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Gallery to stage gender exhibition 'in this moment of flux'

Adam Faramawy/PA Wire

By Sherna Noah, PA Senior Entertainment Correspondent

A new exhibition is to explore "fluid understandings of gender".

Science Gallery London says it is "acknowledging the shifting social norms" with the new show.

Genders: Shaping And Breaking The Binary will use art and science to explore gender "in this moment of flux".

The exhibition and accompanying season will "draw on a growing scientific consensus that the fixed categories of 'female' and 'male' ... are simultaneously becoming less distinct", curators said.

Artists have been commissioned to make new work for the exhibition.

It includes "a series of non-binary Instagram filters, immersing visitors in an augmented reality... where identities can shift with a swipe".

While popular filters accentuate traits towards "conventional and gendered norms" of beauty, the featured ones "will play with the shape of the face in ways that don't play into normalised ideas of male and female beauty".

Visitors will also have "a very compelling and interesting encounter" with "the love hormone or bonding hormone" oxytocin, in a sound installation created by artists who worked in the lab at King's College London.

Another artist has co-produced, with LGBTQ young people, an interactive video game-style animation exploring life as a trans person, putting the "choices" and "challenges" faced by those changing their body into a "first-person experience".

A video and performance piece will explore "ideas of desire, sexuality and hormones", drawing on the repertoire of drag kings.

John O'Shea, associate director (creative) at the gallery, told the PA news agency: "We are experiencing significant changes in terms of how young people understand identity. It felt like a topic we should be exploring.

"The boundaries of what's considered the behaviour of a girl or a boy don't make a lot of sense to young people.

"We are not telling people what to think. All these artists are bringing their own perspectives in relation to emerging research. The exhibition will be displayed in a spirit of questioning. Visitors will hopefully leave with better questions."

Artists, social scientists, biologists, neuroscientists and activists will also take part in a season of accompanying events.

Genders: Shaping And Breaking The Binary opens on February 13 at Science Gallery London.

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