Installation view. Lou Lou Sainsbury, Earth is a Deadname, 2022. Commissioned and produced by Gasworks. Courtesy of Humber Street Gallery and the artist. Photo: Jules Lister

Earth is a Deadname, Lou Lou Sainsbury

Earth is a Deadname was a constellation of work by Lou Lou Sainsbury that sought to reimagine transgender experience beyond the limiting language of medicalisation, rewriting its histories into a cosmic poetry of trans sensuality, relation and desire. Comprising film, sound, stained-glass installation, sculpture and live-performance, the exhibition featured collaborations with the artists Ada M. Patterson, Kari Rosenfeld and Raffia Li.

Guided by sound, Earth is a Deadname took inspiration from Donny Hathaway’s heartfelt rendition of “A Song for You”, whose lyrics are punctuated by spiraling piano notes: “If my words don’t come together, listen to the melody ‘cause my love is in there hiding…I love you in a place where there’s no space or time.”

Revolving around “descending notes” was an erotic science-fiction film that explored transness as a form of resonance and dissonance. The film wove a cosmic love story between three transing beings whose desire unfolded across time and space, from the sensuality of early Christian sainthoods to future alien intimacies. Grounded in autobiographical experiences of tenderness, solidarity and grief within trans friendships and everyday life. As the world splits apart, these undercover beings covertly learn to live in transformation and to give each other breath. After the end of the world when the body has no end.

Earth is a Deadname was commissioned and produced by Gasworks, with generous support from the Freelands Foundation.


For more information download exhibition guide here:


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Join us for evening at Humber Street Gallery hosted by Critical Fish to reflect and unpick themes present in our current exhibition programme.

Lou Lou Sainsbury Artist Talk

Wednesday 8 March 2023
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Join artist Lou Lou Sainsbury online as she discusses her latest body of work for Humber Street Gallery, Earth is a Deadname.

Exhibition Launch Party

Thursday 15 December 2022
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Join us to celebrate the opening of Lou Lou Sainsbury’s Earth is a Deadname at Humber Street Gallery. This event is a chance to visit the exhibition and share a drink or two with creatives across the city.


Artist Bio

Lou Lou Sainsbury (she/they) is a trans artist, filmmaker and writer based in Margate, UK & Rotterdam, Netherlands. She identifies as a time traveller, making things that unwrite histories of living beings into mythopoeic dreamscapes, informed by queer & ecological activisms. Her work seeks to develop an ecological politics of encountering through long-term research-led projects, collaboration, improvisation, collective study, material exploration and documentary-film processes, informed by sonic thinking.

14 December 2022 – 26 March 2023

Space 1, Humber Street Gallery


Past events