from 10AM to 10PM
from 10PM to 12PM

About

About

Transformation
Marathon

Serpentine Sackler Gallery
17th—18th October 2015

Celebrating the tenth anniversary of the Serpentine Marathon series, this year’s Transformation Marathon invites artists, sociologists, anthropologists, writers, musicians, architects, scientists and philosophers to address cultural, political and physical shifts. The Transformation Marathon invokes the hidden knowledge of magic and alchemy. It investigates the strategies of cyborgs, magicians, parasites and storytellers to consider how to represent and effect change in the face of complexity. How can the arts and sciences reimagine aesthetics and politics? How are these individual and collective actions reflective of a precarious landscape? This year’s Marathon also addresses the history and transformation of the art institution, with a series of interventions devised by Tino Sehgal and Dorothea von Hantelmann.

Returning to the 24-hour format of the inaugural Interview Marathon in 2006, the Transformation Marathon takes place at the Serpentine Sackler Gallery on Saturday, October 17 from 10am to 10pm and continues from midnight until noon on Sunday, October 18 on the first-ever Serpentine Radio broadcast and presented in collaboration with the Goethe-Institut, London.

The Transformation Marathon is curated by Hans Ulrich Obrist, Co-Director, Exhibitions and Programmes and Director of International Projects; Lucia Pietroiusti, Curator, Public Programmes; Ben Vickers, Curator of Digital and Claude Adjil, Assistant Curator. Curatorial Assistants: Chris Bayley, Taylor Le Melle, Sophie Oxenbridge, Cory Scozzari and Nefeli Skarmea. Radio.SerpentineGalleries.org designed by Folder; Marco Ferrari, Elisa Pasqual, Alessandro Busi, Michela Di Cristina, Aaron Gillett and Alice Longo, developed by Kei Kreutler.

The Serpentine Marathon series was conceived by Co-Director Hans Ulrich Obrist in 2006 and is deeply intertwined with the annual Serpentine Pavilion commission, launched by Director Julia Peyton-Jones in 2000.

 

 

The Marathon

The Marathon

The 10th Serpentine
Marathon

The Transformation Marathon will be the tenth in the series of Marathons presented at the Serpentine Galleries, the first being the Interview Marathon, 2006 (with Rem Koolhaas); followed by the Experiment Marathon, 2007 (with Olafur Eliasson); the Manifesto Marathon, 2008; the Poetry Marathon, 2009; the Map Marathon, 2010; the Garden Marathon; the 2012 Memory Marathon, the 2013 89plus Marathon and the Extinction Marathon (with Gustav Metzger), 2014.

Saturday 17 October

Programme

Saturday 17 October


Julia Peyton-Jones,
Introduction

Hans Ulrich Obrist,
Introduction

Alejandro Jodorowsky,
filmed by Hans Ulrich Obrist

Steffi Czerny,
Introduction

Dorothea von Hantelmann,
Transformations of Art Institutions in Transforming Societies I

Abraham Cruzvillegas,
Jimmie Durham, Mark Godfrey and Hans Ulrich Obrist in conversation

Dominique Gonzalez-Foerster,
It Looks Very Chaotic but Somehow It Makes Sense

Gabriel Ann Maher with Alice Rawsthorn,
Mediated Bodies

Hilary Cottam with Alice Rawsthorn,
Only the Lonely - Re-designing the Welfare State

Christien Meindertsma with Alice Rawsthorn,
Bottom Ash Observatory



Adam Greenfield
in conversation with Aimee Meredith Cox

Juliet Jacques,
Before and After

Adrian Hon,
When There’s No Signal

Gabriella Coleman,
The Hacker as Parasite

Peter Wächtler,
Poem Against War

François Jullien,
The Silent Transformations



Etel Adnan

Robert Grenier,
DRAWING FORM NATURE: Transforming Letters to Reimagine/Write the World (in time remaining)

Binyavanga Wainaina,
Like Polyps or Jellyfish, but Tough

Marcus du Sautoy,
Granada, Goldberg and Ghosts

Mary Bauermeister,
1+1=3

Territorial Agency,
Transforming the Territories of the Anthropocene

Aimee Meredith Cox,
Shapeshifting and a Black Girl Sense of Space

Saskia Sassen,
Expulsions

Eyal Weizman,
august clouds: in the absence of digital time, physical clocks — such as shadows and clouds — are the only time indicators. this allowed the reconstruction of one day in the 2014 gaza war.



Gilbert & George and Victoria

Keren Cytter,
STALKER

Grace Wales Bonner,
Everythings for Real

Andrea Crespo,
Polymorphoses (epilogue)

Kim West,
1 Museum 2 Information 3 Transformation

Dorothea von Hantelmann,
Transformations of Art Institutions in Transforming Societies II

Bruno Latour

Bruno Latour,
Tino Sehgal and Hans Ulrich Obrist in conversation

Nkisi,
Occult Instability



Company: Movements, Deals and Drinks (Myvillages),
Company Drinks Serpentine Marathon Bar

Samson Kambalu,
Doing Time

Patrick Staff and Candice Lin,
Reading and Smoking

Koki Tanaka,
Precarious Tasks #15: Exchange of Our Clothes and Books as Exchanging Our Body and Thoughts



Stage Design

Gabriel Ann Maher,
trans_formation sequence



Sunday 18 October

Programme

Sunday 18 October


Presented by Gil Leung and Rebecca Lewin

Lorenzo Senni

Samson Kambalu,
Why I Am So Clever

Tim Etchells,
Time Piece / Interstitials



Steven Warwick (Heatsick),
Heatsick: Exclusive mix of new works

Bill Kouligas,
Devoid



Rosi Braidotti,
Language is a Virus

Ayşe Gül Altınay with Nil Mutluer and Yıldız Tar,
Feminist and Queer Transformations of Politics, War and Peace in Turkey

Katherine Angel and Helen Hester,
Technosexuals

Elysia Crampton,
March 5th Facebook Post

Jumana Manna,
A Magical Substance by Night

Jaakko Pallasvuo and Roy Boswell,
The Hunchback of South Bermondsey



Deep Lab,
Erasing Borders

Nick Bostrom,
Reading from Superintelligence: Paths, Dangers, Strategies

Lynn Hershman Leeson,
Selected Excerpts from The Infinity Engine

Haunted Machines,
Alchemy

Jude Crilly,
Calais Bounce

CAConrad with Mica Sigourney,
Magenta Capstone of Apex Poetry Interviews CAConrad

Alexandra Kleeman and Rachel Rose
in conversation with Hans Ulrich Obrist



Federico Campagna with Peter Adamson, Charles Hope and Anthony Arthur Long, Neo Antiquity: Transformations of Philosophy and Poetry

Lucy Mercer with Liz Berry, Ken Cockburn, Francine Elena, Alec Finlay, Harry Gilonis, Declan Ryan and Mark Waldron, Neo Antiquity: Transformations of Philosophy and Poetry

Helen Benigson,
Cashino Desert

Aram Saroyan with John Densmore,
Sawing the Wood

Patrick Mudekereza



Disobedient films
with Jamie Perera, Climate Symphony

Jalal Toufic,
An Outstanding—and Still Crazy—Task: Transforming Ourselves into Gods

Julia Tcharfas and Holly White,
Interspecies Communication

Sophia Al-Maria and Maurice Louca

Julieta Aranda,
Data: Synthetic recollections of things that never happened.

