„ … to say ,I prefer not to’ (and continue working)”

 „ … to say ‚I prefer not to’ (and continue working)”

A Work Oriented Staging of Open Access and Collaboration in Artistic Research

by SARN – Swiss Artistic Research Network

August 12, 13, 14th 2017

Facebook event 


In a theatrical space in Venice SARN invites colleagues and the public to work on stage during three days and discuss and investigate the notions and practices of work and collaboration in the field of artistic research. Related to the particular architectural typology of the theatre and its role as theoretical staging in ancient Greece, we want to reflect work in terms of theatrical and theoretical staging and sharing. With regard to artistic research, the assumption is that theory understood not as knowledge but as touching defines the modes of collaboration in artistic research. The work in Venice will function as a model for a re-staging at the SARN Conference in Zurich from 8 to 9 December 2017.

With :

  • David Burrows (Slade, London)

More infos soon

  • Johnny Golding (RCA London)

Johnny Golding, is a philosopher and poet. Her practice-led research covers the intersections of contemporary art writing, physics and time-based media filtered through sense, surface, dimensionality, and the erotics of encounter. Recent publications include: ‘Human Remains/Remaining Human: the exquisite problem of becoming-corpse,’ ‘Diffraction, Entanglement and the Sensuous Unnatural Act called Art,’; ‘Ecce Homo Sexual: Eros & Ontology in the Age of Incompleteness and Entanglement’; ‘The 9th Technology of Otherness: A Certain Kind of Debt’; ‘Ana-Materialism and the Pineal Eye (Becoming Mouth-Breast); ‘Fractal Philosophy: Attunement as the Task of Art.’ Edited collections include, On the Verge of Photography; Twice Upon a Time: Magic, Alchemy and the Transubstantiation of the Senses;  Wet  Dry   Thick  Thin  (Getting beyond the Raw and   the Cooked) and On The Cruelty of the Classical Canon. Johnny Golding is Professor of Philosophy and Fine Art at the Royal College of Art and is currently finishing her latest monograph Radical Matter: Art, Philosophy and the Wild Sciences (or the courage of sense, after Einstein).


Johnny_Golding_photo by Aura Satz Mar 2017

©Johnny Golding – photo by Aura Satz Mar 2017


“He says indifferently and alike – how are you, friend?” 

            Walt Whitman, Leaves of Grass, 354.


This experimental deep listening piece, set in a darkened space will set explore the delicious tactility of friendship. It seeks to expose friendship as a living, raw, sensuous, multi-dimensional and secret intelligence shared by sentient beings at the moment of our extended encounter.  I want to say, in this extended encounter that it (friendship) will require nothing of identity politics, selfhood or social agency, though its very expression enables and indeed solidifies, all this and more.  Unlike companionship, it generates a strangely emboldened shared knowing, a suspended aliveness of Otherness without recourse to an old-fashioned mastery or binaric split between ‘self and other’. This is not a suspended aliveness as in ‘free-fall’ or some kind of nihilistic relativism that generates an always-already ‘in between’ or ‘transitioning’ state of affairs. Leastwise it is ‘romantic’, though its irruptions may have launched over a thousand delicious plateaus. Friendship requires a wholly different logic of senses, emotions, libidinal economies, calculations and intentions, closer to the Socratic parrhsia (truth) and its reinvention by Foucault in his Courage of Truth, as epimeleia (the technologies of care). To develop this deep listening piece, I will be drawing on a specific encounter, a wild encounter, one stretched over a seven year period with a semi-feral mustang whose precise split-down-the-middle brown/white face, earned him the Ojibwe name “Manhattan” (corrupted from “Madweijwan, the ‘heard-flowing’ of where the two rivers meet). At the core of this experimental voice piece will be the attempt to harness a particular type of raw energy, a sexual / erotic presence, even joy – an athleticism, respect, trust, odd form of mastery and slowness of time (despite or, even perhaps, at a gallop), that not only goes beyond the traditional (and anthropomorphically bound) tropes of ‘fraternity’ or ‘brotherhood’, but beyond the linguistic turn itself, with all the trappings of ‘subject’ and ‘object’, the ‘becoming-x’ and the ‘transcendental’, now thrown to one side.  In so doing, a form of consciousness and indeed a ‘new’ form of communication may emerge, one that speaks a wholly different language game, embodied in the brea(d)th and fractal singularities that today go under the such headings as quantum entanglements, ana-materialisms, incompletenesses and undecidabilities. All this – and more – I learned from befriending a wildly playful and somewhat dangerous horse named Manhattan.


