Symposium: The Shape of a Circle in the Mind of a Fish: We have never been one

Ambika P3, University of Westminster

1 Dec 2018 - 3:00 PM to 9:00 PM

Symposium: The Shape of a Circle in the Mind of a Fish: We have never been one

Tickets £5 / £4 (conc.) available via Ticketweb

This is the second instalment of this year-long symposium and research project, presented as part of the General Ecology project, and features anthropologists, artists, robotics experts, historians and more, to address interior multitude, swarming organisms, entanglements, pregnancies, endosymbiosis, microchimerism and metamorphosis - across vegetal, human, artificial, non-human animal and mineral beings. Confirmed participants include artist Sophia Al-Maria, swarm robotics engineer Sabine Hauert, science historian and writer Daisy Hildyard, neuroscientist Leah Kelly, science sociologist Hannah Landecker, anthropologist Anna Lowenhaupt Tsing, anthropologist Germain Meulemans, biological systems scientist and network architect Phoebe Tickell and artist Jenna Sutela and more. Part 2: We have never been one is presented in collaboration with the London Contemporary Music Festival and the University of Westminster. Click 'Read More' for a full programme (coming soon). 

Read more

To launch its General Ecology project, and inspired by the 2019-2020 exhibition programme, Serpentine launches a long, durational symposium and research project in several parts, that will take place over eighteen months. Titled The Shape of a Circle in the Mind of a Fish, the gatherings bring together a wide range of thinkers and practitioners from various disciplinary ambits across art, literature, environment, science and technology to explore the porous boundaries between human, non-human animal, vegetal, mineral, mycellar and artificial consciousness and intelligence. 

The first symposium took place on Monday 28 May and brought together choreographers, scientists, artists and writers at the ZSL London Zoo to reflect about cognition and language in tandem with affect, agency and sensibility across species and beings. The Shape of a Circle in the Mind of a Fish, Part 1: Language opened with Simone Forti’s dance performance Sleep Walkers / Zoo Mantras (inspired by the movement of animals in zoos), interpreted by her long-time collaborator, dancer Claire Filmon. It was followed by talks and dialogues featuring writer Ted Chiang (author of “Story of Your Life”, the novella at the origin of the 2016 sci-fi blockbuster, Arrival); psychologist and dolphin cognition researcher Diana Reiss in collaboration with humanitarian and musician Peter Gabriel; artist Rasmus Nielsen from collective Superflex, as well as screenings of films by artists Allora & Calzadilla and Michela de Mattei and a remote contribution by Internet pioneer Vint Cerf

The Shape of a Circle in the Mind of a Fish is curated by writer and editor Filipa Ramos and Lucia Pietroiusti, Curator (General Ecology), Serpentine Galleries. Advisors to Part 2 include artist Pierre Huyghe, anthropologist Tim Ingold, LCMF artistic director Igor Toronyi-Lalic, artist Katharine Vega and Serpentine CTO Ben Vickers


Related Events / Exhibitions


ZSL London Zoo, NW1 4RY

Symposium: The Shape of a Circle in the Mind of a Fish, Part 1: Language

28 May 2018 - 6:30 PM

Artists, dancers, writers and scientists gather at the London Zoo to consider animal, human and artificial consciousness, language, and interspecies communication. See below for participants. Participants include writer Ted Chiang, artist Michela de Mattei; dancer Claire Filmon (performing Simone Forti); artist Rasmus Nielsen; dolphin cognition researcher Diana Reiss, as well as a remote participation by Internet pioneer Vint Cerf and a screening of The Great Silence by Allora & Calzadilla (in collaboration with Ted Chiang). Click 'Read More' for a full programme. Part of the Serpentine's General Ecology project.

View Event


Pierre Huyghe: UUmwelt

3 Oct 2018 to 10 Feb 2019

Pierre Huyghe, one of the world’s leading artists, known for creating complex immersive ecosystems, presents a major new exhibition at the Serpentine. For the exhibition, the Gallery has become a porous and contingent environment, housing different forms of cognition, emerging intelligence, biological reproduction and instinctual behaviours.

View Exhibition

Back to Top

Tuesday, 26th June 2018

Jenna Sutela, Holobiont, 2018 (Video Still)

Jenna Sutela

Holobiont, 2018

Video still