Master-Symposium 2020

École de design et Haute école d'art du Valais / ÉDHÉA

work in progress – a symposium on art and work

Wednesday March 25, 2020, 9.45 - 17.30
A proposition by MAPS – Master of Arts in Public Spheres, EDHEA
Château Mercier, Sierre
Meeting point Sierre train station 9.45

Workshops with: Mirjam Bayerdörfer, Mabe Bethônico, Anne-Laure Franchette, Patricio Gil Flood, Zen Marie.

Inscription is mandatory! (The symposium is providing a lunch for everybody)
Deadline: March 20. Please confirm your participation and your choice of workshop to:

The MAPS proposal for the 2020 Master Symposium expands on last year’s discussions on forms and formats of working and studying art. And while last year the notion of "studying" was at the center of the symposium, this year we will shift our focus to "working". How do we work and how do we study? Is studying a form of labor?  How can we understand the term "work" or “labor” in the context of the arts? What narratives can be identified around the term? What is implied by the fact that most Swiss art schools are located in former industrial buildings? Are Art schools the new factories in which knowledge/art is produced? Do we produce knowledge/art or what other procedure do we adopt? How can artistic approaches propose re- or dis-orientations of these terms?

The Symposium is conceived as a platform which allows the participants of the different art schools and orientations to meet, discuss and exchange. Five workshops – of which the students can choose one – will address the questions with different approaches and theme foci. A common Risotto for lunch allows to come together again and exchange across the groups.

The Symposium will take place at the Château Mercier in Sierre. Particular sites in and around the castle – such as a former swimming pool, a winter garden– witness the castle’s past and present and serve as a container and backdrop of the working groups. An ongoing film program in the foyer of the Château Mercier will accompany us during the day.

Meeting point: Sierre, train station 9.45h
9.45 – 10.45 Listening walk with Christophe Fellay, to Château Mercier
11 Welcome and group building
11-13h First workshop session
13-14.30 Lunch
14.30-16.30 Second workshop session
16.30-17.30 Feedback round and Farewell




Reading with Scissors: Wonder and Work

Mabe Bethônico

What is accumulated in daily news is often a persistency of subjects that we became used to. Some important key subjects are diminished as only repetition of the same, they are overlooked and any engagement is postponed or annulated. How can we organize a procedure towards a single voice, like a shout, reaching out understanding and making sense of a single issue out of the accumulation of political, environmental, economic tensions present in daily printed matter?

This is a call to build sense together from newspapers by re-ordering content and dis-orienting pages, for a layout about work and study. Constituting a space of encounter, we wish to speak while reading and looking, observing the vocabulary of labour, work, employment, payment, collective expectations, demands and failures, for a construction, mapping terminology and arranging visuals. How can we act differently together with this material towards producing content and reading aloud about WORK?


Mabe Bethônico works in dialogue with archives, libraries, museums, using carious medias such as prints, publications, posters, websites and lectures. She deals with limits between historic material and invention, evidencing how information can be constructed and continuously reworked. She has shown regularly across Brazil and Europe and is a prominent figure in the Brazilian art scene, having won various awards and been supported by research agencies and museums. She is part of the international group of artists and theoreticians World of Matter, initiated in 2010, dealing with issues linked to climate change and resource economies.


Mirjam Bayerdörfer

A) Was macht eine Tätigkeit zur Arbeit? Und wie verhält sich das, wenn dabei Kunst entsteht? Wir untersuchen (die eigene) Arbeit als ein Verhältinis von Zeit, Sichtbarkeit, Effekt, Auftrag, Lohn. Es geht um Haltung in der Entgrenzung, um geistig-ergonomische Hilfsmittel und um ganzheitliche Lockerungsübungen. 
B) "Of course I am working even if it looks as if I am not working. And even if I am not working and it looks as if I am not working I still might claim to be working and wait for you to work out what objective signifiers point towards a moment of value and work. This is the game of current art." Liam Gillick: Why Work?, Auckland: Artspace Auckland 2010.
C) ??!


