The Artangel Longplayer Conversations

Jeanette Winterson and Susie Orbach begin The Long Conversation at the Roundhouse, 12 September 2009. [Atherton-Chiellino] [ENLARGE]

Each year, as a way of celebrating the vision behind Longplayer’s long term aspirations, Artangel invites a leading cultural thinker to conduct a public conversation with someone they have never met, and to engage in a discussion inspired by the philosophical premise of a project which unfolds, in real time, over the course of a millennium.

The first invitation, marking Longplayer’s fifth anniversary in 2005, was to the American artist Laurie Anderson, who chose the novelist Doris Lessing for a conversation which took place at The Royal Institution.

In 2007, Canadian designer Bruce Mau sat down with architect David Adjaye for a dialogue at the Royal London Hospital’s Institute of Cell and Molecular Science.

On 12 September 2008, philosopher and broadcaster Alain de Botton was in conversation with George Soros.

The 2009 Longplayer Conversation was a marathon, 12-hour relay of one-to-one conversations, which took place alongside Longplayer Live at the Roundhouse, London. The Long Conversation featured twenty leading writers, filmmakers, scientists, academics and technology activists inspired by the philosophical and practical implications of ‘long time’ and long-term thinking.

On 18 April 2011, climate scientist and ‘futurologist’ James Lovelock was in conversation with political philosopher and author John Grey.

On 3 December 2012, journalist and novelist John Lanchester was in conversation with writer and broadcaster Caitlin Moran.


The Artangel Longplayer Conversation 2012

with John Lanchester and Caitlin Moran
3rd December 2012 at RIBA, Portland Palce, London

John Lanchester was born in Hamburg in 1962. He has worked as a football reporter, obituary writer, book editor, restaurant critic, and deputy editor of the London Review of Books, where his pieces still appear. He is a regular contributor to the New Yorker. He has written four novels, The Debt to Pleasure, Mr Phillips, Fragrant Harbour and Capital and two works of non-fiction: Family Romance, a memoir; and Whoops!: Why everyone owes everyone and no one can pay, a book about the global financial crisis. His books have won the Hawthornden Prize, the Whitbread First Novel Prize, E. M. Forster Award, and the Premi Llibreter, been longlisted for the Booker Prize, and been translated into 25 languages.

Caitlin Moran was born in 1975 and is a writer, critic, broadcaster and columnist. At 15 she won the Observer's Young Reporter of the Year and by16 she'd joined Melody Maker, the music weekly. At 18, she presented the pop show Naked City on Channel 4. She went on to become a columnist at The Times, both as a TV critic and the Friday column 'Celebrity Watch', winning the British Press Awards Columnist of the Year 2010, and Critic and Interviewer of the Year 2011. She has written three books; The Chronicles of Narmo, the award-winning How To Be a Woman and most recently, Moranthology.

Video of the conversation can be watched here.

The Artangel Longplayer Conversation 2011

with James Lovelock and John Grey
18th April 2011 at RIBA, Portland Palce, London

James Lovelock is the originator of Gaia theory, a hypothesis he formulated in the 1960s as a consequence of his work for NASA on methods of detecting life on Mars, which proposes that Earth’s physical and biological processes are inextricably bound to form a self-regulating system – but not one that can indefinitely support human life. His latest book, The Vanishing Face of Gaia updates and reiterates the urgency of his original theory – proposing that climate change will result in inevitable global catastrophe, and that the human race should prepare for the worst. He is also the inventor of the electron capture detector (which made possible the detection of CFCs and other atmospheric nano-pollutants) and of the microwave oven.

John Grey has written several influential books on political theory and is perhaps best known for Straw Dogs: Thoughts on Humans and Other Animals, a critique of humanism; asserting that humanist belief in progress is derived from an erroneous Christian notion of humans as morally autonomous beings categorically different from all other animals. Gray sees volition, and hence morality, as an illusion, and portrays humanity as a ravenous species engaged in wiping out other forms of life. He writes that ‘humans [...] cannot destroy the Earth, but they can easily wreck the environment that sustains them.’

Video of the conversation can be watched here and an audio-only stream is here.

