Online 13 Aug 2020 Free

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How much do we really know about the substances that we ingest into our bodies?

The Campaign

Metabolic Selves is an initiative devised by students of the Royal College of Art’s School of Architecture studio ADS3: Refuse Trespassing Our Bodies, on the occasion of Back to Earth. Metabolic Selves rethinks our relationships to metabolism, and those microscopic agents and materials—from microplastics through to formaldehyde—that traverse our bodies and our environments as we traverse them.

As a collective and online platform, Metabolic Selves is primarily engaged with deconstructing the perceived boundaries between matter, bodies, and spaces. Metabolic Selves reconsiders the metabolic processes that have emerged as a result of human activity and the geopolitical systems entangled within them.

Metabolic Selves is concerned with the act of ingestion and the substances that consequently flow through our bodies, bearing witness to the effects of microscopic substances and materials on bodies, objects and landscapes alike. Over the course of 2019-2020, each individual researcher within the Metabolic Selves collective focused on one specific material or substance: the online platform invites audiences to engage, in a three-dimensional environment, with both source materials and outputs of these individual research projects.

Metabolic Selves has been a year-long collaboration between the RCA School of Architecture’s ADS3 (led by course tutors Cooking Sections), and the General Ecology project at the Serpentine Galleries, for Back to Earth. Enduring beyond the length of one academic year, Metabolic Selves will continue to exist as a collaborative platform and initiative. It will be officially handed over to the following year’s students as part of the launch event on 1 October.

You can listen back to the collective’s presentation of the project in the first episode of the Serpentine Podcast: Back to Earth – How do we get there?

About Metabolic Selves

In 2019-2020, Metabolic Selves are Charlotte Bonnie Toro, Freya Bolton, Claire Greenland, Rachel Housley, Cyprian Boateng, Kristofers Scipanovs, Tonderai Maboreke, Remi Kuforiji, Alexa Szekeres, Mayola Tikaka, Timothy Chan and Yu Hin Chun. ADS3: Refuse Trespassing Our Bodies was led in 2019-20 by Daniel Fernández Pascual & Alon Schwabe.

We exist amongst and within….

Hollows of Calcium,

Monuments of Sulphur,

Sedimentary Black Coal,

Veins of PVC Plastics,

Disparities of Iron,

Constellations of Microplastics,

Blooms of Cyanobacteria,

Domesticated Formaldehyde.

Showers of Polyfluoroalkyl,

Networks of Vanadium,

Plumes of Teargas,

Rivers of Cadmium.

Back to Earth

Back to Earth invites over sixty leading artists, architects, poets, filmmakers, scientists, thinkers and designers to devise artist-led campaigns and initiatives in response to the environmental crisis.

This is a multi-year project that is unfolding across the Serpentine’s programmes onsite, offsite and online throughout 2020 and beyond, with a major group exhibition in 2021. Throughout Back to Earth, our website will become an ever-growing, living archive of artist campaigns – we encourage you to revisit often to discover new perspectives, resources and calls to action.

We invite you to join us on this mission to reimagine new ways of being on and with Earth in the face of a climate crisis which threatens our existence.


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