MA-Symposium 2016


Devised by the Master
in Visual Arts Programs at HEAD – Genève:
CCC / Trans / Work.Master

With contributions by Stuart Bailey, Mathieu Copeland, Beatrice Gibson, Yann Chateigné, FM Einheit, Pauline Julier, Mattin, Doreen Mende, microsillons, Muscha, Nils Röller, Laurent Schmid, Paolo Thorsen-Nagel, Franz Treichler, Tris Vonna-Michell, UN Unruh

«The static comes at him again: a second burst, heading the other way, like an enormous echo or the backrush from the first explosion, air propelled out by its breath being sucked in again. This time it carries him along with it: he feels himself rushing backwards, through a black and endless void. He’s merging with the void: seared, shot through, carbonisé, he’s become the sea of ink, the distance between planets, the space across which signals travel. Like time itself, he’s flattening, turning into carbon paper: the black smear between the sheets, the surface through which things repeat, CC themselves, but that will itself always remain black, and blank. Looking backwards as the soundwave draws away from him, accelerating onwards, he sees things being duplicated in the expanse created by its passage: cats and phone-wires, cars and dancers, rivers. The orchard’s been duplicated too: the siblings have stopped running through it and are sitting at a game-board. All these scenes and objects have been reproduced inwardly, as though injected through some kind of time-syringe into his stomach, in whose blackness they’re suspended like small, lit-up screens, contained by the walls of a new syringe that frames them and injects them further inwards, again and again, the scenes and objects miniaturising more and more as they regress. Eventually, they become so small and distant that they dwindle. From where he is now, he can see the children in the orchard and their game-board shrinking, and the orchard itself shrinking, and the wires around it too: their edges all contracting to form a compound that itself shrinks until it’s so small that it’s no longer perceptible. Then the whole image fades away. The noise has faded too: only fragments of it are left, small residues, vague sonic smudges… » TOM MCCARTHY, C, 2010

Programme complet: MS_2016_programme_HEADnew.pdf



Master Symposium: ON INTELLIGENCE

March 21th - March 23th

with Nabil Ahmed, Artist, Writer and Curator, Mike Alonzo, Scientist at NASA and Prof. Chus Martinez, Curator, Head of the Art Institute HGK FHNW


Monday 21th

10:00 – 16:00: Research Lectures with Mike Alonzo and Chus Martinez

Location: Auditorium, House of Electronic Arts Basel, Freilager-Platz 9, 4142 Basel


Tuesday 22nd / Wednesday 23rd

10:00 – 16:00: Mimika Land Rights Project - West Papua with Nabil Ahmed, Mike Alonzo and Chus Martinez

Location: FHNW Academy of Art and Design, Room A 0.11


Tuesday 22nd

18:30 – 20:00 Sensing Ecological Conflict and More-than-human Rights

Open lecture with Nabil Ahmed and Mike Alonzo

Location: FHNW Academy of Art and Design, Auditorium D 1.04



The Master Symposium will be dedicated to intelligence. Intelligence: what does this mean?

For a long time, the talk was about the difference between art theory and practice. For many years now we are trying to see how art is different from the social function that art plays in the social. The term „artistic research“ was coined to signalize how artist produce not only objects or performances or act inside a given media but propose a „research“ into the practice of art itself. However, very soon the term named a new form of academic activity performed by artists.

This symposium will try to interrogate how artists today are relating their practice to fundamental questions of how life is and takes place, how the futures are shaped by experience and how art is defining experience under a total new form. This symposium, in other words, will try to familiarize you with current debates in art thinking.

Artists Nabil Ahmed has been for some time working together with NASA scientist Mike Alonzo in the project Mimika Land Rights Project - West Papua.

The aim of this research project is to map the vegetation disturbance in Western Papua that can be attributed to either acid mine drainage from the Freeport-Rio Tinto mine or to population pressures (clearing for agriculture, urbanization) associated with increased mining activity.

The mapping will have different focus like animated visualization of land cover change from 1987 – 2014, dated disturbance map from 1987 – 2014 and landscape complexity map illustrating the number of “states” of every pixel from 1987 – 2014. Also part of the research project is to quantify the growth of the acid mine drainage area (ADA) by year and correlate with existing mine production data.

