On the weekend of 18 and 19 October 2014 – during the Frieze Art Fair – Serpentine Galleries presented the Extinction Marathon, the ninth in the Galleries' yearly Marathon series. Artists, writers, scientists, film-makers, choreographers, theorists and musicians explored the complex and timely topic of extinction through talks, conversations, performances and screenings. Felt across the humanities and the sciences alike, the spectre of extinction looms over the ways in which we understand our being in the world today: environmental degradation, atomic weapons, threats to communities and languages, global warming, economic collapses, natural catastrophes, life wiped out by genocide, disease and hunger – the constellation of topics around extinction is ever-expansive and as urgent now as ever before.
Both a reflexive overview and a call to action, the two-day event invited us to respond, together, to a changing world, addressing visions of the future in all their scientific, artistic and literary ramifications. The Extinction Marathon was programmed in collaboration with artist Gustav Metzger, whose work – including his Serpentine Gallery exhibition Decades 1959 – 2009 – addresses extinction and climate change.
Participants: artist and poet Etel Adnan; artist Maria Thereza Alves; artist Korakrit Arunanondchai; artist Ed Atkins; conservationist Jonathan Baillie; architect Alessandro Bava; writer and media activist Franco ‘Bifo’ Berardi; designer Irma Boom; Founder of The Whole Earth Catalog and Co-Founder of The Long Now Foundation, Stewart Brand; artist James Bridle; EDGE Foundation founder John Brockman; philosopher Federico Campagna; artist Heman Chong; martist Yve Laris Cohen; odel and actress Lily Cole; neuroscientist Molly Crockett; philosopher Helena Cronin; film-maker Adam Curtis; artist Jesse Darling; artist Benedict Drew; artist and poet Jimmie Durham; mathematician Marcus du Sautoy; palaeontologist Richard Fortey; agriculturalist and biodiversity archivist Cary Fowler; artists Gilbert & George; cultural critic and queer theorist Jack Halberstam; artist Susan Hiller; artist and designer Marguerite Humeau; choreographer Mette Ingvartsen; environmental social scientist Jennifer Jacquet; biologist and author Steve Jones; former Royal Navy Rear Admiral Nick Lambert; speculative designer Lisa Ma; biologist Georgina Mace; physicist Chiara Marletto; film-maker Sandy McLeod; artist and activist Gustav Metzger; artist Katja Novitskova; artist Trevor Paglen; artist Cornelia Parker; artist Hetain Patel; anthropologist Elizabeth Povinelli; evolutionary ornithologist Richard Prum; design writer Alice Rawsthorn; astrophysicist Martin Rees; Professor, Operational Research, Jonathan Rosenhead; artist Jeremy Shaw; artist Shimabuku; film-maker Eyal Sivan; writer Adam Thirlwell; environmental lawyer James Thornton; musician and sound recordist Chris Watson; artist Cerith Wyn Evans and artist Anna Zett. Contributions by artist and writer Sophia Al-Maria; sociologist Zygmunt Bauman; artist Paul Chan; artist Tacita Dean; artist Olafur Eliasson; artist Anna Galkina; writer William Gibson; author Daniel Kehlmann; poet Joanne Kyger; concrete poet Franz Mon; philosopher Timothy Morton; artist Yoko Ono; artist and poet Heather Phillipson; film-maker Laura Poitras and designers David Rudnick and Raf Rennie.
Stage design by
Programme design and Extinction identity by
Additional posters, statements and programme texts by
Maria Thereza Alves, AXOLOTL
Zygmunt Bauman, conversation excerpts in the Extinction Marathon programme
Joanne Kyger, 'Post Extinction'
Franz Mon, Wortbilder
On The Space and EXTINCT.LY
The event was live-streamed by thespace.org, which partnered with Serpentine for the Extinction Marathon in 2014 and hosted newly commissioned texts and artworks as well as the online platform EXTINCT.LY, which gathers data about global resource depletion, conflict zones and climate change scenarios as well as artists’ projects and activists’ calls to action. Includes works by:
Kari Altmann, FLEXIA, 2012-ongoing
Ed Atkins, www.80072745
Kev Bewersdorf, FEAR NO EVIL
David Blandy, Tutorial: How to Make a Short Video about Extinction
Benjamin Bratton, Notes on Extinction, Emergence and Biochemical Design
Keller Easterling, Stuffed
Femke Herregraven, Volatility Storms
Folder (Marco Ferrari, Elisa Pasqual, Pietro Leoni, Delfino Sisto Legnani, Alessandro Mason), Italian Limes
Emily Jones, (I want you to stay) #homni
Maurizio Lazzarato, Extinction
Lisa Ma, How to Be a Bioluddite
Alex Mackin Dolan, 2014 NYC People's Climate March Photos
Timothy Morton, I’ve Been Kicked in the Biosphere
Julian Oliver, Last Words
Tobias Revell, The Ongoing Collapse
UBERMORGEN, Ziron, 2014; Deephorizon, 2010-12
Michael Wang, Extinct in the Wild
Anna Zett, This Unwieldy Object
Extinction Marathon: Visions of the Future was curated by Hans Ulrich Obrist, Co-Director, Exhibitions and Programmes and Director of International Projects; artist Gustav Metzger; Jochen Volz, Head of Programmes; Lucia Pietroiusti, Curator, Public Programmes; Ben Vickers, Curator of Digital and Claude Adjil, Assistant Curator.
Curatorial Assistants: Sarah Shattock, Joseph Constable and Bridie Hindle.
Producer: Iain Pate
Production Manager: Kamal Ackarie.
EXTINCT.LY produced by Ben Vickers, Kei Kreutler, Lizzie Homersham, Owen Lacey, David Rudnick and Raf Rennie
Live blog by Huw Lemmey
Live stream by Trickbox
Photographs by Plastiques Photography