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14 May 2018

Zurich University of the Arts: Symposium – Revisiting Black Mountain, 25–27 May 2018, ZHdK

Decolonizing Art Institutions, Symposium Kunstmuseum Basel, June 2017

Symposium – Revisiting Black Mountain
Zurich University of the Arts


Open to public and free, but please register: Further Information

Prof. Dr. Dorothee Richter

Zurich University of the Arts (ZHdK)
Pfingstweidstrasse 96
8005 Zurich

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Symposium – Revisiting Black Mountain

Fri 25 – Sun 27 May 2018
Zurich University of the Arts (ZHdK),
Hörsaal 1, Toni-Areal,
Pfingstweidsrasse 96, 8005 Zürich

With Bernard Stiegler (philosopher), Alfredo Jaar (artist), Hongjohn Lin (curator), Susanne Kennedy (choreographer/ director), Steven Henry Madoff (author and curator), Lisette Smits (curator), Raqs Media Collective (artists, curators), Jeanne van Heeswijk (artist, activist), with lecturers (artists, designers, musicians, theoreticians, curators) of the ZHdK: Swetlana Heger-Davis, Dorothee Richter, Gerald Raunig, Nina Bandi, Sabine Harbeke, Brandon Farnsworth, Annemarie Bucher, Daniel Späti, Cornelia Sollfrank, Ian Wooldridge, Heinrich Lüber, Johanna Bruckner and interventions by students of the Department of Art and Media, ZHdK.

Programmed by Dorothee Richter, Head of MAS Curating, ZHdK

Experimenting with experience, democratic coexistence, interdisciplinarity, the self-determination of students and teachers, and working in art and design to develop and reconstruct society: Black Mountain College, founded in 1933, served as a space for artistic and social utopias for two decades and has remained a starting point for discussions on the conditions for successful teaching and research in the arts and design through to today.

These cross-disciplinary experiments seem to be especially important in times of so-called Post-Democracy and Post-Facts, which imply a reformulation of the public sphere. Is there on the other hand a potential in the cultural sphere that might offer a space for democratization? Does the impact of new working methods linked to digital technology propel further interconnections and resources that create other public spheres? Might this be a catalyst for new patterns of a communal exchange?

And what does this mean for the teaching and learning of arts and design, for structures, formats and content of learning/teaching, for an institution? The symposium shows connections, interferences, contradictions, confrontations and dialogues. In this panel, we invite cross-disciplinary radical cultural practices as well as educational experiments to open up a horizon of future possibilities in dialogue with other art and design universities and with cultural practitioners, which will be able to initiate other public spheres and therefore enable democratization.

The Symposium is embedded in the exhibition and events project Revisiting Black Mountain at the Zurich University of the Arts. The project explores what an experimental, transdisciplinary production of art/music/theater/design could mean and make happen today. The central idea is to initiate an intensive investigation into the model of Black Mountain College and to transfer this to a contemporary art university. These reformulated practices will be shown, performed, discussed and exhibited.