The Artangel Longplayer Conversation 2009: The Long Conversation

with Jeanette Winterson, Susie Orbach, Sophie Fiennes, Mark Miodownik, Cory Doctorow, Ruth Padel, Lewis Wolpert, Charles Arsène-Henry, Mark Lythgoe, Bonnie Greer, Marcus du Sautoy, Robert Peston, Steven Rose, Lisa Jardine, Andrew Kötting, David Toop, Mark Haddon, Rachel Armstrong and Vincent Walsh
12th September 2009, The Roundhouse, London, in conjunction with Longplayer Live

10:00 – 10:36    Jeanette Winterson with Susie Orbach
The 2009 Longplayer Conversation was a 12-hour relay-style Long Conversation, opened and closed by writer Jeanette Winterson (for biography see 21:24 – 22:00 below).
Susie Orbach is a psychoanalyst and writer. She co-founded The Women’s Therapy Centre in 1976 and The Women’s Therapy Centre Institute, a training institute in New York, in 1981. Her many books include the recently published Bodies and the classic Fat is a Feminist Issue. For 10 years Susie wrote a series of columns in the Guardian on emotion, provoking conversation about public affairs and private feelings.

[ download mp3 audio ]


10:36 – 11:12   Susie Orbach with Daniel Glaser
Dr Daniel Glaser is Head of Special Projects in public engagement at the Wellcome Trust. He comes from a neuroscience background, was the first ‘Scientist in Residence’ at the Institute of Contemporary Arts (ICA), has presented a television series for the BBC and co-chairs Café Scientifique at the Photographers’ Gallery.

[ download mp3 audio ]


11:12 – 11:48   Daniel Glaser with Sophie Fiennes
Sophie Fiennes began making films in 1998. She is widely acclaimed for her unique observational eye and strong sense of cinematic form. Her films include The Late Michael Clark, Because I Sing, Hoover Street Revival, The Pervert’s Guide to the Cinema and VSPRS Show and Tell. Fiennes often employs a collaborative approach to filmmaking. She has worked with artists and thinkers ranging from dance maker Alain Platel to philosopher/psychoanalyst Slavoj Žižek. Her films therefore also act as powerful portraits of some of today’s most iconic individuals. Current projects include a film with Anselm Kiefer called Over Your Cities, Grass Will Grow and an observational feature documentary titled Grace Jones – The Musical of My Life.

[ download mp3 audio ]


11:48 – 12:24   Sophie Fiennes with Mark Miodownik
Dr Mark Miodownik is Head of the Materials Research Group at King’s College, London, and his main research area is self-organising materials on which he has published one book and more than 50 research papers. In 2003 he co-founded Materials Library which has been actively researching the senso-aesthetic properties of materials to understand why materials feel, smell and taste the way they do. This has resulted in collaborations with designers, architects, artists, as well as many museums, such as the Tate Modern, the Hayward Gallery and the Wellcome Collection. Mark is a broadcaster and writer on engineering issues and believes passionately that to engineer is human.

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12:24 – 13:00   Mark Miodownik with Cory Doctorow
Cory Doctorow is a science fiction author, activist, journalist and blogger – the co-editor of Boing Boing and the author of the bestselling Tor Teens/HarperCollins UK novel Little Brother. He is the former European director of the Electronic Frontier Foundation and co-founded the UK Open Rights Group. Born in Toronto, Canada, he now lives in London.

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13:00 – 13:36   Cory Doctorow with Ruth Padel
Ruth Padel’s latest collections of poetry is a biography through lyric poems of her great-great-grandfather Charles Darwin. She has won the National Poetry Competition, is Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature and Zoological Society of London and Resident Poet at Christ’s College, Cambridge. She began as a Greek scholar at Oxford; her non-fiction includes a study of rock music and Greek myth, an eco-travel book on tigers, two studies of Greek ideas of the mind, and two popular books on reading modern poetry.

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13:36 – 14:12   Ruth Padel with Lewis Wolpert
Lewis Wolpert is Professor of Biology as Applied to Medicine in the Department of Anatomy and Developmental Biology of University College, London. His research interests are in the mechanisms involved in the development of the embryo. Wolpert was made a Fellow of the Royal Society in 1980 and awarded the CBE in 1990. He was made a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature in 1999.

