Fri 29.10. – Sun 31.10.2010

Lost realities, rediscovered archives and reconstructed perceptions, under circumstances informed by the latest media developments – this and more besides is what Shift's film, video and lecture programme holds in store. In cooperation with Ute Holl, Professor of Media Studies at the University of Basel, Shift has invited curators, researchers, artists and scientists to present their personal take on the history and future of media, in the form of lectures and screenings. How the media use motion pictures to document, preserve, communicate and modify the past, how the media shape and disseminate history and direct our gaze, and the various ways in which newer media organise access to cultural memories will be examined in a broad range of productions, in an in-depth yet entertaining way. Personal tastes and leaps in time that bring unexpected bedfellows to light are the mainspring in each and every case.

Compiled and chaired by:
Katharina Dunst & Ute Holl

Television as Art – An Approach


Curated and presented by

René Pulfer

Fri  29.10., 16h
Sat 30.10., 13 h with an introduction by René Pulfer

Language: German (introduction)

René Pulfer, (*1949), artist,  curator
Director of the Academy of Art & Design FHNW HGK

René Pulfer's contribution to the programme – developed over the last 23 years – whisks us off by video on a trip to mid-1980s TV. This is the Swiss premiere of his international exhibition project Ê»Revision-Art Programmes of European Television Stationsʼ, which was initiated at the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam in 1987. Its objective is to research the various interrelationships of art and television in eight European countries.

Interestingly, the question as to whether art on TV can be done was posed in the mid-1980s by Europe's major museums, and the outcome presented in the museum context.

Excerpts from:

Jean Otth
Vidéo Miroir (DRS, 1980)

Gérald Minkoff, Muriel Olesen
sur l’île le navire argo cythere (TSR, 1984) 5’

Adrian Marthaler
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Konzert für Violine und Orchester G-Dur, KV 216
(DRS, 1987) 25’

Jean-Luc Godard
Scenario du film „Passion“ (Coproduction TSR, 1982) 53’

Simon Edelstein
Special Cinema, Jean-Luc Godard live (TSR, 1982) 90’

André Klenk
Agriculture Special (DRS, 1981) 10 h 45’, live
Ein Flug über die Schweiz (DRS, 1983) 30’

Fred Bosman
Ballet of Peter I. Tschaikowski
Live vom Theater Basel
Choreographie: Heinz Spoerli
(DRS, 1986) 2 h 45

Ruedi Oser, Fredy Bänziger, Christian von Castelberg
Schwanensee – backstage
live vom Theater Basel (DRS / TSI, 3SAT, 1986) 14 h

Somehow a Queer Archeology



Curated and presented by

Denis Pernet

Fri 17.30 h with an introduction by Denis Pernet
Sun 12.30 h

Language: English (introduction)

The programme will examine research that explicitly challenges heteronormative approaches to the construction of history. Throughout the programme, various issues will be addressed: how to build and use an archive, or re-enact forgotten moments in history, as well as the anthropological alterity of historical questions of culture. Matt Keegan uses a classical format, the documentary film, to interview official and alternative archivists in San Francisco. Pauline Boudry and Renate Lorenz reconstruct the dance of the seven veils from Alla Nazimova's 1923 silent film Salomé, with a performance by choreographer and filmmaker Yvonne Rainer and artist and transactivist Wu Ingrid Tsang. Pablo Bronstein stages classical dancers enacting the tragic endings of Shakespeare's plays, in a decor built by the artist in the garden at Tate Britain.

Denis Pernet is an independent curator based in Lausanne. Recently he has organized solo exhibitions by Pauline Boudry / Renate Lorenz, Klat, Yuri Leiderman, Adrien Missika and Christodoulos Panayiotou.

Matt Keegan (USA)
'How do you document a city?' and other questions for the archive(s) (2009)
Digital video, sound, colour, 21’24’’

Pauline Boudry / Renate Lorenz (CH / D)
Salomania (2009)
Digital video, sound, colour, 17’

Pablo Bronstein (ARG / UK)
The death of Cleopatra
Digital video, mit Ton, Farbe, 4’
Georgian Fireplace
Digital video, mit Ton, Farbe, 4’

A Slight Difference


Curated and presented by

Doris Lasch

Fri  18.30 h with an introduction by Doris Lasch
Language: German (introduction)

In reference to the medium film Manon de Boer examines perceptions of time and how history is written. ʻSylvia Kristel – Parisʼ documents an encounter with Kristel, who played the lead role in the erotic film ʼEmanuelleʼ in 1974. She was asked twice to recall her time in Paris, with a one-year gap between the interviews. The result is two different narratives, whose disparities, convergences and amendments are the point of departure for cinematic analysis.

