The opening event of the swissnex Salon celebrates the theme of “Responsibility Towards Creation” with talks, performances, and experiences examining the challenges facing the fundamental values underlying democratic societies. The Salon proposes a radical change in the way we think about the role of science, technology, and creativity.
In addition to a keynote by the Wikimedia Foundation’s Jan Gerlach, this opening event includes the public opening of Instant Space in the swissnex Gallery, a series of curtains designed by Zurich-based architects Nele Dechmann and Ortreport representing a variety of liminal, “in-between” locations where typical rules are suspended. Dancers from Kinetech will share their performance of A Precise Arbitrary Moment, inspired by the installation.
The swissnex Gallery’s installation of Instant Space will be activated with unique activities responding to the themes of the salon, including cocktails, a DJ, and ‘Freedom Karaoke,’ where attendees can perform songs from a playlist of otherwise banned or censored pop music.
6:30pm — doors open
7:00pm — welcome + overview
7:15pm — Jan Gerlach (Wikimedia) keynote
7:35pm — discussion
8:00pm — breakout sessions
8:30pm — A Precise Arbitrary Moment, dance performance by Kinetech Arts
8:50pm — final announcements
9:00pm — celebrate with cocktails, karaoke & DJ
11:00pm — doors close
A platform for conversation, Instant Space is a series of curtains, designed by Zurich-based architects Nele Dechmann and Ortreport, to host discussions, workshops, and interrogations. The curtains embody a maxim of flexibility and fluidity. Instant Space exists alongside five keywords formed by Swiss designers Atlas through recombining fragments of foundational terms that raise questions and spark discussions. Is big tech playing with basic values in the name of innovation? Are these rearranged values a symptom of Silicon Valley’s “disruption” — a sign of diminished freedoms at the hand of technology giants? Or are these values somehow strengthened through combination, leading to new approaches to their own preservation? We encourage visitors to invent new meanings and explore their possible consequences.
A Precise Arbitrary Moment is a site-specific dance performance that investigates the fluidity of reality manipulated by the abundance of pervasive technologies. This fluidity alters our awareness at the same time that it is shaped by our perception. The performance responds to Instant Space: a series of curtains designed by Zurich-based architects Nele Dechmann and Ortreport. Dancers ponder the multi-mode of reality segmenting and reconnecting space and time. The performance is directed by Daiane Lopes da Silva, with technology development and design by Weidong Yang; and performed by Hannah Wasielewski, Daiane Lopes da Silva, and Erik Wagner.
Atlas is a graphic design studio founded in 2011 by Martin Andereggen, Claudio Gasser and Jonas Wandeler. We believe in a collaborative approach to design and have been working for clients in both the commercial and cultural fields. Our studio develops concepts and designs for printed and digital matter of all kinds, including visual identities, publications, posters and websites. Alongside a regular studio practice, the members of Atlas Studio teach at the art universities of Zurich (ZHdK) and Lausanne (ECAL), give workshops as well as lectures and pursue self-initiated projects on a regular basis. The work of Atlas Studio was awarded the Swiss Design Award (2014), The Most Beautiful Swiss Books for Learning from Warsaw (2013), The Best Dutch Book Designs as well as The Most Beautiful Swiss Books for Part One (2010).
Cédric Waldburger holds a master in computer science from ETH Zürich and HKUST Alumni. Cédric is a serial entrepreneur, startup founder, investor and crypto/blockchain enthusiast since 2012. His involvement spans from fintech and eCommerce to social networks and SaaS. He co-founded DFINITY – a blockchain startup backed by Andreesen Horowitz – and eight other high-tech companies in Europe and the US.
Cédric previously co-founded and worked for various businesses around the globe (Zurich, New York, Paris, Hong Kong, London and Berlin) where he held roles on the technology and management side.
Jaime Austin is the Director of Exhibitions and Public Programming at California College of the Arts where she oversees six campus galleries that foster meaningful dialogue through a robust schedule of more than 150 exhibitions, talks, and public programs each year. This fall, Austin is helping lead the For Freedoms’ 50 State Initiative in the Bay Area — working with major arts and cultural organizations across the region to increase voter registration, voter access, and engagement in the broader practices of democracy. Prior to CCA, Austin was the Curator and Director of Programs at ZERO1, a Silicon Valley based arts organization focused on presenting cutting edge work at the intersection of art and technology. Austin was the lead curator of the 2012 ZERO1 Biennial, Seeking Silicon Valley, the assistant curator of the 2010 ZERO1 Biennial, and has helped produce more than 30 public art commissions in cities such as San Jose and San Francisco. She earned a BA/BSC from Santa Clara University and an MA in Curatorial Practice from California College of the Arts. She lives in San Francisco, CA.
Jan Gerlach is a Senior Public Policy Manager at the Wikimedia Foundation, where he advocates for laws that promote openness and free knowledge. Jan is a Member of the Advisory Board of the Nordic Centre for Internet & Society at BI Business School in Oslo, Norway and a Fellow at the Research Center for Information Law at the University of St.Gallen. Jan has previously worked as the Executive Manager of the Research Center for Information Law and spent time as a Visiting Researcher at the Berkman Klein Center for Internet & Society at Harvard University and at the Berkeley Law School. His research, focused on the relationship between public discourses and Internet regulation, has been supported by the Swiss National Science Foundation.
