General Ecology is the Serpentine’s long-term and ongoing project researching complexity, more-than-humanism, climate justice and environmental balance. Founded in 2018, General Ecology is a strategic effort to embed environmental subjects and methods throughout the Galleries’ outputs, structures and networks. General Ecology concerns itself simultaneously with environmental and organisational ecologies.
General Ecology manifests through publications, exhibitions, study programmes, radio, symposia and live events as well as structural and systemic initiatives, bringing together practitioners from the fields of art, design, science, literature and anthropology, among many others.
In 2014, the Serpentine collaborated with artist Gustav Metzger on the Extinction Marathon, 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.
Thinking ecologically both within the Galleries (which are uniquely positioned within Kensington Gardens), across a network of individuals and organisations, as well as in a wider context, General Ecology works on myth-making and foundational narratives. Inviting artists, with their capacity to imagine and transform, into the core of scientific and organisational systems, General Ecology takes a speculative, as well as active, stance towards embedding deep ecological principles into the everyday. Purposely conducting research across the boundaries that have traditionally separated vegetal, human, non-human animal and artificial intelligence in science, the project proposes a practice of entangled interconnections and symbioses: co-evolution over competition.
Since 2018, General Ecology has presented the symposium series on interspecies consciousness, The Shape of a Circle in the Mind of a Fish, as well as the Serpentine Cinema programme On Earth and several episodes of The Serpentine Podcast: On General Ecology. A number of publications, reading groups, international study programmes and residencies are in preparation, including the reader Microhabitable (edited by Fernando García-Dory and Lucia Pietroiusti, and published in collaboration with Matadero, Madrid and INLAND/Campo Adentro), as well as the reader More-than-Human (edited by Andrés Jaque, Marina Otero Verzier and Lucia Pietroiusti).
In 2020-2022, much of the General Ecology’s processes and infrastructure is supporting Back to Earth, the Serpentine’s 50th anniversary project, dedicated to the environment.
The General Ecology Network, currently in development, convenes 100+ individuals and organisations across disciplines to prototype artist-led, environmentally driven systems change and bridge the knowledge and translation gap between culture, creativity and ecology.
The General Ecology Project is curated by Lucia Pietroiusti (Curator, Live Programmes and General Ecology) with Holly Shuttleworth (Producer) and Kostas Stasinopoulos (Assistant Curator, Live Programmes).
The Shape of a Circle in the Mind of a Fish is co-curated with writer and editor Filipa Ramos. Visual identity by artist Giles Round.