Work Marathon

Ondaatje Theatre, Royal Geographical Society and Serpentine Galleries & Pavilion 22–23 Sep 2018 Free

The 2018 Work Marathon invited artists, sociologists, anthropologists, writers, musicians, architects, scientists and philosophers to address the complex and timely questions of work, labour, automation and leisure.

Building on 2017’s GUEST, GHOST, HOST: MACHINE! Marathon, which focussed on artificial consciousness and machine learning, the 2018 Work Marathon explored issues including: technological developments leading to automation and its impact on labour; the political urgencies of coerced and invisible labour; and the role of non-human agents, including artificial intelligence, animals and materials, in the context of planetary ecologies.

The Work Marathon was conceived in collaboration with Professor Bernard Stiegler, who gathered experts from around the world to consider economics for an age of planetary-scale environmental crisis, looking to reduce the human footprint on the planet and reverse the phenomenon of entropy that follows. With Stiegler’s advice, the 2018 Serpentine Marathon had the goal of contributing to the writing of a manifesto, the first version of which was issued on 23rd September, and the definitive version of which was sent to the United Nations, in Geneva, on 10th January 2020 – the day of the centenary anniversary of the League of Nations.

Participants included: David Adjaye, *Dani Admiss, *Amal Alhaag, Anne Alombert, Sara Baranzoni, David Berry, Mark Boyle, *Marija Bozinovska Jones, Revital Cohen & Tuur Van Balen, *Lily Cole, Beatriz Colomina, Mark Cousins, Alison Crawshaw, Stella Creasy, Adam Curtis, Rana Dasgupta, Aria Dean, Julien Dossier, Marcus du Sautoy, Divya Dwivedi, *Cao Fei, Peter Fischli, Noel Fitzpatrick, Eva Franch i Gilabert, Matthew Fuller, Formafantasma, Fernando García-Dory, GCC, Anna Bella Geiger, Giacomo Gilmozzi, Gaël Giraud, *Goldin + Senneby, Jon Gray, *Miranda Hall, James Harding, Madeline Hollander, *Frances Holliss, Yuk Hui, Anne Imhof, Sam Jacob, *Anab Jain, Amal Khalaf, Josh Kline, Sofia Krimizi, Olivier Landau, *Legrand Jäger, Helen Lewis, Giuseppe Longo, Glenn Loughran, *Patricia MacCormack, *Justin McGuirk, Shaj Mohan, Maël Montévil, Gerald Moore, Clément Morlat, Farshid Moussavi, Oscar Murillo, *Simone Niquille, Precious Okoyomon, *Yoko Ono, Wilson Oryema, Marina Otero Verzier, Nina Power, Vincent Puig, Venkatesh Rao, Pedro Reyes, Daniel Ross, Saskia Sassen, *Susan Schuppli, Emily Segal, Jack Self, Victoria Sin, Nick Srnicek, P. Staff, Bernard Stiegler, Alain Supiot, Jamie Susskind, James Suzman, Territorial Agency, *Cassie Thornton, Phoebe Tickell, Rirkrit Tiravanija, Noam Toran, Troika, Katharine Vega, Paolo Vignola, *Marina Vishmidt, Eyal Weizman, Ines Weizman, *Jamie Woodcock, *Nil Yalter and Lynette Yiadom-Boakye.

*Denotes pre-recorded or remote participation

In advance of the Work Marathon, the series The Serpentine Podcast: On Work discussed some related themes and topics. The first three episodes, presented by Victoria Sin with Lucia Pietroiusti, were produced in collaboration with the Design Museum, London, Furtherfield, London and WORK, BODY, LEISURE (Het Nieuwe Instituut, Rotterdam).

Curated by

Hans Ulrich Obrist

Claude Adjil

Lucia Pietroiusti

Kostas Stasinopoulos

Ben Vickers

Kay Watson

Core advisory team
Dani Admiss, Alex Anikina, Daniel Ben-Chorin, Lizzie Carey-Thomas, Ruth Catlow, Lily Cole, Steffi Czerny, Marcus du Sautoy, Luba Elliot, Jefferson Hack, Hannah Kaye,
Amal Khalaf, Matt McAllester, Justin McGuirk, Marina Otero Verzier, Stephen Peel, Yana Peel, Alice Rawsthorn, Bernard Stiegler, Phoebe Tickell and Sumitra Upham.

Curatorial Assistants

Caterina Avataneo
Tamar Clarke-Brown


Ondaatje Theatre, Royal Geographical Society


Hans Ulrich Obrist
*Lily Cole and Mark Boyle, Marblehill
Mark Boyle and James Suzman in conversation, Primitive Affluence
Wilson Oryema, A Working Miracle in Three Parts
Beatriz Colomina
Amal Khalaf, Radio Ballads
*Simon Lincelles (Ars Industrialis), Ars Industrialis Vocabulary, 2018
Bernard Stiegler, Too Late? The Final Warning
*Data Gueule, La faim du travail, 2016
Olivier Landau, Contributive Economy
Maël Montévil, Entropy and the Anthropocene Paolo Vignola, Perspective and Locality: Notes for a Collective Ecological Individuation
Daniel Ross, Escapement: The Mainspring of Humanity is Running Down
Giacomo Gilmozzi, Smart Cities or Smart (Data) Mines
Anne Alombert, Contributive Research, Social Sculpture and Digital Studies: An Attempt to Adopt Disruption
GCC, GCC Lunch Break


Saskia Sassen
*Yana Peel
Intelligence Squared panel with Stella Creasy, Jack Self, Nick Srnicek, and Jamie Susskind, chaired by Helen Lewis
Pedro Reyes, Manufacturing Mischief
Oscar Murillo, Day Rehearsal Industrial Park
Adam Curtis and Hans Ulrich Obrist in conversation
James Harding
Formafantasma, I, You and It
Wilson Oryema, A Working Miracle in Three Parts


Fernando García-Dory, Into Their Labours
Phoebe Tickell, ENSPIRAL – A Network that Works
Marcus du Sautoy, (More Maths)=(Less Work)
Wilson Oryema, A Working Miracle in Three Parts
Anna Bella Geiger, work = trabalho
David Adjaye, Jon Gray and Lynette Yiadom-Boakye
Josh Kline, Unemployment
Rana Dasgupta, Does the End of Work Mean the End of Citizenship?