Time Is Away,
Neither Created Nor Destroyed

Judy Chicago in conversation with Hans Ulrich Obrist

Candice Lin,
To Recognise Oneself as Parasite

Koki Tanaka,
Sound of Democracy (Field Recording / September 14, 2015 / Tokyo)



Participants

Participants

The Transformation Marathon brings together artists, scientists, activists, designers, art historians, poets, sociologists, philosophers, filmmakers, writers, anthropologists, choreographers and musicians to address historical, biological, cultural and physical change, as well as evolution and metamorphosis.

Participants List

Abraham Cruzvillegas is an active member of the Intergalactic Taoist Tai Chi Society. For the past few years, Cruzvillegas has created a body of research under the title autoconstrucción or ‘self-construction’, which involves some simultaneous 'autodestrucción', 'reconstrucción' and 'autoconfusión'.​ In 2015, Cruzvillegas participated in the 12th Havana Biennale as well as in solo shows at Gdańska Galeria Miejska,​ Poland​; MALI, Lima, Peru; and ArtSonje Center in Seoul, South Korea. This year, his collected writing will be published ​by Harvard University Press, under the title The Logic of Disorder. Recently he was commissioned for a site-specific commission at Tate Modern’s Turbine Hall. For this, his sculpture Empty Lot will be exhibited until April 2016.

Adam Greenfield is a writer and urbanist based in London.

Adrian Hon is co-founder and CEO at Six to Start, creators of game-like stories and story-like games including the world's bestselling smartphone fitness game, Zombies, Run! with two million players. Six to Start's clients have included Disney Imagineering, the BBC, Channel 4 and Penguin, and the company has won multiple awards including Best of Show at SXSW. Adrian is author of A History of the Future in 100 Objects, and has written a column about technology for the Telegraph. He originally trained as a neuroscientist and experimental psychologist at Cambridge, UCSD, and Oxford.

Aimee Meredith Cox is a cultural anthropologist and movement artist who teaches at Fordham University. She is the author of Shapeshifters: Black Girls and the Choreography of Citizenship (Duke, 2015) and the forthcoming edited volume, Gender & Space (MacMillan). She has written peer-reviewed articles and book chapters on performance, race and gender in youth culture, and the politics of cultural production. Aimee is a former professional dancer who toured widely with Ailey II/The Alvin Ailey Repertory Ensemble. She is the founder of BlackLight, a young women of color-led activist art initiative that produced community-based projects in Detroit, Newark, and New York City.

Alec Finlay is an artist and poet. In 2002 he became the first BALTIC artist in residence. He continues to exhibit widely. Finlay set up the small press Morning Star. He has published over thirty books; recent publications include I Hear Her Cry (2015), Taigh: a wilding garden (2014) and Global Oracle (2014). His most recent poetry collection is a better tale to tell, published by the Centre for Contemporary Arts, Glasgow; National Library of Scotland; Saltire Society; and the Scottish Poetry Library.

Alejandro Jodorowsky is a playwright, director, producer, composer, actor, mime, comic book writer, tarot reader, historian, psychotherapist and scholar in comparative religion. Jodorowsky worked both in mainstream theatre and offbeat productions. With Surrealists Roland Topor and Fernando Arrabal, Jodorowsky created the “Panic Movement!” in 1955. From his practice as a tarot reader, his years working in the theatre and influenced by psychoanalysis, he has developed a mixture of psychotherapy and shamanism called psychomagic. His filmography includes El Topo (1970), The Holy Mountain (1973), Tusk (1979), Santa Sangre (1989), The Rainbow Thief (1990), and The Dance of Reality (2013).

Alexandra Kleeman is a New York-based writer of fiction and nonfiction, and a PhD candidate in Rhetoric at UC Berkeley. Her fiction has been published in The Paris Review, Zoetrope: All-Story, Conjunctions, and Guernica, among others. Nonfiction essays and reportage have appeared in Harper's, n+1, and The Guardian. Her work has received scholarships and grants from Bread Loaf, the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts, Santa Fe Art Institute and ArtFarm Nebraska. She is the author of the debut novel You Too Can Have A Body Like Mine (Harper, 2015) and Intimations (Harper, 2016), a short story collection.

Alice Rawsthorn writes about design in the International New York Times, which syndicates her columns worldwide.  She is also a columnist for Frieze magazine, and the author of the critically acclaimed book Hello World: Where Design Meets Life, which explores design’s impact on our lives: past, present and future.  Based in London, Alice is a trustee of the Whitechapel Gallery and the contemporary dance group Michael Clark Company, as well as chair of trustees at the Chisenhale Gallery.  She was awarded an OBE in 2014 for services to design and the arts.

Andrea Crespo (born 1993, Miami, USA) lives and works in New York. Solo exhibitions include: Hester, New York (2015); Kraupa-Tuskany Zeidler, Berlin (2015). Selected group exhibitions include Associazone Barriera, Turin (forthcoming, 2015); Institute of Contemporary Arts, London (2015); Museum Fridericianum, Kassel (2015); Rowing Projects, London (2014). Their work is the subject of an upcoming solo exhibition at Swiss Institute, New York.

Anthony Arthur Long is Professor Emeritus of Classics, Irving G. Stone Professor Emeritus of Literature, and Affiliated Professor of Philosophy and Rhetoric at University of California at Berkeley. His recent work has focused on ancient notions of the self. His latest book is Greek Models of Mind and Self (Harvard UP, 2015) and his forthcoming book, with M. Graver, is the translation of Seneca, Letters on Ethics (Chicago UP, 2016). He is also currently working on a new translation with commentary of Plotinus, Ennead II.4, On matter.

Aram Saroyan’s Complete Minimal Poems received the William Carlos Williams Award from the Poetry Society of America.  He is featured in the documentary film One Quick Move or I’m Gone: Jack Kerouac at Big Sur and his comments appear in the oral biographies George Being George: George Plimpton’s Life, and Salinger.

