The 2014 Serpentine Marathon included artists, writers, scientists, film-makers, choreographers, theorists and musicians, who presented on the topic of Extinction.
On the weekend of 18–19 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’