In Jean Eustache's ʻLes photos d'Alixʼ a woman is showing a boy a book of photographs. There comes a point when her descriptions and what appears to be in the photographs begin to drift further and further apart. A sort of bewilderment sneaks in and opens up a poetic world with its own natural laws.

The artist Doris Lasch (*1972, Landsberg), who mostly works in collaboration with Ursula Ponn (*1965, Bad Aibling), is interested in the construction and perception of history. Their work is focused in particular on film and photography and / or realised in those media.

Manon de Boer (NL)
Sylvia Kristel - Paris (2003)
Super 8 on Video, sound, colour, 40’
In French with English subtitles

Jean Eustache (F)
les photos d’Alix (1980)
16 mm, sound, colour, 18’
In French with English subtitles

Ê»Lost & Foundʼ: From the Deep – Cinema around 1910 or Ê»The First Films Are the Latest Filmsʼ


Curated and presented by

Mariann Lewinsky

with music from Wieslaw Pipczynski (Theremin, Piano, Akkordeon)
Fri 20.00 h
Language: English (introduction)

Early cinema is the epitome of an enormous lost & found depot, the curator a travel agent for vanished realities, and a lost & found depot for wild objets trouvés from the years when cinema was still inventing itself and constantly presenting self-assuredly the latest in film: the elementary appeal of movement, the beauty of colours (film was never richer in colour systems than at that time), mischievous attacks on authority (police-bashing was the most popular sport), atmospheric domestic and distant, exotic locations, and Parisian theatre stars. For one hundred years, time has eaten away at the films, destroyed a great many, fragmented or discoloured others. Yet colour corrosion only serves to heighten the magical powers of Witch Zoraide, which Pipczynski will hopefully accompany on the first electronic instrument, the theremin.

Independent curator Mariann Lewinsky lives in Zurich and compiles international film programmes, above all on pre-1920s cinema. Also a Japanologist and film historian, she has published, led restoration projects, and taught at various universities.

Japanese Butterflies (Papillons Japonais), F 1908

Prod. Pathé Frères, 83m, 4’, colour (stencil coloured)

Archiv: Deutsche Kinemathek

also known as: Serpentine Dances

Scene in Saarbrücken, D 1904

Prod. Anonym, 101m, 6’, b/w

Archiv: British Film Institute / National Archive Coll. Joye

Tulips, F um 1910

Prod. Gaumont? 15m, 1’ (Fragment), colour, hand-painted/ stencil coloured

Private collection

Dog Outwits the Kidnappers, GB 1908

Prod. Hepworth, R: Fitzhamon Lewin, D: Blair (Rover), Barbara Hepworth (girl), Cecil Hepworth (kidnapper), 135m, 7’, b/w

Archiv: British Film Institute / National Archive          

Nubia. Wadi Halfa and the Second Cataract, GB 1911

Prod: Natural Color Kinematograph, 117m, 6,’ colour (Bicolor)

Archiv: Cineteca di Bologna

Sealed Lips (Lèvres collés), F 1906

Prod. Pathé Frères, 46m, 3’, b/w

Archiv: Filmarchiv Austria

The Confession (La Confession), F 1905

Prod. Pathé Frères, 30m, 2’, b/w

Archiv: Cineteca di Bologna

By Jove, That's Perfect! (The Policeman's Song), D 1908

Prod: Messter, sound: Zonophon, D: Henry Bender, Beta 3’

Archiv: Deutsche Kinemathek, restored by: Christian Zwarg

Lea & Her Ball Of Thread (Lea e il gomitolo) I 1913

Prod: Cines,  D: Lea Giunchi, 95m, 5',  b/w

Archiv: British Film Institute / National Archive Coll. Joye

Zoraide, The Wtich (La Légende du fantôme), F 1908

Prod. Pathé Frères, R: Segundo de Chomon, D: Julienne Matthieu

173m, 9’, farbig colour (stencil coloured)

Archiv: Bundesarchiv-Filmarchiv Berlin

Manufacturing Glue (Fabrication de la colle), F 1909

Prod. Pathé Frères, 53m, 3’, b/w

Archiv: British Film Institute / National Archive Coll. Joye

Fireworks (Feu d’artifice), F 1905

Prod. Pathé Frères, 53m, 3’, b/w

Archiv: British Film Institute / National Archive

Childrens' Beauty Contest (Concorso di bellezza tra bambini a Torino), I 1909

Prod: Aquila, 65m, 3’,  b/ w

Archiv: Cineteca di Bologna

Experimental Radio: On Found Objects, Audio-Objects, Junk Mail and Crate Diggers!


