Blog der Professur Philip Ursprung

Apr 26

Ec(h)o-Logy: Greek Returns

After centuries of idealization as the “origin” of the European culture, Greece has turned almost overnight into the emblem of Europe’s biggest fear: economic decline and political disintegration. Europe, caught in its own mirror-image, has dropped Greece like Narcissus, in Ovid’s Metamorphoses, rejected the water nymph Echo. But the repressed always returns and the voice of Echo cannot be muted. In our expedition to Athens and Olympia we are interested in the echoes of history as well as in the issues of today’s economy and ecology. We will ask how the current crisis affects the every-day space and the life of the people. We will look at the way the city and its periphery was planned and shaped in the early 19th century and again in the postwar-boom. And we will visit “Arcadia”, listening to the echoes of a past age, which was never ours, but which cannot be separated from our own imagination and memory.



Our guides: Encounter Athens: Fereniki Vatavali, Evagelia Hatzikonstantinou, Pascalis Samarinis, Aspassia Kouzoupi

Recent transformations of Athens’ city centre
Walk in Gerani district, Panepistimiou Avenue and Exarhia district




Ancient Athens
Acropolis (tip visit it 8h in the morning, beautiful and empty)

New Acropolis Museum (by Bernhard Tschumi)…

The Market

Visit at the former airport of Hellinikon
Olympic facilities of Hellinikon


Self-managed urban garden of Hellinikon

 Metropolitan Community Clinic at Hellinikon

The Metropolitan Community Clinic at Hellinikon provides FREE medical assistance to theUNEMPLOYED and POOR civilians with NO SOCIAL SECURITY or with very little income.

 The development of Athens waterfront and the occupied beach of Ag.Kosmas

Organizer: Aspasia Kouzoupi


Athens Biennale organised by  XYZ: Poka-Yio, Xenia Kalpaktsoglou (our guides)

CAMP Contemporary Art Meeting Point

Embros Theater (occupied theater) Omonia Group (

Romantso preview presentaion of the new venue – project space in the so called: „most dangerous area of the city“ (

„Imagine the city“



Ancient Olympia Greece (Peloponnes)

Reenactment of Allan Kaprows Happening:


performed during the Seminar Week FS13

of the Chair of Prof. Philip Ursprung,

ETH Zurich with the students

and members of the chair.

21.03.2013 in Olympia, Peleponnes, Greece

ECHO-LOGY is concerned with natural processes. Water flowing downstream is carried mechanically upstream, is dumped and flows back. Some is lost along the way. More water is transferred downstream mouth-by-mouth, loses oxygen, is mixed with saliva and is given back to the stream to be altered again. A word is silently formed, is recognized from a distance and is passed in that manner upstream, changing its identity, and is spoken to the trees. A word shouted from person to person, so loudly as to be misunderstood, rushes downstream similarly and is silently conveyed to the air. A gas-soaked rag is evaporated in stages on its trip upstream, becoming relatively clean as it gives its fumes to the atmosphere and further chemical change. Human breaths are collected and conducted downstream by hand. Small bits escape. The growing bagful becomes stale and the container is then released to the winds. The movement is simply back and forth.

ECHO-LOGY was carried out by a small group of persons moving the water of a stream in Far Hills, N.J: on the weekend of May 3rd and 4th, 1975. It was commissioned by the Merriewold West Gallery.



carring some downstream water

a distance upstream


pouring it into stream

transfering a mouthful of upstream water

a distance downstream


spitting it into stream


sending a mouthed silent word

a distance upstream


saying it aloud to the trees

propelling a shouted word

a distance downstream


mounting it to the sky


transporting a gas-soaked cloth

a distance upstream

(waving it gently in the air)


carrying a bagged breath

a distance downstream

each adding a breath

opening the bag to the wind




Corinth Canal

Feb 28

Presence—One Internal and One Public Workshop
Friday, February 1, and Saturday, February 2, 2013

Cabaret Voltaire, Spiegelgasse 1, CH-8001 Zürich
Idea and concept: Philip Ursprung, Mechtild Widrich

Presence, signifying both immediacy and being someplace at a particular moment, is one of the most controversial terms in contemporary culture and politics. The visual arts and philosophy in particular have seen much controversy about the various claims (positive and negative) related to concepts ranging from neurobiology to deconstruction. Even though the latter has shaped cultural discourse since the late 1960s, from today’s point of view it seems doubtful that we can dispense with the concept of presence too easily. Certain questions persist: how do we describe consciousness, experience, and temporality with reference to our bodies and the surrounding world? Can we understand and communicate these relations without falling into a false sense of security?

Scholars and practitioners from philosophy, art, architecture, performance studies, and music discussed this contested term in a closed-door workshop and in several public roundtables.

