Online 1 Oct 2020 Free

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Visit Metabolic Selves

Metabolic Selves was launched with a livestreamed conversation convened by RCA Architecture students

Metabolic Selves is a new collective and online platform by the Royal College of Art, School of Architecture’s studio ADS3: Refuse Trespassing Our Bodies. On the occasion of their campaign launch for Back to Earth, students from the collective convened a conversation with sociologist Hannah Landecker, human rights and environmental activist Kumi Naidoo and artist-researcher and writer Susan Schuppli.

Over the academic year 2019-2020, students from the Royal College of Art’s School of Architecture ADS3 studio group have been working with the Serpentine Galleries’ General Ecology project to develop Metabolic Selves. Metabolic Selves rethinks our relationship to metabolism, and those microscopic agents and materials that traverse our bodies as we traverse them.

Each individual researcher within the Metabolic Selves collective has focused on one specific material or substance. The result of a year-long collaboration, the online platform invites audiences to engage, in a three-dimensional environment, with both source materials and outputs of these individual research projects. Enduring beyond the length of one academic year, Metabolic Selves will continue to exist as a collaborative platform and initiative. It will be officially handed over to the following year’s students as part of this launch event.

Find out more about Metabolic Selves at this link.

You can also listen back to the collective’s presentation of the project in the first episode of the Serpentine Podcast: Back to Earth – How do we get there?


In 2019-2020, Metabolic Selves are Charlotte Bonnie Toro, Freya Bolton, Claire Greenland, Rachel Housley, Cyprian Boateng, Kristofers Scipanovs, Tonderai Maboreke, Remi Kuforiji, Alexa Szekeres, Mayola Tikaka, Timothy Chan and Yu Hin Chun. ADS3: Refuse Trespassing Our Bodies was led in 2019-20 by Daniel Fernández Pascual & Alon Schwabe.

Hannah Landecker is a historian and sociologist of the life sciences. She holds a joint appointment in the life and social sciences at UCLA as Professor in the Department of Sociology, and Director of the Institute for Society and Genetics. Landecker’s recent writings concern the rise of antibiotic resistance, and the history and sociology of metabolism and epigenetics.

For over 40 years, Kumi Naidoo has been a life-long social, economic and environmental justice campaigner who was Executive Director of Greenpeace International, is a Global Ambassador of the pan-African organisation, Africans Rising for Justice, Peace and Dignity; and until recently was the Secretary General of Amnesty International.

Susan Schuppli is a UK-based artist and researcher whose work examines material evidence from war and conflict to environmental disasters and climate change. She is author of Material Witness: Media, Forensics, Evidence recently published by MIT Press and is also Director of the Centre for Research Architecture at Goldsmiths.


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