Ayşe Gül Altınay (Sabanci University, Istanbul) works on militarism, (post)memory, genocide, violence and gender. Among her publications are The Myth of the Military-Nation: Militarism, Gender and Education (Palgrave Macmillan, 2004); and The Grandchildren: The Hidden Legacy of “Lost” Armenians in Turkey (with Fethiye Cetin, trans. Maureen Freely, Transaction, 2014). Since 2003, Altınay has been co-hosting the weekly radio program Hikayenin Kadin Hali (The Women's Side of the Story) on Acik Radyo (Open Radio) in Istanbul. In 2014, she co-curated (with Isin Onol) the exhibit Mobilizing Memory: Women Witnessing (Istanbul, DEPO).

Bill Kouligas is a Berlin-based artist, designer and musician. His insistence on following his own path and passions has won acclaim from thinkers, collectors, and dancers alike and he puts his vision at the forefront of the electronic vanguard. He is founder of PAN, which recalibrates perceptions of the avant-garde, sound art and electronic dance music. Kouligas has performed and produced experimental and electronic music for nearly fifteen years under several aliases. He has curated and performed at numerous concerts and showcases at MoMA PS1, V&A, Lyon Biennial, South London Gallery, Tate Modern, Southbank Centre, DESTE Foundation, Museum of Modern Art in Warsaw, and ZKM. His practice often expands on various collaborations with visual and performance artists such as Seth Price, Georgia Sagri and Paweł Althamer.

Binyavanga Wainaina is a Kenyan author, publisher and cultural worker. He is the founding editor of one of Africa’s leading literary institutions, Kwani? (www.kwani.org). His essay, ‘How to Write About Africa’ attracted wide attention globally and his memoir, One Day I Will Write About This Place, has been translated into several languages. He has been a Sterling Brown Fellow at Williams College, Massachusetts, and a Lannan Fellow and a Visiting Writer at Union College, New York. Until 2012 he was the director of the Chinua Achebe Center for African Writers and Artists at Bard College. In 2014 he came out publicly as gay and was named by Time magazine as one of 100 most influential people in the world.

From 1982 to 2006, Bruno Latour was professor at the Centre de sociologie de l'innovation at the Ecole nationale supérieure des mines de Paris, and at different visiting professor at UCSD, the London School of Economics and Harvard University. Since 2006 he has been a professor at Sciences Po, Paris where he created the médialab to seize the chance offered to social theory by the spread of digital methods, and, together with Valérie Pihet, he started a new experimental program in art and politics (SPEAP). A new presentation of the social theory which he has developed with his colleagues in Paris is available at Oxford University Press, under the title Reassembling the Social: An Introduction to Actor-Network Theory.

CAConrad’s childhood included selling cut flowers along the highway for his mother and helping her shoplift.  He is the author of seven books, the latest of which is titled ECODEVIANCE: (Soma)tics for the Future Wilderness (Wave Books, 2014).  He is a 2015 Headlands Art Fellow, and has also received fellowships from Lannan Foundation, MacDowell Colony, Banff, Ucross, RADAR, and the Pew Center for Arts & Heritage.  He conducts workshops on (Soma)tic Poetry and Ecopoetics.
CAConrad.blogspot.com

Candice Lin received her MFA in New Genres at the San Francisco Art Institute and her double BA in Visual Arts and Art Semiotics at Brown University. Lin’s work has been recently exhibited at the Kadist Art Foundation in Paris, the Delfina Foundation in London, La Maison Populaire in Paris, and Alhondiga Bilbao in Spain. Lin has been awarded several residencies and grants including the current Artist Lab Residency at 18th Street (2015), the 2014 California Community Foundation Emerging Artist Fellowship, the Fine Arts Work Center Residency (2012), the Frankfurter Kunstverein Deutsche Borse Residency (2011), and the Smithsonian Artist Research Fellowship (2009). She is represented by Quadrado Azul  in Porto, Portugal and Francois Ghebaly Gallery in Los Angeles.

Charles Hope was director of the Warburg Institute, University of London, between 2001 and 2010. He has taught and published widely on the visual arts in the Italian Renaissance. He is a regular contributor to The London Review of Books and The New York Review of Books. He is the author of Titian (Jupiter, 1980) and has contributed to numerous journals and books on Renaissance art.

Christien Meindertsma explores the life of products and raw materials. Christien has published three books, Checked Baggage (2004), PIG 05049 (2007), and Bottom Ash Observatory ( 2014) . PIG 05049 is an extensive collection of photographic images that documents an astounding array of products that different parts of an anonymous pig called 05049 could support. With this book, Christien reveals lines that link raw materials with producers, products and consumers that have become invisible in an increasingly globalised world. With her designs, Christien Meindertsma aims to regain understanding of processes that have become distant in industrialisation. Her work has been exhibited in MOMA (New York), The V&A (London) and the Cooper Hewitt Design museum (New York).

Company: Movements, Deals and Drinks is a project by international artist group Myvillages, founded in 2003 by Kathrin Böhm (Germany/UK), Wapke Feenstra (The Netherlands) and Antje Schiffers (Germany). The Company: Movements, Deals and Drinks project, led by Böhm, links the history of east Londoners going fruit and hop-picking in Kent to the set up of new community drinks enterprise in the London Borough of Barking and Dagenham. The project was commissioned by arts organisation Create and was selected as the winner of the 2014 Create Art Award. In 2015 the project registered as a Community Interest Company with the name Company Drinks.
www.c-o-m-p-a-n-y.info

Declan Ryan was born in Mayo, Ireland and lives in north London. He has a PhD on 'perfect speech' in the poems of Ian Hamilton. His poems and reviews have been published in The Poetry Review, Poetry London, The Rialto, and elsewhere. A Faber New Poet, his pamphlet was published in 2014 by Faber. He co-edits the Days of Roses anthology series and is a poetry editor at Ambit.

Deep Lab is a collaborative group of cyberfeminist researchers, artists, writers, engineers, and cultural producers. Deep Lab’s interests are diverse, and include privacy, surveillance, code, art, social hacking, race, capitalism, anonymity, the infrastructures of the 21st century and useful skills in tangible situations. Deep Lab includes Addie Wagenknecht, Artist and founder of Deep Lab; Harlo Holmes, Director of Metadata for the Freedom of the Press; Joana Varon, Lawyer and researcher: Internet Governance and Digital Rights; Kate Crawford, Principal Researcher, Microsoft Research and Madeleine Varner, Artist, Carnegie Mellon University.

Disobedient Films was established in 2014 by artist-filmmakers Katharine Round and Leah Borromeo to disrupt traditional linear documentary and extract new angles and emotions around factual narratives. Their projects are disobedient in form and content – aiming to create an active form of storytelling which brings the viewer into the experience. Projects include London Recruits for the V&A (in collaboration with Jamie Perera and Gilbert Sinnott), Space Not Spikes, as well as cross-genre works for Amnesty, Platform London, Al Jazeera, and feature documentaries in co-production with Dartmouth Films and others.