  • Ronny Hardliz (Doc Mobility fellow FNS – Independant)

Ronny Hardliz is a Czech and Swiss Artist and currently a Ph.D. candidate at Middlesex University in London. For his thesis he collaborated with Goldsmiths College in London and the ETH in Zurich and it was supported by the Swiss National Science Foundation and by Lucerne University of Applied Sciences and Arts. He holds a MA in architecture from the EPF in Lausanne and studied architecture and urbanism at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, PA. He practiced architecture in Berne, was a teaching assistant at the Academia di Architettura di Mendrisio and artistic member at the Swiss Institute in Rome. Since 2003 he pursues an art practice committed to the exploration of architecture and was research assistant at the School of Art and Design in Lucerne. He recently lived in Rome, Prague, London and Berne with his partner and two charming daughters.

In an experimental set up with a moving camera and a live broadcast of what the camera records the simultaneity of set staging and stage presentation will be tested: the actor on stage moves in sync with the camera, whereas the actor in the moving image projected on stage remains in sync with gravity. The moves chosen for this set are particular to Venice: waves. The project thus challenges the effects of seasickness on the digestive functions of the culinary framing of the event.


© Ronny Hardliz

  • Rolf Hughes, Rachel Armstrong, Simone Ferracina (The Experimental Architecture Group)

Venetian Bric(k)olage: An Ecology of Found Practices 

The Experimental Architecture Group (Rachel Armstrong, Simone Ferracina and Rolf Hughes) will conduct an ‘open’ experiment in designing a ‘living brick’ prototype for Venice. Over the course of the day we will explore the characteristics of a unit of design that is relevant to the challenges that Venice faces in the 21st century. Continuing a long tradition in Venice of ‘upcycling’ matter, where objects are re-appropriated and re-valued rather than discarded, we will draw together a range of new possibilities for creative material synthesis. Waste materials will be collected from the city and used to begin to negotiate a set of relationships through which an alternative way of working with matter is possible. Potential connections are negotiated through conversation, speculation, trial and error. Specifically, we will examine the ‘living’ stones of Venice’s waterways, which are encrusted with ‘biofouling’ where mussels, barnacles, oysters, algae and bacteria generate bioconcrete in the tidal zones. The synthesis of waste in the city will also be explored, especially with respect to the 13 million plastic bottles per year that find their way into the lagoon (Coates, 2015), the algae that feed on the agricultural run-off from the Po delta and the domestic waste released into the city’s waterways. We will develop a poetics of receptivity in relation to our ‘found’ materials, which may at any point challenge our initial proposal. Bric(k)olage and an “ecology of found practices” will be used to gather, order and sort our themes and materials, develop a range of prototypes, further interrogate our reading of our findings, and generate new transferrable knowledge that aims to identify a positive role for artistic research within the built environment, embodying an ethics of life while embracing humanity’s respectful stewardship of the living world.


Coates, P. 22 May 2015. Thirteen Million Plastic Bottles: Venice Awash. [online]. Available at: http://powerwaterproject.net/?p=577. [Accessed 16 July 2017].


© The Experimental Architecture Group (EAG)



  • San Keller (Artist, Zürich)

San Keller was born in 1971 in Bern, Switzerland, and currently lives and works in Zurich, Switzerland. He is well known for his participatory performances and ephemeral actions that frequently approximate social experiments. The overall tone of Keller’s oeuvre is critical, conceptual and playful and reflects on the relationship between art and life. His investigation of art as a service ultimately gives the audience the opportunity to question out-dated paradigms and experience them in a new way, while also placing them under critical scrutiny. His actions start off with contractual arrangements that set up the rules for his works, but since they rely on the participation of others, the course they take and their ultimate outcome is unpredictable.

