Swiss Innovation Returns to SXSW

Fresh ideas from Switzerland come to the world-famous conference for creativity and technology in Austin, Texas.


Event Details


Downtown, Austin , Texas 78703 United States


March 08, 2019 12:00 pm - March 09, 2019 1:30 pm America/Detroit (UTC-05:00)


Requires SXSW Pass

Switzerland returns to the famous South by Southwest Festival in Austin, Texas, to highlight Swiss innovation in digital architecture, interactive storytelling, and more. The South by Southwest (SXSW) Conference & Festivals celebrate the convergence of the interactive, film, and music industries and is one of the premier industry events in the United States for discovering new technologies and ideas.

Follow our events and insights from the conference on social media at #SXSWISS.


Digital Fabrication: Evolving Architecture

March 8, 12:30pm | JW Marriot Salon 6 | Details

Ahead of the opening of How to Build a House, an exhibition showcasing the future of digital fabrication as shaped by the laboratories of ETH Zurich, architect and dfab pioneer Matthias Kohler joins Chris Luebkeman of Arup and Emina Reissinger of swissnex San Francisco to explore how tomorrow’s architecture could transform the future of work.

Reimagining the Cinema Experience

March 9, 12:30pm | Austin Convention Center Ballroom G | Details

How will we watch movies in 20 years — immersed in a virtual world or embedded in an interactive social experience? Ahead of the Game Developer’s Conference and fresh from the Sundance Film Festival New Frontier exhibition, swissnex San Francisco’s Nicola Ruffo joins Sarah Brin of Meow Wolf to explore the future of storytelling alongside two Swiss studios pursuing their own vision of storytelling — “Somniacs,” the makers of Birdly, and “CtrlMovie,” the creators of audience-collaborative cinematic experiences — in conversation with experts from the Sundance Institute.


Sarah Brin

Sarah Brin is a creative producer specializing in play, new media, and accessibility. She currently works as the Digital Storytelling Program Manager at Meow Wolf.

Before joining Meow Wolf, Sarah has developed programs, exhibitions, and publications for more traditional arts institutions including the Hammer Museum, British Arts Council, the Museum of Contemporary Art Los Angeles, the MAK Center for Art and Architecture and elsewhere. Sarah specializes in organizational development and the implementation of new initiatives and technologies within arts organizations. Some of her prior projects include supporting the development of PlaySFMOMA, the artists in residence program at the Pier 9 Workshop, and an EU research grant focused on playful museum experiences.

Matthias Kohler

Mathias Kohler ©Norman Foster FoundationMatthias Kohler is an architect with multi-disciplinary interests ranging from computational design and robotic fabrication to material innovation. In 2000, he founded the award winning architecture practice Gramazio Kohler Architects together with his partner Fabio Gramazio. Both partners are full professors at ETH Zurich, where they jointly lead Gramazio Kohler Research. Having initiated the world’s first architectural robotic laboratory in 2005, the group today consists of thirty researchers dedicated to advancing architecture and construction through computational methods and robotic technology with a special emphasis on material systems that are ecologically sound. From 2014 to 2017, Matthias Kohler has also been the director of the NCCR Digital Fabrication, the first National Centre of Competence in Research in the field of architecture funded by the Swiss National Science Foundation.

Chris Luebkeman

Chris Luebkeman is an Arup Fellow and Global Director of Arup Foresight. His interest in the built environment blossomed early, propelling him to pursue a multi-faceted education, beginning with engineering and culminating in a Doctorate in Architecture from ETH in Zurich. In 1999, Chris joined Arup as the co-Director for Research and Development and formed the Foresight, Innovation and Incubation team, which has evolved into Research + Foresight + Innovation.


Max Rheiner

Max Rheiner is founder of the VR company SOMNIACS, head of the Master of Arts Programme in Interaction Design and the director of the ‘Interactive Experience Lab’ at the University of the Arts in Zurich. Though this position he developed the Physical Computing Laboratory. The research lab and SOMNIACS work hand in hand to focus on cutting edge full-body immersion simulators and intuitive design for immersive telepresence. His most known project, Birdly, was born as a Design Research project and since then different ‘Birdly Prototypes’ were shown in a series of high profile shows in the USA, Europe and Asia: for example at the Sundance Film Festival or at SXSW 2015 and 2017 in Austin.

Tobias Weber

Tobias WeberFounder of film production companies and technology start-up CtrlMovie, Tobias Weber is a storyteller across platforms who masters the language of film as well as the new opportunities of digital media.

swissnex Hosts

Emina Reissinger
Head of Partnerships, swissnex San Francisco

Emina REmina Reissinger cares about meaningful impact and making the world a smarter place. As Head of Partnerships at swissnex San Francisco, Emina currently contributes to that vision by developing strategic partnerships and business models designed to create shared value. In 2016 she launched the swissnex Living Lab: focusing on co-creation and prototyping, it brings together dozens of partners, residents, fellows, and affiliates, while creating the space into a service and curated community. Under her stewardship, swissnex has grown to host over 20 resident organizations, from corporate innovation outposts to universities, and works closely with select technology and design partners. Today, Emina continues to direct swissnex San Francisco’s Living Lab strategy, lead fundraising, and design value add partnerships. To keep things fun, she additionally organizes regular and free workshops at swissnex on all things future of work, in partnership with generous friends.

Nicola Ruffo
Head of Public Programs, swissnex San Francisco

Nicola Ruffo is a Swiss curator, writer and journalist. He studied international relations and film at the University of Zurich and Berlin. His work focuses on digital and urban culture. He has realized several exhibitions and film programs for galleries, foundations like the LUMA Foundation and institutions such as the Swiss Architecture Museum. Since January 2018 he works as Head of Public Programs at swissnex San Francisco, to connect the digital arts and science of Switzerland and the US West Coast.