For Nowness.

The Maverick Swiss Curator Takes Us For an Early Morning Jog Into the New Year

“I believe in the idea of rituals,” says indefatigable cultural innovator Hans Ulrich Obrist, who helps us into 2014 with his thoughts on routine while taking his daily run around London’s Hyde Park. “But rather than following existing rituals given to us by society, I believe in inventing our own.” The Co-Director of the Serpentine Gallery is the founder of the Brutally Early Club, a dawn exercise initiative frequented by artists, curators and thinkers including Marina Abramović and Markus Miessen. Ulrich led NOWNESS regular Linda Brownlee around the 350-acre oasis of green in the center of London that his gallery calls home, which also plays host to a New Years Day 10K fun run each year. Curating his first show in the kitchen of his student-flat in St. Gallen in 1991, Swiss-born Ulrich joined Julia Peyton-Jones at the Serpentine in 2005 and has been instrumental in the development of the gallery and the recent opening of the Serpentine Sackler Gallery, designed by Iranian architect Zaha Hadid. Obrist's early running ritual just one facet of his can-do approach to life: he founded the 89plus Programme that celebrates the creativity of young people with fellow curator Simon Castes in 2013, and on top of his regular writing and lecturing engagements he also finds time to read at least one book a day. “The park is my extended office and I love the idea of having early meetings on the move,” he says. “It’s a discipline, but also kind of an urgency to start things. It liberates time.”

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