12th September - 16th November
Our Future Likes
Bethlem Gallery
Open Open 10am - 5pm, Wednesday - Friday and the first and last Saturdays of the month

Our Future Likes explores the complexities of the lives we live on and off line and ways it can be damaging to our mental health. The exhibition reveals how some artists and young people in our society are taking the lead, creating art that explores how we can make the internet a more positive and contemplative space. And also, how we can begin to take charge of our futures within it.

Photography, graphics, sculpture, writing and more by artists, young people from Bethlem Adolescent Unit at South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust and young people from across South London.

Contributors: Alexandra Leigh, Art Assassins (South London Gallery’s young people’s group) with Lloyd Corporation, Daniel Regan and young people from Bethlem Adolescent Unit, Dolly Sen, Gabrielle de la Puente (White Pube), Jack Burrus-Coomber, Katherine Melmoth and Charlotte Hooley, Love People Support Bethlem  (a collective of students from Langley Park School for Boys), Lisa Biles, Max Reeves and young people from the Raw Sounds project at Raw Material.

Some young people at the Bethlem Adolescent Unit describe their weekly two-hours of internet time as time to “cry and [socially] die”, where scrolling through curated presentations of other people’s ‘perfect lives’ on Instagram, leaves them feeling low, isolated and excluded. Psychologist Naz Wagle at the hospital, describes the quandary being faced: “at a time of massive losses and fracturing in life, could there be some advantage in maintaining these new forms of connection; might engagement with social media act as a pressure release, a way to seek validation, or to sublimate difficult stuff into another way of expressing, what we have for millennia through a myriad of art forms, whether that’s a 280 character tweet or a picture on Instagram?”.

The exhibition theme has been developed with young people and staff at the Bethlem Adolescent Unit at Bethlem Royal Hospital.

The following spoken words pieces were created by Umaru, Ben and Michael with the Raw Sounds project at Raw Material for the exhibition and were performed on the opening night.


Image credits from left to right:

The lost City of Toys by Max Reeves

Party (Digital drawing from the novel Generation Why) by Jack Burrus-Coomber

Shion by Alexandra Leigh

What’s Crapp App by Dolly Sen