet undertaking a PhD in English and Humanities at Birkbeck, University of London with a thesis on the blacksociopoetics of marronage, breath, sacrality and emanation. His pamphlet, aspects caught in the headspace we’re in: composition for friends, is forthcoming with Face Press. 


Bhanu Kapil is a British-Indian artist and poet. She is the author of five full length works of poetry/prose, including How to Wash a Heart (2020), Ban en Banlieue (2015) and Schizophrene (2012). She is a winner of the Windham-Campbell Prize 2020 and is currently the Judith E. Wilson Poetry Fellow at the University of Cambridge. Her blog can be found at


Canisia Lubrin is a writer, editor, and teacher. Her work is published widely and has been frequently anthologized, including translations into Italian and Spanish. Lubrin’s debut poetry collection Voodoo Hypothesis, was named a CBC Best Poetry Book, longlisted for the Gerald Lambert Award, the Pat Lowther Award, and a finalist for the Raymond Souster Award. She was a finalist for the Toronto Book Award for her fiction contribution to The Unpublished City: Vol 1 and 2019 Writer in Residence at Queen’s University. Lubrin holds an MFA in Creative Writing from the University of Guelph.


Born in London to English and Jamaican parents Karen McCarthy Woolf writes poetry, criticism and drama. Her collection An Aviary of Small Birds was described as an ‘extraordinarily moving and technically flawless’ (The Poetry Review), ‘pitch perfect debut’ (Guardian) and was shortlisted for the Forward Felix Dennis and Fenton Aldeburgh prizes. She makes radio features and drama for BBC radios 3 and 4, and has presented her work across the world. Karen is currently a Fulbright Postdoctoral Scholar at UCLA where she is the inaugural Poet in Residence at the Promise Institute for Human Rights exploring how law and poetry can interact as complementary disciplines to express safe spaces in complex environments


Fred Moten was born in Las Vegas, Nevada in 1962 and raised there and in Kingsland, Arkansas. He is author of In the Break: The Aesthetics of the Black Radical Tradition, Hughson’s Tavern, B. Jenkins, The Feel Trio, The Little Edges, The Service Porch, and consent not to be a single being (published as trilogy, Stolen Life; Black and Blur; The Universal Machine). He is co-author, with Stefano Harney, of The Undercommons: Fugitive Planning and Black Study, and A Poetics of the Undercommons, and with Wu Tsang, of Who Touched Me?. Moten lives in New York with his partner, Laura Harris, and their children, Lorenzo and Julian. He teaches in the Department of Performance Studies at New York University.


Born in Tobago, M. NourbeSe Philip is an unembedded poet, essayist, novelist, playwright and independent scholar who lives in the space-time of Toronto where she practised law for seven years before becoming a poet and writer. Among her published works are the seminal She Tries Her Tongue; Her Silence Softly Breaks and the speculative prose poem Looking for Livingston: An Odyssey of Silence. Her book-length poem, Zong!, is a conceptually innovative, genre-breaking epic, which explodes the legal archive as it relates to slavery. Her most recent work is Bla_K. Her fellowships include Guggenheim, McDowell, and Rockefeller (Bellagio). M. NourbeSe Philip is the 2020 recipient of PEN/Nabokov Award for Achievement in International Literature.


Nisha Ramayya grew up in Glasgow, and is now based in London. She is a poet and Lecturer in Creative Writing at Queen Mary University of London. Her pamphlets include Notes on Sanskrit, Correspondences, and In Me the Juncture, as well as Threads, co-authored with Sandeep Parmar and Bhanu Kapil. States of the Body Produced by Love is her first full-length book, published by Ignota.

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Carrier Bag Music: Sonic Fictions

Carrier Bag Music is a new series of sonic fictions inspired by Ursula K. Le Guin’s Carrier Bag Theory of Fiction. Reimagining the mixtape as container, medicine bundle and chronometer telling the time on another world, artists and producers explore Le Guin's articulations of holding, gathering and caring. With Laurel Halo, Elysia Crampton, Jenna Sutela and Victoria Sin.

