Holding Cosmic Dust staged by Hot Desque at the Corinium Museum

News provided by Hot Desque on Friday 19th Jan 2024

Holding Cosmic Dust

A matriarchal history through future objects

Hot Desque at the Corinium Museum, Cirencester, UK

20th January - 19th March 2024

Holding Cosmic Dust, an exhibition intervention staged by Hot Desque showcases contemporary artworks by women and female-identifying artists amongst the permanent collection of locally found archaeological artefacts at the Corinium Museum. The project draws out connections between archaeology, history and fantasy.

Holding Cosmic Dust brings together artworks by Holly Graham, Rubie Green, Rebeca Romero, Amba Sayal-Bennett, Abel Shah and Suzanne Treister. The constellation of objects scattered throughout the museum acts as remnants of a speculative, matriarchal society which inhabited the same area at an unspecified time. The sculptures, drawings and sound pieces each carry their own story adding to the overall narrative. Together, they evoke lost culture, traditions and beliefs but are mysterious in their function and provenance. The objects are accompanied by a video almanac which adds another layer to the speculative framework and explores the potential meaning of the objects through digital reconstruction. All elements of Holding Cosmic Dust subtly suggest the potential values of a cosmo-centric civilisation attuned to their surroundings, occupied with ritual, art-making and a curiosity for the universe.

Hot Desque’s worldbuilding practice explores alternatives to the linear understanding of past, present and future. The artworks juxtaposed with archaeological artefacts confront historical biases in scientific inquiries, suggesting the possibility of matriarchal societies in both the past and the future. The exhibition questions how knowledge is made or verified, and the role fantasy plays in these processes. But instead of suggesting categorical narratives, it emphasizes connections between multiple timescales at once and the role of the human hand in shaping stories. Humanity’s relationship to the past extends to the geological deep time, our species’ impact is questioned on planetary, and ecological scales and extinctions are not only a thing of the past but also the present and the future.

With Holding Cosmic Dust, Hot Desque expands its ongoing exploration of alternative forms of curation. In this exhibition intervention, the visitors of the permanent collection at the Corinium Museum will come across the contemporary artworks gradually, brought together within an overarching speculative framework. They do not impose a singular narrative, encouraging the visitors to fill in its gaps and reimagine possible past, present and futures through individual artworks.

Participating artists:
Holly Graham, Rubie Green, Rebeca Romero, Amba Sayal-Bennett, Abel Shah and Suzanne Treister.

Plan your visit

Corinium Museum

Park Street, Cirencester GL7 2BX

Opening times: Monday – Saturday: 10 am – 4 pm, Sunday: 2 – 4 pm


Access to Holding Cosmic Dust is included in the ticket admission.

Satellite events at the Swiss Chuch in London

Holding Cosmic Dust: An Almanac

Friday 26th January 2024

Private view: 6-9 pm

Hot Desque in conversation with historian Frederika Tevebring: 7 pm. Free. Book via Eventbrite.

Saturday 27th & Sunday 28th January 2024
The Almanac video installation open 4-8 pm.

Free entry, no booking required.

Swiss Church, 79 Endell St, London, WC2H 9DY


For press enquiries, please contact marketing.hotdesque@gmail.com.

Holding Cosmic Dust is supported by The Corinium Museum, Arts Council England, The Swiss Church, Hypha Studios and Woodlands UK.

A wider project is delivered in collaboration with Peckham Levels, Step Out Mentors, Lab Gloucestershire Library and Cirencester Bingham Library.


Notes for editors


Hot Desque is an artistic practice between Lizzy Drury and Neena Percy, founded in 2018. They met while studying an MA in Painting at the Royal College of Art in London, UK. Their practice spans site-specific installation, film, drawing and writing, creating theatrical mise-en-scènes with other artists. Pushing the boundaries of curation, through worldbuilding they explore the potential to re-enchant objects and matter, through collaborations with other artists.

Hot Desque has staged exhibitions and interventions internationally and in the UK at the Theatre Royal Newcastle (Newcastle, UK), Centre for Contemporary Art (Glasgow, UK), The NewBridge Project (Newcastle, UK), A.P.T. Gallery (London, UK), The Swiss Church (London, UK), Collato/e/ral Art Fair (New Delhi, India). They have been supported by Arts Council England, Freelands Foundation, A-N Union and the Gibbs Trust. They are current awardees of Hypha Studios Longterm Resident Artists 2022-2024.

Holly Graham is a London-based artist whose work looks at ways in which memory and narrative shape collective histories. Bound up in this lies an interest in recording-mechanisms, documents, evidence, and processes of editing; concerns rooted around a commitment to responsible story-telling and amplifying quiet histories. The work she makes is heavily research-driven and is often specific to particular sites and localised contexts. Working across audio, text, still and moving image, and sculptural forms, the work often employs motifs inherent to the medium of print – duplication, traces, material degradation – mirroring formal qualities often present within attempts to pin down or fix resistant and amorphous narratives. Holly Graham holds a BFA from Oxford University and an MA in Printmaking from the Royal College of Art. Current projects include commissions with UP Projects & Barnet Council (2023); TACO! (2021-23); and Manchester Art Gallery (2024). Recent solo projects include commissions with Locales, Rome (2023); Deptford X (2023), London; Skelf, Online (2022); Robert Young Antiques, London (2021); Gaada, Shetland (2020); Goldsmiths CCA, Online (2020); and Southwark Park Galleries, London (2020). Holly is an Associate Lecturer at the Royal College of Art, London; and is Co-Founder of Cypher BILLBOARD, London. She was awarded a Sainsbury Scholarship at the British School in Rome for 2023.

