Manifesta 11 and UZH – Transactions between Art and Research

From 11 June through 10 July, the University of Zurich (UZH) will open its doors for Manifesta 11, the European Biennial of Contemporary Art. UZH is hosting its own parallel event, “Transactions,” which explores the complex interrelationships between art and research. The University is also offering other institutions and artists space to present their Manifesta 11 projects.

Sound artist Fritz Hauser (right) and sound engineer Patrick Becker (left) in a laboratory. (UZH, Caspar Türler)
Sound artist Fritz Hauser (right) and sound engineer Patrick Becker (left) in a laboratory. (UZH, Caspar Türler)

For four weeks, the main building of the University of Zurich will be transformed into an experimental space for scholarly and artistic exploration as part of the Biennial Manifesta 11. UZH’s exhibit “Transactions” conveys a visual expression of the complex interrelationship between various artistic and scholarly disciplines. In addition, numerous performances, concerts, screenings, and discussions will be held at the Künstlergasse 12 entrance, facing the city.

Rituals of capitalism and the sounds of science

In “Transactions,” roughly 15 artistic projects are juxtaposed by the same number of scholarly projects related to various aspects of the biennial’s theme: What people do for money. For instance, Stephan Leins’s ethnographic research on economic analysts is mirrored in Los Angeles-based artist Julika Rudelius’s artistic treatment of the rituals observed by finance managers.

The video productions of the Zurich duo Baltensperger + Siepert on Chinese migrant laborers stands in stark contrast to traditional Chinese pottery that researchers examine at the Ethnographic Museum of the University of Zurich as well as to the research on displaced persons in Congo by political geographer Stephan Hochleithner. And by taking part in the on-site experiment by the Department of Banking and Finance, visitors can answer the big question: And what do YOU do for money? In other projects, the Canadian artist duo Richard Ibghy and Marilou Lemmens converts statistics on efficiency at work into tangible three-dimensional sculptures, while sound artist Fritz Hauser traces the sounds and rhythms of laboratories and lecture halls, condensing them into a compact sound installation.

At the terrace next to the University entrance in Künstlergasse 12, visitors will find music and food stands as well as an outdoor stage. The terrace will also host other parallel events of Manifesta 11. For example, Simon Heusser is building a walk-in sound installation on the roof of the cafeteria, where he and music pioneer Bruno Spoerri will hold a performance. The Swiss Institute for Art Research (SIK-ISEA) is presenting its series “Cash and the canon” on the terrace, and the Translation House Looren is holding a live translation session with Irma Wehrli-Rudin.


"Transactions" is made possible thanks to the generous support of the Mercator Foundation.