Garden Marathon

Serpentine South Gallery 15–16 Oct 2011 Free

The Serpentine Gallery Garden Marathon was the sixth in the Gallery’s acclaimed Marathon series. This two-day event was an exploration of the concept of the garden.

A product of the creative encounter between the man-made and the natural, between order and disorder, the garden can offer productive metaphors for the interactions between human life and time, care, thought or space.

The event was directly inspired by the Serpentine Gallery Pavilion 2011, designed by Peter Zumthor. The encounter of architecture and garden created a contemplative space that was both set within – and meditatively separated from – the wider surroundings of Kensington Gardens.

Participations ranged from the fields of horticulture, design and architecture to explore the creation of gardens and their spatial, urban and scientific importance, through to works by artists and readings by poets and writers exploring the significance of the garden in our experience of the world.

Participants included:

Etel Adnan, Brian Aldiss, Maria Thereza Alves, Rosie Atkins, Yto Barrada and Sean Gullette, Gianfranco Baruchello, Gerry Bibby, Stefano Boeri, Andrea Branzi, John Brockman, Pablo Bronstein, Lizzie Carey-Thomas, Hélène Cixous, Emer Coleman, Pascal Cribier, Adam Curtis, David Deutsch, Elizabeth Diller, Jimmie Durham, Marcus du Sautoy, Brian Eno, Patrick Eyres, Hans-Peter Feldmann, FIELDCLUB, Sophie Fiennes, Adriaan Geuze, Jef Geys, Dominique Gonzalez-Foerster, Dan Graham, Rodney Graham, Fritz Haeg with Denise Withers, Zarina Hashmi, Will Holder, Jennifer Jacquet, Charles Jencks, Koo Jeong-A, Alison Knowles and Meghan DellaCrosse, Pablo León de la Barra, Jonas Mekas and David Ellis, Catherine Mosbach, muf architecture/art, Christian Philipp Müller, Peter Murray-Rust, Silke Otto-Knapp, Mark Pagel, Philippe Parreno, Giuseppe Penone, Julia Peyton-Jones, Alice Rawsthorn, Carissa Rodriguez and Avena Gallagher, David Rowan, Peter Saville and Anna Blessmann, Rüdiger Schöttle, Richard Sennett, Bas Smets, Paul Smith, Something & Son, Susan Stenger, Corin Sworn, Wolfgang Tillmans, Mierle Laderman Ukeles, Günther Vogt, Sophie von Cundale, Alex Waterman, Cerith Wyn Evans, Andrea Zanzotto and Qiu Zhijie.

As well as: The observer’s guide to the Serpentine Gallery Garden Marathon – compiled in one voice, in the field, by a pool: Paul Becker, Ian Evans, Will Holder, John D. Millar, Francesco Pedraglio, Heather Phillipson, Natasha Soobramanien, Cally Spooner, Nick Thurston and Luke Williams.


Curated by

Hans Ulrich Obrist

Sally Tallant

Nicola Lees

Lucia Pietroiusti


Piet Oudolf

David Rowan

John Brockman

Alice Rawsthorn

Jennifer Higgie

Philip Ball

Public Programmes Assistants

Antonia Blocker

Sydney Townsend

Kelly Sumiko Akashi


Saturday 15 October


Julia Peyton-Jones, Hans Ulrich Obrist, Steffi Czerny & Marcel Reichart: Introductions
Wolfgang Tillmans: Ursuppe and Other Garden Pictures
Rosie Atkins: A History of Garden Design in 20 Minutes
Jef Geys: Quadra Medicinale: Weeds and Biodiversity
Gianfranco Baruchello: The Coefficient – The Garden as a Joint Agent
Hélène Cixous: Un vrai jardin – A Real Garden
Etel Adnan: The Spring Flowers Own
Patrick Eyres: Ian Hamilton Finlay and Little Sparta
Cerith Wyn Evans: Reading: Poems by Ian Hamilton Finlay
Alice Rawsthorn: Interviews Adriaan Geuze, Something & Son and FIELDCLUB
Adriaan Geuze
Something & Son: Born in a Shed
FIELDCLUB: Some Aspects of Neo-Agrosophy
Dan Graham: Museum as Garden/Garden as Museum


Brian Aldiss: Interviewed by Hans Ulrich Obrist
Rodney Graham: Lobbing Potatoes at a Gong
Günther Vogt: Reality as Model as Reality
Rüdiger Schöttle: Theatergarden Bestiarium
Alison Knowles and Meghan DellaCrosse: Loose Pages
Pascal Cribier: Garden, Nature or Landscape?
Zarina Hashmi: Invisible Gardens
Elizabeth Diller: Agri-tecture
Fritz Haeg & Denise Withers: How a Garden can Change Your Life
Christian Philipp Müller: The New World
muf architecture/art: The Rehearsal
Peter Saville & Anna Blessmann: TV Blumen
Gerry Bibby: No Picnic (A Promenade of the Hearts), performed with Sophie
Corin Sworn: Out of Range
Rodney Graham: Lobbing Potatoes at a Gong
Susan Stenger: Ryoanji by John Cage

Sunday 16 October


Marcus du Sautoy: Exploring the Mathematical Garden
John Brockman in Conversation with Brian Eno
Jennifer Jacquet: Shame Totem v.2.0
Mark Pagel: Cities as Gardens
Jimmie Durham: Berlin, April 2000
Paul Smith: Kew’s Millennium Seed Bank: Supporting Innovation and Adaptation in Horticulture in a Changing World
Dominique Gonzalez-Foerster & Pablo León De La Barra: SAVAGE LAVA JUNGLES
David Rowan, Emer Coleman & Peter Murray-Rust: Walled Gardens vs. Open Spaces: The Tension at the Heart of the Internet
Stefano Boeri: A Planetary Kitchen Garden
Richard Sennett: Open and Closed: How Gardens Serve as Places for Reflection
Catherine Mosbach: Phase Shift Park
Giuseppe Penone: The Garden Begins when a Man Tramples the Soil
Silke Otto-Knapp: Recollections of a Happy Life, being the Autobiography of Marianne North, a reading
Charles Jencks: The Universe in the Landscape
Pablo Bronstein: In Conversation with Lizzie Carey-Thomas


Sophie von Cundale: The Garden of Endemol
Jonas Mekas and David Ellis: Orvydas Garden
Adam Curtis: I Am not a Garden. I Am a Machine
Carissa Rodriguez & Avena Gallagher: Wowowee
Philippe Parreno & Bas Smets: CHZ
Mierle Laderman Ukeles: Transfer and Exchange: Proposal for 1 Million Participants to Participate in an Artwork for Freshkills Park, NYC: Public Offerings Made by All Redeemed by All
Yto Barrada & Sean Gullette: Sean Gullette Reads from Yto Barrada’s “A Guide to Trees for Governors and Gardeners”, with a Slideshow
Sophie Fiennes: 3a The Little House
Alex Waterman: Beacons of Ancestorship


Additional contributions

Maria Thereza Alves: …sur l’herbe (homage à Domenico & Vincenzo Mancini)
David Deutsch: Why Are Flowers Beautiful?
Hans-Peter Feldmann: Christmas Tree
Will Holder: Pool (see back page)
Koo Jeong-A: Undisturbed Pools
Andrea Zanzotto
Reading by Hans Ulrich Obrist
Qiu Zhijie

Garden Marathon 2011


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