Serpentine South Gallery 8–9 Oct 2016 Free

The Serpentine’s annual festival of ideas brought together practitioners from the fields of activism, art, anthropology, architecture, literature, music, philosophy, theology and science to focus on ritual, imagination and magical thinking.

I believe in the spirituality of the sacred. Not of religion, but of the sacred. What is the spirituality of the sacred? It’s the intuition of how we relate to the world. This is what the imaginary is: we feel the rumbling underneath us’ –Edouard Glissant

In its 11th year, the Serpentine Marathon series continued on its exploration of activism, art, anthropology, architecture, literature, music, philosophy, theology and science through a specific theme or topic of particular relevance in artists’ practice and in the wider contemporary context. Each year, the Marathon topic breaks through disciplinary boundaries to identify discursive movements, as well as the parallels and points of encounter between the empirical, the political and the imagined.

Following on from the 2014 Extinction Marathon, which presented environmental and human crises facing the world today (co-curated with Gustav Metzger) and the 2015 Transformation Marathon, which proposed ways of identifying and effecting change in the face of increasing complexity, the 2016 Miracle Marathon focused in on ritual, repetition and magical thinking to consider ways in which the imaginary can not only predict, but also play a part in affecting long-term futures. The initial concept for the Miracle Marathon was developed together with artist Sophia Al-Maria.

2016 saw the Marathon festival become a truly London-wide celebration, with Day 1 taking place at the Serpentine North Gallery in West London and Day 2 at Second Home, East London.

A series of miracles in audio form. The Miracle Podcasts were presented by Tabitha Thorlu-Bengura and Lucia Pietroiusti with some of today’s most interesting and innovative artists and theorists responding to the theme of miracles. Recorded live at the Serpentine Galleries’ Miracle Marathon, 2016.


Curated by 
Hans Ulrich Obrist

Lucia Pietroiusti

Ben Vickers

Claude Adjil

Core Advisory Team

Sophia Al-Maria, Lizzie Carey-Thomas, Mark Cousins, Marcus du Sautoy, Daniel Glaser, Andrew O’Hagan and Yana Peel

Curatorial Assistants

Chris Bayley

Taylor Le Melle

Nefeli Skarmea


Saturday 8 October 2016

10am-10pm, Serpentine Sackler Gallery


Yana Peel, Introduction
Hans Ulrich Obrist, Introduction
Steffi Czerny, Introduction
Kasper König, Skulptur Projekte Münster
Gilbert & George, FUCKOSOPHY FOR ALL
Sophia Al-Maria, The Unblinding
Pierre Depaz, Machine Language
Carina Namih, The Phantom of Heilbronn: Epistemology, Science and the Miraculous
Riccardo Sabatini, Unraveling the code of life
Christo, The Floating Piers, Lake Iseo, Italy, 2014-16 and two works in progress: Over the River, Project for the Arkansas River, State of Colorado and The Mastaba, Project for Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates
Fleur Melbourn, the little immaculate conception


Andrew O’Hagan, Miracles and Lies
A. Igoni Barrett
Etel Adnan, filmed by Hans Ulrich Obrist
Kader Attia, excerpts from Reason’s Oxymorons
Rose Issa in conversation with Lutz Becker, Signs of Our Times
Marcus du Sautoy, What are the chances of that!
Jussi Parikka, Underground: Infrastructural Imaginary
Kumi Naidoo, Africans Rising for Justice, Peace and Dignity


Kathelin Gray, Magic Circle: Identifying some special powers of enclosure, as in a ritual space, a theatrical stage, a laboratory enclosure. A compressed history of the unique, entangled histories of Biosphere 2, the Research Vessel Heraclitus, Theatre of All Possibilities and the Theatre for the Reconstitution of Reality (THEATRRR)
Romuald Hazoumè
Genesis P-Orridge
Timothy Morton, Stuff Can Happen
Manthia Diawara, Césaire’s Call to Magicians
Ruth Padel, Tidings: the Magic of Silent, Listen and Inexplicable
Mark Cousins, Miracles and Wishes
Jalal Toufic, The Aura: An Approach; or, How Many Miracles Did Jesus Perform?


James Bridle, The Cloud Index
Norman M. Klein, Rogues, Picaroons and Sharpers: The Mysteries of the Scam
Carlo Rovelli, Rituals Appease, Imagination Creates, Magical Thinking Misleads
Book signings, Norman M. Klein and Carlo Rovelli
Kemang Wa Lehulere, The Bird Lady in Nine Layers of Time
Calla Henkel & Max Pitegoff, Budget Cryogenics
Es Devlin, Box of Miracles
Ben Okri, The Miraculous: An Invocation

Douglas Gordon, I still believe in miracles.

