Beyond 2020: A (Post-) Pandemic Festival

Beyond 2020: A (Post-) Pandemic Festival

Eight artist projects over two days exploring new digital mediums and ways of collaborating.

Beyond 2020: A (Post-) Pandemic Festival

Join our two-day festival to meet the Swiss artists and designers who responded to Swissnex in San Francisco’s artist call Beyond 2020: A (Post-) Pandemic Project.

Join our two day festival to meet the artists and designers who responded to Swissnex in San Francisco’s artist call Beyond 2020: A (Post-) Pandemic Project. Learn how their artistic processes adapted to the pandemic (stay at home orders, cancellation of live exhibitions and engagements, inability to work and collaborate in person) and see how they responded by producing videos, websites, blogs, performances and digital interventions. As the world begins to re-open with the optimism of vaccinations, join us for the Beyond 2020: A (Post-) Pandemic Festival to learn how their practices have changed, and to hear about their learnings as we move to a hybrid in-person and digital world.
The artists selected for this project responded to the call for participation with exhibition proposals for Swiss-US artist exchanges in various digital formats from sound installations, to research blogs, and social media applications. The artists spent the past year working from homes and studios around the globe from Switzerland (Bern, Zurich, Lausanne and Geneva); Portland in Oregon, Providence in Rhode Island, San Francisco, Berlin, Rome, Amsterdam and beyond.

Call For Participation Information: Beyond 2020: A (Post-) Pandemic Project

In 2020/21 our global society has been turned upside down due to a global pandemic. With limited travel, restrictions on public events or gatherings, and many people working from home, society entered a new age of digital life, communication, collaboration, and creativity. In our current times, we pose the question: how can artists continue to comment on our changing society, and engage audiences through online mediums and spark new ways of thinking? This format of online engagement has become, at times, our only available space of interaction and collaboration in this new world.

As part of our focus area that explores the need for, and promotes a healthy digital society where trust and privacy are expected by users and provided by producers of digital innovation, we’re excited to present the following eight artist projects as part of Beyond 2020: A (Post-) Pandemic Project. These artists are responding to our current times – they pose questions about our realities, identities and societies that have been shaped and transformed by digital tools that have become intertwined in our daily lives.

Selected Artists are listed below accompanied by a description of their work. Some works are still evolving and descriptions may change as the artworks are developed.

The Artists Selected

Maria Guta/Lauren Huret

Title of Work: The Soothsayings of Iris

The Soothsayings of Iris is the first collaboration between Swiss based artists Lauren Huret and Maria Guta. Based on the “73 Questions” Vogue format and “viral” type formats by highlighting their awkwardness and problematic aspects, as well as their instant worldwide broadcasting – this prophetic satire is an interview with a fictive character, mash-up of several intriguing public figures that populate our networks. Inspired by their adoptive Swiss environment and the US West Coast, the artists are fascinated by the spread of specific ideologies like new-age mysticism, tech gurus and the phenomenon of overhyped celebrities. The video piece is a commentary on how we deal with digital identity and the influence of media representation on the collective psyche. The Soothsayings of Iris is written, directed and performed by Maria Guta & Lauren Huret.

Laura Couto Rosado

Title of Work: Mission Blue Butterfly Ghost Noise (MBB Ghost Noise)

MBB Ghost Noise is a glitch noisy social media effect that distorts a human’s face in front of a smartphone camera. The altering agent of this distortion shader effect is the image of the endangered Mission Blue Butterfly that has been digitally broken into pieces. With this filter, the image is somewhat disfigured by the image of the tattered corpse of the endangered species.

This filter hijacks the new social rituals on the internet and questions our relationship to other nonhuman living species, frontline victims of the global ecological crisis. It is a counterpoint to the filters created on social networks exacerbating narcissistic and anthropocentric tendencies with these spectacular in your face posts. The MBB Ghost Noise Effect is like a digital poltergeist, a manifestation of the spectre of the MBB that comes back to haunt us – poles apart from its natural habitat destroyed by humans – on social media. Implicitly, ghostly, it parasitizes and colonizes our reflection to remind us that its destruction for which we are responsible is also a destruction of a part of ourselves and of our identity.

The social media filter project extended for almost 6 months and transformed over time to deal as accurately as possible with the issue of endangered species and more specifically the Mission Blue Butterfly in the San Francisco Bay. The project was enriched by numerous meetings and discussions with environmental scientists committed to the preservation of endangered species in the region of California.

Alan Bogana

Title of Work: Laser Sensitive

The project Laser Sensitive explores the visual culture of laser light and the mediating role of pervasive cameras and screens in our societies. This ongoing research articulates along two axes: light that harms and light that heals. The project explores different representations of intense light sources, ranging from utopian applications of lasers to their use in recent protests or as needles of light in acupuncture. Laser Sensitive comprises a website that functions as both a dynamic repository and a platform for online and offline experiments. This multiform exploration will be experienced through your digital screens, far from intense light sources. 

