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Simon Coates is a multi-media artist based in London, UK.  Coates’ practise is predicated on societal mores and behaviours as communicating modes, and he uses digital media (print, film and sound), live and recorded production, and curated events as tools for exploration. Coates has produced commissions and worked in partnership with Yinka Shonibare’s Guest Projects, Google Arts & Culture, the British Council, the Sound and Music charity, the British Music Collection, tech companies Sonos and Bang & Olufsen, rights organisations War On Want, In Place of War, and more. 
Between 2015 and 2023 Coates conceived and managed Tse Tse Fly Middle East, the non-profit arts and activism project that examined the role of artists in the struggle for human rights and censorship. Tse Tse Fly’s work extended from a monthly radio programme on UK arts station Resonance EXTRA and Moscow-based New New World to live community arts events, artworks, and curated exhibitions, all produced by Coates. A selection of the project’s audio and visual work is part of the British Library’s archive after the institution deemed it culturally significant and, in 2020, the Tse Tse Fly Middle East project was honoured with a Special Mention in the Amnesty International Brave Awards. 

​Coates’s artwork has been exhibited and screened at - among others - the Whitechapel Gallery (London), Coventry Cathedral, Conway Hall (London), Tunisia's Tunis Central gallery, Bristol's Caraboo Projects, Mülheim an der Ruhr in Germany, Turin's Paratissima Art Fair, Berlin's Art Claims Impulse Gallery, Egypt's Cairotronica, and at venues and festivals in the USA, Italy, Turkey, Spain, Argentina, Poland, Chile, and the Netherlands.  In 2020 he was one of three shortlisted artists for the Kerdroya community land art project in Cornwall.  In 2023 he premiered a new body of artwork at the Arrrtoury Art Festival in South Korea and his short film 'Crow' was mentioned in the British Film Institute's Sight & Sound magazine's Best Films of 2023.

Writing is a key part of his practice, and Coates writes articles and reviews for Dua Lipa's Service95 website,  the New York Observer, Paste magazine, The New European, (Scottish daily newspaper) The National, Index on Censorship magazine, and other publications.  Published pieces include interviews with artists Shilpa Gupta, Constant Dullaart, Soheila Sokhanvari, and Matthew Arthur Williams, curators from Tate Britain and the Barbican, Belarus Free Theatre founder Nicolai Khalezin, director Ivo van Hove, profiling William Kentridge and Jan Švankmajer, exploring what it's like to own a Banksy artwork, and more. Coates has also made work under the names Ubu Kung, Tse Tse Fly Middle East, and A Taxi For My Uncle pseudonyms. The Ubu Kung project is ongoing, and focuses on experimental music and film. He has produced four Tse Tse Fly Middle East albums of experimental music: Easy Listening Vol.1, Instruments of the State, These Are Our Friends Too and This Is Kafala.  In 2022 Coates launched  The Radio At Night, both an online archive of revolutionary sound work and a set of tools to inspire others to engage with social politics.  

​Coates lived in the UAE from 2011 to 2017, and from 2014 to 2015 he managed the Dubai Community Theatre and Arts Centre, programming theatre and live work from Trevor Noah, Chicago Shakespeare Company, Gulzar and the Moscow City Ballet, and curating art projects featuring Jeremy Deller, Mohammed Kazem, Alvin Lucier and more.  As a result, he is a member of the British Council Gulf Alumni. 

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