Phila Bergman & Thea Reifler


3 November 2023


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What is a ProtoZone? And what can it do? In this talk, Phila Bergmann and Thea Reifler invite the audience into versions of answers to those questions. Phila Bergmann and Thea Reifler came up with the term „ProtoZone“ as a core of the artistic direction of Shedhalle in Zurich 2020-2025. The concept describes their approach of consciously introducing the process as a tool into an art institution. Alongside a group of international and interdisciplinary curators, they have been working with this approach for three years. Their goal is to nurture the imagination of what „process-based art“ and “process-based exhibition making” could be.
Phila and Thea will share their findings in both process-based exhibition- and institution-making so far. They will also give insight to their upcoming Protozone13, focusing on a fully embodied experience in a space of „visual” arts. How can the affective qualities of encounters with the artworks and the art space be enhanced?
On the way, they will address questions concerning social justice, sustainability, hosting and working structures as well as queer-feminist science fiction.

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.
For the years 2020-2025, Thea Reifler and Phila Bergmann are working as artistic directors at Shedhalle Zurich. There, they are developing the idea of the PROTOZONE as an exhibition format for process-based art together with the curatorial team. In 2021 and 2022, they co-directed the Bone-Performance Festival in Bern. Until Summer 2023, Thea Reifler was teaching at the chair of architecture and art at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH). Phila Bergmann is 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 are also working 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 text WHEN CONTEXT COMES FROM PROCESS: THE PROTOZONES METHOD was published in the book Politics of Curatorship.