Demelza Toy Toy and Metafuturism Lab:
How does the Moon walk? 2023

SPACE Lab [co-creative art astronomy experiments],
APT Gallery, 6 Creekside, London SE8 4SA. 16th Feb - 5th March 2023.
Co-curated by Ulrike Kuchner and Nicola Rae.

Funded by the Science & Technology Facilities Council and Lewisham Creative Change.


Demelza Toy Toy engages with performance, sound and collaborative modes of practice as strategies of resistance to narratives of cultural dominance. Her practice is informed by decoloniality combined with a feminist approach. Toy Toy considers her works as a tool to activate spaces for the potential of the audience to reflect upon their own complicity in the systems that maintain dominance. For SPACE Lab, Toy Toy collaborates with the Metafuturism Lab led by clinical epidemiologist Mona Nasser including Sven Kiefer and Yvette Gonzalez. The astrophysicists, astronautical scientists, and artists of the interdisciplinary Metafuturism Lab create an immersive workshop for SPACE Lab during which the participants imagine their future lives on existing exoplanetary systems. The participants co-create and act out speculative future scenarios as science fiction narratives, ideas and methods based on scientific and societal challenges.



How does the Moon walk? speculates on the relationships between human, plant and planetary bodies through the gesture and language of the loop or cycle. How might the loop serve as a method to displace normative narratives associated with belonging and create space for healing from the trauma of colonial practices?

Toy Toy’s artistic research related to conversations with and the work of the science collaborators led to the articulation of “truth” and the production of knowledge in the fields of space science and astronomy. Who owns the truth, who is the truth for and how might we counter these narratives through artistic processes?



Peace Lilies and Stratocaster guitars co-create a 1960-inspired sound space for the presentation of a performance in which Toy Toy remixes text generated from the ceremonial Goodwill Messages of 73 nations, left on the Moon during the first Moon landing in 1969. The messages have one common theme: peace. Buzz Aldrin, the astronaut carrying the messages, nearly forgot to leave them behind and quickly tossed them to the surface and nudged the with his boot after he was reminded by Neil Armstrong. In Toy Toy’s performance, her disembodied voice instructs the listener to engage with planetary communion rituals, and guide them through time to access speculations about their future selves on other planets. The Goodwill messages now rest in an aluminium case on the Moon’s Sea of Tranquility; one of about a hundred sites on the Moon with evidence of human activity — of the claiming of territory on new land.

It would take 13 further years before the first woman of colour was sent to space during the STS-47 Spacelab Life Sciences mission. In another fragment of the installation, we follow engineer and astronaut Mae Jemison getting ready for her trip into space and working at the workbench during the mission. We read along the commentator’s remarks, judgements, and request until we hear Mae Jameson’s powerful response filling the space: “Tell Jerry I have lots of 35mm shots of this bag”.



More about Demelza Toy Toy

More about Mona Nasser

More about Yvette Gonzalez

More about Sven Kiefer


All photos by William Green