Campus - 05.10.2016 - 00:00
6 October 2016. The context of the University of St.Gallen forms the artistic playing field for the works. "We held a nationwide competition to find artists who, with their works, are creating connections with this university. The artworks should provide food for thought about art and why art is even relevant at a business university or for society in general", explains Christina Lüthy, the initiator of the intervention and a postgraduate student at HSG.
A break from routine
Four artworks lie at the heart of the initiative. These can not only be seen, but also smelt and heard. Practically unavoidable is PGONG-2016-10.WAV, the modified breaktime bell by Zurich-based artist Vinzenz Meyner. "To be honest, I thought it was a technical disruption and that something was broken", says a student, who heard the bell several times during a four-hour lecture. "It shakes things up a bit. Usually the lecturer keeps talking when the bell goes off, but now he stops for ten seconds." In actual fact, the artist's intention with this work was to create a break from the routine, an intervention in the rhythm of the campus. "Institutions that belong to this university are full of rules and structures", says Vinzenz Meyner. "These influence us and our actions in a way that goes almost unnoticed. What interests me is what happens when these routines are disrupted."
The scent of the HSG
The work entitled 104,277 m3 Campus HSG by the collective of Hauser, Fischer, Tellenbach, Hofer, Hänni and Janssen is also hard to miss, since the six female artists work with scent. So what is the scent of the HSG? This is a question the collective spent three days investigating on campus. "We are trying to capture the building, the structure of its rooms, the artworks of the HSG. We are trying to get an impression of the people here, of the atmosphere, the emotions." The collective is developing a scented water out of all this in cooperation with a Zurich perfumer. Can the campus and its life be captured in a scent? How does this scent facilitate access to the place? On Thursday and Friday the scent composition is being wafted into selected rooms at the HSG.
Art and economic logic
Young entrepreneurship, life as a commercial event and the relationship between art and economic logic are topics Martina Mächler expressly addresses in her performance "Balance". This takes place in the conference room of the President's Board – a room that is otherwise out of bounds for students. In a monotone, emotionless voice the artist presents personal details from her everyday life: her total income and expenditure, unsuitable working conditions and the increase in health insurance contributions that causes her budget to falter. Our individual role in the economic system, on the other hand, is something that is called into question by the sculptural installation "Statists of the Economy" by artist duo Wittmer&Koenig. The visors shooting towards the sky and their illuminated tips point to the permanent reconfiguration of space. Do we move within this fluid context, which also encompasses the economy? What role do we adopt here and which one would we actually like to adopt?
The intervention is flanked by a diverse supporting programme. A constant port of call is the intervention lounge in the main building. In a stimulating atmosphere, interested visitors can get all the important information they need on the artworks and the artists behind them. Short tours of the artworks are also offered several times a day, and the content can be explored in greater depth with innovative discussion formats such as the "Artist Picnic" or the classic podium discussion with experts from the area of art on the interface with business. The intervention runs until 7 October.
The author, Dana Sindermann, is a research assistant at the Institute for Business Ethics.
photo: Christina Lüthy
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