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From the conception of the idea by Therese May of a ”year-long festival of Great Britain and Northern Ireland“, the time has come to witness the culmination of the Unboxed festival, one of the main commissions being Tour de Moon. You can read about the backstory to this festival and Nelly’s thoughts in the article.

“In Shoreditch, Ben Hayoun is not worried about the critics. She’s more interested in seeing things from the perspective of the Moon. Her project, Tour de Moon, has received £7.5mn in public funding. It is aiming to bring “the smell of the Moon” to live events in Leicester, Newcastle and Southampton. It will expose moths to sound from the Moon “to see how they react”. It is giving £1mn in grants to hundreds of young artists and musicians to contribute to the Moon convoy, to spearhead conversations around nightlife. “Everything we’re doing is high-level risk. There is no back-up plan! You can put this as a headline.”

Ben Hayoun, who was born in France to an Armenian mother and an Algerian-born father, does not believe in Brexit. She barely believes in Britain. “I’m post-nation-state . . . If you want to hear me say, ‘Oh my god, the UK is the most groundbreaking nation state to come up with such a brilliant idea [as Unboxed]’, I don’t believe that for a second.””

About Tour de Moon Ltd

Tour de Moon is a cosmic adventure, a large-scale public festival of immersive experiences and live events developed in collaboration with our “universal satellite”: the Moon, seen as a character, a landscape and a prompt for radical imagination. The festival, composed of 8 programming strands, aims to reach millions of visitors across the UK and the world in 2022, through live and virtual experiences, supporting youth, nightlife creators, scientists and digital creators through cooperation. With Tour de Moon, we seek new beginnings, to empower others to create, to initiate, to innovate with new thinking and pluralistic practices so that history does not repeat itself on and beyond Earth.Tour de Moon is composed of more than 90 individuals as a part of its team, Youth Reporter Board and Advisory Board and further collaborative organisations, all working together to build a festival committed to plurality, decolonial practices, social and racial justice, solidarity and equity. www.tourdemoon.com

About Nelly Ben Hayoun Studios

Founded in 2009, Nelly Ben Hayoun Studios Ltd. designs experiences for you to become an astronaut in your living room while dark energy is being created in your kitchen sink and a volcano erupts on your couch. We are an interdisciplinary design studio which devises subversive events, experiences, and feature-length films. We work on multimedia, highly ambitious projects to empower countercultures and communities by building platforms for them to challenge power structures, while also allowing for change and critical thinking through multi-faceted immersive experiences. We are pioneers in the design of experiences, our mission is to reveal meanings and power structures through experiential practices and to foster critical thinking within institutions across the world. We have consulted and worked with leading scientists, creatives, writers, brands, politicians, policymakers, musicians, and engineers worldwide and we have a track record of having successfully challenged public engagement mechanics through theatrical, experiential, films and design practices. We rethink and question systems in education, design, distribution, communication, public speaking, politics, economics, history, and sociology towards further pluralistic models which we implement in our projects. We are a team of architects, graphic designers, textile designers, philosophers and more based in an artist collective in a train carriage on top of a nightclub. Plurality is one of our core tenets and as a result we support various forms of educative and alternative training, through the University of the Underground, a tuition-free charity we founded in 2017 with board members such as Pussy Riot, Noam Chomsky, and Massive Attack; it supports free, pluralistic, and transnational education. In 2020, Dezeen shortlisted Nelly Ben Hayoun Studios Ltd. one of the world’s best design studios and in 2021 The Dots selected Nelly Ben Hayoun Studios Ltd. as one of the “Top 50 companies to work for in 2021”.