West Papua is the remote Melanesian province of Indonesia that has an abundance of gas, mineral and timber resources. Together with Papua New Guinea, in terms of biodiversity, West Papua contains 5% of the world’s tropical high-biodiversity terrestrial ecosystem. At the same time West Papua is a conflict zone with heavy Indonesian military presence, as there is a decade’s long independence movement waged by Papuans. The military has a long history of dealing heavy-handed with political protest and civilians alike and there are numerous cases of well-documented human rights violations that amounts to a slow genocide.

At this two days of the symposium we talk about different approaches of mapping the environment and the society to develop new strategies.


Nabil Ahmed is an artist, writer and researcher. His transdisciplinary research explores contemporary eco-politics in spatial relation to law, conflict and evidence. More recently he has participated in the Taipei Biennale (2012), Cuenca Biennale (2014), Haus der Kulturen der Welt in Berlin where he has been part of the two-year Anthropocene Project (2013-14) and Dhaka Art Summit (2015) where he was part of the Critical Writing Ensemble. His writings have appeared in academic journals, magazines, and various art and architecture publications recently commissioned by the Office for Contemporary Art Norway (OCA), Third Text, Volume, Architecture and the Paradox of Dissidence (Routlege, 2014) Forensis: The Architecture of Public Truth (Sternberg, 2014) and many others. He is co-founder of Call and Response, a sound art organization based in London. He initiated Earth Sensing Association, a research organisation for the diffusion of knowledge at the intersection of environmental change, conflict and cultural production. He holds a PhD from the Centre for Research Architecture at Goldsmiths, University of London where he is a member of the Forensic Architecture Project. He is a lecturer at The Cass School of Architecture at London Metropolitan University. He is a fellow at Akademie Schloss Solitude in Stuttgart (2014-16). In 2016 he will be leading one of the five interventions strategies as part of the Oslo Architecture Triennale’s core program, In Residence. He lives and works in London.  

Mike Alonzo is an expert in biogeography and remote sensing. Biogeology, the study of the geographic distribution of plants and animals, is concerned not only with habitation patterns but also with the factors responsible for variations in distribution. Strictly speaking, biogeography is a branch of biology, but physical geographers have made important contributions, particularly in the study of flora. He will use the session to explain his focus on improving ecosystem analysis. Through very complex systems of mediation, Mike has been focussing on the observation on the development of forests and how mining and other industrial activities have degraded nature and underrate water.

Chus Martínez has a background in philosophy and art history. Currently she is the Head of the Institute of Art of the FHNW Academy of Arts and Design in Basel, Switzerland. Before she was the Chief Curator at El Museo Del Barrio, New York. She was dOCUMENTA (13) Head of Department, and Member of Core Agent Group. She was Chief Curator at MACBA, Barcelona (2008–2011), Director of the Frankfurter Kunstverein (2005–08) and Artistic Director of Sala Rekalde, Bilbao (2002–05). For the 56th Biennale di Venezia (2015), Martínez curated the National Pavilion of Catalonia with the filmmaker Albert Serra; for the 51st Biennale di Venezia (2005) she also curated the Cyprus National Pavilion; in 2014/2015 served as alliance of the 14th edition of the Istambul Biennial; in 2008 served as a Curatorial Advisor for the Carnegie International and in 2010 for the 29th Bienal de São Paulo. Martínez lectures and writes regularly including numerous catalogue texts and critical essays, and is a regular contributor to Artforum among other international journals. Her most recent exhibition The Metabolic Age (MALBA Buenos Aires, 2015–2016) serves as a preamble for a book of the same title she is currently working on.


