The cascading staircase — the most central and most public space at ZHdK —served as a conference forum. Participants met there for inputs, talks, drawing, conclusions from groupwork, and for meals and recreation.
The Conference was structured by 3 panels: 1. Episteme: Working Toward Findings, 2. Secret Currencies — Writing CVs, and 3. New Economy und New Economies – Changes in the Education System and in Art Institutions.
The workshops related to the panels were held in small groups in locations beyond the reach of the central reservation system. The groups were moving around with folding chairs and mobile working instruments:
Valentina Vuksic performed at the server space where she made the huge data volumens tangible by letting them „sing“
In „Research in-between Places, Peoples and Cultures“ Pekka Kantonen filmed the workshop audience while re-watching a video. Since over 30 years the artist has been endlessly re-documenting the process of showing filmed scenes of everyday life to diverse audiences, discussing them and re-filming them.
In her workshop „Crip Modes. Radikalisieren des Fragens über den Alltag hinaus“ Eva Egermann addressed historical documents within the Disability Studies and the critique on normality. The workshop took place at the historical collections of the Museum für Gestaltung.
In „Night Shift – Precarious Sweat Music“ one could be part of a 90-minutes party take-over of a service elevator. Amal Alhaag and Maria Guggenbichler in their workshop played the game of randomly uplifting and downgrading bodies – just as it sometimes happens to us, our salary and CV at the workplace.
Raju Rage discussed with the participants how „Surviving the Art School“ as possible as QTIPOC (Queer, Trans* Intersex People of Colour). The aim of the workshop was to challenge and overcome institutional racism and white supremacy within a cultural framework.
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The SARN Library was a place to recover from the discussions, to meet for a chat, to browse SARN publications, or to get information on SARN activities.
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All Aperos and dinners were hosted by Gasthaus: Fermentation and Bacteria. It included delicious roasted insect dumplings and fermented cucumber brine.
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The over all visual and spatial concept of the conference was made by the artist Riikka Tauriainen. Other artistic contributions included the performative sound installations by Sarah Solderer (swing) and the „Rollbar“ by Chantal Küng.

ZHdK – Zürcher Hochschule der Künste, Kaskadenhalle, Zürich


13h30 – 19h30 (8.12.17), 9h – 17h30 (9.12.17)

The 2017 SARN Conference explored the working conditions prevailing within artistic research. In the last 20 years, an institutionalization and academization of artistic work known as “artistic research” has taken place. Arts universities are establishing research institutes, promoting PhD programs, and competing against universities for funding. Most artists only have small workloads in institution-based research. As much time is spent on projects and exhibitions as on teaching and earning a living. Although much of this work receives great symbolic recognition, it remains unremunerated. Working in such diverse contexts demands great flexibility regarding methods, skills, and the ability to reconcile several roles. The two-day SARN Conference reflected on the processes involved in institutionalizing the changing material and ideological preconditions of artistic research in recent years from the perspective of artistic researchers. The conference aimed to better understand the current situation of artistic researchers, to outline concrete ideas for future work-life strategies and for other funding and job opportunities, and to formulate concrete demands for self-determined artistic research.

The Conference took place at Zurich University of the Arts (ZHdK). In line with the conference topic, we reflected on working conditions at ZHdK’s new building.