Audio Salon Suisse Ataraxia: Cultivating Well

Audio archive from 19–21 October

Harvest. Potato Breeding in Prinzessinnengarten, 2015. Image: Åsa Sonjasdotter

Coinciding with the 57th Venice Biennale, Salon Suisse presents a series of talks and events running alongside the exhibition at the Swiss Pavilion. ArtReview is the programme media partner. Taking place over four weekends throughout the duration of the Biennale, with the last weekend being from 23 to 25 November, the talks and events have been organised by the Swiss Arts Council Pro Helvetia in collaboration with Dakar-based RAW Material CompanyKoyo Kouoh, the artistic director and founder of RAW Material Company, is this year’s Salonnière of the Collateral Event.

Through discussions, poetry, music and performance, ATARAXIA (from Greek a- "not" and tarássein "to disturb") looks at ‘the paradoxical position Switzerland occupies within the current economic, political, scientific and cultural landscape of Europe and further afield, as well as [reflects] on its (post)colonial narratives’. Inspired by Roland Barthes’s collection of essays Mythologies (1957), ATARAXIA questions the ‘mythologisation’ of Switzerland as an untroubled country, seeking to reveal the contradictions in its representation and reality.

The third Salon took place on 19–21 October. Titled 'Cultivating Well', the three evening events brought together a series of interconnected discussions around Switzerland’s post- and decolonial condition:

19 October Unfinished Business: A conversation between Roger M. Buergel, Patricia Purtschert and Felwine Sarr. Moderated by Koyo Kouoh

Unfinished Business reflects on Switzerland’s less-determinable involvement in colonial practices and its accountability in the mythologisation of Switzerland’s image of political neutrality.


20 October FRAUD (FRan Gallardo + AUDrey Samson): Carbon Derivatives + conversation between FRAUD and Guido Rudolphi

Examining conflicts arising from market involvement in the management of ‘nature’, FRAUD (FRan Gallardo + AUDrey Samson) present investigations from Carbon Derivatives, a project examining the ties between the forest as a storage resource of carbon, the boreal forest’s disappearance and emission trading systems (ETS). Serving "pine tar" ice creams, FRAUD lead a discussion with Guido Rudolphi around the affective and contentious powers emerging from green trade.


21 October The Wretched Earth: Conversation with Ros Gray, Shela Sheikh and Åsa Sonjasdotter

The Wretched Earth, introduced by Lívia Páldi, further investigates how these relations take shape in domestic settings, tracing imperialist and capitalist occupancies of the earth in adapting and regulating the cultivation of plant species. Åsa Sonjasdotter, joined in conversation by Ros Gray and Shela Sheikh, uses the potato plant as an unassuming, yet lucid example of a vegetal global migrancy. A staple of many European and American domestic diets, the potato – native to South America – tells one of many stories of co-species entanglements between human and nonhuman subjects. The discussants respond to colonial legacies of botany in formulating strategies of commoning, decolonisation and care – strategies which attend to what feminist scholar Donna Haraway refers to as more ‘response-able’ living.