FHNW University of Applied Sciences and Arts Northwestern Switzerland

Academy of Art and Design

Art Institute

Registration until March 15th 2016

Master Symposium: the subliminal process of selection

Semester 2. und 4. Semester
Dates March 21. — 23. 2016
12:00 — 19:00 + elective night program
HKB Standort Schwabstrasse 10
3018 Bern
Multifunktionsraum 110

Universität / Haute Ecole Hochschule der Künste Bern
Teacher Florian Buerki
Contact email for student applications

Content description
If it wasn‘t for the phenomenon of alertness, our eyes and ears would become blind and deaf considering the vast amount of visible and audible stimulation. The one who sees and hears everything, sees and hears nothing. The subliminal process of selection, to take one thing as more important than the other, is a constant fellow of basic human perceptual/emotional/behavioural dispositions. Attention is crucial for both creation and analysis of art and its processes. Distraction as the basic oponent gives us a set of rules and guidelines of how do deal with strategies and circumstances of making art.
In this seminar we study the phenomenon of alertness on a set of very practical exercises. We aim to focus on our attention whilst watching, walking, listening, drinking and eating during the seminar. We will have a closer look at the quality of distraction and talk about strategies to avoid it or how to use it to our own advantage.
Detailed program will follow shortly.

Remarks Please subscribe until March 11th.

SYMPOSIUM ECAL / Spring 2016

Semester : Spring 2016

Dates : 15 and 16 March

Title : Axiomatic Monsters

Teacher : Mihnea Mircan, Fabien Giraud and Raphaël Siboni.

Language : English / French

ECTS : 3 or 6.

Contact email :

Website :



Building upon recent and upcoming projects by artist duo Fabien Giraud & Raphäel Siboni and curator Mihnea Mircan, the presentations and conversations in this seminar will converge in – and invite participating students to – a discussion of anamorphosis. Anamorphic procedures will be engaged in their possible ramifications beyond optical trickery or perspectival deformation, in their capacity to figure as particular modes of sense-making: collaborative relations between conventional antonyms, categorical blurs.

Anamorphoses accompany the progressive establishment and clarification of perspectival realism, as intricate deviations that test the resilience of a set of norms. In simultaneous movements, anamorphoses lose and apprehend their object of representation, often from a particular vantage point that is religiously encoded. To condense what is surely a complicated and nuanced history, anamorphosis can be defined as the co-presence, within the same picture plane, of two distinct vanishing points: focusing on one reduces the shapes delineated in the other to a smudge of color. The questions asked in this seminar will revolve around the possibility of re-encoding this visual structure, so that different chronologies, techniques, contradictory meanings or ways of making sense of the world exist in anamorphic intersection. We will ask whether specific artworks and the ideas underpinning them can be unravelled as divergent – chronological or epistemic – perspectives, in fraught superposition. And, consequently, whether our apprehension of art can oscillate between transparency and patches of opacity, rationality and the monstrous or deviant, acts of de- and re-figuration that compose multiscalar objects.

Artists Fabien Giraud and Raphael Siboni will present The Unmanned, their ongoing series of films recounting in reverse a history of technology. Departing from this work, they will discuss how the concept of anamorphosis can be extended out of its strictly spatial and visual applications in order to become an operation on time. Unfolding from their analysis of such procedures in time-based media, they will attempt to define an anamorphic conception of history : where any event in time, any date or pattern of history can be transformed and re-orientated through specific morphing gestures on the perspectives which commonly define them.

Curator Mihnea Mircan will introduce his recent project Allegory of the Cave Painting and his ongoing research, titled A Biography of Daphne. Linked by themes of dendrianthropy and by an engagement with idiosyncratic ecological models, the two projects will be illustrated by works preoccupied with hybridity and metamorphosis: not so much transitions of the same identity between corporeal forms but entanglements of a ‘before’ and ‘beyond’ the human, warped lines of separation between the modern and its many antonyms, conjunctions between different regimes of representation, temporality and jurisdiction.

The presentations will be followed by a case study: a visit to the Musée cantonal de zoologie, hosting the collection of Belgian scientist Bernard Heuvelmans, whose passion for stories of marine monsters, ‘last dragons’ and ‘human beasts’ led to the creation of the dubious science of cryptozoology.

As part of this workshop, every participant is asked to contribute to the discussion by bringing an “anamorphic object” of his or her choice. These objects can be of different nature(a text, a concept, a material object, a plastic piece, sound). They will be used as the material for the creation of a collective anamorphic game, which will be invented on the second day of the workshop. Each object will need to be sufficiently circumscribed and easily manipulable by the group.

Tuesday 15 March

  • 10:00 - 12:30 General presentation of Mihnea Mircan’s research and Fabien Giraud & Raphael Siboni’s work, related to the anamorphosis concept.
  • 14:30 – 16:00 Visit of the crypto-zoological collection of Musée cantonal de Lausanne.
  • 16:00 - 18:00 Discussion focused around the museum visit and film projections.

