Manifesta 11 | Highlights

The eleventh edition of Manifesta opened in Zurich last weekend with 250 art works, 130 artists and the title: ‘What People Do for Money: Some Joint Ventures’ curated by German artist Christian Jankowski.
IMG_2150Manifesta 11 is composed of various parts: the 30 new projects in the satellites as well as in Löwenbräukunst and Helmhaus, which are the result of encounters between artists and their ‘hosts‘ (people from different professional elds); The Historical Exhibition: Sites Under Construction, also in the art institutions; the Pavillon of Reflections, where the entire project will be reflected in a filmic form; and Cabaret der Künstler – Zunfthaus Voltaire, a stage for joint-venture performances and home of the newly founded artists‘ guild.






Zürich University 




Cabaret Voltaire


The Pavillon of Reflections




Gay Pride 


Jon Kessler | Les Ambassadeurs


Carles Congost | Zürich Fire Department 



ACRUSH AND Palais de Tokyo  | ACRUSH AG







Manifesta, the European Biennial of Contemporary Art, is a migratory biennial which aims to re ect critically on Europe‘s changing cultural DNA.

Host Cities

Manifesta 1 Rotterdam (Netherlands, 1996); Manifesta 2 Luxembourg, (Luxembourg, 1998); Manifesta 3 Ljublja- na (Slovenia, 2000); Manifesta 4 Frankfurt (Germany, 2002); Manifesta 5 Donostia-San-Sebastián (Spain, 2004); Manifesta 6 Nicosia (Cyprus, 2006 – cancelled); Manifesta 7 Trentino-Alto Adige (Italy, 2008); Manifesta 8 Carta- gena (Spain, 2010); Manifesta 9 Genk-Limburg (Belgium, 2012); Manifesta 10 St Petersburg (Russia, 2014); Ma- nifesta 11 Zurich (Switzerland, 2016); Manifesta 12 Palermo (Italy, 2018); Manifesta 13 Marseille (France, 2020)

Q & A What is Manifesta?

1. Why was Zurich selected to host of Manifesta 11?

Every two years Manifesta takes place in a new host city. Manifesta explores the genius loci and serves
as a think tank to re-identify how we live, work, think and see our future here in Europe in the context of
the growing challenges of economic recession, migration, climate change. Manifesta also studies and evaluates on how these might effect our changing habitats, our thinking and our society. Because of its migratory nature, Manifesta is able to mount a diverse and ongoing analysis of the state of European cul- ture. Manifesta 11, with its title What People Do for Money: Some Joint Ventures, focuses attention on the relation between work and labour. In our post-industrial age, it is a concept that resonates acutely with life not only in Zurich but in the rest of the world. Manifesta 11 in Zurich is something of a collective experiment, questioning the identity of the city through interactions with its citizens. What do we do with our lives? How do we work together? We hope Manifesta 11 stimulates questions for all its visitors and opens up new and exciting ways into contemporary art.

2. Who selects the host cities of Manifesta?

European cities may apply to host Manifesta. The concept of the potential host’s bid ultimately determines which city or region is chosen as host by the Board of the International Foundation Manifesta in Amster- dam. The Director of the International Foundation Manifesta, Hedwig Fijen, selects the city which most ts with Manifesta’s strategic vision of how cities represent a certain stage of transformation or unique status quo in dealing with climate change and migration. This is why Manifesta is speci cally interested in hosting the biennial in cities around the Mediterranean, where the effect of migration because of climate change will be most visible and tangible in terms of how we live in urban environments and how we organise our cities in the future. Sometimes Manifesta pro-actively looks for cities or regions themselves.

3. What role did Zurich’s history as a centre of art play?

Zurich continues to demonstrate its great potential as a city of historically exciting artistic structure and de- velopments with a rich culture of discourse. The city in which Dada was born, the centre of “Neues Bauen”, where “die Gute Form” all started, the home of Swiss design and the concrete artists Max Bill and Richard Paul Lohse, aims to put down a new art-historical marker with Manifesta 11. Manifesta 11 adds a contem- porary, international and visionary dimension to the festivities marking the centenary of Dada.

4. Who selected the curator and what role does he play?

For the eleventh edition of Manifesta, the curator was selected by a specially convened committee, under the guidance of the Director of Manifesta, Hedwig Fijen. Following initial research, three candidates were invited to explore the city and present a precise concept for Manifesta 11 to the selection committee. Christian Jankowski is the rst artist selected to be the single curator of a Manifesta biennial.

