DATE ME! In my new chat-show, I speed-date visionaries about what 2050 would look like as a chonky Octopussy. Let’s conjoin our brains and hearts, entangle our tentacles, and take collective action. My first date was the iconic multi-hyphenate Bob and Roberta Smith whom I spent a hopeful afternoon with on 4th June 2020. This was made possible with the support of Unlimited. Watch this space for the film. Do you want to speed-date the Octopussy? Do you want to support this as a partnering institution? Do you want to help with the creative production? … Get in touch if you wish to support or speed-date me – chop chop! 2050 is loooooooooming.

‘Art is a human right. Artists are keyworkers. Making art is […] about organising, drawing and putting things together while thinking about the future. Paul Klee said art was the “life force”. So, make art, folks! We will get through this with art’. – Bob and Roberta Smith April 2020

April 2020:

3 HEARTS 8 LIMBS 9 BRAINS 500000000 EXCITABLE CELLS & ETERNAL PURRING: Speed-Dates with the Octopussy and Visionary Thinkers & Doers on Artful Ways Forward (working title)


  • Transformation: Catalyse change through artistic research & social practice; challenge (neuro)normative conventions; Kafkaesque reincarnation/performance; artists’ (thought) leadership (Bob & Roberta Smith; William Morris)
  • Collaboration: With visionaries and under-researched communities across disciplines/sectors/(dis)abilities; planting a seed for further conversations; inciting others
  • Time: Distortion (‘unprecedented’ times, ‘too early to tell’, ‘too slow to act’, ‘no exit strategy’, ‘stop-go’, ‘new norm’); utopian/dystopian vision; histories (plague/renewal every 100 years; ‘old habits die hard’ –Pinker 2020, ‘accelerated’ – Harari 2020;); meditations via time-based media (analog/digital; 15secs of fame; ‘insta’, jump-cuts, gamification); ADHD (attention-span; stand-up/can’t-sit-still comedy).    

ARTFUL: 3HEARTS is a chat-show. I’ll speed-date visionary people on ‘artful’ ways forward, countering the coronavirus, which is ‘clever’ in hijacking our lives (virologist Elisabetta Groppelli 2020), and against fear and division. Audiences will be gooseberries/witnesses, asking questions, holding us to account, and tasked with ways to play active role in this co-creation of better futures.

ARTISTS +OCTOPUSSIES AS KEY WORKERS: I will become Artful Octopussy. Pussycats (social-distancingimmortal etc) and octopuses, both recurrent motifs in my work, are keyworkers. Cats hijack soul-destroying conference calls, while octopus are die-hard. Around for 296 million years, with 3 hearts and half a billion neurons or ‘excitable cells’ each, they are ‘curious, embracing novelty, protean in behaviour as well as in body’ (Godfrey-Smith2017). Each limb is its own mind, problem-solver and sensor.

UPPING OUR GAME: Pre-pandemic, we already needed new leaders and new visions. The crisis has proven that we must become more tentacular,  intellectually-promiscuous and trespass boundaries (Tan 2018, 2020). As ‘novel, multidisciplinary and interdisciplinary approaches are needed’ to solve global challenges (UKRI), we must work together across silos (Tan 2020). And, evidenced by the UN callout to creatives, creativity is key to this mix and the new realities to come. Art can and should up its game, inventing platforms for new insights, playing on its ambiguity and complexity to provoke new questions. Let’s conjoin our brains and hearts, entangle our tentacles, and take collective action. 3HEARTS extends my investigations around dating and matchmaking, interdisciplinary ‘productive antagonisms’ (Latham and Tan 2016), being ‘ill-disciplined’: subverting ‘illness’, being playful (Tan & Asherson 2018), and 2020 strands Catalysing the Covid-19 Crisis for Change and ‘artful leadership’.  

TIMING+TIMELINESS: Speed-dates, as explored at South London Gallery, are perfect for the time-poor and the distractable/fidgety/novelty-chasing/risk-desiring/boredom-adverse ADHD person. Extensive fieldwork proved that most dating apps suck. My artful Speed-Dates are 8minutes with 8X1min parts. Each 60-second part, timed with a sand-timer, will be also published as standalone clips on Instagram and TikTok – new platforms for an ex-filmmaker, new/old media artist (including 1000-day online intervention & PhD research) and sometime broadcaster, podcaster and open-mic host.    

Caption: How can the disempowered change the world? Bob and Roberta quotes the great John Coltrane: ‘Good can only bring good’. Bob made an eloquent case for human rights through art.