Dominique Gonzalez-Foerster’s cross-disciplinary practice encompasses film, installation, video, and various forms of collaborative work. Gonzalez-Foerster’s art revolves around the transformation of public and private arenas through site-specific installations and environments, and she explores how spaces produce and alter mood, trigger memory, and impact perception. Gonzalez-Foerster has had solo exhibitions at the Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris (2002 and 2015); Kunsthalle Zürich (2004); Musée d’art moderne de la ville de Paris (2007); Museo de Arte Contemporáneo de Castilla y Léon, Spain (2008); Tate Modern, London (2008); Dia Art Foundation, New York (2009); Guggenheim Museum, New York (2011); and Palacio de Cristal, Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía, Madrid (2014).

Dorothea von Hantelmann is documenta Professor at the Art Academy/University of Kassel where she lectures on the history and meaning of documenta. Her main fields of research are contemporary art and theory as well as the history and theory of exhibitions. She is currently working on a book that  explores exhibitions as ritual spaces in which fundamental values and categories of modern, liberal and market-based societies historically have been, and continue to be, practised and reflected. She is the author of How to Do Things with Art, a book on performativity within contemporary art.

Elvia Wilk is a writer and editor living in Berlin. She writes about art, tech, and architecture for publications including Frieze and Frieze d/e, Art in America, Spike, Dazed, and the Architectural Review. She is a contributing editor at uncube magazine and at Rhizome, and an editor for Transmediale. Also she writes fiction and poetry. www.elviapw.com  

Elysia Crampton is a Bolivian-American sound artist and writer living and working in La Paz, Bolivia. Elysia grew up between Nuevo Leon, Mexico and Southern California, USA, later moving to Virginia, where she wrote and recorded her first album, ‘American Drift’, near West Virginia in the George Washington National Forest. Elysia has performed and spoken publicly across Europe and the United States.

Etel Adnan (born 1925, Beirut) is a Lebanese-American poet, painter and writer based in Lebanon, Paris and the USA. A powerful voice in feminist and anti-war movements, Adnan taught philosophy in California for fourteen years. Adnan’s publications include Sitt Marie-Rose (1978), a novel set before and during the 1975-1990 Lebanese Civil War; The Arab Apocalypse (1989); In the Heart of the Heart of Another Country (2005); Seasons (2008); and Master of the Eclipse (2009) . Recent exhibitions include dOCUMENTA (13), Kassel (2012).

Eyal Weizman is an architect, professor of spatial and visual cultures and director of the Centre for Research Architecture at Goldsmiths, University of London. Since 2014 he has been a global professor at Princeton University. In 2010 he set up the research agency Forensic Architecture (FA). The work of FA is documented in the exhibition and book FORENSIS (Sternberg, 2014). In 2007 he set up, with Sandi Hilal and Alessandro Petti, the architectural collective DAAR in Beit Sahour, Palestine. This work is documented in the book Architecture After Revolution (Sternberg, 2014). Weizman is on the editorial board of Third Text, Humanity, Cabinet and Political Concepts and he was on the advisory boards of the ICA in London and B’Tselem in Jerusalem, amongst others.

Federico Campagna is a Sicilian philosopher based in London. His current work revolves mainly around the ontological and ethical challenges posed by contemporary nihilism, and the possibility of a philosophical architecture of emancipation. His latest book The Last Night: Antiwork, Atheism, Adventure, was published by Zero Books in 2013. He works at Verso Books and is a PhD candidate at the Royal College of Art.

Francine Elena is a poet who lives and works in London, having graduated from Edinburgh University in 2008. Her poems have been published in The Sunday Times and the Best British Poetry anthologies in 2013 and 2015, among other publications.

François Jullien is Professor at the Université Paris VII-Denis Diderot and director at the Institut de la Pensée Contemporaine. He is the author of The Silent Transformations (Seagull, 2011); On the Universal, the Uniform, the Common and Dialogue between Cultures (Polity, 2014); and The Book of Beginnings (Yale University Press, 2015).

Gabriel Ann Maher is a designer living and working in the Netherlands. With a background in interior architecture, Maher’s practice is focused on relationships between body and structure and an interest in objects and systems. An emerging methodology seeks to create situations where research and design come together in performance. Questioning design practices through queer and feminist frameworks has become a core position and approach. Maher has been awarded the SIDA Foundation Mary White Memorial Scholarship from the University of NSW and was nominated for the Vice Chancellor's Distinguished Teaching Award at RMIT University. In 2014 Maher received the Keep An Eye Foundation Grant and Gijs Bakker Awards, and in 2015 a Stimuleringsfonds Creatieve Industrie Development Grant for the Netherlands

Trained as a cultural anthropologist, Gabriella Coleman researches, writes and teaches on computer hackers and digital activism. Her first book was Coding Freedom: The Ethics and Aesthetics of Hacking. Her new book, Hacker, Hoaxer, Whistleblower, Spy: The Many Faces of Anonymous, has been named as Kirkus Reviews’ Best Books of 2014. Coleman holds the Wolfe Chair in Scientific and Technological Literacy at McGill University and has given numerous talks on hackers, digital activism, open source production and intellectual property law.

Gil Leung, b.1980, lives and works in London and Brussels. Recent projects include include Violent Incident, Vleeshal, Middelburg, Prosu(u)mer, EKKM, Tallinn, Performance Capture, Stedelijk, Amsterdam, Exchange at Flat Time House, London and Bedroom Tour in collaboration with Am Nuden Da. She is editor of Versuch Pressand resident at Wiels Contemporary Art Center, Brussels in 2015.

Gilbert & George met in 1967 at St Martins School of Art. A living sculpture, and by now living icons for successive generations of artists in Britain and abroad, G&G received the Turner Prize in 1986, and represented UK at the Venice Biennale in 2005. Their retrospective, Major Exhibition at Tate Modern in 2007 was also exhibited around Europe and America. Their art transcends cultural boundaries and has shown in many countries, with ground-breaking shows in Russia and China. They live and work in London.

Grace Wales Bonner graduated from Central Saint Martins in 2014. Her graduate collection Afrique won the L’Oréal Professionnel Talent Award. Her dissertation, Black on Black achieved the Dean’s personal commendation. Wales Bonner debuted Ebonics A/W 15 with Fashion East at London Collections: Men in January to critical acclaim. After her first season, she was invited to the V&A’s prestigious Fashion in Motion programme, showcasing a choreographed presentation with live choral music. Wales Bonner’s design aesthetic is deeply routed in representing black masculinity and sexuality. Her work comprises text, collage and design. Wales Bonner’s stockists include LNCC, Joyce, 10CC and Opening Ceremony.

