Strange goings-on are promised this weekend at Olafur Eliasson's Serpentine Pavilion. Robots! Kissing booths! Out-of-body experiences! It can only mean one thing - the return of the Experiment Marathon.
After an interview-heavy 2006 debut, this year's Marathon has doubled in length, running from Saturday to Sunday, and the focus is on balancing audience involvement and active experimentation with talks and lectures. The 'grotto' of the Pavilion (dubbed a crashed flying saucer by the Times) will host psychologist Simon Baron-Cohen as he tests that old chestnut about women having more empathy than men, while a series of experiments organised by Sony Computer Science Laboratories will explore the brain's perception of reality.
Other highlights include a collaboration between the Edge Foundation and the Serpentine that examines scientific responses to the question: "What Is Your Formula?". Meanwhile, Tim Etchells' Long Relay is a 24-hour, cross-time-zone writing experiment that will see writers such as Tom McCarthy and Deborah Levy work on an ever-evolving text.
Perhaps the most intriguing is Pedro Reyes' Three-Way Kissing Booth, which is a 'public experiment on the permutations of male and female desire'. Sounds the perfect tonic for these increasingly chilly autumn nights.
Experiment Marathon, Serpentine Gallery, 13th-14th October. Tickets available on the door on a first-come, first-served basis.
Image from hey mr glen's Flickrstream