Recent exhibitions include: : Performance Process, Museum Tinguely, 2017; Action!, Kunsthaus Zürich, 2017; Oben ohne, Galerie Brigitte Weiss, Zurich (2016); Invent The Future With Elements of the Past, Cabaret Voltaire, Zurich (2015); Twisting C (r) ash, Le Commun, Geneva (2015); Disteli – Keller – Warhol, Art Museum Olten, Switzerland (2013).


© San Keller

  • Petra Köhle ( Lecturer at MAPS, associate researcher, ECAV – Sierre) & Nicolas Vermot Petit-Outhenin

Petra Köhle and Nicolas Vermot-Petit-Outhenin have studied photography, theory and fine art at Zurich University of the Arts, Central Saint Martins University of the Arts, London and Universidad del Ciné, Buenos Aires. In stagelike settings, they experiment history and examine how repetition, translation and transduction become constitutive for future scenarios. Their often collaborative practices include photography, installations, videos, performances and books. Exhibitions/performances amongst others at Aargauer Kunsthaus in Aarau, Palais de Tokyo in Paris, Museum of Modern Art Frankfurt, Kunsthaus Glarus, Centre d’Art Contemporain Chanot Paris, Shedhalle Zurich, Sinop Biennial in Turkey and during Printed Matter at PS1 in New York. Koehle/Vermot have published several artist books in the edition fink such as There where I should have been yesterday. I am here today and [f: la répète]. They are currently finishing their practice based PhD at Kunstuniversität Linz in collaboration with Zurich University of the Arts. Petra Köhle is lecturer at the MA in Public Spheres, research collaborator at ECAV and a board member of Swiss Artistic Resarch Network. Nicolas Vermot-Petit-Outhenin has been invited for lectures and presentations at Bern University of the Arts, Sint Lucas school of Arts Antwerpen and others. He is currently participating in several research projects at ECAV and a board member of Shedhalle Zurich. www.koehlevermot.ch

Nach (T) Kritik 

Nach (T) Kritik is a setting for an excessive and open (self)criticism. Unreasonably we take the time until the eyes close and re-open. To say I prefer not to (and continue working) – throughout the night, until the sun breaks and reason enters our consciousness again. A protocol keeps the discussion firmly and is published, in the best case, edited.


© Lionel Richie – All Night Long (All Night)


  • Christl Mudrak (Independent artist, Berlin)


Christl Mudrak lives and works in Berlin. She creates spaces that influence the observers’ both physical and psychological state as their perception capacity is challenged by specific pictorical concepts. Graduated at Berlin-Weissensee she obtains a master degree at the Goldsmiths College of London and doctorated with her thesis “Psycho Spaces. Dissolution of Space in the Medium of Painting” at AVU Fine Arts Academy of Prague, teached at the Architecture Faculty of ETH Zurich and as a guest professor at the painting department of Weissensee Art Academy, Berlin. Among her most recent projects and exhibitions are: Vertigo Site, Museum Kunstwerk, Collection Klein, Nussdorf; Congratulations, dear Clara!, a collaboration with a milk farmer from Hinterzarten; Drop Space, Sezzession, SEZ Berlin; Canvas Space, Auf Zeit!, Kunsthalle Baden-Baden; Residency Springhouse Dresden; ausgezeichnet! Kunststiftung Baden-Württemberg, Museum Biedermann, Donaueschingen; Black House White, ETH Zürich; Moxie, Stellenbosch, South Africa; Cleaning and Cleansing, at MySpace, Kunstraum Kreuzberg; El Caidero, Artenara, Gran Canaria. www.christlmudrak.com


