Zweiter Reclaim-Democracy-Kongress vom 27. bis 29. Februar

In der Roten Fabrik in Zürich findet vom 27. bis 29. Februar der zweite Kongress “Reclaim Democracy” statt. Der vom Denknetz Schweiz organisierte Kongress bietet 50 Ateliers und fünf Plenarveranstaltungen, die auf die kollektive Rückgewinnung des politischen Diskurses fokussieren und dabei den Systemwandel und globale Gerechtigkeit im Blick haben.

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Chasing a Ghost – 30.01.20 bis 03.02.20 @ Gessnerallee Zürich

Den choreografischen Archetyp des Duetts in Frage stellend, inszeniert Alexandra Bachzetsis in ihrem jüngsten Stück Chasing a Ghost diverse Doppelgänger aus Körpern, Sounds, Räumen und Bildern, in einem Spektrum aus Gewalt und Begierde. Im Zentrum dieser Dualität steht der Begriff des Unheimlichen – „the uncanny“: ein entfremdetes Phänomen in einem scheinbar wohlbekannten Kontext. The uncanny verweist aber auch den potentiellen Akt der Transgression. Unsere unterdrückten Impulse und unser Unterbewusstsein können jederzeit in die jeweilige Realitätserfahrungen einbrechen.

Chasing a Ghost umfasst eine Choreografie für fünf Tänzer*innen (einschließlich der Künstlerin selbst), eine von zwei Pianisten live gespielte Originalmusikpartitur, und ein Bühnensetting aus Bewegungen und Bewegtbildern. Trotz ihrer ständigen Beziehung zueinander, werden die Verbindungen dieser Elemente absichtlich gestört. So verwandelt Bachzetsis das Duett in beunruhigende Abbilder und die Bewegung zwischen zwei Körpern in ein ewiges folie-à-deux, das schonungslos den eigenen Blick auf andere und uns selbst herausfordert.

Alexandra Bachzetsis, Zürcher Kunstpreisträgerin 2018, ist eine Grenzgängerin zwischen darstellender und bildender Kunst, zwischen kritischer Recherche und Tanz. Der Ausgangspunkt ihrer Arbeiten sind meist Populärkultur, Massenmedien oder Internetphänomene. Dabei verhandelt sie wie die erotische, affektive und mikropolitische Macht der Geste zurückerobert werden kann. Sowohl die Tate Modern, die Documenta 14, das MoMA NY, das Art Institute Chicago und das Centre Pompidou koproduzierten ihre letzten Arbeiten.

Dorota Sajewska ist für die Dramaturgie des Stückes verantwortlich.


Bild: Mathilde Agius

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«Our House Is Still on Fire» – Greta Thunberg on Averting a Climate Apocalypse

“Our house is still on fire.” With this words Greta Thunberg startet her speech at the World Economic Forum in Davos on Tuesday, 21 February 2020, reprising her most famous line from an address last year at the forum. “Your inaction is fueling the flames by the hour.” Her remarks opened a panel discussion hosted by The New York Times and the World Economic Forum.

One of Greta Thunbergs conclusions is: «All the solutions are obviously not available within today’s societies. Nor do we have the time to wait for new technological solutions to become available to start drastically reducing our emissions. So, of course the transition isn’t going to be easy. It will be hard. And unless we start facing this now together, with all cards on the table, we won’t be able to solve this in time.»

Not only Greta Thunberg drew the attention of the audience to the current crisis situation. Hindou Oumarou Ibrahim, President of the Association for Indigenous Women and Peoples of Chad (AFPAT), described how record-breaking global temperatures were wreaking havoc in her community: “When they say the forest is burning it’s not just the language of expression. It’s our real home that’s burning.” Then she added:  “Because indigenous people from all over the world – from Chad, Amazon, Indonesia – we’re depending on these forests. They’re our food, our medicine, our pharmacy, our education.” Indigenous people are already suffering the impact of climate change, she said. “In my region in Sahel it’s people who are dying, who are dying because of the climate change. When people talk about 2050, I’m like seriously, (until) 2050 there is no solution? We need it now. ”

Watch the panel here:

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Polish Protests since 2016: new photographic archive online

At the beginning of 2020, the Polish initiative «Archive of Public Protests» (Archiwum Protestów Publicznych) went online. The platform offers photographs of protests and gatherings in mainly Warsaw streets, beginning in 2016 with the Black Protest for women‘s rights and the Committee for the Defense of Democracy (KOD) protests.

