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Prague Quadrennial 2019: Switzerland as an artificial landscape

The Swiss Arts Council Pro Helvetia is organising Switzerland’s national contribution to the Prague Quadrennial of Performance Design and Space 2019, and has launched a competition for this. The winning project is now definite: The arts studio Fragmentin from Lausanne and the architecture firm KOSMOS architects based in Geneva will represent Switzerland in Prague with their joint project «Artificial Arcadia: measured and adjustable (?) landscapes». The project was selected by an independent jury out of a total of 19 submissions. It addresses the hybrid transitions between the natural, technical and digital landscapes of Switzerland.

The Prague Quadrennial is the world’s most important platform for scenography. Its 14th edition takes place from 6 to 16 June 2019 under the title «Imagination, Transformation and Memory». The centrepiece of the event in the Czech capital is the «Exhibition of Countries and Regions», organised by the Prague Quadriennal in collaboration with the national curators. The Swiss Arts Council Pro Helvetia is responsible for the Swiss contribution and has launched a competition for this. Invitations to participate in the competition went to scenographers, visual artists, designers, architects and persons active in the field of performance design.

A three-member expert jury consisting of Ute Haferburg, Director of the Chur Theatre, Chantal Prod’Hom, Director of mudac Lausanne, and Stefan Kaegi, author and director (Rimini Protokoll), examined a total of 19 project submissions in a two-step process. In consideration of the jury’s recommendation the Arts Council chose the winning project (see box). The performative installation «Artificial Arcadia: measured and adjustable (?) landscapes» of the arts studio Fragmentin from Lausanne and the architecture firm KOSMOS architects based in Geneva was convincing: on the one hand through the conscious handling of digital technologies as a new form of aesthetics, and on the other hand through the reflections on digital profusion and climate change.

In addition Pro Helvetia issued an invitation to tender for the «Student exhibition» which will also takes place at the Prague Quadrennial 2019. The winner was a project by students of scenography and theatre pedagogy in the Department of Performing Arts of the Zurich University of the Arts (ZHDK), under the leadership of Manuel Fabritz (scenography) and Prof. Dr. Mira Sack (theatre pedagogy).

Natural, technical and digital landscapes: the Swiss contribution to the Prague Quadrennial 2019

Cable cars, tunnels, bridges, snow cannons and avalanche barriers: a network of manmade technological installations covers the Swiss landscape and makes its representation as an intact natural ‘Arcadia‘, and hence its interest for tourists, possible in the first place. A further network of digital data supports these physical installations and at the same time records the transformation process that the alpine landscapes are going through in the context of global warming: glacial melting, loss of species, shifting of tree lines. The project «Artificial Arcadia: measured and adjustable (?) landscapes» by the arts studio Fragmentin and the architecture firm KOSMOS architects from Lausanne addresses the hybrid transitions between the natural, technical and digital landscapes of Switzerland. To this end it creates – even with daily changing performances, curated in collaboration with the artist Camille Alena – an accessible and dynamic spatial installation.

Fragmentin is an arts studio from Lausanne.
Website: http://www.fragment.in/
Instagram: @fragment.in

KOSMOS architects is an architecture firm based in Geneva.
Website: http://www.k-s-m-s.com/
Instagram: @kosmos_architects

Media info:
Lisa Stadler, Communication
lstadler@prohelvetia.ch; +41 44 267 71 51

Press release from the Swiss Arts Council Pro Helvetia – Zürich, 14.4.2018