DROP PAINTINGS, water on water – for Venice, 1st Space of PUNKTHAUS, 2016-2017

Single water drops are placed separately on paper with the brush. It seems that the drop does not want to separate itself from the brush. The gravity makes them stick to the paper and at the same time the brush seems to want to absorb water back into its body. One can study the behavior of the drop in this work, its ability to appear as a unity, its attachment to its environment, with simultaneous transparency and mobility. If the brush is removed from the paper, the drop remains on the paper and develops its full surface tension. The drop seems to keep its surface as small as possible, in a half sphere shape it is now on the paper and its tension is so strong that the water can not be absorbed by the paper. It takes about four to five hours for the fluid to be absorbed by the paper and evaporated by its surrounding space. It is only now that this can be seen on the paper, which is not absorbed by the environment and reacts to the background. This process is repeated several times. Drops are placed on drops. Sheet by sheet. Per sheet of paper, three or four droplets per day can be applied at high ambient temperatures.



© Christl Mudrak, DROP PAINTINGS



  • Miriam Sturzenegger (Independent artist, Bern / Emmenbrücke)

City Ground

Material fragments and deposits will be gathered from the ground of the lagoon and canals in order to be aggregated and shaped into a solid form which includes their speculative constructional / architectural revalidation. The particular architecture-ground-relation of the city of Venice calls for an inclusion of the underwater areas when thinking of urban ground, as the lagoon is presumably where remains of building substance are accumulated when cleaned off the sidewalks or washed out of the fundaments by the water, joint by other types of waste. Deciding to fish blindly in an open black box will alter the act of collecting by excluding preselection. It will ask for a technical extension of the arm and hand, a tactile scanning in order to capture material. At the same time, the ladle can become a mold, accepting a certain amount of material. Once the filling is pressed and water extracted, the vessel releases what can be regarded as a fictional core recording not only the composition of the ground, but also my own movement, or, simultaneously, as a raw module, a possible building block.

The work setting pursues a sculptural research on the physical, building deposits of cities, their manufactured ground and the making of material as an evolving memory of both natural and human agency. Fragments of construction materials which have dropped out of a controlled cycle, of a previous built structure and spatial order are gathered in public areas of cities. Though characterized in their composition and shape by a former function and place within constructions, by specific modes of fabrication and a historical context of urban development, they have lost their architectural meaning, useful value as well as fixed location and have moved into a geological sphere, adding to the volume of manufactured urban ground which stratifies and takes shape through cycles of construction activity. A document of time, of work and of the changing concepts for inhabited space, the found material asks for possible ways to be read. As an object at hand, part of a collection, selection and mobile arrangement of pieces in the studio, it turns into a tool which triggers thinking, serving as a placeholder, a microscopic fragment of a bigger whole, or a figure in a play. Sculptural interventions and tests on the material, adapting and interpreting processes of fragmentation and consolidation, shifting and reorganizing, guide a speculative investigation into building-matter-time-related questions. Taking place within a simple and overwiewable situation, my own activity relates to processes of physical transformation, spatial organisation, production and loss of information on a larger scale, while simultaneously producing the working process’ own archaeology.



NEWmiriam s.jpg

© Miriam Sturzenegger



Participating SARN members :  

  • Julie Harboe (Lecturer – Future Laboratory Crealab, Lucerne School of Business)

Julie Harboe is an art historian, critic and curator. She co-founded and managed the interdisciplinary art space forumclaque Baden, was assistant for art at Collegium Helveticum, ETH Zurich, developed a unit for artistic research with the artists at Lucerne School of Art and Design. She works as a researcher and lecturer at Future Laboratory CreaLab and Lucerne School of Business and as a facilitator for sustainable, bottom-up innovation processes with practitioners. She is co-organiser of the World Ornamental Forum, Davos and Future Forum Lucerne. Her focus is on transdisciplinary collaborations across research, education, business and art. For more infos go to: https://hslu.academia.edu/JulieHarboe


  • Michael Hiltbrunner (Senior Researcher, ZHdK – Zürich)

Michael Hiltbrunner (*1975)
Studied folklore and cultural anthropology at the University of Zurich and Goethe University Frankfurt. Researches at the ZHdK in the field of archives of research-based artist, indexing the archive of Serge and Doris Stauffer at the Swiss National Library in Bern as a SNF research project. Independent curator, i.a., at the Helmhaus Zürich. Lives in Zurich.


