A city skyline is abstracted into geometric patterns in a kaleidoscope effect, all across a warm terracotta-coloured, dusty background
Rena Anakwe, 'Rain in my hip', still, 2023

Rain in my hip

In this looping film work, artist and poet Rena Anakwe responds to ideas of weather, energy and interconnection within Tomás Saraceno’s Web(s) of Life.

Based in Brooklyn, New York City, Anakwe experienced the extreme wildfire smoke which blew down from Canada across the seaboard of the northeastern Unites States in June 2023. Against this backdrop – one that frames our moment of violent climate disturbance – Rain in my hip is a meditation on sensation and information, as its poetic voiceover considers our bodies’ layered interactions with both material atmospheres and the flowing data of contemporary technological networks.

Rain in my hip

In a past life I tasted wind on my tongue and felt rain in my left knee.
In a past life I looked to bird flight, silence and coo.
The rain doesn’t fall sweet anymore,
filled with ash and acid washing ozone and particle load,
air sits heavy on the horizon masking skyfall and skyline with chemical fogs so thick that treetops and buildings fade into ebbless shadows,
it’s all very confusing.

Ever since the forest caught fire… and again and again,
I check my phone for warnings telling me if it’s safe to breathe the outside,
let the air in.
I check my phone for quotients I don’t understand and colour codes cataloged in greens, yellows, oranges and reds.
Percentages and hyperlinks to pressure systems, flood warnings and advisories,
alerts for geotagged locations blanket each page and I’m confused if they are really happening or predictions with no home.

The connectivity of life through nature,
the environment,
weaving infinitely, together, in opposition.
A thread expanding,
unending and breaking periodically, reattaching itself.
With or without human interruption, intervention, attempts at harmonium
this evolutionary cocoon that has been cracked, scarred, marred and battered still tries to hold us,
shield us
despite the gaping holes and sunken spaces where roots and gullies,
freshwater and canopy once lay it still holds us.
Electrified and overstimulated, are we both,
racing to achieve a homeostatic rate of collective respiration and photosynthetic survival.
In a past life,
I rose with the sun and felt damp cold in my lower hip.
Today, I see leaves turning their backs to the sky and touch a few of their thirsting veins in awe at their response.
Rain is coming.
I forget my phone and smell petrochemicals from the pavement mix into the stagnant heat as ten drops hit my forehead in succession and I run into an open doorway remembering that today’s forecast said ‘clear and sunny’.
It’s all very confusing.


Rena Anakwe is an interdisciplinary artist, performer, poet, and healer working primarily with sound, visuals and scent. Exploring intersections between traditional healing practices, spirituality and performance, she creates works focused on sensory, experiential interactions using creative technology. She is based in Brooklyn, New York, by way of Nigeria and Canada. Anakwe is a graduate of New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts, The Actors Studio Drama School at Pace University and New York University’s Leonard N. Stern School of Business. Under the moniker ‘A Space for Sound’, Anakwe released the first in an ongoing audio series titled Sound Bath Mixtape vol. 1 in summer 2020, through New York City-based label and collective PTP. In autumn 2021, her album Sometimes underwater (feels like home) was released through RVNG Intl’s Commend THERE Label.


Discover over 50 years of the Serpentine

From the architectural Pavilion and digital commissions to the ideas Marathons and research-led initiatives, explore our past projects and exhibitions.

View archive