Week Four: Victoria Sin

For the final episode of Carrier Bag Music, Victoria Sin presents a bag of dreams containing the potential for awakening. Exploring different states of consciousness, the artist questions what and how we know.  

With excerpts from past and future performances, original sketches, a voice note from a lover, sound recordings from the edge of the world and from the artists' childhood home, erhu solos by Sun Huang taken from a performance of the Butterfly Lovers Concerto, a dream from the Chuang Tzu Inner Chapters, 'Earth, Wind, Fire, Water, and Spirit' from the album 'The Body is a Message of the Universe' by Shiho Yabuki, and excerpts from the artist's dream diary during lockdown.

Victoria Sin (b. 1991, Toronto CA) is an artist using speculative fiction within performance, moving image, writing, and print to interrupt normative processes of desire, identification, and objectification. Drawing from close personal encounters of looking and wanting, their work presents heavily constructed fantasy narratives on the often unsettling experience of the physical within the social body.




Week Three: Jenna Sutela 

The third episode of Carrier Bag Music by Jenna Sutela is a mixed bag of sounds and music by humans and non-humans. A proposal for interspecies symbiosis, this otherworldly mix gathers collaborators including slime mould, space bacteria, artificial intelligence and yeast cells.“Mine is a mixed bag, containing original material from Many-Headed Reading (2016), Nam-Gut (the microbial breakdown of language) (2017), Holobiont (2018), nimiia seance (2019) and nnother (2020), with Elvia Wilk, as well as some music from my desktop: Most Holy Redeemer by Ocarina Orchestra; Guts theme from Berserk by Susumu Hirasawa; Oração (Pense & Dance) by Lechuga Zafiro Ft. Linn da Quebrada; Finnish lullaby Nuku Nuku; Amniotic Life by Tomoko Sauvage; Exit by Bendik Giske; and Arca from @@@@@. Voices by Jessica Edwards, Clara Jo, Emily Jones, Ming Lin, Colin Self, and yeast cells sonified by Jim Gimzewski at 22, 26 and 30 Celsius.” — Jenna Sutela

“Go on, say I, wandering off towards the wild oats, with Oo Oo in the sling and little Oom carrying the basket.” —Ursula K. Le Guin 

“I evolved as a vessel for others to proliferate. Bacteria, babies. Germs, parasites. Both organic and synthetic. Love and want. Not merely eye to eye, but eye to mouth, mouth to ear.” —Jenna Sutela and Elvia Wilk: nnother, 2020

Jenna Sutela works with words, sounds, and other living media, such as Bacillus subtilis nattō bacteria and the “many-headed” slime mold Physarum polycephalum. Her audiovisual pieces, sculptures, and performances seek to identify and react to precarious social and material moments, often in relation to technology. Sutela's work has been presented at museums and art contexts internationally, including Guggenheim Bilbao, Moderna Museet, and Serpentine Galleries. She is a Visiting Artist at The MIT Center for Art, Science & Technology (CAST) in 2019-20.


Week Two: Elysia Crampton Chuquimia

For the second episode of Carrier Bag Music, Elysia Crampton Chuquimia responds to the concept, image and process of the medicine bundle — a collection of sacred items with spiritual significance, held in a special carrier, in Indigenous American cultures. Spanning over seventeen years of the artist's life, this episode comprises original music and edits by the artist and includes the premiere of a previously unreleased track ‘Stars Over Riparian Corridor’ and features music released under the artist's Jaqi name, Chuquimamani-Condori — the name given to her as a form of honour and recognition from the elders of her nation.

Elysia Crampton Chuquimia is an American artist and musician belonging to the Pakajaqi Aymara nation. Her eclectic music is the flashpoint of myriad influences opening upon the complexity of Aymara becoming. Underscored by radical and queer politics and touching upon themes of science fiction, faith and ontology, Crampton’s experimental work gives sonorous form to contemporary expressions of Aymara resistance and survival: a project of 'becoming-with', in the shades given this term by Donna Haraway via prison abolitionist Che Gossett. 