Harry Gilonis is a poet, translator, editor and critic. His most recent collection is eye-blink (Veer Books, 2010). In relation to Ian Hamilton Finlay, he has published Finlay in several anthologies; collaborated with him in a poem-in-a-folder, The Inscriptions (Wild Hawthorn Press, 1995); and he wrote the afterword to Finlay’s Grains of Salt (Wild Hawthorn Press, 1996). He wrote the catalogue essay for Finlay’s exhibition Variations On Several Themes at the Fundació Joan Miró in Barcelona (1999). His articles on Finlay and the English garden tradition appear in the New Arcadian Journal, and his long article ‘Where time becomes space — Ian Hamilton Finlay’s garden in Provence’ in Word & Image (2005) is the fullest survey thus far of Finlay’s largest garden.

Haunted Machines is an ongoing project which reflects on narratives of magic pervading technology. Co-founded by Tobias Revell and Natalie Kane, Haunted Machines began with a conference at 2015’s FutureEverything in Manchester. Tobias Revell is an artist and designer from London. He’s a founding member of the research company Strange Telemetry and an educator at the London College of Communication and the Royal College of Art. Natalie Kane is a writer, researcher and curator based in Manchester. She currently works at FutureEverything, an innovation lab for digital culture, and holds a research position at futures research lab Changeist.

Helen Benigson creates immersive video and sound environments, which become layered sets for scripted and choreographed performances, played out in messy, awkward and anxious digital carnivals. Collaborating with casts of volunteers and participants: amateur and professional weightlifters, spray tan beauticians, dancers, ‘tequila-girls’, strippers and midwives, her practice provokes a multi-sensory site-specific experience, exploring contemporary game-playing, sharing and the corporeal, public space. Her work is situated between the economies of online bodies and ‘real-life’ locations, actual territory, and the visual and libidinal performances that connect these spaces.

Helen Hester is Senior Lecturer in Media and Communication at the University of West London. Her research interests include technofeminism, sexuality studies and theories of social reproduction, and she is a member of the international feminist collective Laboria Cuboniks. She is the author of Beyond Explicit: Pornography and the Displacement of Sex (SUNY Press, 2014), the co-editor of the collections Fat Sex: New Directions in Theory and Activism (Ashgate, 2015) and Dea ex Machina (Merve, 2015), and series editor for Ashgate’s Sexualities in Society book series.

Participants List

Hilary Cottam is a designer, innovator and social entrepreneur. Cottam’s recent work has focused on reform of the British welfare state.  New designs include a service to support the elderly, a radical approach to families with complex needs and work with the unemployed. Cottam has worked internationally and advised governments in Latin America, Africa and the U.K.  In 2005, Cottam was awarded the prestigious UK Designer of the Year prize and in 2007 the World Economic Forum named Cottam as a Young Global Leader in recognition of her work on social change.
www.hilarycottam.com

Holly White is an artist living and working in London. She graduated from MA Material and Visual Culture, at the anthropology department, UCL, London, in 2014. She works in digital media, sculpture, text, performance and video and is one half of music project Goth Tech. Her recent exhibitions include I'm always lazy when I miss you, AND/OR, London; No One is Going to Go There Anymore, Evelyn Yard, London; Young London 2013, V22, London; Ocean Living, Arcadia_Missa, London; Net Narrative, Carlos Ishikawa, London; and The New Deal, LimaZulu, London.

Jaakko Pallasvuo (born 1987) lives and works in Helsinki and Berlin. His work deals with hierarchies, feelings and social arrangements. Pallasvuo makes videos, ceramics, texts and images. In recent years, Pallasvuo's works have been exhibited at Kunsthalle St. Gallen; New Galerie; CAC Vilnius; 1646; The Goss-Michael Foundation; Kunstraum Kreuzberg/Bethanien; UCCA; Eyebeam; and Future Gallery, among others.

Jalal Toufic is a thinker and a mortal to death. He was born in 1962 in Beirut or Baghdad and died before dying in 1989 in Evanston, Illinois. His books, many of which were published by Forthcoming Books, are available for download at his website (http://www.jalaltoufic.com). He was a participant in the Sharjah Biennials 6, 10 and 11, the 9th Shanghai Biennale, and Documenta 13. In 2011, he was a guest of the Artists-in-Berlin Program of the DAAD; and in 2013–2014, he and Anton Vidokle led Ashkal Alwan’s third edition of the Home Workspace Program, based in Beirut.
jalaltoufic.com

Jamie Perera is a composer and sonic artist. Finding space between sound, music, data and practical applications, his work explores imbalance, resistance and mutations, and works as acts of meditation.  Examples of this approach include performing a twelve minute improvisational duet on guitar with pianist Lubomyr Melnyk in the Royal Albert Hall and creating a soundtrack out of archive gun sounds from the Imperial War Museum for an Amnesty International campaign on arms trade. Perera’s work has been released worldwide as L.O. Freq alongside Cinematic Orchestra, Mark Ronson and Matthew Herbert.

Jimmie Durham is an artist, poet, essayist and political activist. Durham’s work has been widely exhibited internationally and selected solo exhibitions include: Neuer Berliner Kunstverein, Berlin and Fondazione Querino Stampalia, Venice (both 2015); Parasol Unit, London (2014); MACRO, Rome and MuHKA – Museum of Contemporary Art, Antwerp (both 2012); Portikus, Frankfurt (2010); Musee d’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris (2009); Matt’s Gallery, London (2006 and 1988); DAAD, Berlin and Kunstverein Munich (both 1998); ICA, London and Palais des Beaux-Arts, Brussels (both 1993). In addition to his current exhibition at Serpentine Galleries, Durham has participated in the Extinction Marathon: Visions of the Future (2014), Garden Marathon (2011); Poetry Marathon (2009) and Manifesto Marathon (2008).

An original and founding member of The Doors, John Densmore co-wrote and produced numerous gold and platinum albums and toured the United States, Europe, and Japan.  His autobiography, Riders on the Storm, was on the New York Times bestseller list.  He was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 1993.

Jude Crilly, based in London and Amsterdam, works in open structure between sound, live event and installation. Her work encompasses writing, moodscapes, live encounters, object-making and sets, to explore the possibilities of horror and humour in an age of double-thinking, double-guessing and double-speak. Recent exhibitions and projects include GURUJI, Horse Hospital, London; Adjacent Realities, Austrian Cultural Forum, London; ‘flu, The Function Room, London; I’M OK, YOU’RE OK, Camden Art Centre, London; The Bothy Project, Highlands, Scotland; Rupert Residency Program, Vilnius, Lithuania and Hospitalfield artist residency, Scotland.  

Judy Chicago is an artist, writer and educator whose work has helped shape the agenda for women’s art over the past five decades. She came to prominence during the late 1960s and early 1970s when she challenged the male-dominated art landscape by creating innovative work from a women's perspective, thereby helping to change the course of art history.

