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Phila Bergmann/Thea Reifler

The ProtoZone as Exhibition Methodology
17–29 July 2023

ProtoZone1Contamination/Resilience, foreground Suspending Time, Listening Session, Lou Drago, 2020 / background Sowing the seeds for the future, Dominique Koch, 2020, Shedhalle, 2020- Photo: Carla Schleiffer.

Group Course and individual consultations/ Curating

Hohensalzburg Fortress

Teaching language(s)
English, German

What to bring
Working tools you need for your own artistic and/or curatorial practice(s)

Willingness to work in a group, good communication skills in English

Maximum number of participants

Participation fee 
€ 640,– (reduced € 480,–)

Drawing on a background in theatre, music, choreography and performance, Phila Bergmann and Thea Reifler developed a curatorial approach that reflects movement in exhibition spaces as well as within and between communities. For Shedhalle Zurich, they refined this idea towards an inclusive structure hosting different genres, from visual arts to performative practices, and consciously embedding them with surrounding ecosystems and agents as well as in utopian imagination. Considering not only physical and social movement, the concept ProtoZone describes this approach of introducing process as a tool in an art institution, together with new collaboration models.

Phila and Thea invite the participants to a time-space imagined as a ProtoZone. The students will engage in process-based exhibition-making, with their visions, practices and projects. Phila and Thea will share their curatorial work in theatre, music, and visual arts, providing input, collaborative structures, and one-on-one conversations on project developments.

Thea Reifler and Phila Bergmann collaborate in the fields of music theater, opera, performance, installation, direction and curation. In recent years they have developed process-based interdisciplinary projects with a queer-feminist focus.

In 2020, Thea Reifler and Phila Bergmann began working as artistic directors at Shedhalle Zurich, a position they will hold until 2025. In cooperation with the curatorial team there, they have developed the idea of the PROTOZONE as an exhibition format for process-based art. In 2021 and 2022, they co-directed the Bone-Performance Festival in Bern. Until the summer of 2023, Thea Reifler was teaching in the department of architecture and art at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH). Phila Bergmann has been part of the research project COLLECTING THE EPHEMERAL – Prerequisites and Possibilities for Making Performance Art Last at Lucerne University of Applied Sciences and Art, where they also work as a lecturer. Thea Reifler and Phila Bergmann also work together as Social Justice & Radical Diversity Trainers, with a focus on gender and class. Their artistic work has been shown at Hamburger Bahnhof, 3HD Festival, KW Institute for Contemporary Art, Radialsystem (all in Berlin), SpielArt- Festival Munich, Nowy-Teatr in Warsaw, Zurich Theater Spektakel and Opera Darmstadt, among others. Recently their essay WHEN CONTEXT COMES FROM PROCESS: THE PROTOZONES METHOD was published in the book Politics of Curatorship.

PhilaThea_Flavio Karrer
Photo: Flavio Karrer