Kinetech Arts is a group of artists and scientists creating innovative performances that combine dance and science with the newest interactive technology. Founded by scientist Weidong Yang and dancer and choreographer Daiane Lopes da Silva in January 2013, Kinetech Arts has performed at ODC Theater, Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, Moscone Center, Headlands Center for the Arts, Djerassi Artist Residency, De Young Museum, among others. Since 2014, KA hosts the DanceHack , an annual tech + dance event in association with CounterPulse (since 2016). KA has received support from Zellerbach Family Foundation, CA$H Grant Program, Phyllis C. Wattis Foundation, CounterPulse, Headlands Center for the Arts, Djerassi Resident Artists Program, The Kenneth Rainin Foundation, and Creative Work Funds.
Nele Dechmann lives and works in Zurich. As a practicing architect she makes tailor-made solutions, whilst combining different logical systems into a new entity. In Berlin she co-planned a contemporary City Library with archaic solid brick-walls. A school in rural Madagascar was made by communicating with the local workers through axonometric projections not unlike instructions for model airplanes. In Zurich she built a hotel in a heritage building, which had to remain untouched outside and completely changed inside. As a researcher, she looks at different architectural typologies and how they were formed. Her dissertation analyses an international network that founded the "Costa Smeralda" in an undeveloped region in Sardinia from scratch. Her architecture and her publications were being published and awarded internationally.
Ortreport is a collective founded by Katrin Murbach (1984, Zurich Switzerland) and Fabian Jaggi (1982, Gstaad Switzerland). They are specialised in site-specific research, interventions and happenings in different environments. Together with the local community and lateral thinkers they find and touch the nerve of spatial situations. They collaborate with theaters and public institutions constructing temporary spaces in public sites. They co-designed the nomadic "House of Switzerland" which travelled throughout Europe. One of the recent projects took them to Johannesburg, where they investigated the modernist skyscrapers of the African metropolis. They are teaching at F+F school for Art and Design and Zurich University of the Arts.
Daiane Lopes da Silva is a dancer, choreographer, educator and artistic director of Kinetech Arts. Her work incorporates dance with technologies that contribute to uncertainty and interactivity, creating an environment that demands full awareness and spontaneous communication. Daiane studied at P.A.R.T.S., directed by Anne Teresa De Keersmaeker in Brussels and graduated with a B.A. in Psychology, Alpha Beta Kappa, from SFSU. She was a resident artist at Headlands Center for the Arts, Safehouse Arts, CounterPulse and is a current resident artist at ODC Theater. She was a guest lectures at USF, and is on faculty at Alonzo King Lines Ballet Dance Center and Western Ballet.
Erik Wagner is a dancer, teacher, and dance maker. In 2018, Dance Magazine livestreamed his ballet class from the Lines Dance Center in SanFrancisco, where he is also a faculty member of the Lines Ballet Training Program. Previously, Erik performed with the San Francisco Ballet, Béjart Ballet Lausanne, BalletX, Ballet NY, and the Stadttheater Bern. He has performed the works of William Forsythe, Mark Morris, Jerome Bel, George Balanchine, and Jerome Robbins, to name a few, and performed on stage with Elton John and the members of Queen. Erik was a Guest Lecturer at Stanford University from 2013-2015. Other teaching credits include Wayne McGregor Random Dance, Les Ballet Jazz du Montreal, Basel Ballet, Complexions Contemporary Ballet, and internationally with ProART Festival in Prague, and Physical Day Bern in Switzerland.
Hannah Wasielewski is a dancer, choreographer and educator. She has performed her own creations as a solo artist and in collaborations in the San Francisco BayArea, Arezzo (Italy), Ponderosa, and Earthdance. In San Francisco, Hannah has performed for Sara Shelton Mann and Sara Kraft/KraftyWorks. She is currently studying Biodynamic Craniosacral Therapy with Body Intelligence.
Weidong Yang has a Ph.D in Physics, and M.S in Computer Science. His most significant invention improved the alignment measurement in semiconductor processing to the precision of 0.01nm, a crucial enabling technique for today’s CPU, GPU and memory. Weidong has performed with KUNST-STOFF, Sara Shelton-Mann and Paco Gomez. He was a resident scientist at Djerassi in 2016. Weidong grew up in China, experienced the cultural revolution, Tai-an-men Square movement before coming to US. The contrasting experience in cultural and political system gave him a broad perspective when connecting current events to art making.
Video of the Opening
The swissnex Salon is a new model for dialogue on how the future of our society is shaped: a platform that includes multiple perspectives and provides a critical lens on possible emergent futures. Taking inspiration from the values articulated within the Preamble of the Federal Constitution of the Swiss Confederation, we examine the role of technology in shaping, distorting, and expanding societal foundations.