  • Priska Gisler (Head Research Unit / Lecturer, HKB – Bern)

 Priska Gisler has been Head of Intermediality since 2009. In collaboration with and interaction with artists and professionals from the visual arts, literary writing and the theater, she has developed a series of interdisciplinary research projects that address current topics of artistic production as well as questions about the production of knowledge in different social contexts. Priska Gisler studied sociology and history at the University of ZH and promoted gender politics in public discourse at the University of Bern (with a scholarship at the University of Potsdam). After working as an assistant in sociology at the University of Zurich and as an assistant professor at the Chair of Science Philosophy and Research at the ETH Zurich, she led a research group at the Collegium Helveticum, a transdisciplinary laboratory of the ETH and the University of Zurich. In the meantime, there were research stays at MIT in Boston, the London School of Economics and the Goldsmiths College in London, lectures at the ZHdK, the universities of Basel and Vienna. In recent years, the focus of her work has been on questions concerning the handling of biological material, the policy of (knowledge) mediation, as well as the connections between law and culture, to an exploration of artistic and scientific approaches and insights (preparation Bergsturz ), With human-animal relationships (we are in the winter sleep) and the reflection of historical changes in the artistic field (aesthetic practices according to Bologna: architecture, design and fine arts as epistemic cultures in the making). She is (co-editor) of numerous publications and organizer of scientific-artistic events and symposia. As a reviewer and jury member, she works for the SNSF, various magazines and universities. She is a member of the board of SARN (Swiss Artistic Research Network).

  • Camille Dumond (Artist, Geneva – SARN Coordinator)

Camille Dumond graduated from Work.master, Geneva University of Art and Design (HEAD) in 2014. Since then she has been working as a coordinator for the Swiss Artistic Research Network (SARN), specializing in Swiss artistic research. In 2015, in Geneva, she had her first solo exhibition at Quark art space (Pharcyde, 2015) and had several group shows in Switzerland  (Geneva City Fellowships at the Center d’art contemporain (CAC), Bourses Déliées at the Cantonal Fund for Contemporary Art (FCAC) in Halle Nord, Geneva). She has participated in group shows in Geneva and is pursuing several projects abroad in United States and France. She is currently a resident at Triangle France, artist residency program in Marseille.



 The Swiss Artistic Research Network will present „ … to say ‚I prefer not to’ (and continue working)” – A Work Oriented Staging of Open Access and Collaboration in Artistic Research on August 12, 13, 14th 2017 in the Research Pavilion in Venice, hosted by Uni-arts Helsinki.



www.sarn.ch | facebook | instagram | blog

sarn :: swiss artistic research network
As of 2011 the Swiss Artistic Research Network (SARN) is a platform for the coordination and communication of activities between and around the artistic research community of Switzerland’s art schools and internationally.

Since the implementation of the Bologna Reform and the start of the MFA programmes in Switzerland (2008) artistic research has attracted interest and vibrant debate. In close association with educational programmes and external partners, as well as independent artists, departments for artistic research have developed methodologies, results and strategies in numerous projects. It is SARN’s key assignment to initiate interaction, discuss standards and disseminate swiss artistic research.

As established by the Conference of Swiss Schools of Art and Design (KHKD) parallel to the already existing Swiss Design Network.

The SARN board members are representatives of the following schools:

Academy of Art and Design Basel (FHNW)
Bern University of the Arts (HKB)
Ecole Cantonale d’Art du Valais (ECAV)
Geneva University of Art and Design (HEAD)
Lucerne University of Applied Sciences and Arts, Design & Art (HSLU D&K)
Zurich University of the Arts (ZHdK)

As representatives of the artists/artistic researchers we have a consultative role for the KHKD and thus see it as a key assignment to give the community a voice and visibility of the specific artistic qualities and independence needed to develop the field.

The networks main areas of activities are the SARN workshops, conferences and this homepage.

Central discussions and questions are:

  • visibility of artistic research
  • best practice and diversity in artistic research
  • funding and financing of artistic research
  • future PhD programmes in Switzerland


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