Prof. Dr. Nathalie Singer

Sat 14.00 h

Language: english

"There are always some forgotten records lying around in a studio. The first one that happens to fall into my lap contains the precious voice of Sacha Guitry (...) So I grab the record, slip the extremely peaceful rhythm of a tow barge onto a second turntable and whatever else is at hand on two further turntables: American accordion music and a Balinese record." This is how Pierre Schaeffer describes the genesis of his first noise studies in 1948, which heralded the birth of Concrete Music and hence that of electronic music.

The pioneers' closed record groove today goes by the name of loop while the jargon for processing and editing sound ranges from sampling thru remix to scratch, and Baudelaire's flâneur pops up as the crate-digger, the DJ who constantly scours flea markets, in search of the new and as yet unheard sound material inscribed in ancient vinyl or shellac.

In her presentation Nathalie Singer looks back on the history of sound smiths and tinkerers, and offers insight into current experimental radio projects by young hip-hoppers, DJs and sound artists.

Nathalie Singer is a Professor of Experimental Radio at the Bauhaus University Weimar.

Rijksweg nr. 1


Curated and presented by

Koen Brams

Sat 15.15 h

Language: English

Koen Brams will focus attention on the film Rijksweg nr. 1 (ʻNational Road nr. 1ʼ) made by Jef Cornelis in 1978. The film shows the 'road' between Kontich and Walem, two villages between Antwerp and Mechelen. Brams will compare Rijksweg nr. 1 with Cornelis' earlier films about architecture and urbanism, focusing on the way in which Cornelis records what he encounters – constructing and reconstructing the actual state of affairs.

Jef Cornelis (*1941) worked as a director and screenplay writer for VRT, the Belgian Dutch-speaking public broadcasting corporation, from 1963–1998. Cornelis accomplished an impressive body of work comprising over 200 titles. It is considered groundbreaking in terms of its artistic quality as well as its importance for cultural history.

Koen Brams (*1964, B) is director of the Jan van Eyck Academie (Maastricht, NL). He edited ʻDe Encyclopedie van Fictieve Kunstenaarsʼ (Amsterdam 2000; “The Encyclopedia of Fictional Artistsʼ Zurich, 2010). Together with Dirk Pültau he published ʻThe Clandestine in the Work of Jef Cornelisʼ (Maastricht 2010).

Jef Cornelis (BE)
Rijksweg nr. 1 (1978)
Film, digitalisiert, sound, colour, 43’

Never Lost & Found anyway


Prof. Dr. Thomas Y. Levin

Sat 16.30 h

Language: English

In his lecture, Thomas Levin will talk about datamoshing, that is, the artistic practice of hacking the algorithms of temporally compressed digital video – a parasitic and highly creative form of generating aleatoric images of motion and time. This procedure, which recently began to pop up in music videos too – Kanye West's Ê»Welcome to Heartbreakʼ is a case in point –, is a really marvellous example of how the violation of a new technological condition produces a new and expressive syntax.

Thomas Y. Levin is Associate Professor of German at Princeton University, Princeton, New Jersey (USA), where he teaches and researches media and cultural theory, aesthetics and musicology. His essays have appeared in October, Grey Room, Screen and Texte zur Kunst, among others. Levin has translated and/or edited three books on the work of the Frankfurt School theorist Siegfried Kracauer. His curatorial projects include the first exhibition on the Situationist International (Centre Pompidou, ICA London, ICA Boston 1989) and CTRL [SPACE], Rhetorics of Surveillance from Bentham to Big Brother (ZKM Karlsruhe 2001).

40 Years Of Improvisation With Electronic Instruments – A Lecture with Live Demos

Lecture & Screening

Bruno Spoerri

Sat 19.30 h

Language: German

Von Araldit bis Zürcher S-Bahn – Filmprogramm
Fri 15.00 h
Sat 20.30 h with introduction by Bruno Spoerri after his lecture
Sun 16.30 h
Language: German (introduction)

Bruno Spoerri (*1935), our special guest at Shift 2010, will present a lecture and film programme in addition to his concert on Friday evening.

This Swiss pioneer of electronic music began experimenting with electronic devices over 40 years ago, first of all with simple, homemade effect machines and manipulated magnetic tapes, and later as one of the first people in Switzerland to own a synthesizer and use a computer. With a background in jazz, improvisation had always played a major role in his music, and as of the 1980s he began to speak of Ê»computer-assisted jazzʼ– and, moreover, he was virtually self-taught, in every respect. Spoerri will expand in his lecture on this long history and also demonstrate historical equipment, the 1970s EMS VCS-3 synthesizer for example, or the computer programme Ê»Music Mouseʼ and Ê»Mʼ for the Macintosh from 1986.

