siwic day 1 – arriving in zurich & art sluts

For the next three weeks, I am in Zurich at SiWiC – the Schweizerischer Internationaler Weiterbildungskurs in Choreographie. I’m not going to have much free time, and have been pretty burnt out lately from six months of continent-hopping – which the previous week in Vevey did wonders for, so the next three weeks, instead of alternating between hyping Chinese art and slagging off Chinese government, I’m going to pretty much exclusively write about my time here. If you really want China stuff, use the links on the right. I read many of those every day and think they fairly rock. Or hold your breath for lots of content from extermination – the movie, bitches from China, stuff for your 3G mobile, and the zeroballet DVD. In the meantime, I’m in Zurich.

Zurich. There are alot of junkies and hookers near here. I thought I should maybe not loiter on the street in case they decided I was trying to work their turf and got their skinny pimp to slice me a new mouth somewhere I don’t need it. SiWiC is on the Limmat River, which flows just outside and three stories below my window. For the next couple of days, I have a loft room to sleep in beside the cavernous, concrete-ribbed top-floor studio. In the parallel-walled channel which contains and separates the iridescent blue-green Limmat from the brown, soil-laden Sihl, every evening is full of people swimming and pulled along by the rapid, gently twisting current. There is even a diving board outside below, close to the iron girders and cleaved stone towers of a bridge I’ll know the name of soon.

Today was short. We arrived, met, talked, looked around Tanzhaus and spent the evening sitting with the other swimmers on the grass or pebbles, or boardwalk drinking beside the river. It was special though to see Martin again, whom I first met in Vienna two years ago at DanceWEB. So we’re back again making stuff, hanging out in another new city. The other choreographers, I can’t remember them all yet, but they’ll be around in the next days. Veronika from Geneva, Filippo, Marlee, and Hans. And the reason why we’re all here: Nigel Charnock.

Later in the evening, near the great confluence of street walkers a couple of us went to see the graduate show at the Hochschule für Gestaltung und Kunst Zürich. It’s mostly a photography exhibition over three floors of the school, the courtyard it forms a horseshoe around pounding to the Sex Pistols and Bowie, the floors full of the coolest people I’ve seen since St Benedict’s caravan bar (or whatever it’s called) in Melbourne a few months ago. Everyone has exceptionally noticeable trainers – like Guangzhou everyone wears the most amazing high heels.

There was some art there too. Mostly forgettable, which is what I love about art. Someone said the school focuses very much on the conceptual side, and doesn’t teach much technique. None-the-less, there was alot of fine technique. Just not alot of content. Or more accurately alot of content I’ve seen before far too many times, only here empty, not quite reaching the transcendental state of post-modern irony, nor being magical enough for a National Geographic spread. Just empty, lost, vague, pointless, hollow. Or worse yet, derivative or even blatantly the same as works I’ve seen before. If the point is an exercise in mimcry, then ok, they have a bright career in art forgery. Otherwise I’m not sure who the joke is on.

But enough slagging off of art. There was one work which was genius. been there, done that from Taiyo Onorato and Nico Krebs, who went to Latvia and photographed themselves as shit poor peasants. Holiday snaps you always wished you’d taken.