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sWish*

Type Exhibition
Client IBM Schweiz and Swiss Re
Location Arteplage Biel, Expo.02, Swiss National Exhibition, Biel, Switzerland
Year 2002

National exhibitions serve to define a location: What has been achieved, where are we headed, what do we wish for the future? In a country that is often perceived as content, what do the inhabitants actually wish for? What are their hearts’ desires? Leading up to Expo.02 the wishes of inhabitants from all over the country were recorded in some 1000 interviews. sWISH* is an exhibition that explores the Swiss landscape of wishes.

The black, monolithic exhibition building that stands on a platform over Lake Biel does not reveal anything about the covetousness to be found inside. On a bench in front of the monolith visitors hear the stories of “Hans in Luck” or of the relationship counseling between the prince and the princess he woke with a kiss.

Meanwhile inside drift thousands of wooden slats through the exhibition room like a cloud of wish-smoke. The planks form spaces and pathways and are integrated into the thematic wish capsules. In four crystalline structures interviews are shown on monitors or as projections. Small figures from the world of fairy tales and myths who live from or for wishes dominate the inner realm. Gnome, fairy, siren, sorcerer and wish prince lead visitors through their universe and speak directly to them. “Why are you still here?” “Have you already made your wish?”

The completely real figures, projected by means of Pepper’s Ghost, move freely between the wooden posts. They exist in a realm somewhere between the lake and the exhibition, between reality and dream. Holes in the floor provide views of the world where the back office collects, sorts, archives and fulfills wishes − or mercilessly destroys them in the shredder. 

Before leaving the exhibition, visitors can leave their wishes on the glass platform over the lake. All the wishes will be projected on the water before sinking slowly into the waves. Like smoke signals over the building flicker individual gas jets, some larger, some smaller.

www.swish.ch