Johannes M. Hedinger

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Opening Art Safiental

From July 5-7, you can look forward to a great opening program with performances and artist meetings. >Detailed program. See you soon in Safiental!

(Bild: QUARTO, Moving Landscapes, foto: Claudio von Planta)



Teaser Art Safiental


Born digital (video art)

If you happen to be in Zurich this Thursday June 6, please join us for the opening at Kunsthaus Zürich.
BORN DIGITAL – Video art in the new millennium
June 7 – Sep 29, 2024; Opening June 6 (5-9pm)
Introduction 7pm by Ann Demeester (Director) and Éléonore Bernard & Luca Rey (Curators)

With works by: Christoph Büchel / Com&Com (Hedinger/Gossolt) / Cao Fei / Gabriela Gerber/Lukas Bardill / Zilla Leutenegger / Tatjana Marušić / Rita McBride / Yves Netzhammer / Pipilotti Rist / Diana Thater / Susann Walder

They show the early videowork by Com&Com: „I love Switzerland“ (2002), the second part of our Swiss Trilogy (2000-2002). It was first shown at the EXPO.02 in Harald Szeemann’s exhibition „Geld und Wert – das letzte Tabu“. The Video was co-produced with Theater Luzern and Twin Productions and it is in the Kunsthaus Zürich’s a media art collection since 2002.
More about the exhibition  / More about Com&Com’s early videos


Curatorial Statement

Curatorial Statement to the Biennale 24: 
What if? Songs from Tomorrowlands

In the summer of 2024, the voices of thirteen artists will be heard in the Alpine valley of Safiental, located in the Canton of Grisons, Switzerland. Akin to mountaineers calling to each other from mountain tops, the tales of different futures and speculative scenarios will bounce off the peaks and reverberate within the valley, amplifying the visions of these imagined tomorrows. What songs will we hear? And which ones would we like to sing along with?

The Safiental valley was shaped by the Rabiusa River, whose name translates as “raging”, and is now tamed by hydropower. The land, largely cultivated wherever the hillsides are not too steep, is dotted with dispersed settlements. To the north, the valley is bordered by the famous Rhine Gorge, a colossal wound ripped open ten thousand years ago by a landslide. In this landscape, the catastrophic is as palpable as the cultivated. The romantic and the technological meet in unexpected infrastructures.

In the site-specific exhibition What if? Songs from Tomorrowlands, artists react to this territory, looking at the Safiental valley and the Alps as a crucible for human and natural activity. The temporality of the landscape is expanded and connected with other places and times through the resonance of local and global voices, memories, and myths. In this context, “What if?” is more than just a rhetorical question, and songs are not only understood as melodies. They are tools that encourage us to go beyond the familiar and connect to ourselves, all kinds of other living beings, and the environment through new affiliations and identities, shaped by the exchange and transformation of alternative knowledge and stories. “What if” is thus understood as world-making, inviting us to seek collective healing and harmony, driven by the idea that hope is a muscle (Björk) that must constantly be exercised.

What if? Songs from Tomorrowlands refers to a relational point of view: one that listens to the whispers and collective chants from possible futures in a time of multiple choices, crises, opportunities, and catastrophes. Together, we set out to reflect on and act upon the present through the lens of the times to come – by asking ourselves in the future perfect tense (Harald Welzer): What will we have done, and what will we have left undone? How do we want to be remembered, and how can we become “a good ancestor” (Roman Krznaric)?

The thirteen voices spread across the valley, ricocheting across the meadows, forests, and rocky outcrops, reverberating questions, hopes and fears. This songbook of utopian and dystopian spells is nourished by dreams, imagination, and the speculative worlds of science fiction. In Safiental, the changing mountainous environment encourages us to question our sense of collective belonging and the way we relate to the world around us. Echoing the chorus of this increasingly sticky melody, it prompts us to practice the “What if?”.

Anne-Laure Franchette, Josiane Imhasly, Johannes M. Hedinger, Joanna Lesnierowska



Crowdfunding campaign for the publication on the annual theme WHAT IF?
We would be delighted to have your support – great rewards await (books, knowledge, art, culinary delights and adventures in the Safiental)
Please also share the call – thank you in advance!

