In 2014, the Serpentine’s Extinction Marathon was hailed by The Guardian as ‘The artworld’s bid to save the world’. Since this pivotal event, the Serpentine has continued its research around ecology, climate change, animality, human and artificial consciousness, wellbeing, extinction, technology and multi-scale complexity.
General Ecology is a long-term, cross-organisational, multi-disciplinary and cross-media research project. Harnessing the network and learnings developed over the last years, the project is the Serpentine’s think tank at the porous thresholds of art, science and the humanities, bringing together the most forward-thinking researchers, artists, activists and practitioners from all disciplines to reflect on the urgent crises of the Anthropocene by thinking ecologically both within the Galleries, across a network of individuals and organisations, and in a wider context.
At its core, General Ecology works on myth-making and foundational narratives, moving away from notions of competition, and towards a consideration of co-operation and co-evolution at all scales from the quantum, through the neurobiological and to the planetary. General Ecology project puts artists, with their capacity to imagine and transform, at the core of scientific and organisational systems, and articulates itself alongside and across the Serpentine’s exhibitions, live programmes, education, publications and online platforms, so that each of these are woven into a wider, longer research and narrative around an expanded notion of ecology. Indeed, 'General Ecology’ at the Serpentine Galleries refers to the discipline and subject matter of ecology itself, as well as the principles, systems and methodologies that can be drawn from an ecological worldview.
The General Ecology project takes a holistic view of ecological principles and applies these principles at multiple levels, in order to engage with ecology both thematically (via programming addressing the ecological realm); as well as organisationally - in the way ecology can inform intra- and inter-organisational work in an art institution and further afield.
In its first phase, General Ecology is focusing on consciousness and cognition across interspecies landscapes, particularly through the year-long symposium in six parts, The Shape of a Circle in the Mind of a Fish (co-curated by Lucia Pietroiusti and Filipa Ramos). This research continues into 2019-20, alongside new strands currently in development, including an ongoing investigation of landscape in artists' films (Serpentine Cinema: On Earth series) and a reflection on what makes a 'microhabitable' environment (forthcoming).
General Ecology is curated by Lucia Pietroiusti (Curator, Live Programmes and General Ecology) with Holly Shuttleworth (Producer, Live Programmes) and Kostas Stasinopoulos (Assistant Curator, Live Programmes).
The Serpentine Podcast: On General Ecology
12/4 - PLANTSEX
19/5 - The Shape of a Circle in the Mind of a Fish with Plants
22/1 - Serpentine Cinema: On Earth and Gardening
14/1 - Serpentine Cinema: On Earth, Missing and Memory
11/12 - Serpentine Cinema: Symbiotic Earth: How Lynn Margulis Rocked the Boat and Started a Scientific Revolution
10/12 - Serpentine Cinema: On Earth, Poison and Place
1/12/18 - Symposium: The Shape of a Circle in the Mind of a Fish: we have never been one
1/11/18 - Serpentine Cinema: On Earth, Structure and Sadness
28/5/18 - Symposium: The Shape of a Circle in the Mind of a Fish: Language