In the course of his career, Spoerri has not only given countless concerts and recorded dozens of albums, but also forged a groundbreaking career in advertising, TV and film. Hence not few Swiss owe their first – and often unconscious – experience of electronic music to ads, TV jingles or kids' radio plays, created by composer and sound designer Bruno Spoerri. It is such commissioned work that has put Spoerri back in the public eye in recent years, and reached an international audience following its re-release on the British label Finders Keepers. The commercial music of yore, freed from its original context, can now be interpreted and acknowledged afresh.

Shift presents a rare opportunity to see (again) the images that accompanied Spoerri's music. Bruno Spoerri has made his personal selection of ads (from among the 500 for which he composed) and film clips – so expect ads for Araldit adhesives and Riri zips (still manufactured by the simplest methods), synthesizer music for the TV quiz programme ʻWer gwünnt?ʼ (ʻWho's Winning?ʻ), with legendary presenter Mäni Weber, excerpts from the films ʻTeddy Bearʼ and ʻThe Penguins' Congressʼ, and many other examples from documentary and PR films.

Dealing With History In Art


Yvonne Volkart / Anke Hoffmann

Sun 13.30 h

Language: German

History is always historiography, which is to say: how the past is represented is also an issue. Narration and the media have traditionally played a major role in such representation. In recent years, not only professional historians have come to revise such "medial narratives and condensations"; art, too, has increasingly had its say. It thereby supersedes the historicizing and scientific forms of writing and interpreting history as well as those used in the mass media and digital databanks.

Anke Hoffmann and Yvonne Volkart are currently presenting an exhibition that revolves around artistic approaches to the topic of history. In reference to selected works they will talk about specific forms of representing history in contemporary art.

Anke Hoffmann and Yvonne Volkart are curators at the Shedhalle Zurich. Their current exhibition “Cross-fades. Reconstructing the Futureʼ will run until 23 December 2010. (

Aktive Archive


Johannes Gfeller / Tabea Lurk

Sun 14.00 h

Language: German

Work with things believed to be long lost yet suddenly found again does not only inspire artists to new heady heights of creativity, but also shapes conservationist endeavours to preserve cultural artefacts. One of the most important Swiss institutions dedicated to conserving and disseminating knowledge of electronic artworks and cultural artefacts is AktiveArchive, which was founded in 2003. Prof. Johannes Gfeller, the long-standing director of AktiveArchive, and Tabea Lurk present their work at the interface of rediscovery, re-presentation and curatorial reinterpretation. Thanks to AktiveArchive, the EMS Spectre video synthesizer from 1974 will be back in action at Shift (with Visuals on Friday evening and a Laboratory in the Exhibition)

The ActiveArchive project is based at Berne University of  Arts and funded in the framework of by the Swiss Ministry of Culture.



Prof. Dr. Claus Pias

Sun 14.30 h

Language: German

Claus Pias' lecture addresses aspects of lost & found in virtual realms, thereby pinpointing moments of contemporary realities in the history of computer game worlds as well as aspects of contemporary game worlds in early implementations of certain simulation models in the fields of economics, social sciences, and epidemiology.

Claus Pias is Professor of Cognitive Theory and the Philosophy of Digital Media at the Institute of Philosophy of Vienna University. His publications to date include ʻComputer Spiel Weltenʼ (2002), ʼZukünfte des Computersʼ (2005) and ʼPowerpoint: Macht und Einfluss eines Präsentationsprogrammsʼ (2009).

Do you believe in Users?


Dragan Espenschied / Olia Lialina

Sun 15.15 h

Language: English

Technical innovations shape only a small part of computer and network culture. It doesn't matter much who invented the microprocessor, the mouse, TCP/IP or the World Wide Web; nor does it matter what ideas were behind these inventions. What matters is who uses them. Only when users start to express themselves with these technical innovations do they truly become relevant to culture at large.

Users' endeavours such as glittering star backgrounds, photos of cute kittens and rainbow gradients are mostly derided as kitsch or in the most extreme cases, decried as the end of culture itself. In fact, this evolving vernacular, created by users for users, is the most important, beautiful and misunderstood language of new media.

Dragan Espenschied and Olia Lialina rank among the pioneers of Lialina's ʻMy Boyfriend Came Back From Warʼ and Espenschied's ʻAssoziations-Blasterʼ are held to be early milestones in this field. Espenschied is also a member of the chiptune band Bodenständig 2000.

Espenschied and Lialina teach at the Merz-Akademie Stuttgart and edited the compilation of essays ʼDigital Folkloreʼ (2009). Their work ʻOlia's and Dragan's Comparative History of Classic Animated GIFs and Glitter Graphicsʼ is on view at the Shift exhibition.

A final discussion chaired by Ute Holl will round off the programme.