Phone: +41 43 446 65 05
- Nathalie Bao-Götsch, China Projects Coordinator at Zurich University of the Arts (ZHdK)
- Cao Kefei, Theatre Director, Beijing
- Hans Peter Hertig, Professor and Head of the Center for Area and Cultural Studies, EPFL Lausanne, former Head of Swissnex Shanghai and of the Swiss National Science Foundation
- Michael Krohn, Professor at Zurich University of the Arts (ZHdK) and Head of the “WuZu” Project
- Angela Sanders, Member of the ZHdK “Swissness Revisited” research team
- Song Yunlong, MA Film ZhdK, Interpreter, Assistant to “Common Stage” and the “Triangle Project”
- Daniel Späti, ZHdK Lecturer, Co-head of the ZHdK “Common Stage” project
- Michael Vonplon, Co-founder of miro-china GmbH, Events organiser, DJ electronic music scene in China
- Eva Wandeler, ZHdK Lecturer, Co-head of the ZHdK “Common Stage” project
Lectures Series "Translating Cultures"
26./27.11. Goetheanum Dornach
Figures of the Other – Exchange, Transitions, Perceptions of the Other
Panel Discussion within the “Translating Cultures” Symposia
China occupies leading positions in the sciences and research. The country has also become a technological frontrunner. Politically, China ranks amongst the foremost nations on the international stage. Its cultural presence and reach are also astonishing – and thus it is obvious that cultural institutions have also become euphoric and have sought cooperation with China. “Exchange” and “collaboration” are today’s buzzwords, and a flurry of project and exchange activities has emerged.
Most Westerners, however, have slipped into this adventure rather unprepared: only very few know the language and only some know the country from personal experience. It is widely believed that “one is bound to understand each other” thanks to globalisation and China’s “progress.” On the ground, we discover that matters are not quite that simple. Although the consumer culture of China’s urban metropolises allows us to feel somewhat familiar, we are nevertheless confronted with what is a radically imcomprehensible and alienating environment. We travel to China with our specific ways of seeing and understanding situations and concepts, and often come up against a lack of understanding and resistance. At the same time, local behaviour and modes of communication escape us, nor are we able to make productive use of such misunderstanding.
Taking the bull by the horns, the “foreign” is then often fetishised, which only confirms conventional projections. Evidently, “exchange” and “collaboration” mark a cultural environment and help produce a discursive context, which is what actually constitutes the actual challenge. The interesting and provocative moment occurs not primarily within the envisaged focus, such as an exhibition, performance, or talk, but instead within that which arises to its left and right, or within that which takes effect as a subtext, or indeed that which perhaps appears and is often difficult to understand. Project work should therefore focus not only on a specific theme and have explicit aims, but also on what is a partly implicit foundation and contextualisation. Particular attention should be paid to irritations and to our sense of alienation, which can never be excluded and which should also be further explored on the level of transcultural research.
In view of the completion of numerous China projects and within a series of symposia dedicated to “Translating Cultures,” organised by Culturescapes China, Zurich University of Arts (ZHdK) convened a panel discussion on the above themes and issues at the Theatre of the Arts in Zurich on 19 November 2010.