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NEWSLETTER 17.12.2015


«Don’t lose sight of what really needs to be done!» This is the rallying call of Milo Rau, one of today’s best-known Swiss stage directors, to the artists of the future. It can be found in the latest edition of Passages, our cultural magazine, which on the occasion of its 30-year anniversary has published interviews with a variety of Swiss art practitioners. Visual artist and composer Christian Marclay, for example, explains the role that coincidence plays in his work. And 87-year-old Ticino author Giovanni Orelli castigates literary complaisance. A further anniversary publication – marking 30 years of Centre Culturel Suisse in Paris – has just been issued, too. It portrays 30 artists who have put their stamp on the Centre since its founding in 1985. We wish you happy reading and a good start into the New Year!


Pro Helvetia Communications


Swiss government sets strategic targets

The Federal Council has set the strategic targets for the Swiss Arts Council Pro Helvetia for the years 2016-2020. Their content is in line with the cultural policy announcement («Kulturbotschaft») made for the same period. As a consequence, the Arts Council will introduce work grants for visual artists, too. And within the framework of its «Culture and Business» programme, Pro Helvetia plans to intensify the promotion of design and interactive digital media. The Arts Council’s strategic goals can be accessed at www.prohelvetia.ch


Successful Swiss creative industry

Computer giant Apple has acquired the Zurich-based start-up company Faceshift, a developer of fast and cheap software that enables the imitation of facial expressions and contortions in real time. This software even made it into the production of the latest sequel of Star Wars. The takeover clearly indicates that the support efforts of Pro Helvetia and Swissnex San Francisco are bearing fruit. Faceshift was among the Swiss delegation at several global meet-ups of the software and game design scene, such as the Game Developers Conference in San Francisco. Further information at www.swissnexsanfrancisco.org



Lyrical Basel

From 29 to 31 January, the Literaturhaus Basel will be entirely under the sway of poetry. The 13th edition of its poetry festival will this year be opened by schoolchildren. Coached by poet Svenja Herrmann and film maker Bettina Eberhard, the youngsters spent four days creating video poetry. At the heart of this new genre is a poem that is transformed into a film. A further festival highlight is the award ceremony of the «Basler Lyrikpreis», which this time goes to poet and translator Ron Winkler. Programme at www.lyrikfestival-basel.ch


Picnic in the Ural Mountains with Steiner/Lenzlinger

When a museum invites Gerda Steiner and Jörg Lenzlinger to present some work, the artist duo usually arrive without any pre-prepared material. Instead, they take a look around on site to see what can be done. This time was no different. Invited by the Perm art museum in Russia, the two were impressed by the everyday life of the city’s inhabitants in the vast expanses of the Ural Mountains. The outcome of their exploration was a spacious exhibition entitled «Picnic». Substantial support for this venture was provided through Pro Helvetia’s cultural exchange programme with Russia. Further information at www.prohelvetia.ru

Performing arts in New York

January is the month when New York becomes a Mecca for performance artists. In parallel to the APAP get-together and various international meet-ups, the city hosts the renowned festivals Under the Radar, Coil and American Realness. Pro Helvetia is using this global platform to put the spotlight on choreographers Gilles Jobin from Geneva and YoungSoon Cho Jaquet from Lausanne, as well as theatre makers Massimo Furlan and Thom Luz. On 13 and 16 January, Pro Helvetia is co-organising the «Artists’ Salon». Details at www.apapnyc.apap365.org

Marc Méan Trio on tour with Li Xiao Chuan

Swiss Jazz pianist Marc Méan takes a special interest in the world of sound from the Far East. During a residency in Shanghai in early 2014, he forged ties with representatives of the local music scene. This December, the Marc Méan Trio is on tour in China accompanied by the well-known Chinese jazz trumpeter Li Xiao Chuan, with performances in Shanghai, Wuhan, Guangzhou and Shenzhen. For those able to make it to one of these extraordinary Sino-Swiss concerts, here are the tour dates: marcmean.com

Ethereal work on environmental destruction

Starting on 15 January 2016, 28-year-old Julian Charrière from Morges will be presenting his first solo exhibition. The up-and-coming young artist is due to show sculptures, photographs and installations at the renowned Parasol Unit gallery in London. His work insistently addresses the issue of ongoing global warming. In «Tropisme», for example, time seems to be standing still. A plant covered by a layer of ice at minus 20 degrees Centigrade is displayed in a glass cabinet. But there is a slight wind blowing and several pieces have already broken off – an indication of things to come. Further information at www.parasol-unit.org


Developing a project in India, China or South Africa

Initiating and developing new projects in a foreign cultural context – this is what Pro Helvetia has to offer for Swiss cultural practitioners, in the form of a three-month residency in 2017 in either India, China or South Africa. Shorter residency stays are possible, too, also in the Arab world. In return, the Swiss Arts Council provides art practitioners from the above-mentioned regions with the opportunity of spending time in Switzerland. Further information is available at www.prohelvetia.ch, as well as from Pro Helvetia’s liaison offices in Cairo, New Delhi, Shanghai and Johannesburg.

Working without pressure on a literary project

Authors writing in one of Switzerland’s four official languages can apply for a work grant by submitting a literary project up to 1 March 2016. The work grant enables writers to focus entirely on creating a work of literature over a longer period of time. A jury will pick those applicants whose projects are the most convincing in terms of concept, content and style. Further information on the terms of application at www.prohelvetia.ch

Four to ten months at Studio Roma

In keeping with its humanistic mandate, the Istituto Svizzero di Roma (ISR) fosters exchange between science and the arts. Under its «Studio Roma - Programma Transdisciplinare sul Contemporaneo», a transdisciplinary programme on contemporary issues, it has now once again launched a call for applications. Twelve places are available for art practitioners and scientists in the time-honoured Villa Maraini. Applications must be submitted by 8 February 2016 at the latest. Details on the terms of application can be found at www.istitutosvizzero.it


75 years Pro Helvetia, 30 years Passages

It was 75 years ago that Pro Helvetia first set up office at Hirschengraben in Zurich, where it has remained to this day. And its cultural magazine Passages was published for the first time 30 years ago. Enough reason, therefore, to take a closer look at the past. Historian Daniel Di Falco explores the political and social circumstances in which Pro Helvetia was founded in 1939. And stage director Milo Rau has penned a passionate appeal to artists of the future. Find out more in the latest edition of Passages at old.prohelvetia.ch/passagen.

In celebration of the 30th anniversary

The Centre Culturel Suisse in Paris is celebrating its 30th anniversary and has, in the course of the year, put on display an especially rich choice of Swiss arts. One highlight at the end is the issue of a jubilee publication presenting texts – written by renowned authors – on 30 Swiss art practitioners who have left their mark on the Centre since 1985. The volume also contains an amply illustrated chronology and a joint interview with the four directors who have guided this institution, a window on Swiss arts, through its 30 years of existence. Further information at www.ccsparis.com


You can submit your applications electronically via: www.myprohelvetia.ch


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One click to the website of Pro Helvetia New Delhi: www.prohelvetia.in


Pro Helvetia

Swiss Arts Council

Hirschengraben 22
8024 Zurich

Editor: Isabel Drews

Translations: Martin Striegel

Pro Helvetia supports and promotes Swiss culture in Switzerland
and throughout the world.