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Untold Stories

Kunsthalle Tropical Library

ArchivedHappened in October 2014
Kunsthalle Tropical

A journey of several days through mystical Icelandic topography leads to the site of Kunsthalle Tropical, the hallowed burial ground indicated only by a peculiar rectangle of stones shrouded by ice-capped mountains. There, the book detailing the institution's greater vision was buried.

The Kunsthalle Tropical Library was founded.


On October 11, 2014, a team of five ceremoniously buried the Kunsthalle Tropical’s first and so far only book, entitled Sometimes Attention Should Be Paid to the Absence of Everything (Link), a one-of-a-kind handwritten and illustrated ode to the curators' greater vision for the unconventional space in the Icelandic desert.

The burial celebrated the official founding of the Library within Kunsthalle Tropical.

The book was buried in a industrial strength lock-box, analogized to the encapsulated knowledge within a library. Underground, the book will rest undisturbed until a curious individual is willing to dig a little deeper.

In order to prompt its patrons to quest for knowledge, the buried manifesto serves as a challenge to the Kunsthalle visitors capable of locating the lock-box to explore the Kunsthalle Tropical Library, where other unique books may also be buried in the future.

Similar to all great works of fiction, the Kunsthalle Tropical Library is designed to bridge reality and our wildest imaginations. Imagine a library without books, shelves, and librarians. What does it mean to declare a uninhabited land a library?

In the absence of the usual accouterments, will the library successfully function as a dwelling for intellectuals, metaphysical thinkers, and literary connoisseurs? Inspired by nature’s beauty, romantic notions, and humanist bravado, will the Kunsthalle Tropical Library ever realize its conceptual potential?

Traditionally, a library is a place that facilitates reading, learning, and studying. A library is a servant of knowledge and an exciter of one's internal sense of adventure.

Libraries are often quiet, organized, and comprised of carpeted floors drenched in florescent lighting and punctuated by dated shelves, tables, and chairs. But above all, libraries are the physical archives of our past and present and hold the transcribed relics of our world’s greatest minds.

The Kunsthalle Tropical Library challenges the physical model of the library proper by declaring that the same opportunities presented by the local library are available to its visitors in the remote setting of the Icelandic desert, where shelves, tables, and chairs are transcended by panoramic beauty.

Likened to an engrossing novel or study, this library is anyone’s for the taking but requires effort and discovery to understand. Ultimately, the experiences of Kunsthalle Tropical’s collective visitors will redefine one's understanding of a library, encapsulating our modern memories and messages stored in the clouds.

Though physically defined, the Library at Kunsthalle Tropical is conceptually grounded in the journey, much like its first book, a now ‘absent’ transcription of human will and imagination.

The Kunsthalle Tropical Library was founded on October 11, 2014.


The burial of the book Sometimes Attention Should Be Paid to the Absence of Everything (link) celebrated the official founding of the Library within Kunsthalle Tropical.

In June 2016 Kunsthalle Lissabon was guest at Kunsthalle Tropical. Luís Silva and João Mourão invited the portuguese artist Joana Escoval to join them on the exploration. The artist added Outlaws in Language and Destiny to the library. The publication is co-published by Palmario Recordings and AtlasProjectos and consists in a clear acetate 7'' Mono Flexi-Disc containing sound recordings of insects in a rain forest of Costa Rica mixed with the sound produced by a 180º orthodontic X-Ray in Lisbon. Encased in a double-sided poster with two found photos representing two kids and two birds, in Amazonia and Sweden.

James Lee Byars

ArchivedHappened in March 2014

On opening night of James Lee Byars’ 1978 solo show at the Kunsthalle Bern, the museum was hushed and abandoned; a note on the front door read, “We are at the Commerce.” No attendees were expected—Byars’ work was considered too eccentric—so the artist and his colleagues decamped to a nearby restaurant. This anecdote inspired the Réunion happening, for which Byars’ exhibition was reinstalled and the restaurant was re-created.

A throwback to a late-blooming art legend.