However, as photographers Agata Kubis and Paweł Starzec remark, the legislative session of the national-conservative and fundamental party Law and Justice (PiS) brought public protests only to a more mainstream consciousness and urged self-declared non-political citizens to take action. However, protests and demonstrations have a longer history and ongoing urgency in postcommunist Poland, just to mention the yearly «Manifa» demonstration on International Women‘s Day or the LGBT Pride «Marches of Equality» (Parady równości).

After logging in, the archive also offers photographic insight into right-wing and conservative marches.

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Will Poland follow the authoritarian path?

After winning the national elections with 43.59% of the vote and an independent majority in the Sejm (the lower house of Polish parliament), Poland’s right-wing ruling party Law and Justice proclaimed the continuation of ‘good change’—the slogan summarizing all of the supposed benefits made on its initiative. These include centralizing control over the judicial system, academia, publicly financed cultural institutions, and NGOs. The ruling party seems determined to monopolize the state and to marginalize any voices in the public sphere that don’t share its nationalist, Catholic and authoritarian vision of the Polish past and future. The leaders of the party also promised new social programs in order to continue what they call the “Polish route to the welfare state”.

The united conservative-liberal opposition that ruled Poland between 2007 and 2015 received 27.40% of the vote, which is a bit less than what the parties comprising it received in the last elections. Donald Tusk, the longtime leader of the biggest party in the coalition and the longest-serving prime minister of the Third Polish Republic, resigned from running for the presidency in 2020. His decision to become the leader of the European Peoples Party put an end to the conservative – liberal opposition’s hopes that he would return to save Poland from the threat of authoritarianism and ongoing undermining of the rule of law by Law and Justice, which has led the state to the margins of the European Union. Subsequently, the conservative-liberal coalition seems a bit lost—oscillating between criticizing the ruling party from free-market positions and standing for the rule of law and stronger ties with the European Union while remaining generally unable to clearly criticize the government’s Catholic and nationalist ideas. The leader of the biggest party in the coalition (who was known for being more of an organizer than generating ideas) has resigned; whoever takes his place will have to re-invent the whole formula of opposition if the coalition wants to save its position as the main force opposing Law and Justice.

The third political force in the new parliament with 12.56 % of votes is the united left, which was not present in the Parliament for the last four years due to the split of votes in 2015 between the new left and post-communist social democrats. These two parties, together with a center-left party led by Robert Biedroń, a LGBTQ+ activist and member of the European Parliament, formed a new leftist coalition that openly stands for equal rights for all and for the welfare state as a clear alternative to the current government in the future. The left is in the best position to criticize the government because it presents a more holistic concept of the welfare state, while also being more engaged in the fight for the rule of law as well as women’s rights, reproductive rights and LGBTQ+ rights.

The fourth party elected to the Polish Parliament with 8.55 % of votes is the Polish People’s Party, which ran in the elections as the coalition of the old conservative farmers’ party (represented in every term of Parliament) and a populist right-wing movement formed by Paweł Kukiz, a former rock musician who fights for introducing more referendums and single-member voting districts. During his political career he has used hate speech openly in his arguments against accepting refugees; in the last parliamentary term, some far-right and fascist politicians were elected from his movement. Though in the past he referred ironically to the Polish People’s Party, stressing its roots in the communist political scene, he didn’t have a problem with joining a coalition that aimed to represent conservative values beyond the political conflict between Law and Justice and the liberal-conservative opposition. The coalition gained fewer votes than the party and movement received in the last elections and doesn’t seem to bring any new ideas or visions to Polish politics.

The last group elected to the parliament with 6.81 % of votes is called the Confederation. The party is a loose coalition of various far-right and neoliberal groups, represented by people who support such ideas as introducing monarchy, overthrowing the republic of the round table (a term for the political system formed from a consensus between the communists and the opposition in 1989 that led to democratic changes in Poland), strengthening the Catholic Church’s role in the public sphere, imposing an absolute ban on abortion and emergency contraception, using hate speech against Muslims, Jews, and the LGBTQ+ community, criticizing the European Union and any ideas of wealth redistribution, and introducing special laws against LGBTQ+ activism and NGOs that receive foreign funding (an initiative modelled on laws introduced in Russia a few years ago). With these ideas the members of the Confederation seek to take votes from Law and Justice and pressure the ruling party from the right. So far they haven’t played any role in the new parliament, and only make fools of themselves.

In practical terms, not a lot has changed, although the ruling party has lost control over the Senate (the Upper House of the Polish Parliament) to a conservative-liberal opposition coalition, the leftist coalition, the Polish People’s Party, and independent senators. The Senate elected a speaker from the conservative-liberal opposition named Tomasz Grodzki, who before entering politics was a surgeon and professor of medicine in Szczecin. Since he criticizes many authoritarian steps taken by Law and Justice and doesn’t allow the abuse of legislative procedures, which often occurred with new problematic laws in the last term, public television started a campaign trying to discredit him as a corrupt doctor. The campaign was not stopped even when some of his former patients stated in public that they were offered money to accuse him of taking bribes. Although none of the charges have been verified, public television, which has not been so propagandistic since 1989, continued the campaign of lies. It did so not only to discredit the speaker, but also to draw public attention away from the scandal surrounding the President of the Supreme Audit Office, who was nominated by the ruling party last year. After an investigation by the Central Anticorruption Bureau for false declarations of financial interests, hiding his financial standing and undocumented sources of income, the Bureau passed the case to the prosecutor.

The situation could change if President Andrzej Duda (of Law and Justice) loses the upcoming elections, but half a year remains until then. His opponent from the conservative-liberal opposition will be Malgorzata Kidawa-Błońska, who is more liberal-conservative than the other way around. In the past she was the spokesperson for Donald Tusk’s government and for a short time was also speaker of the Sejm; she is also a direct descendant of two very important politicians of the interwar period from opposing political camps (a socialist president and a right-wing minister who reformed the economy). Duda’s opponent from the left will be Biedroń, a charismatic LGBTQ+ activist who was the first openly gay mayor of a major Polish city, which he saved from a financial crisis. A Catholic journalist and host of a popular talent show will be running as an independent candidate, as will the leader of the Polish People’s Party. The Confederation candidate is still unknown due to a very complicated internal electoral system. Duda is ahead in the polls but has a much less significant lead than the previous president did at the end of the first term before losing the election. Also, most polls are conducted for the first round, but the elections will likely be determined in the second round. If Duda lost with the upper house controlled by the opposition, most of the laws leading Poland down an authoritarian path could be stopped.

Text: Tadeusz Koczanowicz

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Programm of the Symposium «Crisis and Communitas»





NOVEMBER 14 & 15, 2019

event hall, Limmatstrasse 270, 8005 Zurich

Crisis is a term increasingly heard these days – climate crisis, migration crisis, crisis of representation, identity, masculinity… Contemporary societies often react to crises by installing mechanisms of classification and order. Identitarian communities perceive themselves as an antidote to personal and social crises.

Our goal is to ask how crises bring about movement and the transgression of borders – be they social or racial, cultural or political, state or institutional borders. Thus, we invite to think about new forms of communitas, of inclusionary bonding across discursive borders. Instead of searching for common traits, it embraces diversity and difference through the interaction of bodies and their communicative performativity. Migration, shifting contexts and bodily movement are explored as a trajectory of self-empowerment and agency. Crisis frames new political utopias.

In three panels, we are exploring the aesthetics and politics of commonality, the way bodies and affects constitute the commonal power, and how knowledge migrates in the context of arts. The programme includes presentations by an international group of researcher and is accompanied by a keynote lecture by Susan Buck-Morss, lectures by curators Adam Szymczyk and Marc Streit, as well as the screening of the film Via Carpatia (2018).



November 14, 13:00 to 17:45


Introduction – Dorota Sajewska (Zurich)

1. Potent Collectivities: Aesthetics of Solidarity – Jeremy Gilbert (London)

2. Speculative Communities: Designing Contact Zones in Times of Eco-Eco-Crisis – Malgorzata Sugiera (Krakow)

3. Crisis of Communitas or the Extension of «Our» World – Nina Seiler (Zurich)

Discussion 14:45 to 15:15

Coffee break 15:15 to 15:40

4. The Avant-Garde of Destitution – Mikkel Bolt (Copenhagen)

5. How Attitudes Escape Form – Adam Szymczyk (Zurich)

Discussion 17:00 to 17:45





November 14, 18:30 to 20:00



Sharing Image, Sharing Time by Paweł Mościcki (Warsaw)