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14:12 – 14:48   Lewis Wolpert with Charles Arsène-Henry
Charles Arsène-Henry is a London-based editor and writer. He is the co-editor of the forthcoming second volume of Hans Ulrich Obrist’s Infinite Conversation, a range of 70 interviews with prominent artists, writers, architects, philosophers and scientists. In 2009, he founded the agence de pensée White Box Black Box whose first project is a series of Knowledge Capsules, both printed and digital, conceived for specific individuals or institutions, made as an edition of one. Past and current themes: Images of the Brain, Texture of Dreams, Structure of the Night and Infinity.

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14:48 – 15:24   Charles Arsène-Henry with Mark Lythgoe
Dr Mark Lythgoe is Director of the Centre for Advanced Biomedical Imaging at University College London, where he develops novel imaging techniques for investigating brain and cardiac function. Mark is co-Director of the Cheltenham Science Festival, one of the largest science festivals in the world, and is passionately involved in the public engagement of science. As well as collaborating with artists to gain new perspectives on neuroscience, he has looked into the neuroscience of creativity itself, studying a former builder who developed an insatiable need to paint, draw, write and sculpt after suffering a stroke.

[ download mp3 audio ]


15:24 – 16:00   Mark Lythgoe with Bonnie Greer
Bonnie Greer is a Chicago-born playwright living and working in Britain. She is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts and a Member of the Franco-British Council. Greer has been Arts Council Playwright in Residence for the Soho Theatre and for the Black Theatre Co-operative, and Arts Council of England Playwright in Residence for the Pascal Theatre Company. She has won a Verity Bargate Award for Best New Play and has played Joan of Arc on the Paris stage. Greer is a frequent contributor to television, radio and newspaper reviews. Greer has been a regular panellist on the BBC’s Newsnight Review, and is the author of two novels: Hanging by Her Teeth and Entropy. Currently she is working on a play for the National Theatre Studio.

[ download mp3 audio ]


16:00 – 16:36   Bonnie Greer with Marcus du Sautoy
Marcus du Sautoy is a Professor of Mathematics at the University of Oxford. He is currently an EPSRC Senior Media Fellow and was previously a Royal Society University Research Fellow. In 2001 he won the prestigious Berwick Prize of the London Mathematical Society, and in 2004 Esquire Magazine chose him as one of the 100 most influential people under 40 in Britain. His academic work concerns mainly group theory and number theory. In October 2008, he was appointed to the Simonyi Professorship for the Public Understanding of Science, succeeding Richard Dawkins. He writes for The Times and The Guardian and has appeared several times on BBC Radio 4 and television. He has also written numerous academic articles and books on mathematics, the most recent being Finding Moonshine.

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16:36 – 17:12   Marcus du Sautoy with Robert Peston
Robert Peston is the BBC’s award-winning Business Editor, who has broadcast and published a series of exclusive stories about the global financial crisis and the Credit Crunch. Peston has published two critically acclaimed books, including Who Runs Britain?, his best-selling account of who’s to blame for the economic mess we find ourselves in.

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17:12 – 17:48   Robert Peston with Steven Rose
Steven Rose is a neuroscientist and emeritus professor of biology at the Open University, where he researches the brain processes involved in learning and memory. He is a popular author and broadcaster who has written extensively on brains, evolution and genetics. With feminist sociologist Hilary Rose he has also had a longstanding engagement with the political, ethical, legal and social aspects of the developing life sciences.

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17:48 – 18:24   Steven Rose with Lisa Jardine
Lisa Jardine is an academic, writer and broadcaster. She is Director of the Centre for Editing Lives and Letters and Centenary Professor of Renaissance Studies at Queen Mary University of London. Since 2008 she has been Chair of the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority.

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18:24 – 19:00   Lisa Jardine with Andrew Kötting
Andrew Kötting: born then Lumberjack in Scandinavia then KLIPPERTY KLOPP and HOI POLLOI then the Slade then performances and screenings of film and video work throughout UK and Europe then feature films GALLIVANT and THIS FILTHY EARTH then projects MAPPING PERCEPTION and IN THE WAKE OF A DEADAD then installations performances and bookworks then Professor of Time Based Media University for the Creative Arts then OFFSHORE Cross Channel swim project then IVUL.

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19:00 – 19:36   Andrew Kötting with David Toop
David Toop has published four books, including Ocean of Sound and Haunted Weather, and recently completed a fifth, entitled Sinister Resonance. Curated exhibitions include Sonic Boom, Hayward Gallery, 2000, and Playing John Cage, Arnolfini, Bristol, 2005. Solo albums include Black Chamber and Sound Body. He is currently writing and composing a chamber opera entitled Star-Shaped Biscuit.