We met at Cabaret Voltaire at 10am in an informal setting under the famous image of Hugo Ball performing in his cardboard costume. We started off with several questions that we had put together and sent out to the participants. We had some informal presentations that immediately brought up the problem of a binary approach (sense versus intellect, ‘authentic’ versus mediated presence), which then led to an interest in the historicity of the term. This focus on the historicity instead of / or at least in contrast to a timeless idea of “presence”, meant also discussing the use of the concept as ‘tool’ for the various disciplines. We found that the openness of the discussion and the informal nature of the interaction lead to a fruitful exchange not only between disciplines, but also helped break open the dichotomy between Derridean deconstruction on one hand, and hermeneuticists, and post-hermeneuticists.

The participants on this day were Elisabeth Bronfen, Jürg Berthold, Hans Ulrich Gumbrecht, Mark Jarzombek, Amelia Jones, Pal Kelemen, Elke Krasny, Thomas Levin, Dieter Mersch, Rebecca Schneider, Philip Ursprung, Mechtild Widrich, Nina Zschocke, Peter Zumthor and Annalisa Zumthor-Cuorad

Internal Workshop, Cabaret Voltaire, February 1, 2013

Rebecca Schneider and Elisabeth Bronfen, Cabaret Voltaire, February 1, 2013

Peter Zumthor addressing the workshop participants at Cabaret Voltaire, February 1, 2013

Mechtild Widrich, Peter Zumthor, Elke Krasny, Thomas Levin at Cabaret Voltaire, February 1, 2013

Rebecca Schneider, Elisabeth Bronfen, Philip Ursprung and Dieter Mersch at Cabaret Voltaire, February 1, 2013

Hans Ulrich Gumbrecht, Amelia Jones, Peter Zumthor, Annalisa Zumthor-Cuorad at Cabaret Voltaire, February 1, 2013

Elke Krasny, Mark Jarzombek, Pal Kelemen, Michael Meyer, and Hans Ulrich Gumbrecht at Cabaret Voltaire, February 1, 2013

This day was open to the public and was organized in several public roundtables. Short input-lectures were followed by a discussion among the participants and the audience. Panelists were Elisabeth Bronfen, Jürg Berthold, Hans Ulrich Gumbrecht, Mark Jarzombek, Amelia Jones, Thomas Levin, Dieter Mersch, Rebecca Schneider, Philip Ursprung, Mechtild Widrich, Nina Zschocke and Peter Zumthor.

A publication incorporating both the public lectures and the closed-door workshop is in preparation.

Mechtild Widrich, Amelia Jones, Rebecca Schneider, Peter Zumthor, Public Roundtable at Cabaret Voltaire, February 2, 2013

Nina Zschocke, Mark Jarzombek, Thomas Levin, Jürg Berthold, Public Roundtable at Cabaret Voltaire, February 2, 2013

Philip Ursprung, Hans Ulrich Gumbrecht, Elisabeth Bronfen, Dieter Mersch, Public Roundtable at Cabaret Voltaire, February 2, 2013

Amelia Jones, Public Roundtable at Cabaret Voltaire, February 2, 2013

All photographs courtesy Philip Ursprung and Mechtild Widrich

Nov 01

comming soon….

Nov 01

Since Antiquity, Naples has fascinated its visitors. Located under the most dangerous of Europe’s volcanoes, the city is emblematic for the precarious nature of civilization. Near Naples, our forebears located the mythical entrance to the underworld. Covered and protected by the ashes of Vesuvius the ruins of Pompeji keep the traces of daily life in the Roman Empire. For the enlightened aristocracy in the 18th and 19th century, Naples was the highlight of the Grand Tour. And today, its busy port, the booming, informal textile industry and the omnipresence of the Camorra are thrilling subjects for artists and theoreticians alike. How does the economic structure inform the built environment? How do the past and the present intertwine? On our expedition, we will explore the edges and the underground of the city, baroque chapels and fascist buildings. The members of the Roman artists group Stalker will be our guides. Armin Linke, Michael Clegg and Tobias Wootton with their photography students from HfB Karlsruhe will be our companions in the attempt to find answers and ask new questions.

