The project QWAS – Migrating Dialogue is a transcultural collaboration between the Zurich University of Arts (ZHdK) and the Eurasian Cultural Alliance (ECA) in Almaty, Kazakhstan.
The project was launched in 2017 and has so far encompassed two student exchange programmes (for which participants travelled from Zurich to Almaty by train) and two e-learning seminars; with exhibitions taking place simultaneously in both cities.
Using the train as both a tool and a location, a third space emerges - a platform not only for exchange but also for artistic interventions. It offers the possibility of exploring the passage through space, borders, time and contexts equally well as it is itself an object of inquiry. The travelers are facing challenges due to the limitations of both physical and personal space, having to adapt to a pre-given rhythm and numerous encounters. By traversing the space between the two countries, students are invited to contextualise their own artistic perspectives on research topics such as migration, nomadism, mobility, identity politics, distance, mapping, borders, languages and other means of communication, experience of time and space, experiments and utopias. The train journey provides the setting for an experimental exploration of those topics.
In a similar vein, the e-learning seminars explored topics of distance and proximity in both meta-space and meat-space.
QWAS was created by Rada Leu and Peter Tränkle. The project is kindly supported by the framework of the International Hub Arts for Change – Arts and Design in Social Processes of ZHdK.