Mirror of Nature: Biodiversity through the Lens of Technology and Art

From December 15 to January 15, Swissnex in China will host the immersive exhibition - "Mirror of Nature: Biodiversity Through the Lens of Technology and Art" at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Shanghai in collaboration with University of Zurich. This unique art-science collaboration brings together wildlife researchers, ecologists, and artists to ignite discussions on wildlife preservation. Experience the wonders of our planet's biodiversity through a captivating fusion of art, technology, and science.

Are you ready to join us on a journey to explore the diverse wildlife in China, Switzerland, and around the world? Switzerland has been actively involved in biodiversity conservation research, and the adoption of the Swiss Biodiversity Strategy Action Plan in 2017 further enhanced these efforts. Educational and research institutions have utilized innovative techniques such as camera traps equipped with motion triggers and AI-powered data analysis to observe wildlife in their natural habitats.

Ibex Research - Triggered by Motion

One example is the video installation called "Triggered by Motion," which showcases this approach to wildlife observation. Developed initially at the University of Zurich and carried on by the Art x Science Office UZH, this installation utilizes camera trap data from 21 locations in 14 countries.

Among 21 camera traps of the Triggered by Motion project initiated by the University of Zurich, one camera was installed in China by Dr. Li Bicheng, a researcher from the Shanghai Natural History Museum, at Tian Ma Shan Forest Park in the suburbs of Shanghai. “Over 20 species in the suburban areas of Shanghai were recorded, including raccoon dogs, Palla’s squirrels, Chinese bulbul, Spotted dove, and others.”

“Through the collection of images and data, monitoring has contributed to local wildlife surveys, inspiring new approaches to wildlife management in highly urbanized environments. It allows people to learn about the wildlife around us and realize the importance of protecting them. ” Dr. Li Bicheng told us.


Two years ago, Swissnex in China brought the discussion of biodiversity around the Triggered By Motion project to our community in China. This December, we will showcase a new collaborative project: “Mirror of Nature” between Swissnex in China, the University of Zurich, and the Museum of Contemporary Art in Shanghai. Together, we will explore biodiversity and conservation projects worldwide by presenting an immersive exhibition and curating a series of talks and discussions alongside it. At the intersection of art, science, and technology, we hope to continue the scientific narratives of wildlife conservation in China and provide a Sino-Swiss platform for more meaningful exchanges among wildlife researchers, citizen scientists, artists, and the interested public.


Mirror of Nature: Biodiversity Through the Lens of Technology and Art

From 15th of December until 15th of January the Museum of Contemporay Art in Shanghai is showing the collaborative work “Mirror of Nature”. The immersive installation is a collaboration between wildlife researchers and biologists from University of Zurich and around the globe with a group of Chinese and European Artists:  Sophie Hengartner, Alexandra Kaufmann, Helena Klein, Andi A. Müller, Karoline Schreiber and Zhu Yunyan.

Curated by Chinese poet and artist Han Bo, upon the invitation of Swissnex in China, and developed by the Art x Science Office at the University of Zurich, this exhibition serves as a testament to the collaborative efforts between China and Switzerland in exploring the subject of biodiversity. It aims to foster cross-border interdisciplinary cooperation and exchanges. Titled “Mirror of Nature (万物之镜),” the exhibition’s concept intertwines with Chinese philosophy, emphasizing our interconnected relationship with wildlife and the diverse ecosystem we inhabit.

Curator’s Word

“ With the artistic exploration of the scientific data, a shroud is being woven which follows patterns of remembrance and guilt. Simultaneously, the collision of both an artistic and scientific approach revives the souls and bodies of the extinct animals. As they move through the space of MoCA Pavilion they whisper of the unchangeable past and yet vow the still possible future.” — Dr. Katharina Weikl, Head of Art X Science at University of Zurich


“ Using contemporary “mirrors of nature” in the form of cameras equipped with motion sensors, the project aimed to collect visual data for a year in twenty-one biodiversity hotspots across fourteen countries. The approach prioritized minimizing disturbance to wild animals. The collected data was then processed using artificial intelligence technology, resembling a 21st-century “mirror of the heaven and earth.” However, this method of organizing the world reflects a tradition from Pythagoras-Plato, staunch believers in the idea that “all things are numbers” and that the underlying support for the eternal world is geometric or mathematical models. Guided by this belief, they sought to lift the entire world out of the Heraclitean “chaos” and rechristen it as a “cosmos” with a universal rational order.” — Han Bo, Poet, artist, novelist, playwright, travel writer, curator

About Organizations

University of Zurich

The University of Zurich is one of Europe’s leading research universities. And the largest university in Switzerland. Founded in 1833, UZH was the first university in Europe to be established by a democratic political system. With seven faculties covering around 100 different subjects, the university offers the widest range of degree programmes in Switzerland. It is currently ranked 5th in the world in the field of ecology by the Shanghai Ranking.

The Art x Science Office at University of Zurich bridges the gap between art, science and society. With installations and exhibitions in prestigious venues such as the Kunsthalle and Museum für Gestaltung (Zurich, Switzerland), the Mun Gallery in the Dongdaemun Design Plaza (Seoul, South Korea) and the Bengaluru Science Gallery (Bengaluru, India), the Art x Science Office has established an international presence and outreach.


Museum of Contemporary Art Shanghai (MoCA Shanghai)

Founded in 2005, MoCA is a pioneer private contemporary art museum established in China. It is committed to promoting contemporary art and design, with an aim to cultivate the appreciation of contemporary art and design for the general public. It is MoCA’s mission to introduce arts to the public and foster cultural exchange between Shanghai and the world.


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