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Global Affairs

UZH Exhibition Spotlights Biodiversity in Shanghai

Research meets art: UZH is currently presenting the "Mirror of Nature: Biodiversity through the Lens of Technology and Art" exhibition at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Shanghai.

This exhibition showcases a collaborative effort between the UZH Art x Science Office and artists from both China and Switzerland, including Chinese scenographer Zhu Yunyan and Swiss artists Karoline Schreiber, Sophie Hengartner, Ida Künzle, Alexandra Kaufmann, Helena Klein, and Kerstin Zemp.

  • The Museum of Contemporary Art, Shanghai (MoCA) Pavilion is presenting the collaborative exhibition "Mirror of Nature".

  • Wildlife researchers and biologists from UZH and around the world, and a group of Chinese and European artists have created the immersive installation.

  • The multi-layered art and science exhibition is based on the "Triggered by Motion" project.

  • In the project, video data from camera traps in 21 biodiversity hotspots in 14 countries around the world were collected, synchronised and transformed into films over the course of a year, using AI. The resulting films reveal global rhythms that alternate between day, night and the changing seasons.

  • One exhibit titled "Natural Images Massage", is a collaboration between UZH's Department of hashtag#Geography, and Chinese curator HAN Bo. It showcases satellite data provided by UZH Space Hub researchers Jochem Braakhekke and Claudia Röösli. These satellite images are utilized to monitor both short- and long-term changes on the Earth's surface, serving as an input for biodiversity assessment and conservation efforts. Audiences can observe the satellite images while lying on a massage bed, peering through the small hole beneath their heads to get a unique "God's eye view" of our planet.

  • In the exhibit "Fairy Mound" (仙丘) by artist Zhu Yunyan, 16 pieces of felt artworks present partial fur patterns of extinct animals. Through a soft and warm tactile structure, they serve as a reminder that these animals once existed.

  • The exhibition has been made possible by a collaboration between Swissnex in China, the Museum of Contemporary Art, Shanghai (MoCa), and UZH. It serves as a testament to the ongoing efforts to strengthen Sino-Swiss research platforms and promote biodiversity research.

The focus of "Mirror of Nature" lies in the intersection of visual data and global research on animal behavior. A video installation provides insights into the life of wild animals collected by UZH’s Department of Evolutionary Biology and Environmental Studies. The video material has been gathered using camera traps, merging AI with non-invasive technology to study wildlife. Meanwhile, animated illustrations highlight the sobering realities of species extinction. UZH researchers Claudia Röösli and Jochem Braakhekke from the UZH Department of Geography, together with Chinese artist Han Bo, augment the exhibition with an installation that provides a global view on habitat loss.

Supported by Swissnex in China, Digitalization Initiative of the Zurich Higher Education Institutions (DIZH), and the Mercator Foundation Switzerland, the exhibition is a testament to the fruitful collaboration between China and Switzerland in engaging a global audience in the conversation about biodiversity through a fusion of art and science.

Anne Nuria Boekhout