Julia Tcharfas (b. 1982, Donetsk, Ukraine) is the Assistant Curator of the Cosmonauts: Birth of the Space Age exhibition at the Science Museum in London and a co-founder of the Art/Work Association programme. A significant part of her work is an ongoing collaborative practice with artist and researcher, Tim Ivison. Her recent projects include A Space Base for Instance, Serpentine Gallery, London; Systems Thinking from the Inside, Chisenhale Gallery, London; Recent Work By Artists, Auto Italia and [Space], London; and Render, Hilary Crisp Gallery, London.

Juliet Jacques is a freelance author, best known for writing theTransgender Journey’ series for the Guardian website, which was longlisted for the Orwell Prize in 2011. Her short fiction, journalism and essays have also appeared in Granta, The New Statesman, the London Review of Books, Time Out, the New Humanist, the New Inquiry, Filmwaves, 3am and many other publications and websites. Her memoir, entitled Trans, was published by Verso Books in September 2015. She lives in London.

Central to Aranda’s practice are her involvement with circulation mechanisms and the idea of a “poetics of circulation”, her interest in science-fiction, space travel and zones of friction, the possibility of a politicised subjectivity through the perception and use of time, and the notion of power over the imaginary. Julieta Aranda’s work spans installation, video and print media, with a special interest in the creation and manipulation of artistic exchange and the subversion of traditional notions of commerce through art making. As a co-director of online platform e-flux with Anton Vidokle, Julieta Aranda has developed the projects Time/Bank, Pawnshop, and e-flux video rental, all of which started in the e-flux storefront in New York, and traveled to many venues worldwide.

Jumana Manna is an artist who uses film and sculpture, weaving together the methods of historian, anthropologist and performer to produce works that occupy multiple forums. She methodically submerges herself in each project, engaging intimately with her subjects to produce a practice that questions the limits of the body in relation to historic narratives of nationalism.

Katherine Angel is the author of Unmastered: A Book On Desire, Most Difficult To Tell (Penguin/Allen Lane, Farrar Straus & Giroux). She is a Lecturer in Creative Writing at Kingston University, and is completing her second book, an exploration of subjectivity and selfhood in contemporary sex research. She has a PhD from the University of Cambridge’s History and Philosophy of Science Department, and has held research fellowships at the University of Warwick and Queen Mary, University of London. Her writing has appeared in The Independent, Prospect, The New Statesman, Aeon, The Los Angeles Review of Books, and Five Dials, and she reviews for the Times Literary Supplement and Poetry Review. She also collaborates with performance group The Blackburn Company on live art readings.

Ken Cockburn is a freelance poet, translator, editor and writing tutor based in Edinburgh, who regularly collaborates with visual artists on book, exhibition and public art projects. Recent publications include Veined with Shadow-branches, with painter Andrew Mackenzie; While yet we may, made for the exhibition Wordsworth & Basho: Walking Poets at Dove Cottage, Grasmere; and The Road North: a journey round Scotland guided by Basho’s oku-no-hosomichi, with Alec Finlay, all 2014. Out of Books ( http://www.out-of-books.com) was another collaboration with Finlay, inspired by Boswell and Johnson’s famous ‘tour’ to the Hebrides of 1773; they are currently working on a book.

Keren Cytter was born in 1977 in Tel Aviv, where she also studied visual art at the Avni Institute of Art. She currently lives and works in New York. Recent solo exhibitions and performances of Cytter’s work include Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago (2015); Kunsthal Charlottenborg, Copenhagen (2014); State of Concept, Athens (2014); Der Stachel des Skorpions, Museum Villa Stuck, Munich (2014); Institute Mathildenhöhe, Darmstadt, (2014); Where Are We Now, 5th Marrakech Biennial, (2014); Show Real Drama, Tate Modern Oil Tanks, London (2012); Avalanche, Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam (2011); Project Series: Keren Cytter, Hammer Museum, Los Angeles (2010); Moderna Museet, Stockholm (2010); X Initiative, New York (2009) and CCA Center for Contemporary Art, Kitakyushu (2009).

Kim West is a critic based in Stockholm. He is a member of the editorial boards of OEI (oei.nu) and SITE Magazine (sitemagazine.net), and was formerly the Swedish editor of Kunstkritikk.com. He is currently writing a PhD thesis on progressive and techno-utopian exhibitions and institutional projects in the 1970s, at the department of Aesthetics at Södertörn University, Stockholm.

Koki Tanaka (born 1975)  lives and works in Los Angeles. In his diverse art practice spanning video, photography, site-specific installation, and interventional projects, Koki Tanaka visualises and reveals the multiple contexts latent in the most simple of everyday acts. In his recent projects he documents the behavior unconsciously exhibited by people confronting unusual situations, e.g. a haircut given by nine hair stylists or a piano played by five pianists simultaneously, in an attempt to show an alternative side to things that we usually overlook in everyday life.

Liz Berry was born in the Black Country and now lives in Birmingham. She received an Eric Gregory Award in 2009 and won the Poetry London competition in 2012. Her poems have appeared in many magazines and anthologies, been broadcast on BBC Radio and recorded for the Poetry Archive. Liz’s debut collection, Black Country (Chatto & Windus, 2014), was a Poetry Book Society Recommendation, received a Somerset Maugham Award and won the Forward Prize for Best First Collection 2014. Black Country was chosen as a book of the year by The Guardian, The Telegraph, The Mail, The Big Issue and The Morning Star.

Lorenzo Senni is a sound artist and owner of record label Presto! Records, based in Milan, Italy. His Editions Mego album, Quantum Jelly, was a deconstruction of sound and rave culture in the ‘90s, carefully analysing its constituent parts for reuse in a very different context, with repetition and isolation as key concepts. Senni, who coined the term "Pointillistic Trance" to define his approach on Quantum Jelly, is described as a sadistic scientist that is ripping the spinal cord out of trance and dangling it in front of our eyes. He has since gone onto release the collection Superimpositions on Boomkat Editions.

Lucy Mercer is a writer based in London. The editor of Universe Magazine, her poems have been published in Oxford Poetry, Ambit and The Morning Star among others. She's a contributor to the forthcoming reader Ecocriticism, Ecology, and the Cultures of Antiquity - The Environmental Humanities and the Ancient World (Lexington Books, 2017) and is studying for an AHRC funded PhD in the 'Ecological Poetics of Emblems' at Royal Holloway.

Hershman Leeson is widely recognised for her innovative work investigating issues that are now recognised as key to the workings of society: the relationship between humans and technology, identity, surveillance, and the use of media as a tool of empowerment against censorship and political repression. Over the last forty years she has made pioneering contributions to the fields of photography, video, film, performance, installation and interactive as well as net-based media art. ZKM | Center for Art and Media Karlsruhe, Germany, mounted the first comprehensive retrospective of her work in 2014. The catalogue titled Civic Radar will be available November 2015.