Stage Design
Sophia Al-Maria and Navine G. Khan-Dossos, Know the Ways

Live Blog
Legacy Russell 

Film Programme
Jimmie Durham, The Stone (6’15’’, 2016)
Rachel Maclean, Please Sir… (25’16’’, 2014)
Kader Attia, excerpts from Reason’s Oxymorons (2015)
Francis Alÿs, When Faith Moves Mountains (15’09’’, 2002)  
Joana Hadjithomas and Khalil Joreige, Waiting for the Barbarians (4’30’’, 2013)
Manthia Diawara, Edouard Glissant: One World in Relation (2009)
Fleur Melbourn, the little immaculate conception (5’39’’, 2016)
Apichatpong Weerasethakul, Ashes (20’, 2012)
Beatriz Santiago Muñoz, Black Beach/Horse/Camp/The Dead/Forces (8’, 2016)
John P. Allen in conversation with Hans Ulrich Obrist, London, October 2016

Sunday 9 October 2016

12pm–1am, Second Home


Lekan Babalola & The Sacred Funk Project
Gabriel Gbadamosi and Lekan Babalola, The Oracle as Miracle
Federico Campagna, The Metaphysics of Miracles
Jimmie Durham, The Stone
Adrián Villar Rojas
Jacqueline Rose, When Is a Miracle not a Miracle?
Simon Schaffer in conversation with Mark Cousins and Hans Ulrich Obrist
Edna O’Brien, reading from The Little Chairs and other works
Barnaby Brown, Ancient Pipes


Adel Abdessemed and Edna O’Brien in conversation with Hans Ulrich Obrist
Kemang Wa Lehulere, Some Deleted Scenes Too
Tomás Saraceno and Jan Beccaloni in conversation with Hans Ulrich Obrist
Sarah Abu Abdallah, Seven Earths
Anne Carson, By Chance, the Cycladic People
Kris De Meyer, John-Dylan Haynes and Aarathi Prasad in conversation with Daniel Glaser, I Believe in (Scientific) Miracles
The Otolith Group
Eyal Weizman
Mark Cousins in conversation with Eyal Weizman
Neil MacGregor in conversation with Andrew O’Hagan


Leafcutter John
Julian Melchiorri in conversation with Marcus du Sautoy
Caspar Heinemann and Rebecca Bligh, In Conversation On Land
Jim Shaw with music by D’red D’warf, Is It Magic, Father?
Holly White, Shipping Forecast
Rachel Maclean, Inner Beauty and We Want Data
Genesis P-Orridge
Kathelin Gray in conversation with Genesis P-Orridge
Boris Groys, Immortal Bodies
Es Devlin in conversation with Alice Rawsthorn, Box of Miracles


Jesse Darling, Hunch and Jeebi on the Miracle Hour
Beatriz Santiago Muñoz, Toothsighted
Bhanu Kapil, Six Notes for The Miracle: bodies, oranges, voices, water, love and blood
Meriç Algun Ringborg, Have you ever seen a fig tree blossom?
Hito Steyerl and Milo Rau in conversation with William Kherbek, August 2016
Martine Syms
Tai Shani with Let’s Eat Grandma and Maya Lubinsky, Mystical Best Friend, A Miracle Play
Let’s Eat Grandma
Marie NDiaye, Ever Thinking about It, read by Deborah Laurence Rosan
Marianna Simnett, The Needle and the Larynx
Takeshi Shiomitsu and Paul Purgas
Mario Bellatin, The Buñuel Miracle

Dale Berning and Ute Kanngiesser, Interludes
William Kherbek, Audio Blog
Syowia Kyambi, Between Loving & Me
Leafcutter John, Interludes
Tabitha Thorlu-Bangura, presenter

Sarah Abu Abdallah, Seven Heavens

Live blog
Legacy Russell 

Sunday 9th October
12–11pm, Second Home

Film Programme
Jimmie Durham, The Stone (6’15’’, 2016)
Rachel Maclean, Please Sir… (25’16’’, 2014)
Kader Attia, excerpts from Reason’s Oxymorons (2015)
Francis Alÿs, When Faith Moves Mountains (15’09’’, 2002)  
Joana Hadjithomas and Khalil Joreige, Waiting for the Barbarians (4’30’’, 2013)
Manthia Diawara, Edouard Glissant: One World in Relation (2009)
Fleur Melbourn, the little immaculate conception (5’39’’, 2016)
Apichatpong Weerasethakul, Ashes (20’, 2012)
Beatriz Santiago Muñoz, Black Beach/Horse/Camp/The Dead/Forces (8’, 2016)
John P. Allen in conversation with Hans Ulrich Obrist, London, October 2016


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