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Since March 2016, Random Institute is running the curatorial program for Despacio in San José, Costa Rica.
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Untold Stories

Consider Yourself Invited

ArchivedHappened in June 2015
Belluard Festival

Two North African artists were invited to Switzerland to speak about their work: one who meets the necessary visa requirements to enter the country and one who doesn’t. These two scenarios, to be presented at the Belluard Festival, are the starting points for a story that isn’t afraid to touch upon our collective prejudices and the controversial question looming behind its creation:

Will the visiting artist overstay his visa after his talk to start a new life in Switzerland?


Thoughts about Mohamed Arejdal: Français / Deutsch
Thoughts about Mohammed Laouli: Français / Deutsch

Presenting both of the following scenarios will allow Belluard Festival visitors to experience two different possible outcomes that reflect upon the realities of border crossing.

An artist was invited to Switzerland, but he did not fulfill the visa requirements.

An artist was invited to Switzerland, and his visa application was accepted.

For Scenario 2, an artist talk will be held on Sunday, June 28th at 8pm titled:

or why the artist may overstay his visa to start a new life after this talk.

In addition to the artist talk, both of these scenarios will be incorporated into separate but identical exhibition spaces at the Belluard Festival, where each artist’s body of work is exposed in documentary form, and the spectator is confronted with the curatorial underpinning for each given situation.

Upon entering the festival, spectators are assigned a number, the significance of which will be revealed once inside the two exhibition spaces. Each space will unveil a number leading to a different outcome based on the status of the artists’ visa applications.

In the rejected artist’s space, the selected number will send a visitor to North Africa to the artist talk of Mohamed Arejdal, held in his home.

In the accepted artist’s space, the holder of the selected number will be asked to host the above mentioned artist talk with Mohammed Laouli in their own home, taking into account both the political sensitivity of the project’s underlying questions and the artist’s own motivations.

Borders are plural, so any project dealing with the questions they raise must be too.

Consider Yourself Invited takes place June 25-28 in Fribourg. For opening times and the exact address, see Belluard Bollwerk International. For live updates see the FB event.

The artist talk with Mohammed Laouli will take place on Sunday, June 28th at 8pm in a private apartment in Fribourg.

Thoughts about Arejdal: Français / Deutsch
Thoughts about Laouli: Français / Deutsch
Biographies: Arejdal / Laouli
Press: FN Newspaper / Surprise Magazine / La Liberté

Documentary pictures by Juliette Chrétien. Additional installation views by Youssef Ouchra, Javier Melian, Francisco Alejandro, Chourouk Hriech, Aziz Nadif, Mohssin Harraki, and Ly Mamadou.

Texts about Arejdal by Valentine Umansky, about Laouli by Sophie Lapalu, and about the project by Sandino Scheidegger in collaboration with Jeremy Cohen. German translations by Anja Dirk.

For sharing your insights on the Moroccan contemporary art world: Siham Halli, Dr. Mehdi Zouak, Bérénice Saliou, Younes Rahmoun, Mohammed Laouli, Mohamed Arejdal, Maud Houss, Touda Bouanani, Randa Maroufi, Hassan Quazzani, Mohamed Fariji, Léa Morin, and Marie Moignard.

This project is a Random Institute production for the Belluard Bollwerk International, supported by Migros Kulturprozent and Kanton Fribourg. The on-site display is supported by Ernst & Olga Gubler-Hablützel.

Things May Get Out of Hand

ArchivedHappened in November 2014
22 Rue Muller

It started with an innocent questionnaire; everything else depended on one’s beliefs. The questionnaire measures one's penchant for adventure. Those with the highest scores were loaded into two vans. Without their knowledge or consent, they were driven to a lonely sheep farm near the German border. In the name of adventure, they were left there alone until the next morning.

Would you have gotten kidnapped? Take the test.


“We shall not cease from exploration
And the end of all our exploring
Will be to arrive where we started
And know the place for the first time.”
—T.S. Eliot

The evening was conceived by Florence Jung and Random Institute at the invitation of Mathieu Cénac and 22RUEMULLER. The intervention is called Jung&Scheidegger.


“Nous n'aurons de cesse d'explorer,
Et la fin de toutes nos explorations
Sera de revenir à l'endroit d'où nous sommes partis
Et de connaître le lieu pour la première fois.”
—T.S. Eliot

La soirée est conçue par Random Institute & Florence Jung, sur invitation de Mathieu Cénac et de l’espace d’art 22rueMuller.


L’évènement se déroule dans le cadre du cycle d’expositions ABSENT proposé par Mathieu Cénac:

Lorsque l’individu de la préhistoire apposait sur les murs encore sombres des cavernes les ébauches de la chronique figurée de son quotidien, il esquissait alors pour nous la compréhension de sa condition transitoire au monde. Par cette distinction quasi originaire de l’espace et du temps, l’Homo Sapiens — en profilant l’image de la vie des choses en leur absence — calquait ainsi la conscience de sa propre finitude. Les com- mencements de la représentation se proposaient en réponse à une apparition, celle d’un sujet imageant en désir d’éternité.

Dans un âge, où le règne du virtuel nous confronte à une surabondance de signes et d’images, comment nous est-il possible de penser notre constitution au monde ? Le visible est en effet soumis à une matérialité constante nourrie par un flot continu d’informations réifiées. L’inlassable production de nouveaux outils de communication nous contraint ainsi à une simple signalétique du voir, nous guidant presque aveuglement dans le simulacre d’un groupe construit autour de la seule possibilité d’une connexion permanente. L’expérience du voir et du donner à voir se contiennent dès lors au sein de limites tangibles où, à aucun moment, ne se révèlent leurs liens inhérents avec l’Invisible.

[apsɑ̃] propose de nous confronter à une forme de « noli me tangere » de la création contemporaine où artistes et curateurs se rendent invisibles au profit de la seule existence de l’œuvre et du spectateur. Par une dialectique de l’effacement et du manque, le protocole d’exposition se propose comme moyen d’intensifier à la fois le présent, la présence et la présentation de la rencontre du regard à l’objet.

Texte de Mathieu Cénac

The kidnapping took place on Nov 28th at 6pm at the art space 22RUEMULLER in Paris and ended 16 hours later.

Take the test: English / French

À Table

ArchivedHappened in December 2013
Cite Internationale Des Arts

Dreams are necessary in order to survive the reality of life. But sometimes we just have to sit down and listen to other people’s dreams to realize what reality means outside our own little world. À Table is a Paris-based project that brings homeless people, local residents, curious tourists, creative people, and disorientated strangers together around the dinner table.

A potpourri of people, a feast of food.


The initiative was spontaneously born during late 2013 when three people discussed the possibilities of opening a Parisian soup kitchen to feed anyone at all who wanders the streets—adventurous local residents, the homeless, lonely tourists, and individuals associated with Samusocial de Paris, an NGO specializing in emergency social aid.

The result was the three day event, À Table, that brought together a wide range of people to join in eating. Guests were seated across from strangers, whom they otherwise would never have met nor shared an intimate moment with. The initiative was spearheaded by Juliette Chrétien in collaboration with Random Institute, chmara.rosinke, and Maurice Maggi.

Juliette Chrétien runs her own photography studio and is well known for her photographs in the fields of interior design and fashion. In addition, Juliette is highly acclaimed for a new style of culinary books.

The mobile kitchen, which includes a large table and stools for 12 people, was hand-crafted by the renowned Austrian design duo chmara.rosinke. For this modular kitchen, they won the 2012 Outstanding Artist Award from the Federal Ministry for Education, Art and Culture in Austria.

Maurice Maggi is a guerrilla gardener from Zurich, Switzerland, who is known for his subversive seed-sowing "attacks," as well as his cooking skills and food knowledge. Maggi’s passion for food has taken him as far away as New York, where he ran his own restaurant. During his days in Paris, he found ingenious ways to cook tasty meals with ingredients from the local market.

In March 2014, Juliette Chrétien published the associated publication in a limited edition (4 handmade publications).

The initiative took place from December 27th to 30th, 2013 around Cité des Arts Paris.

As Far Away as Home

ArchivedHappened in October 2013

The idea is simple. As far away as home: Paris to Warsaw is a curatorial initiative featuring Nummer veertien, home (2012), an ambitious video by Dutch artist Guido van der Werve. Even though van der Werve’s videos have been shown in heavyweight art institutions around the world—or perhaps exactly for that reason—the project deliberately took place beyond museum walls.


As far away as home: Paris to Warsaw Download Documentation as PDF

A traveling curatorial initiative unfolded over the course of ten days as the project’s curators road-tripped from Paris to Warsaw. While driving from village to village, the curators collaborated with local volunteer hosts and staged a series of intimate home screenings of Guido van der Werve's video work NNummer veertien, home (2012).

These informal showings were designed to be a response to the video’s integral theme of “the home,” a concept that the artist demonstrates is at once fluid and static. The private screenings thus called direct attention to a variety of places of living and additionally made the case for the relevance of art in both the home and the viewers’ personal lives.

Upon arrival in Warsaw, the curators purposefully refrained from screening the video and instead hosted a public dinner. Guests, together with the curators, discussed the effects of the video’s absence that evening, as well as the audiences’ reactions during the earlier living room screenings.

As far away as home operated under the contentions that art reflects the lives of everyone and that it should likewise be experienced in environments relevant to daily experience. The roving aspect of this curatorial initiative was also purposefully democratic: it enabled improbable audiences to view van der Werve’s work and thus overcomes the rather insular nature of today’s art world.

The initiative was conceived at the invitation of the Kunstverein Zürich.


Guido van der Werve is a thrillingly idiosyncratic artist. With Nummer veertien, home (2012) he aims to take the viewer—and the art making process—on a journey that goes as far as the artist’s own vigor allows. In the film, Van der Werve is seen proving his enormous strength on screen, as he travels further and faster than we could ever imagine, even conquering the most surreal of feats.

In the opening sequence, the Dutch artist is pictured playing piano in Warsaw’s Church of the Holy Cross, incongruously dressed in a wetsuit and goggles and moments away from embarking upon a heroic solo triathlon. Van der Werve’s intent is grand and romantic, as his enormous undertaking consists of traversing some 1,700 kilometers between the Polish and French capitals—by running, swimming and cycling—in tribute to the great composer Frédéric Chopin, whose body is buried in Paris and heart is interred in Warsaw.

The audience subsequently witnesses van der Werve’s travels, as he swims with rivers, bikes along country roads and runs through village centers. In so doing, the artist simultaneously repeats Chopin’s original trip from Poland to France (he was part of Poland’s Great Emigration), as well as reverses the journey of the composer’s sister, who honored Chopin’s last wishes by smuggling his heart out of France and returning it to the siblings’ homeland. As the legend goes, Chopin originally carried with him on his journey a silver cup of dirt from his birthplace, thereby keeping his home close at hand. Van der Werve, too, carries a silver cup of dirt from the great composer’s birthplace (he is pictured stopping there en route), and this time he brings “home” to Chopin’s resting place in Père Lachaise cemetery.

Van der Werve’s exploits are extravagantly accompanied by both a requiem of his own composing as well as interspersed images of the artist in daring, farfetched circumstances—he walks before the viewer while on fire and is lifted by crane up and over his childhood home.

At other points, the history of Alexander the Great’s voyage from Macedonia to his place of death in Babylon is presented in parallel to the artist’s triathlon. In these ways, the artist contrasts the seriousness of his tribute with fascinating histories and impressive stunts. In the end, the dramatic score comes to a decrescendo as van der Werve is pictured simply yet melancholically at the completion of his triathlon and in front of Chopin’s Parisian grave. As far away as home continues the cyclical movement between the two capitals. Where first it was Chopin and then his heart that made the journey, now it is the artist, followed by his work.

All journeys necessarily call to mind a personal notion of home. While this idea might at times seem stable and permanent, it is also susceptible to continued revision and interpretation. Human perception of home will probably always levitate between reality and fiction, just as van der Werve moves seamlessly between the possible and the impossible.

Of utmost importance to van der Werve’s video is the incorporation of local musicians, with whom he collaborated on the recording of his score. As far away as home responds directly to this element of community engagement—and even takes it one step further—by screening the film in the intimacy of homes along the route. Whereas the film is typically shown in high-definition and projected on large screens, this curatorial approach disregards traditional screening parameters. The curators simply opt to play the video on the technical equipment that exists in the hosts’ homes, be it a TV, computer, or other device.

The road trip through France, Germany, and Poland took place from October 10th to 17th, 2013. The project was also presented in Zurich for Learning from Warsaw.
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