Marcus du Sautoy is the Simonyi Professor for the Public Understanding of Science and Professor of Mathematics at the University of Oxford. He is author of three books: The Music of the Primes, Finding Moonshine and most recently The Number Mysteries. He has presented numerous radio and TV series including a four-part landmark TV series for the BBC called The Story of Maths. He has written and performed a new play called X&Y which has been staged in London’s Science Museum and Glastonbury Festival. He received an OBE for services to science in the 2010 New Year’s Honours List.

Mark Godfrey is Senior Curator, International Art at Tate Modern. He has curated major exhibitions of work by American, German, British, Mexican and Italian artists, including Roni Horn a.k.a. Roni Horn (2009); Francis Alÿs: A Story of Deception (2010); Gerhard Richter: Panorama (2011); Alighiero Boetti: Game Plan (2012); Richard Hamilton (2014) and Alibis: Sigmar Polke 1963–2010 (2014). His current interests concern the arguments made around abstraction in the civil rights era and the relationship of contemporary abstract painting to changes in technology. Alongside this, Godfrey is interested in debates surrounding photography, film and video after conceptual art.

Mark Waldron was born in New York and works in advertising. He has published two poetry collections, The Brand New Dark (Salt 2008) and The Itchy Sea (Salt, 2011). His work, widely published, also appears in Identity Parade: New British and Irish Poets (Bloodaxe, 2010) and the Best British Poetry series in 2012, 2013, 2014 and 2015. In 2014 he was named as one of the Poetry Book Society's Next Generation Poets.

Mary Bauermeister (born 1934) has been working as an artist for over sixty years. Her studio in Cologne from 1960 to 1962 is considered one of the birthplaces of the fluxus movement. She held her first solo exhibition in the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam in 1962 and afterwards she moved to New York. Since 1972 she has been living and working in Germany. Her works are presented in many private and public collections including the MoMA, Guggenheim and Whitney museums in New York, the Hirshhorn Museum in Washington, and the Museum Ludwig in Cologne.

Maurice Louca is an Egyptian musician and composer born in Cairo, where he lives and works. As well as being the co-founder of the bands Bikya, Alif and Dwarves of East Agouza, he lends his sound to numerous projects, composing for theatre, film and contemporary art.

Mica Sigourney creates performance that rides the tension between artifice/construct and vulnerability/authenticity. By combining strong images, physical movements/execution, vibrant, emotional, energetic and spiritual work, Sigourney manipulates audiences while betraying the manipulation, which allows for a deeper connection and joint journey. After a 4-year break from the stage Sigourney emerged into San Francisco's nightlife as VivvyAnne ForeverMORE!. VivvyAnne ForeverMORE!’s canon ranges from the bleak to the absurd. With VivvyAnne, Sigourney challenges traditional notions of drag with the inclusion of high drama, heady narratives, and vulnerability smashed up against high glamour. ForeverMORE! finds herself as drag daughter to legendary drag queen Glamamore and sister to Juanita MORE!

Nick Bostrom is Professor in the Faculty of Philosophy at Oxford University. He is the founding Director of the Future of Humanity Institute, the author of New York Times Bestseller Superintelligence: Paths, Dangers, Strategies and was named one of Foreign Policy magazine's Top 100 Global Thinkers.

Assist. Prof. Dr. Nil Mutluer completed her PhD with the dissertation ‘Tactics in Between: Gendered Citizenship and Everyday Life of Internally Displaced Kurdish Men in Tarlabaşı, Istanbul’ at the Department of Gender Studies at Central European University in Budapest. She has taught courses on gender, nationalism, urbanisation, migration, communication, and everyday life at Istanbul Bilgi University, Kadir Has University and Fatih. She is the editor of States of Gender: The Intersectional Borders of Gender in Turkey (2008) and States of National: Citizenship and Nationalism, Are We Aware of? (2008). She is also the consultant of the 46th Antalya Golden Orange Award-winning documentary called Me and Nuri Bala (2009) about the life story of the first feminist transvestite stand up artist Esmeray.

Nkisi is the alias of Melika Ngombe Kolongo, an artist raised in Belgium and now living in London. She is a producer, DJ and co-founder of NON Records, a collective of African artists and of the diaspora, using sound as their primary media, to articulate the visible and invisible structures that create binaries in society, and in turn distribute power. She's also a regular at the Endless club night, playing an exciting mix of fast-paced music that draws from many influences (from central and West African club tracks to gabber and doomcore. While producing her own tracks, she goes for a heavily layered, relentless sound, often playing with collective memory.

Patrick Mudekereza is a writer and cultural operator born in Lubumbashi in 1983. He initiated several art projects, including with the collective Vicanos Club, concomitantly studying Industrial Chemistry at the Polytechnic faculty of the University of Lubumbashi. He then worked as administrator and curator for visual arts at the French Cultural Centre in Lubumbashi, and he is the editor of the cultural magazine Nzenze. Mudekereza initiates and collaborates with many publications and exhibitions both in Congo and internationally. In 2014, he received the National Award for Art and Cultural from the Congolese Ministry of Art and Culture. He is the director of centre d’Art picha and the co-initiator of Rencontres Picha, Lubumbashi Biennial.

Through a varied, interdisciplinary and often collaborative body of work comprising film, dance and performance, London and Los Angeles-based Patrick Staff considers ideas of discipline, dissent, labour and the queer body in their work, frequently drawing on the historical narration of counter-culture, radical activity and alternative forms of community building. Their recent project, The Foundation was commissioned by and exhibited at Chisenhale Gallery, London; Spike Island, Bristol; Institute of Modern Art, Brisbane; and Contemporary Art Gallery, Vancouver.

Peter Adamson is Professor of Late Ancient and Islamic Philosophy at the LMU in Munich. A special focus of his research is the output of the translation circle of al-Kindi, on which he has written The Arabic Plotinus (Duckworth, 2002) and Al-Kindi (OUP, 2007) He is also editor or co-editor of several books, including The Cambridge Companion to Arabic Philosophy (CUP, 2004). He is the host of the podcast series The History of Philosophy Without Any Gaps (also published in book form by OUP).

Participants List

Saskia Sassen is the Robert S. Lynd Professor of Sociology and Chair, The Committee on Global Thought, Columbia University. She is the author of several books and the recipient of diverse awards and mentions, ranging from multiple doctor honoris causa to named lectures and being selected for various honors lists. Her new book is Expulsions: Brutality and Complexity in the Global Economy. (Harvard University Press 2014).
www.saskiasassen.com

Sophia Al-Maria is an artist and writer based in London. Her first book The Girl Who Fell to Earth (HarperCollins, 2012) was published in Arabic (Bloomsbury, Qatar) in the summer of 2015. In 2014, she had her first solo show, Virgin with a Memory at Cornerhouse, Manchester. In 2016 she will premiere a series of new videos at the Whitney Museum in New York.

