Watch: Nicole Bachmann, shell of hope, in cycles

This video documents Nicole Bachmann‘s shell of hope, in cycles, a new work that premiered earlier this year at Whitstable Biennale 2022. It’s available online for a limited time, until Friday 9 December.

shell of hope, in cycles brings together movement and voice to explore the forming of subjectivity and relationships in our present time.

The pressing issues of Brexit, hostile immigration policies and water pollution inform this performance work, which took place on Seasalter beach – an area intensely affected by these same matters.

Thinking about how emotions manifest in (this) space, four performers represent the states of mind connected to grief, anger, fragility and optimism, and create a narrative of continuous and osmotic separateness and togetherness, unfolding in a polyphonic embodiment of perspectives on being a migrant. 

Rather than breaking language in an act of rebellion, the work attempts to create a new story that intertwines with the one of the sea, another essential character in this work. Water, which brings us together and separates us, holds the atavic memory of everything in the world. It has a mood of its own and a natural inability to contain any border. Its fluidity and dark depths offer solutions, in the best feminist and new materialism spirit, beyond the binary thinking of white patriarchy which has led to catastrophic outcomes regarding pollution, and the vulnerability of the coastal environment. 

In shell of hope, in cycles, this awareness merges with the embodied narratives of migration in the natural setting, leaving us to wonder about our positioning in this matter.

In addition to the relationship between the bodies, there’s a focus on the voice, forming a chorus, at times concordant and dissonant. This amalgam of voices adds to the intensity of the piece, whereby the audience participates in the voices ‘being taken into account’, or otherwise, not being heard.

Nicole Bachmann is represented by VITRINE. Find out more about Nicole’s work at and


Performed by Chess Boughey, Yos Clark, Patricia Langa and Cian McConn.

Filmed by Nicole Bachmann. Audio engineering by Samuel J. Rodgers.

Supported by The Swiss Arts Council Pro Helvetia, and The Swiss Cultural Fund.

Commissioned for Whitstable Biennale 2022.

Curated by Keira Greene.