Wednesday 16 March

  • 10:00 - 17:30 Presentation of the “anamorphical objects” assembled by the group, followed up by the construction and the onset of the anamorphic game, which will put in practice the logics of the transformations established beforehand.



Mihnea Mircan, an independent curator, was the artistic director of Extra City Kunsthal, Antwerp between 2011-15 where he curated : « A slowdown at the museum », « The Corner Show », « 1:1 », « Hans van Houwelingen and Jonas Staal », the series « Cross-examinations », and « Jean-Luc Moulène, Endwards » . His recent work includes the long-term research project 'Allegory of the Cave Painting', which debuted with an exhibition in 2014 and a reader published in 2015. Mircan has also curated exhibitions at institutions including the National Museum of Contemporary Art, Bucharest ; Museion, Bolzano ; Stroom, Den Haag ; Spinnerei, Leipzig ; David Roberts Art Foundation, London ; Fondation Ricard, Paris ; Project Art Center, Dublin ; and the Venice Biennale, as curator of the Romanian Pavilion in 2007. He was the editor of the books Hans van Houwelingen : Undone (2012) and Cross-examinations (2015), and has contributed essays to monographs on Pavel Büchler, Nina Beier, Patrick Nilsson, Jean-Luc Moulène and Laure Prouvost. His writing also appeared in exhibition catalogues and journals such as Mousse, Manifesta Journal and Afterall.

Fabien Giraud and Raphaël Siboni live in Paris, France. Their work reflects on cinema history, science and technological evolution. Their recent series « The Unmanned » traces the history of technology from a non-human perspective. It was presented in shows in Casino Luxembourg ; Vox, Montreal ; and Centre International d'Art et du Paysage de l'Ile de Vassiviere, Limousin. Their work has also been shown at the Palais de Tokyo (2008, 2010) and the Lyon Biennial (2007, 2015), and will presented in the next Liverpool Biennial in 2016.



In collaboration with the institute for cognitive psychology from Humboldt University of Berlin (Prof. Dr. Elke van der Meer), the interdisciplinary project called HOME ZONE explores the typology of areas in urban dwellings through its utilization from different users. With architectural and technical planning studies, HOME ZONE also consider the aesthetical aspect and its impact on local identity, strongly conditioned by the perception of safety - the safety of the
From 2013 to 2015, many artists intervened on Place Beaulieu in Sierre. With in situ works built for this location, the project studied the repercussion of art and the « Form – Color – Extension » concept on the perception of public spaces from the users, traffic and safety.

Artists: Hannes Brunner (Zürich – Berlin), Robert Ireland (Lausanne), Jérome Leuba (Geneva), Katharina Hohmann (Berlin – Geneva), Pascal Seiler & Rita Wagner (Gampel, Valais).
Research team: including Karin Frei Rappenecker and Sibylle Omlin (heads of the project); Humboldt University Berlin: Prof. Dr. Elke van der Meer, Dr. Martin Brucks (collaborator); project collaborators: Petra Koehle, Laurence de Preux; Fritz Kobi (traffic engineer, former head of road infrastructure of Bern Canton).


Date: 11 mars 2016

Time: 10h-18h30

Location: ECAV École cantonale d’art du Valais, rue Bonne-Eau 16, CH-3960 Sierre


Home Zone Screening

A group of films and a text produced between 2006 and 2013 in Egypt, articulating different users in the city (Cairo). Varying manifestations show the contrasts within “security and violence, public and private, communication and provocation, weak, powerful, hard, soft.”

  • At Night they dance 81’ Film by Isabelle Lavigne and Stéphane Thibault, 2011
  • The Cave 24’ Film by Ahmed Elghoneimy, 2013
  • Call me Soft Text by Sarah Rifky, 2012
  • One in a Million 12’ Film by Nadine Khan, 2006

Programme: Friday, March 11th

  • 14:00 Screening of At Night They Dance
  • 15:30 Screening of The Cave
  • 16:00 Break and individual reading of the text Call me Soft
  • 16:45 One in a Million
  • 17:00 Open Discussion