Folding the Axis
The Covid-19 pandemic has drastically reduced mobility and hindered the connection and exchange with art practitioners from other corners of the world. In this unprecedented time, the rules of the cultural sector are tested, and art activities of the year being shelved. Since June 2020, we have launched this open call as a channel to collect new formats of exchange, international networks or platforms, and experimental forms of artistic collaboration. Finally, we have selected 6 projects that provide ideas to sustain conversation in the times of pervading immobility.
A group of Chinese illustrators and Swiss writers will examine their everyday routine as artists in order to create a hybrid reality, which is neither Chinese nor Swiss. Through collaboration, they will explore a typical week of their respective lives, as well as ordinary topics crucial in both countries, creating new perspectives. Via a multidisciplinary approach, they will produce 7 illustrations interacting with 7 texts, which will form a common imaginary week. In these times of restricted movements but also huge changes in our daily routines, a channel of discussion on an everyday basis will help overcome physical, cultural and linguistic obstacles, as well as barriers among different artistic practices.
Through exclusively online communications, they will exchange on their daily lives by sharing pictures, videos, sounds or whatever they deem appropriate. This will help gather common work material and identify everyday topics of interest. Artists will then be paired, and each of the 7 tandems will work on a specific day and topic. The end result will be combined and harmonized in order to form one common week. Illustrations and stories will then be disseminated online on a daily basis over 1 week in June 2021, both in French and Mandarin.
The project aims to connect and create ties among artists, set up an atmosphere in which creativity, trust and understanding converge, encourage cross-cultural conversation in times of reduced mobility and provide an insight into the young generation of artists in both countries. These are all prerequisites for long-term cooperation which could include a physical event in China and/or Switzerland so that all the artists could perform together and spread their work abroad.
About the Team
More than 14 artists will be involved in this project in two countries, including 7 Chinese illustrators and a delegation of a Swiss collective of writers composed of 23 people. The group of Chinese illustrators include Xiao Duzi, Zhang Fan, Zhao Heng, Bowen Tan, Pang Yu, Ye Yuan and Peter Zhao. It represents both emerging and established talents from Shanghai and other parts of China. AJAR is an association made of young authors representing most French-speaking states of Switzerland. The main activities of the collective include innovative public performances, personal and collective publications and active participation in literary workshops in Switzerland and abroad.