Week 1: Laurel Halo

“The mix is comprised of unreleased material from myself, friends and artists I admire, in the form of sketches, drafts, field recordings and archival sounds. Featuring (in order of first appearance) DJ Python, Lyra Pramuk, Jenna Sutela, Steph Kretowicz, Ariel Zetina, Bendik Giske, Mari Matsutoya, Parris, Hanne Lippard, James Ginzburg, Mark Leckey, Steven Warwick, Claire Tolan, Oliver Coates, Kevin Beasley, 1995 Epilepsy, Laurel Halo, Eli Keszler, Yair Elazar Glotman, Julia Holter, Colin Self, Coby Sey, JAB, Shanti Celeste, Reece Cox, Yu Su, Lucrecia Dalt & Regina de Miguel, Lafawndah, Michael Salu, Jessica Pratt, Hodge and Alex Arthur.⠀⁣⁣ ⠀⁣⁣

Sections of a spoken word suite which appear in this mix will be available on an EP releasing soon called ‘World Without Heroes’. Thanks to all the artists for contributing their feeling to the mix.” — Laurel Halo ⁣ ⁣

“A book holds words. Words hold things. They bear meanings. A novel is a medicine bundle, holding things in a particular, powerful relation to one another and to us.” — Ursula K. Le Guin

Laurel Halo is an electronic music composer, performing artist and DJ, born in Detroit and based in Berlin. Since the release of her debut album Quarantine (2012) on the pioneering London label Hyperdub, she has established herself as a distinct and innovative voice in the electronic music sphere. Drawing from a range of music lineages, her considered approach has enabled her to maintain a signature aesthetic across a stylistically diverse output, traversing pop, ambient, leftfield club, experimental electronica and film score. She has released on labels including Hyperdub, Honest Jon’s, Latency and Livity Sound, and has collaborated with John Cale, Metahaven, Hodge, Eli Keszler, Julia Holter and Hatsune Miku, among others. Her most recent LP is a collection of original score for the 2018 Metahaven film Possessed, released by Vinyl Factory in April 2020.


Curated by Ignota in partnership with Camden Art Centre and Haus Kulturen der Welt. Carrier Bag Music is part of Carrier Bag Fictions, a project by HKW and Ignota.

Federico Campagna: Prophetic Culture II

Ignota Hosts: Federico Campagna, author of Technic and Magic, for the second of his two-part lecture and Q&A presenting his forthcoming book Prophetic Culture. 

Thursday 4 June, 19.00-20.30 BST; 14.00-15.30 EDT; 11.00-12.30 PDT. Book here.


Philosophy and science agree: time doesn't exist. And yet, it keeps on flowing. It spans between the beginning and the end of world narratives like the rhythm of music. Each world-song has a time of its own; the particular rhythm that was peculiar to the civilization of Westernised Modernity appears to be approaching the end of its course. So what: this is nothing new under the sun of history. Every world has a beginning and an end. The imperative of this age has just slightly changed: from learning how to live well, to learning how to die well.

What does this entail for culture? What does it mean to make art, music, philosophy when a future is about to end, and a new time is as yet to begin? Across two talks, Federico Campagna will explore 'prophetic culture' as a millenia-old inspiration for contemporary cultural producers standing at the edge between worlds and ages.

Federico Campagna is an Italian philosopher based in London. He is the author of Technic and Magic: The Reconstruction of Reality (2018), The Last Night: Anti-Work, Atheism, Adventure (2013) and What We Are Fighting For: A Radical Collective Manifesto (2012) and visiting lecturer at Royal College of Art, UK.

This event will take place on Zoom. In order to view, you will need to book in advance. Instructions for connecting to the discussion will be emailed to you just  before the event begins.