swissnex Salon

Responsibility Towards Creation (Oct 5–Dec 8) – a new model of open dialogue on societal responsibility

swissnex Salon

Oct 5–Dec 8, 2018
Responsibility Towards Creation

Amid critical press reports, public hearings, and internal protests at tech companies, Silicon Valley has entered a new era of societal responsibility. Yet, how can we put fundamental values and rights at the core of technology and foster responsible innovation?

This fall, swissnex invites you to take an “ethical pause” to consider the implications of science and technology in the public sphere. Titled swissnex Salon, our two-month series of activities envisions a shift from the dominant view of innovation as a means to create economic value, towards a source of societal value.

The program of events, workshops, and residencies at Pier 17 takes inspiration from the preamble of the Swiss Constitution, more specifically from five values selected in its text:

“The Swiss People and the Cantons, mindful of their responsibility towards creation, resolved to renew their alliance so as to strengthen liberty, democracy, independence and peace in a spirit of (1) solidarity and openness towards the world, determined to (2) live together with mutual consideration and respect for their diversity, conscious of their common achievements and their (3) responsibility towards future generations, and in the knowledge that (4) only those who use their freedom remain free, and that (5) the strength of a people is measured by the well-being of its weakest members, adopt the following Constitution.”

The values are intended as a starting point for an open dialogue bridging Switzerland and Silicon Valley: a collaborative platform that includes multiple perspectives, provides a critical lens on possible emergent futures, and explores responsibility for the benefit of all.

Instant Space

A platform for conversation, the swissnex Gallery will be transformed through Instant Space: a series of curtains designed by Zurich-based architects Nele Dechmann and Ortreport to host discussions, workshops, and interrogations. 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.

Perrine Huber
Head of Brand and Communication

Salon Opening Video


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