«The Angels of Zurich» | «How do we want to deal with colonial monuments?»

Lecture performance, discussion ONLINE !

Zwinglian Zurich doesn't think much of angels, but lions can be found all over the city. Sophie Germanier's lecture performance “The Angels of Zurich” leads behind the city's lion facades and into the hidden power dynamics of the lion symbol. Afterwards, Jovita dos Santos Pinto, Nina Emge, Sally Schonfeldt and Yvonne Wilhelm will discuss how to deal with the colonial entanglements in Switzerland. Moderation: Max Heinrich.
Both events can be participated via zoom, see below.

The Angels of Zurich

Lecture performance by Sophie Germanier

At first glance, angels and lions seem to have nothing to do with each other. Angels are beings who oscillate back and forth between earth and heaven in order to convey their messages. Lions, on the other hand, are wild animals and are representative of power and fearlessness.

Zwinglian Zurich doesn’t think much of angels, but lions can be found all over the city. Lions defy Zurich’s coat of arms, lions adorn countless facades and guard the entrances of “fearless” buildings. They are mostly buildings of nationalistic-romantic architecture in which insurance companies, banks or politicians conduct their business. The lecture performance The Angels of Zurich leads behind the city’s lion facades and tries to uncover a new network of relationships through the architectural element that is often encountered. Because if you take a closer look, you can see that behind the architecture adorned with lions there are people and actions that exclude many other people and their actions. Who built the city? Who is building it now? And who does it belong to? On the one hand, the lion can be understood as a purely representative symbol. But to what extent is he also a witness to the history of Zurich and can thereby give us an insight into the hidden power dynamics?

How do we want to deal with colonial monuments?

Discussion with Jovita dos Santos Pinto, Nina Emge, Sally Schonfeldt, Yvonne Wilhelm; Moderation: Max Heinrich

In the context of the current anti-racist movements, how to deal with one’s own colonial entanglements is also being discussed in Switzerland. This debate also focuses on colonial monuments and their presence in public space. Examples of this are the discussion about de Pury in Neuchâtel, Escher in Zurich and Agassiz, which not only deal with monuments but also with the names of mountains, streets and squares.

Based on a post-colonial contextualization of such monuments and names, the discussion in the Kunsthalle Luzern would like to focus on the critical positions towards them. We start from the discourses and practices of current social movements such as Black Lives Matter in order to discuss artistic-activist practices in dealing with monuments, murals, names and designations. Ultimately, this discussion is primarily about the question of representation in various public spaces. On the one hand about their power of definition and mechanisms of exclusion, and on the other hand about how a critical representation practice, visibility and accessibility for all can be achieved from this.