(The campaign runs from today until March 22, 2024)


14 Essays / 50 Short texts / 14 art projects, approx. 180 pages, German / English, to be published in Fall 2024, Vexer Verlag St.Gallen / Berlin


Ravi Agarwal / James Bridle / Annemarie Bucher / Ishita Chakraborty / Friday for Future / Johannes M. Hedinger / Bruno Latour & Nikolay Schultz / Pablo Helguera / Hanna Hölling / Dominik Landwehr / Lesley Lokko / Timothy Morton / Harald Welzer and others

Ravi Agarwal & Paulina Lopez / Paloma Ayala / Magali Dougoud / Hemauer+Keller / Monica Ursina Jaeger / Vibeke Mascini / Ernesto Neto / Ola Maciejewska / Quarto / Stefanie Salzmann / Renae Shadler / Andrea Francesco Todisco / Huhtamaki Wab and others


Save the date

July 6 – October 20, 2024
5. ART SAFIENTAL – Biennale for Land and Environmental Art
„WHAT IF? Songs from Tomorrowlands“
Safiental, Switzerland

Works by:
Ravi Agarwal + Paulina Lopez (IN, CL)
Paloma Ayala (MX/CH)
Magali Dougoud (CH)
Hemauer/Keller (CH)
Monica Ursina Jaeger (CH)
Vibeke Mascini (NL)
Ernesto Neto (BR)
Ola Maciejewska (PL)
Quarto (BR/SE)
Stefanie Salzmann (CH)
Renae Shadler (AUS/DE)
Andrea Francesco Todisco (CH)
Huhtamaki Wab (JP/UK)

Curated by:
Anne-Laure Franchette, Johannes M. Hedinger, Josiane Imhasly, Joanna Lesnierowska

The 5. Biennale for Land and Environmental Art will take place between July 6 – October 20, 2024, in Safiental (Grisons, Switzerland). 13 national and international art positions will create temporary outdoor works in dialogue with the landscape. Distributed over the entire valley the installations will be accessible daily free of charge for around four months. A short guide with a map will be published to accompany the exhibition, followed by a catalogue in autumn. The festival center is located at Berghotel Alpenblick Tenna, which is also home to ILEA (Institute for Land and Environmental Art), the ILEA Gallery and the ILEA Residency program.

Among the over 60 artists and projects from previous Biennales, you find artists such as Lita Albuquerque, Ursula Biemann, Julius von Bismarck, James Bridle, Bob Gramsma, Ingeborg Lüscher, !Mediengruppe Bitnik, Raumlabor, Analia Saban, Roman Signer, Steiner/Lenzlinger, Ben Vautier and many others.
The founder and artistic director of the Art Safiental Biennale is Johannes M. Hedinger.
The exhibition is organized by the ILEA Institute for Land and Environmental Art, and sponsored by the Beverin Nature Park in partnership with the municipality of Safiental.


ILEA Gallery

Well-attended opening of the exhibition “Stories of Gras“ by the Indian artist Dharmendra Prasad at ILEA Gallery. In the summer of 2022 the artist spent three months in the ILEA artist residence in Tenna, intensively researching and producing on the subject of grass (including the Grass Museum, which was part of the Biennale Art Safiental and whose facade can still be visited. During this time in Tenna, the artist began to deal intensively with grass and to work with it as a material and medium.  The exhibition shows both a retrospective of this phase, as well as the continuation of his work in India on the same theme.

The exhibition runs until 29.10.2023 and can be visited during the opening hours of the Berghotel Alpenblick (Wed-Sat 10-22, Sun 10-18, Mo+Tues rest days), there are information sheets available on each floor for a self-guided tour. The exhibition extends over 4 floors. The exhibition is curated by Johannes M. Hedinger and Shazeb Shaikh. Produced by ILEA and EAE (Environmental Art Exchange). ILEA and ILEA Gallery is supported by Naturpark Beverin and the municipality of Safiental.


Artivation #2 : Happy New/Old Year

While in Tenna, Grisons, in the Swiss Alps, shortly before midnight of the year 2022, Com&Com made a video call via WhatsApp. The artists spoke with the artist Dharmendra Prasad and the curator Shazeb Sheikh, with whom they had just opened a joint exhibition.* Because at the time of their conversation, both Shazeb and Dharmendra were in India, they were already several hours into the year 2023. India was in the future. This inconspicuous event (of a WhatsApp conversation) lent itself to another iteration, and they thus decided to reenact it exactly the same way shortly after midnight—having arrived in the meantime in the year 2023—by sending a text message in the other direction to the curator Nora Hauswirth in Manaus, Brazil. The message was sent to the past.

What Com&Com engaged with was a Fluxus event score In One Year and Out the Other written by Ken Friedman in 1975. The score reads “On New Year’s Eve, make a telephone call from one time zone to another to conduct a conversation between people located in different years.”

Today known as an artist, author, educator and design researcher, Ken Friedman  (*1949) was the youngest member of Fluxus, when he joined the group on Maciunas’ invitation in 1966. During the heyday of Fluxus, Friedman worked closely with other Fluxus artists and composers such as George Maciunas, Dick Higgins, and Nam June Paik, as well as collaborated with John Cage and Joseph Beuys. He was also the general manager of Dick Higgins’s Something Else Press in the early 1970s.