Like the 1978 exhibition, the Réunion show was closed to the public, only visible through the building’s windows. Similarly, visitors were directed anew by a scribbled note, this time to the gallery’s side entrance, where they encountered a separate space in which the Commerce, a Spanish eatery, had been restaged. There, they enjoyed a paella dinner as well as an intimate account of Byars from the artist’s good friend, philosopher G. Lischka.

'Wir sind im Commerce" stand zur Eröffnung James Lee Byars' Einzelausstellung 1978 an der Eingangstüre der Kunsthalle Bern. So die Legende, die besagt das Künstler und Kurator wussten, dass kein Publikum zu erwarten ist. JLB war schlichtweg zu unfassbar fürs Berner Publikum. So entschieden Künstler und Kurator, lieber direkt in ins Restaurant Commerce essen zu gehen, anstatt wie üblich nach der Vernissage.

Wie damals, so heute.

Der Philosoph Lischka erzählte im nachgebauten Commerce im Réunion mit Originalausstattung Anekdoten über seinen guten Freund James Lee Byars. Der Ausstellungsraum mit den Werken von James Lee Byars, blieb geschlossen. Eben wie damals in Bern.

The exhibition took place from March 13th to 27th, 2014 at Réunion in Zurich, Switzerland.

Space Records

ArchivedHappened in July 2013

Space Records was an interdisciplinary exhibition addressing themes of air and space. A group of 28 participating artists, musicians, and scientists created and shared work ranging from videos and performances to interactive installations and visualizations of scientific data, all of which related to the sky and atmosphere.

Art and science is ungrounded.


The Space Records exhibition and supporting program took place in the Grosse Halle at Reitschule Bern. The publication accompanying the exhibition was published under the name: Made in Air Space.

Scientific contributions were provided by the FHNW University of Applied Sciences, Arts Northwestern Switzerland, and the ETH - Flying Machine Arena.


Space Records
Missionen im Luftraum – eine Überschau.

"Eine Ausstellung in der Reitschule beschäftigt sich auf anregende Weise mit alten Träumen vom Fliegen und neuen Verkehrswegen durch die Lüfte." (Bund Artikel)

The exhibition took place on July, 11 to 15, 2013 in the Reitschule Bern, Switzerland.

Boxing Night

ArchivedHappened in December 2012

Boxen macht dumm. So viel weiss man, spätestens wenn man verwirrt aus dem K.O. erwacht. Eine Meute von jubelnden Augenzeugen dich schreiend anstarrt, scheinbar erfreut, dass eingetreten ist, was eintreten muss. Ein Faustkämpfer muss K.O. gehen. Vier Kämpfer, ein Ring, ein vertraulicher Ort und ein Wettbüro – der Rest ist Geschichte.


Wie diese Veranstaltung mit der zeitgenössischen Kunst zusammenhängt, ist nur vor Ort zu erfahren.

The boxing night took place on December 30, 2012 in Bern, Switzerland.

Failure to Forget

ArchivedHappened in September 2012
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A five-strong crew headed towards a vague horizon on a container ship sailing 5574km between two continents to investigate the concept of ephemeral art practices. The absence of a viewer forced them to operate at the edge of something inexplicable; at the border where fiction is no longer the opposite of the reality; and where artistic and curatorial voices mingle to create a polyphonic situation.

This is what we remember.


Download the book Without the Viewer

Questions of ephemerality, eternity, and the effect of an absent audience comprised the starting point for a journey that took the crew across the Atlantic Ocean.

While aboard the Hanjin Palermo container ship and as they headed towards a vague horizon, they began to focus on questions relating to the newfound, constantly changing position.

The results about documentary tendencies in transient art practices and exploration of the effect of an absent audience were channeled into exhibition Failure to Forget at the Kunstverein Zurich (Switzerland).

The exhibition is accompanied by a 212-page publication.

The exhibition took place from September 14 to 25, 2012 at Kunstverein Zurich, Switzerland.
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