The Shape of a Circle in the Dream of a Fish

A project on dream life and consciousness across species and beings, presented in collaboration with Galeria Municipal do Porto at the Galeria da Biodiversidade, Porto, Portugal.
Online Offsite 26-27 November 2022 Free


The fifth edition in the General Ecology series The Shape of a Circle in the Mind of a Fish kicks off with a two-day live event in Porto, Portugal, and continues online and off-site throughout winter 2022/23.

What is a sense of self, when beings and landscapes exist in states of co-evolution and co-habitation? What rituals and practices, including but not limited to scientific research, help us to re-evaluate how we share this planet?

The Shape of a Circle in the Dream of a Fish considers the complex and multilayered question of dream life across species boundaries – reflecting on scientific advances in animal and plant consciousness, as well as shamanic and mystical encounters with them. Working to dissolve disciplinary binaries and encourage exchange between epistemologies, we are interested in asking questions and sharing stories that can challenge the anthropocentric paradigms that hold things in place.

Participants include: architect Yussef Agbo-Ola (Olaniyi Studio), philosopher Federico Campagna, psychologist and cognition researcher Nicola S. Clayton, artist and writer Onome Ekeh, artist and performer Cru Encarnação, behavioural ecologist Alex Jordan, religious historian Sophie Lunn-Rockliffe, artist and musician Nahum Mantra, vocal performer Hatis Noit, artist Giles Round, and artist and architect Rain Wu.

A programme of film screenings will be taking place on 27 November in Porto, featuring the following moving-image works:

Mariana Caló and Francisco Queimadela, Palomacia, 2022

Rosalind Fowler, all is leaf, so to amplify the wonder, 2020

Derek Jarman, A Journey to Avebury, 1971

Dominique Knowles, Talequah, 2019

Ben Rivers, Ljen, London, 2022

Himali Singh Soin, Ritual Telepathy at the Relic Chamber, 2019


About the Fish series:

The Shape of a Circle in the Dream of a Fish is presented in collaboration with Galeria Municipal do Porto. It is part of The Shape of a Circle in the Mind of a Fish, a long-term research project, festival and publication series which is one element of the General Ecology project at Serpentine. The Fish series thinks about intelligence, sentience and existence across more-than-human worlds. It is curated by Lucia Pietroiusti (Founder, General Ecology, Serpentine) and writer and editor Filipa Ramos. Editions 1-4 were co-curated and produced with Kostas Stasinopoulos (Curator, Live Programmes, Serpentine) and Holly Shuttleworth (Producer).

The Shape of a Circle in the Mind of a Fish thinks about intelligence, sentience and existence across more-than-human worlds. Previous editions have addressed animal, human and artificial consciousness, language and interspecies communication (Language, ZSL London Zoological Society, May 2018); interior multitude, swarming organisms, symbiosis and entanglements (We Have Never Been One, Ambika P3, University of Westminster, December 2018); plant sentience, intelligence, communication with the vegetal world and forms of eroticism, mysticism and healing (PLANTSEX and With Plants, Cinema Lumiere, French Institute and EartH Hackney, April/May 2019); and the teeming, entangled life of the ground, land, soil and Earth (The Understory of the Understory, online at the specially created website, designed by artist Giles Round, December 2020).

Previous series participants include practitioners from various disciplines, including musician Peter Gabriel; sound recordist Chris Watson; writer Ted Chiang; anthropologist Anna L. Tsing; artists Karrabing Film Collective, Kapwani Kiwanga and Tabita Rezaire; computer scientist Andrew Adamatzky; internet pioneer Vint Cerf; theologians Amy Hollywood and Simone Kotva; philosopher Michael Marder, and many others.


Discover 50 years of the Serpentine

From the architecture pavilion and digital commissions to the ideas marathon and the General Ecology programme, explore 50 years of artists, projects and exhibitions.

View archive