29.3.22 — 30.3.22
POLYMORPH — Interactice Exhibition *** Gessnerallee Zurich
29.3.22 — 30.3.22
POLYMORPH — Interactice Exhibition *** Gessnerallee Zurich
29.3.22 — 30.3.22
POLYMORPH — Interactice Exhibition *** Gessnerallee Zurich



OTHERWISE 2021 is a collaborative platform that explores the potential of artistic research to contribute to societal and ecological transformations. Over 8 months artists, designers and researchers will exchange their ideas and practices, and develop a performative display of their ongoing learnings.

The interdisciplinary format takes place between 10.04 - 15.12.2021 online und at Gessnerallee in Zurich, and is organised in internal and external events:

1. In the LAB, 8 invited participants collaboratively work on formats that negotiate human-environmental relationships.

2. Their outputs, and further guest lectures and performances, make for the PUBLIC programme of OTHERWISE.

In the long-run, OTHERWISE aims to establish a platform for exchange between arts, design and sciences that explores and facilitates embodied knowledge practices as a driver for societal transformation.


Polymorphic Futures

OTHERWISE 2021 takes as a starting point the concept of polymorphy as that which describes many forms and none at the same time. It is a state of constant transition with any fixed form only being a temporary expression. Along this concept we would like to explore how social and cultural forms can be redefined as transitory, in conjunction with material and immaterial processes. In light of this investigation we might want to rethink how a culture of protectionism (think museums, zoos, natural reserves, national borders, resource management, racial and gender politics) can be altered in order to accommodate open-ended and ambivalent bodies, artefacts and practices.

We understand OTHERWISE very much as an invitation for like-minded researchers and artists to explore common interests and to nurture each other's practices. Several inputs from experts coming from biology, psychology, the arts and humanities will guide our investigation and provide further inputs from their respective practices. 
OTHERWISE was co-founded by design theorist Michaela Büsse and artist and theatre director Benjamin Burger. We are both interested in speculative and bodily practices that explore what attunement to the environment might mean, why we should practice it, and how it can be facilitated. In the face of multiple intersecting crises it is our aim to investigate the potentials and limits of performative and/or speculative research practices. With OTHERWISE we want to offer a safe space for experimentation and mutual learning.

The concept for OTHERWISE 2021 results from the feedback of its precursor edition in 2019. In its first iteration OTHERWISE was set up as a festival-as-research hosting 50 researchers and artists over three days at Gessnerallee in Zurich. Every attendee was a workshop leader and participant at the same time, creating an environment of mutual learning and exchange. We will continue this journey in our 2021 edition but on a smaller scale and over a longer duration. This way we aim to assure an intensified exchange, foster cross-pollination and new collaborations.
Eventually, and in extension to our pilot edition from 2019, we want to make the process and outcome of OTHERWISE accessible to a wider audience. Our new online platform will document the process over the year to come and the speculative symposium in December will make tangible our common trajectories.