Friedman’s In One Year and Out the Other was first performed on New Year’s Eve in 1975, when Friedmann—based at that time in Springfield, Ohio—first phoned ahead to Dick Higgins, Nam June Paik, Peter Frank, Christo and Jeanne-Claude in New York, who were already in the year 1976. Then, after midnight, he called back from 1976 to Tom Garver, Natasha Nicholson, and Abraham Friedman in California.

The spirit of Ken Friedman’s score is alive and well today, although it has mutated since to take alternative forms. Television broadcasts, social media posts, texting and email are just some of the adaptations that fit within the most straight forward parameters of Friedman’s idea: to connect individuals and communicate between times and temporal zones.

The work, like many Fluxus works, at the first glimpse straight forward and easy-to-enage-with, asks significant questions about how we understand time and space, and what it means to measure time with mechanical means. Dennis Oppenheim pointed to the absurdity of marking time as territory and political boundaries in his Time Line (1968). What do such artificial, political and temporal zones and distances mean in a world connected via digital media, where everything seems to be just a mouse click away? How does the “new year” feel like as an anticipation or as an accomplished fact? Can we manipulate, rewind, and recover time?

*«Gras Geschichten / Stories of Grass» by Dharmendra Prasad. An exhibition curated by Shazeb Sheikh und Johannes M. Hedinger at the Institute for Land and Environment Art ILEA in Tenna, Safiental (December 31, 2022–October 29, 2023).


Artivation #1: Zen for Internet

Over the next four years, within the framework of the research project SNSF Activating Fluxus, you may expect to encounter “Artivations,” that is, artistic activations – adaptations, (re)enactments, (re)interpretations, and new productions. They will be done in the spirit of Fluxus, the avant-garde movement that changed, in the 1960s and 70s, how art is done and what it means to create an artwork. They will be initiated, curated, and, at times, created and executed by the Swiss art collective Com&Com, founded in 1997 by Marcus Gossolt and Johannes M. Hedinger.

In 2014, invited to contribute to an exhibition Revision: Zen for Film at Bard Graduate Center Gallery New York (September 18, 2015 – February 21, 2016), they created a work titled Zen for Internet.

Using the iconography of the internet and computer, the work features an endlessly rotating “loading wheel” on a white background. Typically, the “loading wheel” would be a temporary, in-between state before seeing the fully loaded image. Zen for Internet, however, indefinitely freezes the in-between-ness; the viewers never see the desired image.

The work refers directly to Nam June Paik’s iconic work Zen for Film (1962-64). Fifty years after Paik’s intervention, the Swiss artists decided to continue, in the digital world, the themes inherent to Paik’s work such as Zen, silence, nothingness, boredom, trace, chance and materiality.

The artists conceived of  Zen for Internet existing in multiple iterations in a variety of media: as a website (, a thirty-minute video (accessible on YouTube and below), a painting, and as various types of merchandise including t-shirts, pillows and tote bags, as seen on the image down below. In addition to appropriating the themes of duration and nothingness from Paik’s Zen for FilmZen for Internet speaks to the inherent mutability of a Fluxus work and to the changeability of its concept. Rather than existing in a single instantiation, Zen for Internet work can exist in a variety of formats, just as Zen for Film existed in an assortment of contexts, all of which were still “authentically” the work.

But in the context of the project, the relevant questions raised by this work are: What does it mean to activate a historical, canonical, and seemingly well-known work (on this topic, see Hölling, Revisions: Zen for Film, 2015) in the digital age and for the post-digital audience? How can a work be revived, or revitalized, in a world which is different from how it was back in the 1960s? Can intermediality be thought of on a larger timescale to involve intergenerational shifts, adaptations and borrowings? What can creativity, artistic interpretation, and appropriation bring into the picture of conservation? And, last but not least, how to preserve boredom without being bored, and boring?


Stories of Grass

The new exhibition at the ILEA Gallery in the Berghotel Alpenblick in Tenna features “Stories of Grass”, a solo presentation by Indian artist Dharmendra Prasad. He spent about three months in the ILEA artist residency in Tenna last summer. During this time, he began to work intensively with grass as a material and medium. In the process, grass developed into a non-human personality for him. The exhibition is both a retrospective of the works created in Tenna (objects, drawings, texts, photographs, videos, performances and installations), and also the continuation of his work in India on the same topic. The Grass Museum above Tenna, which was part of the last Art Safiental Biennale can still be visited until the end of winter, is probably still well remembered by the local public.
Exhibition dates: 31. Dec 2022 –  29. Oct 2023