Now, stopping at Zurich Art Weekend en route to Art Basel has become a essential ritual of the art world. Across 73 venues, the city hosts over 100 free events, all packed into a single weekend, and this year there’s a particular focus on art and technology.

Even in Switzerland, home to “Crypto Valley,” as nearby Zug has been dubbed, NFT-mania is on its way out. Last year the interest was slowly fading, but at the sixth edition of Zurich Art Weekend (June 9-11), there is no doubt that AI is the new acronym on everyone’s lips.

If there is a city capable of leading this conversation, it is Zurich. As well as being Switzerland’s financial center with attractive tax breaks for residents – and therefore, naturally, an enclave for wealthy collectors – it boasts world-class research labs and a roster of Big Tech companies like Google, Apple and IBM.

Nevertheless, it can still be difficult to successfully bridge the worlds of art and technology, with their very different customs and cultures. This mission has been at the heart of Zurich Art Weekend’s interdisciplinary programming since its inception in 2018.

“We wanted to start a conversation between artists and scientists,” founding event director Charlotte von Stotzinger told Artnet News. “We thought two years ago with NFTs that the two worlds might merge, but now we see that the split is still there. The art world hasn’t changed much from a structural point of view. old models are back.

How better, then, to introduce this uncertain public to the innovations that the world of tech has to offer? Zurich Art Weekend has concocted a fascinating mix of impressive large-scale exhibitions and more intimate panels that draw on the city’s vast pool of expertise. “We are trying to turn the whole of Zurich into a platform for exchange, not only between speakers on stage, but also to spark new ideas and debate among the audience,” said von Stotzinger.

HHere’s your guide to what not to miss.


Liat Grayver and Marcus Nebe, blue transmutations (2023) will be part of the “Data Alchemy” exhibition at ETH Zurich from June 9 to June 24, 2023. Photo: © VG-Bildkunst / Liat Grayver.

“Alchemy of data: observing models from Galileo to artificial intelligence”

ETH Zürich

From June 9 to 24, 2023

“ETH is like the MIT of Europe,” von Stotzingen said. The research university’s impressive AI Center has hired a small team of curators to help organize public programming around the creative potential of the new technology.

AI is powerful because it can perform fast and efficient pattern recognition, but historically we have relied on the human brain to observe our surroundings and make our own inferences and predictions. This latest exhibition compares the history of cosmology, religion, mysticism and other esoteric belief systems with the current conundrum of the “black box” machine learning algorithm. Are we reverting to a less rational, pre-Enlightenment way of understanding the world?

Two special conferences organized around the show take place at the Collegium Helveticum Meridian Saal of the ETH. This is a conversation between artist Liat Segal and researcher Jennifer Wadsworth at 8 p.m. on June 8 and another between artist Rohini Devasher and science historian Omar W. Nasim at 3 p.m. on June 11. More details here.

sketch of the reconFIGURE concept. Image: © Chris Elvis Leisi / Immersive Arts Space.


Immersive arts space, ZHdK

June 9-11

The Immersive Arts Space at ZHdK, Zurich’s largest arts university, is led by Christopher Salter, an artist and expert in the field of technology-based immersive and mixed-reality digital experiences. “It’s a great chance to have him in Zurich all year round,” von Stotzinger said.

This latest project, still in progress, is sure to excite and surprise. The idea is to explore how human bodies and experiences can be captured, represented and reconfigured through emerging technologies. As visitors enter the exhibit, their bodies are scanned so that a moving figure, or realistic avatar, can appear and move independently through the room, even merging with others.

Christophe Kulendran Thomas, The finesse (2022) in collaboration with Annika Kuhlmann. Photo courtesy of the artist.

“For Real” by Christopher Kulendran Thomas

Kunsthalle Zürich, 270 Limmatstrasse, 8005, Zürich

Opening June 9 at 6 p.m.

Arriving in Zurich after a very successful solo exhibition at the ICA in London, Christopher Kulendran Thomas draws attention to a very varied practice that incorporates generative AI tools. For example, in The finesse, a film exploring the Tamil community’s independence movement and acts of artistic resistance, archival footage is mixed with AI-generated avatars. The exhibition also includes new paintings whose compositions were created by an algorithm trained on a variety of historical influences and motifs from Western and non-Western art.

A guided tour and conversation between the artist and museum director Daniel Baumann will take place on June 11 at 3 p.m. More details here.


“Gold or lead? The alchemy of cryptographic art and its markets »

UZH Blockchain Center and Art Market Research

June 8 at 1:15 p.m.

For those who just can’t wait for the weekend thrills, the UZH Blockchain Center has a whole crypto art conference planned for Thursday, June 8th. A long list of speakers take part in this packed program, including center director Claudio Tessone. The topic is all things NFT, but ranges from “Crypto Art: Exploitation” to “The Story Told by Data: A Forensic Approach to Crypto Art” and the Big Roundtable: “Crypto Art Markets : Gold or Lead?” More details here.

“How Technology Impacts Power Dynamics in the Art World”, a panel from Arcual

Schwarzescafé at Luma Westbau, 270 Limmatstrasse, 8005, Zurich

June 9 at 4 p.m.

Arcual, which bills itself as the first blockchain ecosystem built by the art community for the art community, is an official partner of Zurich Art Weekend. Their panel examines if and how emerging technologies are empowering previously marginalized members of the art world ecosystem and how this technology has changed the relationship between artists and their galleries. Moderated by Arcual CEO Bernadine Bröcker Wieder, the public can hear the views of auctioneer Simon de Pury, art technology expert Nina Roerhs and artist Gretchen Andrew. More details here.

“Machine Imperfections: Error, Noise and Mistakes in the Arts and Sciences of Artificial Intelligence”, panel discussion

Luma Westbau

June 10 at 2 p.m.

Little has yet been revealed about this mysterious panel, but von Stotzingen is keen to highlight the distinction of its participants. Christopher Salter, the mind behind the Immersive Arts Space at ZHdK and its simultaneous exhibition “reconFIGURE” (see above), will be joined by Sabine Himmelsbach from the House of Electronic Arts Basel (HEK) – “she is recognized as one of the leading specialists in art and technology and exhibits involving digital arts,” said von Stotzingen and Dr. Claudio J. Tessone, known for founding the local UZH Blockchain Center. More details here.

“Talk with artist James Bridle and curator Mirjam Varadinis”

Kunsthaus Zurich

June 10 at 2 p.m.

Following a recent extension, the Kunsthaus is now the largest museum in Switzerland. This weekend, it welcomes writer and artist James Bridle, a longtime skeptic of technology, surveillance and data who, in 2019, distilled his opinions into the book “New Dark Age : Technology and the End of the Future”. Celebrate The distractorher new installation at Kunsthaus Digilab, which examines the role of algorithms in the attention economy, Bridle will talk with Kunsthaus curator Mirjam Varadinis about different forms of intelligence that could be more beneficial than AI More details here.

“The Web3 Art Conference”

NFT Art Day ZRH at the Kunsthaus Zürich

June 11 at 1:30 p.m.

Over the weekend, again another the crypto conference is coming to town. NFT ART DAY ZRH returns this year for its second edition. After a few educational workshops on Saturday, the main event kicks off on Sunday with a strong program of panels on topics such as the NFT art market, how Web3 has influenced collecting behavior and the impact of accelerated technologies on the world. ‘art. In addition, the artist IX Shells will be in conversation with Hans Ulrich Obrist. More details here.

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