[ download mp3 audio ]


19:36 – 20:12   David Toop with Mark Haddon
Mark Haddon is the author of A Spot of Bother and The Curious Incident of the Dog in The Night-time. He has also written children’s books, radio plays, poetry and TV drama. He has recently finished writing a play and is working on a third novel.

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20:12 – 20:48   Mark Haddon with Rachel Armstrong
Rachel Armstrong was recently described as a polymath by TED’s Tom Reilly (Technology Entertainment Design), at this year’s TED Global Oxford conference. Rachel's extensive interdisciplinary practice engages with a fundamental driving principle – the fundamental creativity of science. Her work uses all manner of media to engage audiences and bring them into contact with the latest advances in science and their real potential through the inventive applications of technology, to address some of the biggest problems facing the world today.

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20:48 – 21:24   Rachel Armstrong with Vincent Walsh
Vincent Walsh is Professor of Human Brain Research at UCL. He has published over 200 scientific articles. His research interests encompass visual perception, numerical cognition, time perception and human brain stimulation. In 2003 he proposed a Theory of Magnitude to explain the emergence of numerical understanding from the brain’s systems for processing information about time and space. He is widely involved in public projects on the science of the senses and music and is currently writing a book on why (some) scientists (sometimes) lie.

[ download mp3 audio ]


21:24 – 22:00   Vincent Walsh with Jeanette Winterson
Jeanette Winterson OBE has written 9 novels, plus essays, screenplays, and childrens’ books. She is a feature writer for The Times. Her first novel Oranges are Not the Only Fruit (1985) won the Whitbread Prize. Her latest novel The Stone Gods was published in 2007. Her books are available in 11 languages and 21 countries. She grows most of her own food and has a shop in Spitalfields, London.

[ download mp3 audio ]


The Artangel Longplayer Conversation 2008

with Alain De Botton and George Soros
12th September 2008 at the Royal Geographical Society, 1 Kensington Gore, London

Alain De Botton was born in Zurich, Switzerland in 1969 and now lives in London. His writings – including How Proust Can Change your Life, Status Anxiety and The Architecture of Happiness – refer both to his own experiences and ideas and those of particular artists, philosophers and thinkers. His style of writing has been termed a ‘philosophy of everyday life’, and several of his books have been serialised as documentaries for broadcast television.

George Soros is best known as a successful stock investor and financial speculator. Born in Budapest in 1930, he survived the Nazi occupation and fled communist Hungary in 1947 for England, where he graduated from the London School of Economics. In the USA, he is known for having donated large sums of money in a failed effort to defeat President George W. Bush’s bid for re-election in 2004, and for establishing major philanthropic endeavours promoting the values of democracy and an open society. He famously ‘broke the Bank of England’ on Black Wednesday in 1992 when he sold short more than $10 billion worth of pounds, profiting from the Bank of England’s reluctance to either raise its interest rates to levels comparable to those of other European Exchange Rate Mechanism countries or to float its currency.

There is a short film on The Guardian’s website.

Download an audio excerpt: [ artangelconversation2008.mp3 ]

Or listen to it here:

The Artangel Longplayer Conversation 2007

with Bruce Mau and David Adjaye
Tuesday 13 February 2007, the Royal London Hospital, London

“As Longplayer enters its seventh year, Artangel has invited Canadian designer Bruce Mau to speak to British architect David Adjaye about the challenges faced by designers and architects in the 21st century. Inspired by the Longplayer project, they’ll be discussing philosophy, time, art and inspiration, the dilemmas of longevity, sustainability and their own projects from Guatemala to Tower Hamlets.”

Download an audio excerpt: [ artangelconversation2007.mp3 ]

Or listen to it here:

The Artangel Longplayer Conversation 2005

with Laurie Anderson and Doris Lessing
Thursday 26 May 2005, the Royal Institution, London

“The first Conversation, in association with the Royal Institution, brings together the imagination and experience of multi-media artist Laurie Anderson and the writer and novelist Doris Lessing to discuss the art and science of keeping time and to consider long-term thoughts and strategies. Is time running out? And what do we mean by timelessness?”

Download an audio excerpt: [ artangelconversation2005.mp3 ]

Or listen to it here:

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