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.