Saying Goodbye To Cassini


On 15 October 1997 the spacecraft Cassini-Huygens was launched into space. It arrived in Saturn’s orbit on 1 July 2004. The two parts of the spaceship separated in 2005 with Cassini continuing to study Saturn and its natural satellites. Through Cassini we have been able to see Saturn’s rings in all their glory and more recently, the prospect of life on Saturn’s moon Enceladus.

Now, the spacecraft is in the Grand Finale phase of its mission after nearly twenty years in orbit. It has been programmed to plunge into Saturn’s atmosphere on 15 September 2017. The spaceship will be completely destroyed.

Ella Frears, poet-in-residence at Royal Holloway University has been producing creative work in response to the final months of Cassini’s mission, exploring what the death of a machine one billion kilometres away might mean to us.

Her work will culminate in a funeral-event on 15 September at Bold Tendencies in Peckham. Hosted by Stuart Silver, the evening will feature poetry written during the residency, a live performance of a newly commissioned Space-Funeral March by composer Rufus Isabel Elliot, and new works by Architect/Designer Emma-Kate Matthews and filmmaker Louis Rizzo-Naudi. This will be followed by the wake: DJ, drinks, dancing.

We’d like you to come and join us as we say goodbye to Cassini. The dress code is ‘Space-Funeral’ – which can be interpreted however you like! Tickets can be purchased here and there are a limited number of free tickets available for low-income writers. The evening will be BSL-interpreted.

Come one, come all in your futuristic-garb to lament or celebrate this spacecraft’s extraordinary journey.

About the Artists

Ella Frears is a poet, visual artist and curator. She has had work published in Poetry London, The Rialto, The Moth and The Stockholm Review of Literature among others. She was a Jerwood/Arvon mentee, was shortlisted for Young Poet Laureate for London, and has completed residencies for Tate Britain, The National Trust and the Olympic Park. Ella’s debut pamphlet Passivity, Electricity, Acclivity is forthcoming with Goldsmiths Press Nov 2017.

Stuart Silver is a Bafta nominated, Perrier award winning writer/performer/director working solo across film, theatre and gallery venues, television, radio, public spaces and in creative educational and mentoring contexts. He created the acclaimed monologue with bluegrass ukulele ‘You Look Like Ants’ and is the co-founder of (nobleandsilver) – the multimedia performance group.

Rufus Isabel Elliot is a composer. His works have been performed in venues such as the Tate Modern, LSO St Luke’s, London, and the Chisenhale Art Gallery, and have been used collaboratively by artist Benedict Drew as part of the fortnight-long ‘Slow Boat’ project, in which a canal barge was studded with contact mics and brought from Birmingham to London.

Emma-Kate Matthews is an architect, artist and musician. In 2012 she founded EKM Works; a creative practice which promotes cross-disciplinary design with a focus on the boundaries of innovative technologies. Emma-Kate has exhibited at the Royal Academy and the RIBA, she also teaches at the Bartlett UCL.

Louis Rizzo-Naudi is a filmmaker living in London. In 2016 he graduated from King’s College London and received the Film Studies dissertation prize for his essay on the sublime in footage of the International Space Station. He is currently working on two projects to be filmed in Malta and London.

Ella’s project has been funded by the Arts Council England and developed in partnership with Spread the Word. Find out more here:


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