We gathered at the Trudelhaus in Baden as a sunny Sunday afternoon drew to a close to celebrate the finissage of Rita Ernst, Clare Goodwin and Silvia Reichwein’s exhibition, and to debate the important issue: Power lies on the periphery! Defending the motion Gregory Hari drew on a friend’s experience. This friend had spent several years in a North American province, far more remote a place than exists in Switzerland, and found it formative. ‘I guess we say ‘in’ and ‘out’ [of the city, said Hari’s friend] because they are the centres where people from all directions come and go. Like the gravity of a sun which causes comets to enter and exit a solar system again and again.’ Hari put it to the audience that artists need the periphery as much as they need the city’s force to work against.
After these divisive opening gambits, a combative debate ensued. The benefits of the periphery in an internet age were considered, as well as the quality of experience for artists in major urban centres. The market came to the fore frequently, ad did pleas not to consider the market and artistic life as one. There was also discussion as to whether Manifesta – the biennial of the periphery - had got lost or found itself in choosing Zurich as its next site. A close debate ended with a narrow victory for the opposition.
Thanks again to the Trudelhaus, and Sadhyo Niederberger in particular, for the invitation to debate in Baden, and to the participants. Please remember that what was said during the debate does not necessarily accord with the participants’ own opinions! All the debaters were playing assigned roles. If you want to know more about art+argument, please email aoiferosenmeyer(at)gmail.com