The Future is Loading

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View the Shape Open 2020: The Future is Loading exhibition, featuring the work of 25 marginalised artists! 

"2020 has been a paradigm shift for many, a year like no other. A time of raw hardship and sudden turmoil in the midst of which we have witnessed gestures of care and support capable of reminding us: we need each other. 

For many disabled and marginalised people, familiar with adversity, witnessing the world come to a halt in a matter of days has paradoxically generated hope. Hope that, for once, the world might take greater heed of what it means to be shut away, impoverished and excluded. 

For people who are marginalised in the present day, facing discrimination and barriers to access, imagining the future can be an act of radical defiance.

As the crisis has evolved and its shockwaves travelled, we find it acting as a catalyst for many other significant conversations, in the home, the workplace, or whilst, in the case of the Black Lives Matter movement, taking to the streets in an assertion of grief and outrage. In this time of reflection and learning, a plurality of realisations has occurred. With this, widespread unrest and demands for change have arisen.

More than our lives, entire structures have been thrown into the air by what we are living though, revealing the outlines of a starkly unequal world. In the process, a pandemic of health has radicalised mainstream debate, and we are no longer shying away from discussing the pre-existing pandemics of racism, of gender discrimination, barriers to inclusion and advancement, of gaping inequality, isolation, and disenfranchisement. The list goes on.

Set against this uncertain and restless backdrop, where risk of greater exclusion battles with unique opportunities for change, we at Shape are looking to the future as an act of hope.

For people who are marginalised in the present day, facing discrimination and barriers to access, imagining the future can be an act of radical defiance. It is the act of making a claim to a space that is otherwise denied ­– and for once, marginalised people have the agency to place themselves at its centre."


The Shape Open is our annual exhibition of artwork by disabled and non-disabled artists created in response to a disability-centred theme. The Open provides a space where disabled and non-disabled artists can discuss and exchange views and ideas about issues and topics which are often sidelined within artistic debate.

The Future is Loading / Shape Open 2020

Curated and creatively produced by Shape Arts 


Arts Council England logo.

Banner image: 'Stay Sick' from 'An Ode to Marge Simpson' (2018) by Laura Lulika. Image courtesy of the artist.


Affiliation with Shape: Shortlisted for the Adam Reynolds Memorial Bursary 2019 ; Exhibited at the Shape Open 2014/15 ; Laura contributed to the Shape Open 2020: The Future is Loading.


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Laura Lulika is a crip (sick+disabled) artist and researcher. Working predominantly with video, sound and performance, their practice explores themes of care, sexuality, labour, sickness and performativity in the everyday. Their work is driven by the rhythms, movement, and rituals within daily activity. Looking at accessibility from various perspectives, Lulika attempts to work outside of common capitalist artworld structures in liminal spaces that are not controlled by structures of oppression.

Lulika has worked with many community groups including senior-citizen dancers, people with learning disabilities and urban beekeepers. Collaboration is key to their practice. They strive to work in interdependent formats which reflect their care needs and the care needs of everyone involved. 

Lulika is an initiating member of Sickness Affinity Group which has been active for three years. SAG is a collection of artists, researchers and health practitioners, working with the topics of art, health and accessibility. They function as a support group and working group that challenges the competitive and ableist mode of working in the arts by sharing experiences and information and by prioritizing the well-being and access needs of its group members.

About 'An Ode to Marge Simpson' (2018) which Laura contributed to The Future is Loading...

An autobiographical work which deals with voice-loss due to chronic illness. After losing their voice for over a year due to a combination of health issues, Laura received vocal therapy. However, they found that watching The Real Housewives while housebound is what really helped them regain their voice and agency. The work celebrates The Real Housewives franchises as a rare example in popular culture where women's voices are prioritised, while at the same time questioning the privilege these women hold and therefore the healthcare they have access to in comparison to many of the viewers. It draws on GIF reaction culture and the thriving online crip community and features questions the artist was asked by their vocal therapist.

View all The Future Is Loading artist profiles