Serpentine South Gallery 8–9 Oct 2016 Free

The Serpentine’s annual festival of ideas brought together practitioners from the fields of activism, art, anthropology, architecture, literature, music, philosophy, theology and science to focus on ritual, imagination and magical thinking.

I believe in the spirituality of the sacred. Not of religion, but of the sacred. What is the spirituality of the sacred? It’s the intuition of how we relate to the world. This is what the imaginary is: we feel the rumbling underneath us’ –Edouard Glissant

In its 11th year, the Serpentine Marathon series continued on its exploration of activism, art, anthropology, architecture, literature, music, philosophy, theology and science through a specific theme or topic of particular relevance in artists’ practice and in the wider contemporary context. Each year, the Marathon topic breaks through disciplinary boundaries to identify discursive movements, as well as the parallels and points of encounter between the empirical, the political and the imagined.

Following on from the 2014 Extinction Marathon, which presented environmental and human crises facing the world today (co-curated with Gustav Metzger) and the 2015 Transformation Marathon, which proposed ways of identifying and effecting change in the face of increasing complexity, the 2016 Miracle Marathon focused in on ritual, repetition and magical thinking to consider ways in which the imaginary can not only predict, but also play a part in affecting long-term futures. The initial concept for the Miracle Marathon was developed together with artist Sophia Al-Maria.

2016 saw the Marathon festival become a truly London-wide celebration, with Day 1 taking place at the Serpentine North Gallery in West London and Day 2 at Second Home, East London.

A series of miracles in audio form. The Miracle Podcasts were presented by Tabitha Thorlu-Bengura and Lucia Pietroiusti with some of today’s most interesting and innovative artists and theorists responding to the theme of miracles. Recorded live at the Serpentine Galleries’ Miracle Marathon, 2016.


Curated by 
Hans Ulrich Obrist

Lucia Pietroiusti

Ben Vickers

Claude Adjil

Core Advisory Team

Sophia Al-Maria, Lizzie Carey-Thomas, Mark Cousins, Marcus du Sautoy, Daniel Glaser, Andrew O’Hagan and Yana Peel

Curatorial Assistants

Chris Bayley

Taylor Le Melle

Nefeli Skarmea


Discover over 50 years of the Serpentine

From the architectural Pavilion and digital commissions to the ideas Marathons and research-led initiatives, explore our past projects and exhibitions.

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