Second Tongues

A speculative fiction narrative by Toronto-based artist Serena Lee, developed collectively with others and exhibited in multiple parts for Cubitt's ongoing Structures That Cooperate Programme.


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 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. A proposition for reimagining futures decentered and reorganised.

Presented across video, installation and augmented reality, the exhibited elements of Second Tongues have developed through conversations with London-based language education organisations, migrant worker and newcomer community services, linguistic researchers and public audiences. In addition the artist has collaborated with Black Shuck, a London-based co-operative developing augmented reality layers for further speculation and translation.

The installation continues to use and adapt Clemence Seilles’ ongoing scenography for the Structures That Cooperate programme.

Ongoing and off-site collaborations include working with Clemence Seilles on the scenography of the gallery space, The Voice of Domestic Workers in residence, Schooling & Culture working at Arts and Media School Islington and research with W.A.G.E.


Opening Times
Preview: Thursday 13 June, 6.30-8.30pm
14 June - 14 July 2019
Wednesday to Sunday, 12-6pm

Gallery and Studios, 8 Angel Mews,
N1 9HH