September 27, 2017 - Salon Suisse - Salon Suisse: ATARAXIA
September 27, 2017

Salon Suisse

© Pro Helvetia. Photo: RMphotostudio. 

Salon Suisse: ATARAXIA
Collateral Events of the Venice Biennale

Salon Suisse Three: "cultivating well": October 19–21
Salon Suisse Four: "kinesis": November 23–25

Palazzo Trevisan degli Ulivi
Dorsoduro 810
30123 Venice
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In the forms of discussion, poetry, music and performance, Salon Suisse reflects on the complexities of national identity bringing the notion of “Ataraxia” (from Greek a- "not" and tarássein "to disturb") to the heart of the conversation.

In October, the third Salon Suisse: "cultivating well" brings together a series of interconnected discussions around Switzerland’s post and de-colonial condition. How do foodstuffs carry stories of imperialism? Are our tastes fit for consumption? With discussants Roger M. Buergel, Patricia Purtschert and Felwine Sarr, they will reflect on Switzerland’s less-determinable involvement in colonial practices and its accountability in the mythologisation of Switzerland’s image of political neutrality. A panel discussion devised by co-salonnière 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. With "cloud" cocktails providing the lubricant, FRAUD (FRan Gallardo  + AUDrey Samson) and Guido Rudolphi will discuss the affective and contentious powers emerging from green trade.

In November, the final Salon Suisse: "kinesis" examines what contemporary performance allows us to do. The salon will investigate some of the ways in which performance articulates national or civic identities – and invites audiences to co-habit or activate them. How do performative strategies occupy speculative worlds long enough for us to feel their effects? Kinesis begins by exploring the limits of language through the phenomenon of glossolalia or "speaking in tongues." In this multi-language performance by Khyam Allami and Naim Al Asmar, introduced by co-salonnière Rasha Salti, linguistic transgression is explored as a means of communicating an "unintelligible" language, albeit one which is emotionally or psychically expressive. Curated by co-salonnier Samuel Leuenberger, a series of performances by artists Megan Rooney, Marcos Lutyens and Claudia Comte will explore modes of assembling and sequencing performance acts. Rooney’s performance Poor Memory will use poetry as a primary register to communicate vectors of contemporary life. Marcos Lutyens’s performance Phobophobia/Philaphilia proposes to engage our senses via hypnosis, offering a visceral journey through areas of the body wherein the "fear of fear" is thought to reside, towards a state of "philaphilia" or the "love of joy." Meanwhile, Claudia Comte uses the Swiss culinary staple of cheese fondue as a system for structuring social activity in her iterative performance The Primary Fondue Party

Thursday, October 19: "Unfinished Business": Conversation with Roger M. Buergel, Patricia Purtschert and Felwine Sarr. Moderated by Koyo Kouoh

Friday, October 20: "Carbon Derivatives:" Conversation with FRAUD and Guido Rudolphi

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

Thursday, November 23: "Glossolalia in C": A microtonal, multi-language, experimental music and poetry performance by Khyam Allami and Naim Al Asmar

Friday, November 24: "Without Poetry Nothing is Possible": New performances by Marcos Lutyens and Megan Rooney

Saturday, November 25: "The Primary Fondue Party" by Claudia Comte

Every event starts at 6.30pm at the Palazzo Trevisan degli Ulivi, Dorsoduro in Venice, Italy. Vaporetto stops: Zattere or Accademia.


Directed by curator Koyo Kouoh, ATARAXIA aims to understand the paradoxical position Switzerland occupies within the current economic, political, scientific and cultural landscape of Europe and further afield, as well as reflect on its (post)colonial narratives. Organised by the Swiss Arts Council Pro Helvetia in collaboration with Dakar-based RAW Material Company, Salon Suisse runs in parallel with the exhibition at the Pavilion of Switzerland at the 57th Venice Biennale. The programme started during the preview of the Biennale and is followed with three subsequent long weekends. It offers a platform for exchange on contemporary art in a stimulating atmosphere.

Salon Suisse
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