Heatsick is the project of British born, Berlin based artist and musician Steven Warwick. In his works Extended Play and Re-Engineering, Warwick (aka Heatsick) loosely constructs potential situations that unfold into a sculptural experience of a moment, an idea, or a place. He then manipulates these plastic environments: slowing down or speeding up flows to explore all the events that exist in-between. Recently, Warwick was artist in residence at the Villa Aurora in Los Angeles where he staged a performance and released an accompanying soundtrack, ‘Reengineering Villa Aurora’, which depicts the strangeness of LA, edged between the expanses of the Pacific Ocean and the Mojave Desert. Heatsick has performed at MoMa PS1, Unsound Festival, Mutek, V&A Museum, Berghain and Musee de Quai Branly, Paris.

John Palmesino and Ann-Sofi Rönnskog established Territorial Agency, an independent organisation that combines architecture, analysis, advocacy and action for integrated spatialtransformation of contemporary territories. Recent projects include the Anthropocene Observatory – an international documentary project tracing the emerging thesis of the new man-made age, developed with Armin Linke and Anselm Franke, which was exhibited at HKW in Berlin and bak basis voor actuele kunst, Utrecht; The Museum of Oil, a project in collaboration with Greenpeace and Dare; The Museum of Infrastructural Unconscious; North; Unfinishable Markermeer. They teach at the AA Architectural Association in London and are research fellows at the Centre for Research Architecture, Goldsmiths, University of London.

Tim Etchells is an artist and a writer based in the UK whose work shifts between performance, visual art and fiction. He has worked in a wide variety of contexts, notably as the leader of the world-renowned Sheffield-based performance group Forced Entertainment. Recent publications include Vacuum Days (Storythings, 2012) and While You Are With Us Here Tonight (LADA, 2013).
www.timetchells.com www.forcedentertainment.com.

Time is Away and somewhere else every month on NTS Radio. Each hour-long programme uses music, alongside snippets of spoken word, to make something that is part-soundscape, part-essay for the radio.

Tino Sehgal originally studied political economics and dance, and he crossed over to the visual arts in 2000. He achieved international recognition for his experimental work presented at the Venice Biennale, the Documenta in Kassel, the Guggenheim Museum in New York and Tate Modern in London. For Sehgal, an artwork consists of a live encounter between artwork and viewer. Sehgal does not make objects; he creates ‘situations’ within the museum space, in which interpreters enact choreographed actions and occasionally converse with visitors. These encounters offer the visitor a wholly unique experience of live artwork.

William Pope L . is a visual and performance-theatre artist and educator who makes culture out of contraries. He has been making multidisciplinary works since the 1970s and has exhibited internationally. Recent exhibitions include Ruffneck Constructivists, University of Pennsylvania’s Institute of Contemporary Art and Radical Presence: Black Performance in Contemporary Art, Walker Art Center, Minneapolis. Solo exhibitions include Claim, Littman Gallery, Portland; Gold People Shit in their Valet, Galerie Catherine Bastide, Brussels (both 2014) as well as William Pope.L: Trinket, The Geffen Contemporary at MOCA, Los Angeles (2015).

Transformation Marathon

Live Blog

“The Spirit of the Age”

by Elvia Wilk — 18 October 2015

Learning, building, relating, and cooperating are types of transformation. So are rupture, revolution, iconoclasm, and trauma. Transformation is a nebulous word within which a whole spectrum of processes, from the extremely gentle to the extremely violent, are contained.

In a text for last year’s Extinction marathon Federico Campagna wrote: “Extinction is a euphemism for annihilation.” Transformation has the same euphemistic qualities, but rather than obscuring meaning, in this context the theme allowed meaning to dissemble, refract, expand. This is the double power of a shifting signifier: it can both obscure and illuminate. The incredibly wide variety of presentations during the marathon attested to that potential.

Whereas a title like “Rupture” would have indicated a call to action, inviting/inciting manifesto-like presentations, Transformation asked for quieter consideration. And it suggested that individual activity is only one facet of processes of change. While a single actor loses agency within large and complex systems, when those systems are spun into action by collectives and networks their potential energy is astronomical.

Understanding processes of transformation requires patience, deliberation, contemplation. Occurrences may seem organic, unexpected, unexplainable. These are situations where analysis falls short and other types of comprehension must be found. This shift in tone from urgency to contemplation reflects the uncertainty in cultural discourse today about what type of rhetoric to use as we attempt to transform ourselves and the world; no one wants to be alarmist, but no one wants to sit passively aside. We all realize the extent to which we are complicit, no matter how critical we are, with expanding systems of power and control. Individual participation becomes increasingly fraught. Does planetary transformation demand or even allow participation, or are power scales so stratified as to render participant-led change irrelevant?

Making transformations visible is the first step in understanding and altering their courses, and many presentations throughout the marathon took on this task, particularly those in the design series led by Alice Rawsthorn. Visibility is essential, because as Saskia Sassen said later in her lecture concerning global finance, invisible processes have deeply material consequences.

But along the lines of quiet contemplation in the face of unthinkable complexity, this year’s marathon was as much about volume as about vision. In his talk “The Silent Transformations” (based on the book of the same name) François Jullien described transformation as an essentially silent process. As an example he described the process of watching a child grow up: the change is not invisible, because you can see it every day, but you’re so close to it that you can’t register what’s happening until the child is suddenly an adult. The childhood is gone—but when, exactly? When was the announcement? To Julien, transformation is often visible, but it is always quiet.

This is why the radio marathon formed such an appropriate bookend to the live presentations; it pared down the stimulus, asking the listener to become more attuned, to exist at a different sensory speed, to perform a minute re-ordering of the hierarchy of the senses. As Rosi Braidotti put it in her radio homage to the power of the voice, in our society “the eyes are absolutely at the top of the pyramid,” which leaves us to forget to listen not only to the words we say to each other, but the voices we speak the words in.

In 2000 the cultural critic David Brooks wrote: “If you sit down and read through a series of books or essays with titles like ‘The Spirit of the Age,’ you’ll discover that no matter when they were written, they almost always contain a sentence that says, ‘We are living in an age of transition.’ Whether it is the 1780s or the 1850s or the 1970s, people tend to feel themselves surrounded by flux.” While certain processes are singular to this point in history, transformation and the feeling that we are in the thick of a big one is in fact a historical constant. The question is how the transformation is formally framed. Transformation is not particular to any one age—but the Transformation Marathon very much is.