A) Mirjam Bayerdörfer (*1984), is part of several collective structures. In her work she investigates social permeabilities and forms of self organisation, with artistic means among others. In doing so she is concerned with the following: Inside and outside, spaces, structures and their use, narratives, text, text and image, image languages, feminism, audience, public, the city. Her works include the manual "Teaching for people who prefer not to teach" with Rosalie Schweiker (2017), Sitzungen with Mein Verein (since 2016), and a series of walks called Outside Sundays (since 2015), She currently teaches at the F+F Zurich and co-runs the Shedhalle in Zurich.
B) Mirjam Bayerdörfer (*1984) used to co-run the Neuer Saarbrücker Kunstverein in Germany and teach art to the architecture department of ETH Zürich intitiated the format OUTSIDE SUNDAYS, a series of Sunday afternoon getaways currently teaches at the F+F school of art and design and co-runs the Shedhalle, the exhibition space at Rote Fabrik co-curated the exhibition „abhängig? wer, wie, von wem und wovon“ (dependent? – who, how, on whom or what) co-edited the handbook "Teaching for people who prefer not to teach“ together with Rosalie Schweiker. As an artist and curator, she’s interested in "testing and producing new forms of artistic and cultural practice" that go beyond the usual settings of art spaces and reach out to a more diverse audience.
C) Mirjam Bayerdörfer *1984, betreibt eine Hybrid-Praxis zwischen konzeptueller Einmischung, künstlerischer Produktion und Support-Strategien. Meistens findet die Arbeit zusammen mit anderen und unter uneindeutiger Autorschaft statt. Wissen produziert, organisiert, finanziert sich quer, und schlägt sich nieder in Aktionen, Ausstellungen, Texten und Gesprächen, die gleich gültig sind, es gibt kein Bedeutungsgefälle.


Is the future self-organized?

Anne-Laure Franchette

The artist-run ethos is often non-hierachical, non-commercial and based on an exchange of knowledge and resources. Artist-run initiatives, which support and develop experimental or underrepresented forms of practices and discourses, often exist in reaction to the hegemony of art institutions, museums and commercial galleries. Nowadays, the network of alternative spaces is a distinctive and central part of art and culture, proving that there are many different ways to be transformative, acknowledged and significant within the field of art. But to navigate through the power structures of the art market, the institutions, local politics and urban development, is a constant negotiation.


Anne-Laure Franchette: Exploring cultural perception, categorisations, cycles of production and misappropriation, my current research looks at the metabolism of cities, their relation to nature and how the political is embedded within the natural in the urban context. I am especially interested in the representations and manifestations of hierarchies of dignity (related to beings, objects or practices). In parallel to initiatives of self-organization and representation such as grassroots movements, collaborative models and DIY practices, which arise out of deficits, circumnavigating established structures and acting as support mechanisms.


“Look, this is my work!”

Patricio Gil Flood 

What do we understand by work? Producing something? Having a job? A potentially earning money? Having rights? Do we really want to be workers? These questions typically address relationships of art to work, conditions of living, or the position of the artist today, when creativity is increasingly commodified and creative labour proclaimed as a viable entrepreneurial model. 

The workshop propose to map our conditions of context, to perform our situation, to see how our material living condition could influence our subjectivity living condition, and viceversa.

Languages: Español, Français, English.


Patricio Gil Flood (1977 – Argentina) is currently living in Genève, Switzerland. Since a few years his practice and research is around the notions of work and leisure, taking a form of a research in the itinerant project ECOLE DU NON TRAVAIL. He is active participating and creating collective experiences related to performance and edition, walks and discussions, experimental exchange of goods, historically migratory traits and drifts.  Some examples are: Practicas de Periferia, MACACO Press, Los Individuos Radio, La Dispersión, AAS (Agencia de Asuntos Subtropicales), Artistas Organizados, CIA Centro, and the micro-society of artists Proyecto V.


Worlding at the edges of the art work
Zen Marie

The kind of labour, the form of work that being an artist includes has been transformed by both the radical energies of 60’s and 70’s but also by the forms of service based economy, marked by google hubs, communal workshare spaces and remote offices. The age of the freelancer or short term contract worker is upon us. In this sense, the work or labour of an artist has opened up to a variety of forms that have increasingly complex and critical relationships to the very idea of art itself.

Worlding at the edges of the art work invokes interactions between multiple players, human, non-human, virtual, abstract and flesh and blood. Following Donna Haraway, it’s about a becoming with "a world in which; "natures, cultures, subjects and objects do not pre-exist their intertwined worldings". kunsthalle / commercial gallery / university or art school. This workshop will take these ideas as a starting point, in order to open up a discussion that engages with work, the art work, and the worlding of the work that makes the art world/work.


Zen Marie is an artist who works in a variety of media. Core to his practice is a concern with how meaning and possibilities are produced through material and immaterial site, space and place. While working from a position that often begins with photography and film making this extends into performance, sculpture, graphic processes and writing. His areas of focus have included international sport, identity, nationalism, public infrastructure, food, urban space, aesthetics and forays into undisciplined decolonial philosophy. The links between these diverse areas is around the relationship between desire, power, agency and their subversive or revolutionary potential. Marie currently lives and works in Johannesburg, South Africa, where he is a Lecturer in Fine Art at the WITS School of Art. He is also a PhD candidate at WITS, with a focus on areas of art and theory in relation to what he calls situated aesthetic practice.