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Selina Thompson

the neck and chest of a person with gold lungs drawn on
Immersion, Selina-Thompson. Photo by Bettina Adela

“Breath is not invisible to those for whom breathing is difficult”

Immersion was a collaboration between Selina Thompson, the People of Tower Hamlets and the Air they Breathe. Over one day, four groups of self-appointed Custodians of Air stood facing the North, South, East and West of Tower Hamlets, playing the sounds of breathing out into the day and night.

Built from a chorus of breath collected in parks and spaces across the borough from local womxn of colour, the sound is a moment of cleansing and defiance, taking a sound we are surrounded by and tuning into its beauty at a time when breathing has never felt so loaded.

Film by Matthew Kinani

Immersion culminated in choral performances across Tower Hamlets and at Artsadmin’s Toynbee Studios, amplifying and strengthening the sound, and tuning in to the defiance of borough’s history.
It is a moment to remember the sacredness of air, of living in a constant cycle of inhalation, transformation and exhalation with the planet and each other.
It is a pushing back against the tickled throat, black snot and bitter aftertaste of ULEZ.
It is a reminder that we cannot solve the decimation of our planet until we solve the gentrification and pollution of our cities.
It is a reminder for us to remember what it is to breathe.

Immersion was one of the commissions for Season for Change, a UK-wide cultural programme inspiring urgent and inclusive action on climate change, delivered in partnership by Artsadmin and Julie’s Bicycle.

This project was supported by ACT (Art, Climate, Transition) through the Creative Europe programme of the European Union, the Foundation for Future London and City of London, and Arts Council England through Season for Change. 

Date Title Venue City
10 September 2021 Immersion Four locations across Tower Hamlets: London
18–21 May 2016 A Nation's Theatre - Selina Thompson: Race Cards Toynbee Studios
13 April 2013 SPILL Pat It and Prick It and Mark It with 'B' | Selina Thompson National Theatre Studio London
the neck and chest of a person with gold lungs drawn on
Immersion, Selina-Thompson. Photo by Bettina Adela