Real Madrid

Title of Work: Fuzzy Dice

Fuzzy Dice is a short animated video that acts as a detour into the curls of time, taking us on a psychedelic cruising afternoon. It starts from a clock, getting high, and consequently evolves into different scenarios; rising into a crescendo of absurdity structured by rhythmic sound. The video follows a psychedelic narrative/aesthetic about time, addiction, non-productivity and stigmas. Fuzzy Dice is animated in collaboration with Naro.


Title of Work: Binominale

Binominale (from the word “binôme”: a complementary pair) is a new type of artistic event – curated by Swiss artist collective Fragmentin – in which artist pairs from different countries exchange instructions on how to recreate or re-perform each other’s artworks remotely. Their collaboration and artistic processes are documented in a novel way and will be uploaded to a purpose-built website which serves as a modern digital archive. The resulting artworks are then simultaneously exhibited – on site and online – by two partnering institutions in the artists’ home countries This contemporary twist on the 1960s conceptual art encourages co-creation and the local sourcing of materials and production. By removing transportation, it aims for a minimal ecological impact and to redistribute the saved costs into the creation process.

The first edition of Binomiale will occur in summer 2021 in Switzerland and the USA. Simultaneously at La Becque, résidence d’artistes, la Tour de Peilz (CH) and in San Francisco (US) with the support of Swissnex SF and le Canton de Vaud. In that context, 12 artists have been preselected (six Swiss artists from the French-speaking region of Switzerland and six American artists from the Bay Area). Among these twelve initial projects, four of them will be chosen to form the two pairs of artists of the first edition of the Binominale.

Annie Aries, Brian House, Marcel Zaes

Title of Work: Metric Displacement

For Metric Displacement (2021), experimental sound artists Aries, House, and Zaes each make beats that reflect their own individual experiences of place. Each beat is subsequently cut into a lock groove on a vinyl record and played on a turntable in one of multiple global sites: Bern (Switzerland), Providence (Rhode Island), and Portland (Oregon). These are streamed to a video conference (via Zoom), so that they can be experienced together, subject to the temporal distortions inherent to online relationships. Every day, a docent at each location selects a new lock groove, creating unpredictable and emergent rhythmic combinations that can only be experienced online.

Johanna Bruckner

Title of Work: Crush Pad Lava (both project links below can be watched simultaneously or consecutively)
Crush Pad Lava Channel 1
Crush Pad Lava Channel 2

In our age of cosmological disasters and pandemic agents, Bruckner uses speculative Science Fiction as a catalyst to imagine worlds that allow us to live with the synthetic, toxic and more-than-human order of the present-day reality. Departing from the research around “atmospheric escape” which Bruckner is interested in, and as Susan Sontag puts forward, “how utopia can be imagined or experienced effectively, in small, incremental moments that proximity can provide”, Bruckner extends her research for this project with new questions of utopian possibility in our pandemic world. 

(Departing from the research around “atmospheric escape”) Bruckner’s multimedia collages are an aggregation of queer AI-based net-pornography, Dark Room sci-fi, and the social bonds of extra-terrestrial bodies. The principal element in her work is the net porn data that dissipates, becomes lost, and/or fails because it is outside the spectrum of the usable. Aggregating these „non-existent“ data, her collage envisions the potential of digital failure as a refusal to submit to contemporary ‘dataveillance’ society, while at the same time, it proposes the conditions for an AI born of trans-corporeal aesthetics.

Manuelita Antonio, Nico Bruhlmann, Larissa Murangira

Title of Work: Spheres of Privilege

Spheres of Privilege is an online interactive tool which aims to create a consensual safe space for reflections and an exchange around privilege.  Being constantly exposed from behind our screens to violent racist, homophobic, sexist and other unequal situations, to start conversations around privilege has been an urgent topic during the pandemic.

Synthesizing a survey of fundamental questions about race, class, and gender during specific [chapters of life] – the aim is to invite people to raise their voices and share about their underprivileged moments, or be confronted and aware of their privileges. These answers are then collected into a library of experiences, accessible to everyone to freely educate themselves on the different gaps of access to resources like education and services, the inequalities and violences that others can endure, with the wish to encourage people to make the first steps and adjustments in their daily lives to shorten these gaps and extend the conversation about privilege.

Support Team:

Pablo Peña: 3D Animator
Iván Mario Maldonado: Video Editor
Ariane Gelardine: Copy Editor
Matthias Zaugg: Sociologist




Wednesday, May 26: Exploring New Mediums with Johanna Bruckner, Manuelita Antonio/Nico Bruhlmann, Real Madrid and Laura Couto Rosado 

10:00am –  Introduction to festival and day’s focus on Exploring New Mediums
10:10am – Four 20 minute artist project discussions
11:30am – Group discussion and Q&A
12:00pm – End of program

Thursday, May 27: Redefining Collaboration with Annie Aries/Brian House/Marcel Zaes, Alan Bogana, Fragmentin and Maria Guta/Lauren Huret 

10:00am – Introduction to festival and day’s focus on Redefining Collaboration
10:10am – Four 20 minute artist project discussions
11:30am – Group discussion and Q&A
12:00pm – End of program