Semester Topic

The annual semester topic serves as a lense to approach inter-/transcultural issues and discourses connected to the different locations of the programme and the related cultural contexts. It is the guideline for the programme’s lectures, excursions and workshops, as well as a starting point for the experimentation and development of the artistic projects in mixed groups.


Protection (2023)

This year we have chosen as a semester topic protection and explore this concept from various angles, always taking the underlying assumptions as a departure point. Navigating the intricate tapestry of protection from a cultural and artistic standpoint in both two locations, Zurich and Taipei, unveil compelling dynamics and power structures. In Taiwan and Switzerland, the contemporary sociopolitical climate casts a spotlight on safeguarding democracy amidst diversity. Conversely, in Taiwan, the struggle to shield diversity, traditions, and indigenous life converges with the urgent need to protect the land and its ecosystems. In both contexts, the artistic exploration of protection becomes a potent means to dialogue, challenge norms, and champion interconnected values in the face of evolving challenges.

Position & Positioning (2022)

Position and positioning are two key terms in an inter-/transcultural context as well as in collaborative (art) practices. We are all and at any time in a certain “position” be it based on our social or profession status, gender, cultural or discplinary background and personal experiences, which are influencing our perspective to look at something. Being aware and reflect on it’s own position is a first step and important in the encounter and the dialogue with others. At the same time, we are (constantly) forced to actively position ourselves, to judge, to take decisions, to have an opinion in an increasingly complex world, be it as individuals or as part of a society, but also as artists, curators or designers. As positioning always includes at least two sides both position and positioning need to be considered in inter-/transcultural contexts.

In terms of the programme, the participants of TC are continously exposed to new and unknown contexts and are forced to work collaboratively with participants from from different cultural backgrounds and disciplines, both, reflecting one’s own and each others position and actively positioning oneself are of particular importance and more demanding than in their regular environments

Inputs & Workshops 22:

Contamination – Affection (2021)

Contamination, commonly framed as a negative dynamic, is perceived as invading, infecting and corrupting life forms and other matter. Nevertheless, there are doubtless also positive forms of contamination, ones propelled by affection, empathy, enthusiasm, eros, resistance and fascination. Contamination as collaboration instigates forms of transformation through encounter.

Some of these dynamics occur intentionally, others unintentionally. In either case, they create tensions between attempting to gain control and, at least sometimes, the impossibility of having it.

We always find ourselves in the midst of contamination and thus are inevitably affected by it. This explains why contamination is a particularly compelling concept to unravel the complexity of encounters between cultures and creative practices. As such, it plays a critical role in questioning our cultural perceptions.

This topic addresses the varied perceptions of and tensions between the concept of contamination and affection, as well as its ambivalences and paradoxes in society and culture. How do we understand the concept of contamination today and how does it affect our sociocultural and creative practices? How does thinking with contamination reconfigure how we relate to each other? How do we deal with newly forged relations of solidarity?

Bonds & Ties (2019)

This year’s semester topic looks at different forms of bonds and ties, including those with our body, family, friends, society, cultures, animals, plants or objects. We will explore the bonds and ties we encounter in our lives, will examine how they are constructed, why they might exist and how we can become aware of them. Which social and cultural norms influence (y)our behaviour, shape our habits and constitute our rules and laws? Where do such bonds and ties become visible or invisible? What is the role of creative practitioners in this context? And which ties affect (y)our artistic work?