Memory Marathon at the Serpentine

‘We move so fast that memory is something we can only try to grasp,’ says Chinese artist and activist Ai Weiwei. The annual Serpentine Gallery Pavilion – this year created by Ai in collaboration with architects Herzog & de Meuron – inspires Memory Marathon. The three-day event sees leading artists, writers, filmmakers, scientists, architects, musicians and theorists gather together in a continuous, performative programme of explorations and experiments about and within memory.

This is a pretty diverse gathering of creatives. Sadly historians Eric Hobsbawm, due to attend the event, passed away last week. Alongside Jay Winter and Donald Sassoon, he was scheduled to explore the theme of ‘War Memory’. The event is therefore dedicated to this fascinating historian.

Amongst the confirmed participants are REM vocalist Michael Stipe, and filmmakers Amos Gitai and David Lynch who will present a new film. Celebrated neuroscientist Israel Rosenfield will introduce ‘The Problem of Memory’ with writer John Hull. There will be a robotics expert Luc Steels and World Memory Champion Ed Cooke, artists Olivier Castel and Ed Atkins, publisher Jefferson Hack, and scent expert Sissel Tolaas.

The event begins with a five-hour performance by acclaimed Lebanese sound artist Tarek Atoui, who together with 14 world musicians will take audiences on a mesmerising journey through Tarab and classical Arab music recorded from the early 20th century onwards.

‘As a curator, I am constantly engaged in building memory or, as Eric Hobsbawm put it, leading a ‘protest against forgetting’,’ says Hans Ulrich Obrist, co-director of the Serpentine Gallery.

‘Although we are hugely sad that Ai Weiwei still cannot travel to be with us and see the Pavilion that provides the inspiration for this year’s Marathon, his brilliant co-designers, Herzog and de Meuron, will be among a stunning array of world-leading experts exploring the subject of memory through the prism of art, history, science and technology, considering – among many other things – the suspicion that there is a kind of systematic forgetting at the core of the information age.’

Memory Marathon marks the closing week of the Serpentine Pavilion 2012.

Serpentine Gallery Memory Marathon runs from 12 – 14 October for tickets visit here.

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