Rubie Green is a songstress, producer, multi-instrumentalist and unbridled trans voice from south London. Ranging from power ballads to art pop to folk rock, her writing presents a slippery manifesto for building defiant worlds in the face of trauma, oppression and apocalypse. Her recent EP Whatever Cage was released independently in October 2023; five self-produced and eclectically sonic songs demanding political change in the wake of the pandemic.

Rebeca Romero is a multidisciplinary artist born in Peru and based in London. Through a range of media that includes sculpture, ceramics, textiles, sound, performance and video, she explores concepts of diasporic identity, truth, fiction, and their relationship to the digital age. Often combining Pre-Columbian iconography with advanced scanning and printing technologies and materials ranging from clay to plastic, her works swing between the past and an alternate future. Examining the story-telling potential of artefacts, Rebeca looks into the intervention of the digital archive as a history-making technique. With a focus on new materialities, processes of production and collaboration between artist and machine, her work seeks to question ideas and practices of representation, appropriation and authorship. The recent inclusion of AI image generators into her work proposes a further re-understanding of hegemonic notions of intelligence, technology and knowledge. Rebeca received an MFA in Fine Arts from Goldsmiths College, University of London (2020), and has exhibited internationally, with solo and group shows in London, Turin, Vienna, Lisbon, Brussels, Cyprus and Lima. She was selected for Bloomberg New Contemporaries Award (UK, 2021) and most recently, received the OGR Award (2023, IT), awarded to artists that effectively convey complex relationships between art, technology and innovation, with a particular focus on the digital. Her work is featured in the book ‘Latin American Artists: From 1785 to Now’ (2023) by Phaidon.

Amba Sayal Bennet is a contemporary female British artist whose practice is inspired by the never-ending compositional possibilities of simple geometric and everyday materials. Her sculptures adopt hard-edge shapes translated from intricate drawings into their three dimensional forms of all shapes and sizes using a variety of materials and projection creating detailed and colourful compositions that enter and overtake the viewer's space. Sayal Bennet lives and works in London and received her BFA from Oxford University and her MA in The History of Art from the Countable institute. She was awarded their PhD in Art Practice And Learning from Goldsmiths and has published her practice- based research with Tate papers. Current Exhibitions 2023, Horror in the Modernist Block, IKON, Birmingham, GB Geometries of Difference, Somerset House, London, GB Upcoming Exhibitions 2023, Architectures of Excess (solo), Carbon12, Dubai, AE Recent Exhibitions 2022, Ancient Vessels, A.P.T. Gallery, London, GB Introducing Diana, DIANA, New York, US.

Abel Shah is an artistic duo consisting of Alex Bell and Giulia Shah, both currently based in London. Collaborating since 2017, they share similar interests in ‘authorship,’ the (re)representation of 'things,’ generation of knowledge and structures of power. The duo have been developing a dialogical approach to art making, and found that alternative ways of communicating, language and translation are the core subjects within their practice. They translate these ideas into multi-media installations, building frameworks for dialogue and collaboration having their practice embedded with a plurality of experience and voices, constructing together objects, text, images and sound. Bell graduated with a BA in Fine Art from Chelsea College of Arts, London in 2015. Shah graduated with a BA in Photography from the Gerrit Rietveld Academie, Amsterdam in 2014 and MA from Chelsea College of Arts in 2016. Solo Exhibitions 2022, Exodysis II, The NewBridge Project, London, Newcastle upon Tyne, Feb-March. 2021, Exodysis I, The Swiss Church in London, London, November 2019, Pain after Pane, Art in Windows, Liverpool, August. Speak Easy…(Stretch), Horse Shed, www.horse shed.co.uk, May Faking Things, Caalcanti, London, November.

Suzanne Treister is a British contemporary artist who became a pioneer in the digital/new media/web based field from the beginning of the 1990s. Born in 1958 and now based in London having lived in Australia, New York, Berlin, Treister studied at Central St Martins’s School of Art, London (1978-1981) and Chelsea College of Art and Design, London (1981-1982). Treister has evolved a large body of work which engages with eccentric narratives and unconventional bodies of research to reveal structures that bind power, identify and knowledge which, maintains her ongoing focus between the relationship of new technologies, society, alternative belief systems and the potential futures of humanity.

Press release distributed by Pressat on behalf of Hot Desque, on Friday 19 January, 2024. For more information subscribe and follow https://pressat.co.uk/

Holding Cosmic Dust Exhibition Hot Desque Art Intervention Corinium Museum Contemporary Art Female Artists UK Hot Desque Neena Percy Lizzy Drury Entertainment & Arts
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