Zurich Art Week will be all about artificial intelligence, with technology-focused art exhibitions, talks and events throughout the city. Here are our top picks | Artnet news

Photo: Urs Westermann for the Zurich Art Weekend.

By now, stopping at the Zurich Art Weekend en route to Art Basel has become an indispensable ritual in the art world. In 73 venues, the city hosts more than 100 free events, all packed into a single weekend and, this year, there’s a special focus on art and technology.

Even in Switzerland, home of the Crypto Valley, as the neighboring city of Zug has been nicknamed, the NFT-mania is about to end. Last year, interest was slowly waning, but at this year’s 6th Zurich Art Weekend (June 9-11), there’s no doubt that AI is the new acronym on everyone’s lips.

If there’s one city that can lead this conversation, it’s definitely Zurich. As well as being Switzerland’s financial center with attractive tax breaks for residents and therefore, of course, an enclave for well-heeled collectors, it boasts world-class research laboratories and a roster of Big Tech companies such as Google, Apple and IBM.

However, it can still be challenging to successfully connect the worlds of art and technology, with their very different customs and cultures. This mission has been at the heart of the interdisciplinary programming of Zurich Art Weekends since its inception in 2018.

We wanted to start a conversation between artists and scientists, founding director of events Charlotte von Stotzinger told Artnet News. We thought two years ago with NFTs that the two worlds might merge, but now we’re seeing that the split is still there. The art world hasn’t changed much structurally. The old patterns are back.

What is the best way, then, to introduce this uncertain audience to the innovations that the world of technology has to offer? The Zurich Art Weekend has concocted a compelling mix of impressive large-scale exhibitions and more intimate panels that draw from the city’s large pool of expertise. We try to turn the whole of Zurich into a platform for exchange, not only between speakers on stage, but also to spark new ideas and debates among the audience, said von Stotzinger.

hThis is 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 9 to 24 June 2023. Photo: VG-Bildkunst / Liat Grayver.

Alchemy of data: observing patterns from Galileo to artificial intelligence

ETH Zurich

924 June 2023

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

AI is powerful because it can perform fast and efficient pattern recognition, but historically we have happily relied on the human brain to observe our surroundings and make our inferences and predictions. This latest exhibit pits the history of cosmology, religion, mysticism, and other esoteric belief systems against today’s conundrum of the black box machine learning algorithm. Are we going back to a less rational, pre-Enlightenment way of understanding the world?

Two special conferences are taking place at the Collegium Helveticum Meridian Saal at the ETH, which are organized on the occasion of the fair. This is a conversation between artist Liat Segal and researcher Jennifer Wadsworth at 8:00 pm on June 8 and another between artist Rohini Devasher and science historian Omar W. Nasim at 3:00 pm on June 11 June. More details here.

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


Immersive art space, ZHdK

June 911

The Immersive Arts Space at Zurich’s leading art university ZHdK is headed by Christopher Salter, an artist and expert in the field of technology-enabled and digitally enabled mixed reality experiences. It is a great fortune to have him in Zurich all year round, said von Stotzinger.

This latest project, still in the works, is sure to excite and surprise. The idea is to explore how human bodies and experiences can be captured, represented and reconfigured thanks to emerging technologies. When visitors enter the exhibit, their body is scanned so that a moving silhouette, or lifelike avatar, can appear and move independently in the room, blending in with others as well.

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

For Real by Christopher Kulendran Thomas

Kunsthalle Zrich at 270 Limmatstrasse, 8005, Zurich

Opens June 9th at 6pm

Arrived in Zurich after a highly successful solo exhibition at London’s ICA, Christopher Kulendran Thomas is attracting attention for a widely diverse practice incorporating generative AI tools. For example, insideThe Finesse, a film that explores the Tamil community 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 that had been trained on a variety of Western and non-Western art historical influences and motifs.

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


Gold or lead? The alchemy of Crypto Art and its markets

UZH Blockchain Center and Art Market Studies

June 8th at 1.15pm

For those who are looking forward to the excitement of the weekend, the UZH Blockchain Center has scheduled an entire crypto art conference to take place on Thursday, June 8th. A long list of speakers will take part in this busy programme, including the director of the center Claudio Tessone. The topic is all things NFTs, but ranges from Crypto Art: Exploitation to The Story Told by Data: A Forensics Approach to Crypto Art and the big panel discussion: Crypto Art Markets: Gold or Lead? More details here.

How technology is influencing power dynamics in the art world, an Arcual panel

Schwarzescaf at Luma Westbau, 270 Limmatstrasse, 8005, Zurich

June 9th at 4pm

Arcual, which bills itself as the first blockchain ecosystem built by the art community for the art community, is an official partner of the Zurich Art Weekend. Their panel examines whether 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 Arcuals CEO Bernadine Brcker Wieder, audiences can hear perspectives from auctioneer Simon de Pury, art tech expert Nina Roerhs and artist Gretchen Andrew. More details here.

Machine Imperfections: Error, Noise, and Errors in the Arts and Sciences of Artificial Intelligence Panel Discussion

Luma Westbau

June 10th at 2pm

Not much has been revealed yet about this mysterious panel, but von Stotzingen is keen to underline the distinction of its participants. Christopher Salter, the mastermind behind the Immersive Arts Space at ZHdK and its concurrent exhibition reconFIGURE (see above), will be joined by Sabine Himmelsbach of Basels House of Electronic Arts (HEK), recognized as a leading expert on 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 10th at 2pm

After a recent expansion, the Kunsthaus is now the largest museum in Switzerland. This weekend welcomes writer and artist James Bridle, a longtime skeptic of technology, surveillance and data who, in 2019, distilled his views in the book New Dark Age: Technology and the End of the Futures. To celebrate The Distractorher new installation at the Kunsthaus Digilab, which examines the role of algorithms in the attention economy, Bridle will converse with Kunsthaus curator Mirjam Varadinis about different forms of intelligence that may be more beneficial than artificial intelligence. More details here.

The Web3 art conference

NFT Art Day ZRH at the Kunsthaus Zurich

June 11th at 1.30pm

Over the weekend again another the cryptocurrency conference is coming to town. NFT ART DAY ZRH returns this year for its second edition. After some educational workshops on Saturday, the main event kicks off on Sunday with a packed panel program on topics such as the NFT art market, how Web3 has influenced collector behavior and the impact of accelerated technologies on art. Furthermore, the artist IX Shells will talk to Hans Ulrich Obrist. More details here.

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