A London LASER / Serpentine Cinema special screening of John Feldman’s fascinating documentary explored the life and ideas of Lynn Margulis, a scientific rebel who challenged entrenched theories of evolution to present a new narrative: life evolves through collaboration. Part of the Serpentine’s General Ecology project.
This programme was a collaboration between Central Saint Martin’s London LASER and the Serpentine’s General Ecology project – the galleries’ long-term, ongoing commitment to complex systems, interspecies landscapes and environmental questions, which manifests through research, publications, exhibitions, study programmes, radio and events.
As a young scientist in the 1960s, Lynn Margulis was ridiculed when she articulated a theory that symbiosis was a key driver of evolution. Instead of the mechanistic view that life evolved solely through random genetic mutations and competition, she presented a symbiotic narrative in which bacteria joined together to create the complex cells that formed animals, plants, and all other organisms. The idea that all of life is deeply interconnected and collaborative has radical implications for how we look at our selves, evolution, and the environment.
Filmmaker John Feldman travelled globally to meet Margulis’ cutting-edge colleagues and continually asked: What happens when the truth changes? Symbiotic Earth examines the worldview that has led to climate change and extreme capitalism and offers a new approach to understanding life that encourages a sustainable and symbiotic lifestyle.