November 15, 9:00 to 10:15

Discussion 9:45 to 10:15

Coffee break 10:15 to 10:30



November 15, 10:30 to 13:00

1. Divided We Stand or Revolutionary Love in the Making – Katarzyna Bojarska (Warsaw)

2. Inventing Skins. Reinventing Community – Eduardo Jorge de Oliveira (Zurich)

3. Affective Community. Towards a Performative Theory of Historical Agency – Dorota Sajewska (Zurich)

4. Polish Transformation: Community Crisis and Question of Ephemerality in Arts – Dorota Sosnowska (Warsaw)

Discussion 12:30 to 13:00

Lunch Break 13:00 to 14:00



November 15, 14:00 to 18:15


1. Emotional Identification – Mieke Kolk (Amsterdam)

2. We refugees and we the people – Tadeusz Koczanowicz (Warsaw/Zurich)

3. La Commune (Paris, 1871) Fabienne Liptay (Zurich)

Discussion 15:30 to 16:00

Coffee break 16:00 to 16:25

4. Crisis and Communitas in Southern Italian Tarantism – Anja Dreschke (Frankfurt) & Michaela Schäuble (Bern)

5. «The function of art is to do more than tell it like it is: it’s to imagine what’s possible» – Marc Streit (Zurich)

6. Interactive archive of communitarian thinking – Sandra Biberstein (Zurich)

Discussion 17:30 to 18:15

Apéro 18:15 to 18:45



VIA CARPATIA (PL, CZE, MKD 2018) – 75’

With an introduction/discussion by Kasper Bajon (Fuerteventura)

November 15, 18:45 to 20:30

Piotr and Julia have been planning their holiday for months. Unfortunately their plans are ruined by Piotr’s mother: she wants to bring home Piotr´s father, who has been staying for months at one of the refugee camps on the Macedonian-Greek border. Despite his strong doubts Piotr agrees to take the challenge. And so instead of an all-inclusive holiday, the couple embarks on a tiring journey to the South, during which they will have to answer some fundamental questions…

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Rojava, Lost? Turkish Offensive Threatens to Destroy a Radical Democratic Experiment

Four million people, thousands of communes, a non-hierarchical social structure and a cooperative economy. That is Rojava. It is not only the autonomous region of northern Syria but also an experiment in democracy and equality.

Amid the destruction and deluge of the war in Syria, this remarkable experiment in grassroots democracy has taken root across a large swath of the country’s Northeast. Since october 9, this experiment is now under grave threat of being destroyed, as Turkey and its proxy forces lay siege to the area and Syrian regime forces have begun to return to the region.

Full Articles:

Rojava, Lost? Turkish Offensive Threatens to Destroy a Radical Democratic Experiment

Power to the people: a Syrian experiment in democracy

Europe could do more to stop the Turkish invasion of Rojava, but states fear a democratic revolution

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Refugee Tents That Collect Rainwater and Store Solar Energy

Since 2011, the Syrian Civil War created one of the most devastating humanitarian disasters in the world, with over 13.5 million Syrians internally displaced or are refugees outside Syria, according to the United Nations.

Inspired by the plight of Syrian refugees unfolding on her doorstep in the Middle East, visionary female artist Abeer Seikaly set to work to find a way of helping. The Jordanian architect, artist and designer created a supremely practical housing solution, came up with a design prototype.

Named ‘Weaving a Home’, this design uses a unique structural fabric composed of high-strength plastic tubing molded into sine-wave curves that can expand and enclose during different weather conditions, and also be broken down to allow an ease in mobility and transport.

Inspired By Syrian Refugee Crisis, Weaved Homes Collect Rain Water And Store Solar Energy

Inspiring Woman Invents Refugee Tents That Collect Rainwater and Store Solar Energy

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Climate activists hold funeral march for lost swiss glacier

More than 100 climate activists made a funeral march to the melted Pizol glacier on Sunday, September 22, in the eastern part of Switzerland. With this action they wanted to draw attention to the threat of climate change.

Pizol “has lost so much of its mass that, from a scientific point of view, it is no longer a glacier at all”, said Alessandra Degiacomi, of the Swiss Association for Climate Protection, one of the NGOs behind the funeral. According to Matthias Huss, a glaciologist at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH) in Zurich, the Pizol glacier has lost up to 90% of its volume since 2006. He estimates that more than 500 Swiss glaciers have completely disappeared since 1850, of which only 50 had a name.

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