A performative sonic and visual landscape
About Phase 1 in Zurich
This year, in 2023, the first phase of the Transcultural Collaboration (TC) program lasted four weeks and took place at the Zurich University of the Arts. Being presented with different input lectures around the topic of protection the TC-participants dealt with current challenges to democracies all around the world, the colonial legacies that persist in Switzerland, exchanged with several artists connecting their practice to an understanding of community and collaboration and did some local “field trips” around the city of Zurich. The participants shared their own artistic practices through different mediums such as performances, talks and meditation exercises.
The time spent together was intense. Participants still had to get to know each other, a shared language and understanding had yet to be found, common ground needed to be established, differences acknowledged, and one’s own place in the group needed to be found.
After two weeks of inputs, getting to know each other and discussing the possible guidelines for collaboration the participants got to work on smaller group projects during two weeks.
The works all connected over the topic of protection and found different ways to approach the questions of what protection actually means, which conditions create safety and when protection can tilt into over-protection and oppression.
The result of these collaborative works can be seen in the following.
Ray FREY, Ai De YANG, Julia SHU and Piero SCHERER collaboratively created a sonic and visual landscape “Websy”, where everything was connected to something, but nothing was connected to everything. A space where tools, artifacts and rare finds got entangled through an intertwined web of cables, film stripes and strings. A space where performers and visitors, sound and objects, came together to craft their own ecosystem. A system in which one must learn to give space and listen to each other to build new connections and combinations that preserve the system.
Over the span of a week the group set up their base in one of the rooms of the Zurich University of the Arts (ZHdK). With each day and each new find their engaging landscape grew. Visitors then were invited to a performance to see and hear this somehow chaotic, somehow organized, somehow intuitive, somehow encrypted structure while the performers improvised their way through the landscape. It was not possible to understand everything at once, to decipher, cable by cable, sound by sound.
The group was fascinated with working with found objects, reusing them as musical instruments and creating the structures of the entangled web. With some visitors attending the performances more than once they could feel how some things only become graspable, audible and connected on a second glance.