Emily Segal, Mercury Retrograde
Venkatesh Rao, Archetypes for the Anthropocene
Madeline Hollander, Flatwing
Peter Fischli
Aria Dean, The Labour of Appearance
Precious Okoyomon, sky songs
P. Staff, Treponema Pallidum
Anne Imhof

Stage Design
Rirkrit Tiravanija, Ne travaillez jamais, performed by Archie Proudfoot

Map Room

*Aurélien Barrau, Climax Festival, 8th September 2018
Julien Dossier, Clément Morlat and Olivier Landau, The Economy of Contribution in the Anthropocene and Beyond
*Institut de Recherche et d’Innovation, Entropy, Contributive Economy and Management of the Commons – Interview with Gaël Giraud, 2018
Maël Montévil, Giuseppe Longo and Bernard Stiegler, Mathematics, Life Science, Finance, Work and Economy
*Institut de Recherche et d’Innovation, Law in the Anthropocene – Interview with Alain Supiot, 2018
Divya Dwivedi, Yuk Hui, Bernard Stiegler and Paolo Vignola, Locality, Post- Colonial Studies, Cosmotechnics, Internation (according to Marcel Mauss) and “Negantropy”


*Werner Herzog, Lo and Behold, Reveries of the Connected World, excerpt, 2016
Shaj Mohan, Gerald Moore and Daniel Ross, Acceleration, Disruption, Bifurcation
*Autodesk Building Solution, What is BIM (Building Information Modeling)?, 2017
Sara Baranzoni, David Berry, Giacomo Gilmozzi and Saskia Sassen, Really Smart Cities, Platforms, Infrasomatisation
*Joseph Beuys, video excerpt
* United Nations Foundation, Welcome to the Anthropocene, excerpt, 2012
Anne Alombert, Noel Fitzpatrick, Glenn Loughran and Vincent Puig, Contributive Research, Social Sculpture, Art & Technology

Peter Fischli / David Weiss,
How to work better, 1991/2000
Peter Fischli / David Weiss, Zurich 2018. Courtesy Sprüth Magers, Matthew Marks Gallery New York and Los Angeles, Galerie Eva Presenhuber
Yoko Ono, Space Transformer, 2018

Cao Fei, Rumba II: Nomad, 2015, Video, 14’16”. Sound by Dickson Dee. Courtesy of the artist and Vitamin Creative Space.
Peter Fischli
Rirkrit Tiravanija, Working notes from Mongolia, 2018, 02:07’03”

Serpentine Gallery and Pavilion

11am–2pm: Oscar Murillo, Day Rehearsal Industrial Park
12–4pm: Beatriz Colomina, Bed-In; Colomina hosted informal conversations in the bed in the Serpentine Pavilion. Schedule below.
12–1pm: Sam Jacob, Mark Cousins, Frances Holliss, Marina Otero Verzier, Ines Weizman, Eyal Weizman
1–2pm: Troika, Sofia Krimizi, Territorial Agency, Nina Power
2–3pm: Revital Cohen & Tuur van Balen, Eva Franch I Gilabert, Amal Khalaf
3–4pm: Farshid Moussavi, Katharine Vega, Matthew Fuller, Pedro Reyes, Oscar Murillo

The bed has become the epicentre of post- industrial work, according to architecture historian and theorist Beatriz Colomina. In the age of social media, a unique horizontal architecture is redefining and redistributing labour. Room 902 of the Amsterdam Hilton Hotel was the site of John Lennon and Yoko Ono’s famous Bed-In for Peace, held from 25 – 31 March, 1969. More Bed-Ins would follow, in which Lennon and Ono attacked the society of achievement: ‘Work is a relative word, you know. Work is pleasure‘, Lennon argued. ‘I hate that kind of concept because it is ruining the whole society, that is; achievement and result… But that is all hypocrisy. They don’t have to have a result. They don’t have to achieve anything … They don’t have to work hard. Why do you have to work hard?’ Ono continued: ‘It’s an achievement to enjoy’. By conceiving their honeymoon bed as a 24-hour day workspace where they would invite press and communicate with a global audience every day between 9am and 9pm, and spend the other hours trying to conceive a child, Ono and Lennon challenged the distinction between work and leisure. They anticipated the working bed of today – the scattered, pillowy office from which an ever larger dispersed army of hyper-connected people regularly work, assisted by an array of communication technologies and a growing digital infrastructure. The clear demarcation between work and leisure time – between domestic space and the space of the office or the factory – is no longer a prerequisite for a post-industrial society. And the bed, Colomina argues, as a site for new forms of digital intimacy, protest, work, production and reproduction, becomes a ‘fucktory‘.

From WORK, BODY, LEISURE (Dutch Pavilion at the 2018 Venice Architecture Biennale / Het Nieuwe Instituut, Rotterdam)

Sunday 23rd September

Writing Workshop led by Professor Bernard Stiegler – Closed-door event, livestreamed on


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