5. Why was an artist selected as a curator of Manifesta 11?

Artist Christian Jankowski was chosen as the sole curator of Manifesta 11 thanks to the central principles of his artistic investigations: collaboration; the inclusion groups and re ection on mass-media formats. These principles are also at the core of Jankowski‘s concept for Manifesta 11, What People Do for Money: Some Joint Ventures, which stimulates direct interaction between local audiences and the process of artistic practices.

6. Why is Manifesta more than an exhibition?

Manifesta is a biennial with research as its core value. Through all its projects, Manifesta de nes the actual status of the constantly changing European cultural landscape by contextualising the geo-political issues that determine its dynamics. Manifesta is an itinerant biennial, changing its locations every two years in res- ponse to site-speci c and current artistic imperatives, as well as a variety of social, political and geographi- cal considerations. Manifesta engages in an in-depth analysis of the status and characteristics of a regional and cultural European context – and in 2016, this is in Zurich, Switzerland.

7. How political is Manifesta?

Manifesta acts as a mirror of the socio-political and cultural conditions of its host city. At the same time, it re ects the overall geo-political situation in a Europe that, now more than ever, nds itself in a crisis visible in the current economic and migration debates. It originated in the turbulent era around the fall of the Berlin Wall in response to the political, economic and social changes following the end of the Cold War. As a roving biennial, Manifesta generates and includes new audiences, promoting contemporary art’s ability to broaden and deepen conversations between local communities, political grassroots organisations and NGOs. It serves as a platform and resource for critical discourse around the socio-political and cultural conditions of its host city and Europe at large.

8. Who is Manifesta 11‘s intended audience?

Manifesta 11 hopes to attract a sustainable, broad audience of both art professionals and non-art- professionals. In addition to the local inhabitants of Zurich and the surrounding regions, Manifesta 11 hopes to attract those who are enthusiastic about learning about their city and country. Our high standards of art mediation and extensive support programme ensure a continuous dialogue with both younger and older generations. The Manifesta 11 Parallel Events, which take place with each Manifesta edition, invite a range of diverse local and regional artistic and multi-disciplinary programmes and institutions to participate in a joint collateral framework programme.

9. How is Manifesta 11 organised?

The main of ce of Manifesta (based in Amsterdam) and the City of Zurich have founded a new organisati- onal and governance entity for Manifesta 11, directed by Hedwig Fijen, which is responsible for the entire realisation of the biennial edition.

10. How is Manifesta 11 funded?

Manifesta 11 is a collaboration between the City of Zurich and the Manifesta Foundation in Amsterdam. As with every edition of Manifesta, Manifesta 11 has its own team of permanent international specialists, which synergises with a local team of art professionals.

11. How politically independent is Manifesta?

Manifesta operates completely independently of political parties or commercial enterprises, and is a private, non-commercial organisation whose foundation has its permanent headquarters in Amsterdam.

12. Where will Manifesta 12 take place, and why?

Manifesta 12 will take place in Palermo, Sicily in 2018. The City of Palermo was important for Manifesta’s selection board for its representation of two important themes that identify contemporary Europe: migration and climate change, and how these issues impact our cities. The multi-layered and deeply condensed his- tory of Palermo – being occupied by almost every European civilisation and having long-term connections with Northern Africa and the Eastern Mediterranean over the last 2,000 years – has left its traces throug- hout this multi-cultural society at the heart of the Mediterranean area. Manifesta 12 will investigate how great the role of cultural intervention can be in allowing the Palermitani citizens to take back ownership of their city. Manifesta 12 in Palermo will act as a grass-root incubator supporting the local communities with cultural interventions: this will help to rethink the city in their socio-economical and cultural structures and will use the existing informal pro le of the city to act as a platform for social change.

13. Where will Manifesta 13 take place, and why?

Manifesta 13 will take place in Marseille, France in 2020. From the Odyssey to the current migrant crisis, the port city of Marseille is a place from which to acknowledge the weight and presence of the Mediter- ranean Sea in the historical construct of the European identity. More than ever, water and environmental challenges need to be examined within the political ecology of past and current con icts. As far as its urban territory, Marseille offers an ideal setting to think a non-dualist re-appropriation of nature within the social form of the city – soon becoming a metropolis. Manifesta 13 in Marseille, the second largest city in France, will be an opportunity to look at the past and think about the present challenges Europe is facing from a people’s perspective and from a shared public space. Voices and forms will certainly be multiples, diverse and powerful.

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