(P.U., 12.7.12)


Blick vom Vesuv

Palazzo Reale di Portici

Spaziergang Portici-Ercolano (Miglio d’Oro)

Prozession in Ercolano



Villa d’Elbeuf

Prozession Santa Maria della Neve, Torre Annunziata

Verlassenes Industriegebiet von Via Plinio



Hafen Neapel


Neapel unterirdisch, Friedhof Fontanelle

Palazzo dello Spagnolo

Fondazione Morra

Museum Nitsch mit Teresa und Peppe Morra


Mostra d’Oltremare

Certosa di San Martino

Gruppenaustellung „Contorni di Napoli“

Tombola in Galleria Umberto I

Ciao bella Napoli

Copyright Professur Ursprung, D-ARCH

more pictures by stalker

Jul 06


Montag 19.03.12


Thiokol/Hughes Aircraft

Spiral Jetty, Robert Smithson

Dienstag 20.03.12

Sun Tunnels; Nancy Holt

Mittwoch 21.03.12

Monumental Valley

Antelope Canyon

Donnerstag 22.03.12

Double Negative, Michael Heizer

Hoover Dam

Meeting Yuccamountain Activists (anti nuclear) Judy Treichel and Steve Frishman

Freitag 23.03.12


Las Vegas

Frank Gehry

Neon Grave Yard

Las Vegas Gun Range and Firearm Center

Copyright Professur Ursprung, D-ARCH

Jan 10

Datum : Freitag, 16. Dezember 2011 bis Samstag, 17. Dezember 2011

In the wake of the revolutionary unrest of the late 1960s, the idea of participatory art and architecture has lost its utopian connotations to become a complex debate about the active role of the spectator—and dweller—in space. Models critical of technocratic social planning have seen in interactive art and architecture the latest mode of authoritarian control (Foucault, Bourdieu); others, taking their cue from reuse and reorientation of spaces and artifacts, have seen in cooperative or ‘relational’ aesthetics the only viable politics in an era of global capitalism (de Certeau, Bourriaud). The nerve of the debate lies in the equation of sociality and space. It is this causal nexus between space and social life that, above all, we wish to draw attention to and put into question. Is power exerted in only one direction or could we describe these relationships as complex networks of interaction? Is space formed once and for all, or is it the changeable product of changeable patterns of use? Is the aesthetic always equivalent to the political, or might an aesthetically authoritarian space be conducive to social emancipation? And, finally, how does the mediatization of urban space challenge concepts of participation and audience?

























Alle Fotos © Hanak Lettner

Nov 30

Die Wirtschaftswunderjahre der Nachkriegszeit verlangten von der Bauindustrie neue Wege und Methoden, kostengünstig und effizient dringend benötigten Wohnraum zu erstellen.

Der Norm- oder Plattenbau galt als Lösung in Ost und West. Die passende Form fand sich in Grosssiedlungen und Trabantenstädten. Mit etwas Verspätung fanden diese Neuerungen auch ihren Weg in die Schweiz. Mit der Ölkrise wandte man sich ab 1973 jedoch wieder radikal vom Massenwohnungsbau ab und dem Einfamilienhaus zu.

Heute werden Grosssiedlungen, Hochhäuser und der Normbau wieder als adäquate Antwort auf die Nachfrage nach Wohn- und Arbeitsraum gesehen. Grund genug, einen Blick zurück zu wagen.

Im Rahmen der Seminarwoche werden wird eine zweitätige Exkursion zu den Brennpunkten der damaligen Bauentwicklung in der Schweiz unternehmen und uns vor Ort in Zürich, Bern und Genf ein Bild der vergangenen Planungsvisionen in der Gegenwart machen.

Der zweite Teil der Woche ist dem gemeinsamen Nachbau und Analyse dieser Grosssiedlungen im Modell gewidmet.


Fabian Furter, lic. phil. I, Kunsthistoriker und Ausstellungsmacher

Patrick Schoeck-Ritschard, lic. phil. I, Kunsthistoriker, stellvertretender Geschäftsleiter Schweizer Heimatschutz


Sansath Saravanabavan


24. – 28. Oktober 2011


Fotos Exkursionen:


Nov 30

Landna(h)me: Eine Exkursion nach Israel und in die Palästinensischen Autonomiegebiete

Seit der Antike ist die Region Palästina von Konflikten geprägt. Unterschiedliche politische, soziale, ökonomische und religiöse Interessen prallen aufeinander und führen zu fortwährenden Veränderungen und Verwerfungen. Wir reisen vor Ort und fragen danach, wie diese Kräfte auf die visuelle Kultur wirken, wie sie mit Kunst und Architektur zusammenhängen, die Vorstellung von Zeit und Raum prägen.

