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Test it: more space for experiments

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Patrick Ilg

Published

18.06.2021

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Heading off the beaten track, being adventurous, questioning established ways of doing things: the Migros Culture Percentage supports young creative artists who display courage and talent to create something new.

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Introducing the Test it projects.

Introducing the Test it projects.

Young talents

The Migros Culture Percentage provides impetus for Switzerland's cultural scene: it regularly runs a tendering process for proposals on cultural projects that tackle topical issues and makes funding available to support them. In autumn 2000, the call went out for young creative artists wanting to strike out on new paths.

Interview: New approaches

Joëlle Simmen is responsible for funding for young talents from the Migros Culture Percentage. In this interview she sheds light on the new approaches adopted in this tendering process.

How was this tendering process developed? 

We started with an in-depth dialogue with young creative artists. That helped us identify at first hand what their main requirements are: free structures that offer latitude to experiment. This led to a tendering process that also supported open-outcome projects.

Open-outcome... what exactly does that mean?

We were on the lookout for projects that are driven by a vision without knowing yet precisely what the result is going to be. Normally a tendering process requires a detailed project plan with clear objectives. That doesn't leave much space for experimenting. Our approach is about opening a door. We'll support a good idea even if it isn't yet clear whether the project will ultimately be realised as a magazine, theatre piece or video performance.

How did the jury go about assessing such project ideas? Is it a challenge to their imagination?

It's not so much about imagination, more a case of having confidence in the creative artists and their visions. We look for specific points of reference to help us make an assessment:  Can we see evidence of sound research? Thorough preparation? The imagination is sparked by the huge motivation and excitement we detect in the applications, which then of course spreads to the jury. 

What have you achieved through the tendering process?

The feedback to tendering was massive. We tapped into a real need. Open-outcome funding is also a key aspect of our project to support up-and-coming creative artists that we'll be launching in autumn 2021.

Is there a project that you're especially fond of?

They are all fantastic. The first projects have now been realised and ideas have been transformed into hard-and-fast results. I was delighted to receive the first issue of Notbremse  – and visit the Streitfestival.

Test it 2020: projects

DRING
Morgane Mellet, Damien Vuarraz
ciealsand.com

Avantgardeners Collective
liviarita.com/avantgardenerscollective

Queering Games
Kein Museum: Lara Baltsch, Dorothea Deli, Julie Delnon, Isabella Krayer, Carla Peca, Lara Vehovar (Research and Procurement), Laurent Jakimow, Melody Chua, Sebastiaan Cator (Artists), Wanda Honegger (Graphic Design), Carla Peca (Concept)
keinmuseum.ch

Notbremse – The Magazin
Editors: Anna Egli, Alain Schwerzmann, Julia Trachsel, Luca Mondgenast (and 21 cartoonists) notbremse-magazin.ch

Pierrot lunaire
Compagnie Merce & John: Michèle Benz, Nina Richard, Moritz Achermann
moritzachermann@yahoo.de

NULL*
*at Zookunft – an urban labor futurism.
Zookunft.Project 
zookunftproject.com

A History of extinction – Artist’s Impression
Vampyrotheutis: Stephanie Müller (Scenography/Art Education) Seraina Hügli (Scientific Visualisation) Matthias Nüesch (Theatre Pedagogy) Joel Schoch (Film and Media Music) and Bharathi Mayandi Franaszek (Expanded Theatre)

Photo/staging: Queering Games Project