Denise Bertschi and Heonik Kwon
↘ The discussion is preceded by a tour of Denise Bertschi’s exhibition by curator Claire Hoffmann at 17:00
As part of her exhibition Oasis of Peace. Neutral Only On The Outside at Centre culturel suisse, the artist Denise Bertschi talks with Heonik Kwon (Senior Research Fellow in Social Anthropology at Trinity College, University of Cambridge). For her exhibition, Bertschi’s research focused on the demilitarized zone (DMZ) between North and South Korea, the Swiss „neutral” military mission and the images produced by them in this area. In his writings, Heonik Kwon proposes a new perspective on the Corean war as a “hot” rather than a “cold” war, and introduces a post-colonial reading of this global conflict. How can the role of Switzerland as a “neutral peace-keeper” be revisited along this interpretation? And how does the notion of “longue durée” link in with this specific historical and geograhical context?
Moderation by researcher and curator Adeena Mey (Central Saint Martins).
This talk is part of the “Longue durée” program of Engadin Art Talks. “Longue Durée” literally means “long duration”. It is a view of history first introduced by the French historian Fernand Braudel. Braudel’s “Longue Durée” allows us to interpret crises as opportunities for fundamental structural change. Art is one mean by which we can reimagine existing paradigms to accommodate new discoveries and create new realities.
Denise Bertschi uses the term of “longue-durée” in her essay STATE FICTION The Gaze of The Swiss Neutral Mission in the Korean Demilitarized Zone : “Even if Switzerland has an ongoing history of Swiss military labour by colonial mercenaries in Southeast Asia, who fought for the Dutch colonial warfare in the 19th century and up to the first world war, it was always Swiss individuals who joined foreign armies […] Thus, the Swiss Neutral military mission in Korea can be read into a longue-durée lineage of Swiss men, as mercenaries or neutral soldiers, incorporated in different forms of military forces in East Asia.”
Heonik Kwon is Senior Research Fellow in Social Anthropology at Trinity College, University of Cambridge, and currently part of the research group at Asia Research Center, Seoul National University, that explores a new, more integrated, and democratic Asia. Author of prize-winning books on the social history of the Vietnam War and Asia’s Cold War, his new book is After the Korean War: An Intimate History.
Denise Bertschi is an artist-researcher, working at the intersection of art, history and cultural memory. She holds an MA in Visual Arts from HEAD Haute Ecole d’Art in Geneva and a BA from Zurich University of the Arts ZHDK. She is currently working on a PhD thesis at EPFL Lausanne in the „Arts of Sciences Laboratory“, in collaboration with HEAD – Genève. Her first monograph „Denise Bertschi. STRATA. Mining Silence“, was published on the occasion of the Manor art prize, awarded to her in 2020 by the Aargauer Kunsthaus.
Adeena Mey is managing editor of Afterall. A Journal of Art Context and Enquiry and a research fellow at Central Saint Martins, University of the Arts London where he leads the Paul Mellon Centre-funded digital research project ‘The Black Atlantic Museum’. Through writing, editorial and curatorial projects, his research engages with the histories, theories and practices of the moving image, exhibition studies, cybernetics as well as East and Southeast Asian art histories. His curatorial projects include A Viewing Room (Korean Cultural Centre London/online, 2021, with Jaemin Cha and Annie Jael Kwan); Neo Geography I&II (Centre d’art Neuchâtel, Switzerland and Post Territory Ujeongguk, Seoul, 2017, with Kyung Roh Bannwart).