Zeitraum: 23.10.2011 – 30.10.2011
Reiseprogramm: Jerusalem / Betlehem / Totes Meer / Tel Aviv
Gäste: Prof. Armin Linke & Prof. Michael Clegg / Prof. Allessandro Petti & Sandy Hilal-Petti

Dokumentation der Reise:




Bethlehem Check Point: Instruduction by Alessandro Petti

Crossing by feet:

in the Westbank:

Separation wall and city of Bethlehem

Church of the Nativity (Geburtskirche)


Tour with Angela Goldstein
Har Homar, Israeli Colony, East Jerusalem

Angela Goldstein

East Jerusalem – Settlements / Separation wall – Overview

Abu Dis
Visit to the Palestinian Parliament Building meeting with Students of Al Quds University



Jerusalem by foot

Jerusalem near Yehuda Market

Yehuda Market

Jerusalem Old City

Via Dolorosa (in the morning)

By-path of Via Dolorosa (in the daytime)

Armenian Quarter

Western wall (Klagemauer)

Al Aqsa Mosque

Church of the Holy Sepulchre (Grabeskirche)

Visit Shrine of the book
Architect: Friedrich Kiesler, Armand Bartos, 1950-1960


Deheishe Refugee Camp guided by Sandi Hilal

LECTURE: Camps and Refugees in Palestine by Sandi Hilal

Photography Lecture by Armin Linke & Michael Clegg


Visit Yad Vashem, Jerusalem
Architect: Moshe Safdie, 1995-2005

Dead Sea, Kalya Beach

Visit Ramot Housing
Architect: Zvi Hecker, 1975-1985


Tel Aviv

Tour with Zvi Efrat: The urban history of Tel Aviv

White City


Lecture by Zvi EFrat: Brutalism,Structuralism and state Architeture from the 50’s to the last decades

Tour with Zvi Efrat & Nati Marom: The urban history of Jaffa

Nov 04

Zum Start der Veranstaltungsreihe: PALÄSTINA – Kulturaspekte begrüssen wir Euch ab 20 Uhr mit einem Apéro. Um 21 präsentiert der jerusalemer Künstler Jack Persekian seine multimediale Vortragsperformance.

Im Jahr 1996 lud Jack Persekian die in London lebende und international renomierte palästinensische Künstlerin Mona Hatoum in seine Anadiel Galerie in Jerusalem ein, eine ortsspezifische Installation zu verwirklichen. Das Resultat war PRESENT TENSE, eine kraftvolle und provokative Arbeit.
Diese große Bodeninstallation zeigte die heute von Palästinensern bewohnten Gebiete mittels einer riesigen Landkarte, die sich aus über zweitausend Olivenöl-Seifenblöcken zusammensetzt.
Die Künstlerin benutzte Blöcke der berühmten palästinensischen Seife aus Nablus, um die zerstörerische Teilung des palästinensischen Territoriums, die auf dem Oslo-Abkommen von 1993 gründet, darzustellen.
Jack Perkesian, nimmt diese Installation aus Ausgangspunkt um in seiner eindrucksvollen multimedialen Vortrag-Performance die Unhaltbarkeit der Vereinbarungen zur Kontrolle der Westbank und Gazas, falsche Friedensversprechungen, die Seperation durch die Mauer und die Realität eines sich verändernden und zerfallenden Landes zu reflektieren.
Dabei dient ihm die kurzlebige und vergängliche Natur der Seife als Sinnbild der focusierten Situation.

Im Anschluss: Publikumsgespräch mit dem Künstler.

Jack Persekian lebt in Jerusalem und Sharjah. Er ist Künsler, Kurator und Produzent, Gründer und Leiter der Anadiel Galerie und der Al-Ma`mal-Stiftung für zeitgenössische Kunst in Jerusalem und XEIN Productions. Ausserdem wurde er 2009 als Leiter der Sharjah Art Fundation berufen und ist seit 2005 Direktor der Sharjah Biennale.

Ein Vortrag zur aktuellen Situation von Angela Godfrey-Goldstein

Thema: Die Auswirkungen israelischer Siedlungspolitik auf Palästina

Wo: Clubraum, Rote Fabrik, Zürich

Wann: Dienstag 22.11.2011, 20:00 Uhr

Eintritt Frei

Seit 1967 treibt jede israelische Regierung die rechtswidrige Besiedlung der besetzten Gebiete voran. Zweihundert Siedlungen mit 450.000 Siedlern gibt es derzeit in der besetzten Westbank – wo es nach internationalem Recht keine einzige geben dürfte. Die Trennmauer, errichtet mit dem Argument des Schutzes, doch mit der faktischen Auswirkung der Landnahme, schneidet tief in die palästinensischen Gebiete hinein und macht ein eigenständiges Leben dort unmöglich.

Die israelische Friedensaktivistin Angela Godfrey-Goldstein war für unterschiedliche Organisationen tätig, u.a. für \“Machsomwatch\“ ( Women Against the Occupation & For Human Rights), der ICHAD (Israeli Commitee Against House Demolitions) und dem Free Gaza Movement.

Sep 14


israel steht im zentrum verschiedener ausstellungen im rahmen des festivals culture scapes in basel:

eine davon im schweizerischen architekturmuseum,

und weitere im kunsthaus baselland, u.a. mit yael bartana:

interview über kunst in israel mit der kuratorin der ausstellungen sabine schaschl: