Commonwealth and Council


Lukas Beyeler, Yangzom Brauen, Jack Halberstam, Daniel Hellmann, Marie-Caroline Hominal Valérie Reding, Mica Sigourney, Urs August Steiner


Commonwealth and Council presents a one-day event of screenings, performances, and live installations curated by Marc Streit. F?! addresses the topic of failure and proposes alternatives to our conventional understanding and pursuit of success—opening new perspectives in the creative capital. Failure sometimes offers more cooperative and generative ways of being in the world, even as it forces us to face the dark side of life, love, and libido.

Generous support provided by: The Swiss Arts Council Pro Helvetia; swissnex; City of Zürich Department of Culture; Association Corodis, zürich moves! Festival; Consulate General of Switzerland in Los Angeles; and Tom of Finland Foundation.

Jack Halberstam – Los Angeles (USA)

Jack Halberstam is Professor of American Studies and Ethnicity, Gender Studies and Comparative Literature at the University of Southern California. Halberstam is the author of five books including: Skin Shows: Gothic Horror and the Technology of Monsters (Duke UP, 1995), Female Masculinity (Duke UP, 1998), In A Queer Time and Place (NYU Press, 2005), The Queer Art of Failure (Duke UP, 2011) and Gaga Feminism: Sex, Gender, and the End of Normal (Beacon Press, 2012) and has written articles that have appeared in numerous journals, magazines and collections. Halberstam has co-edited a number of anthologies including Posthuman Bodies with Ira Livingston (Indiana University Press, 1995) and a special issue of Social Text with Jose Munoz and David Eng titled “What’s Queer About Queer Studies Now?”

Jack is a popular speaker and gives lectures around the country and internationally every year. Lecture topics include: queer failure, sex and media, subcultures, visual culture, gender variance, popular film, animation. Halberstam is currently working on several projects including a book titled THE WILD on queer anarchy, performance and protest culture, the visual representation of anarchy and the intersections between animality, the human and the environment.

Daniel Hellmann – Zürich (Switzerland)

Do you have a specific wish, a need, a desire? Daniel Hellmann is ready to provide any service you may request—immediately on-site. For Hellmann nothing is too much to ask: a declaration of love? A blowjob? A heated discussion? You can have it all—as long as you negotiate the conditions and the price. Full Service is a game with an open ending. The fulfillment of your deepest desires will either be exciting, pleasant, or disturbing!

Daniel Hellmann is a singer, performer, dancer, and theatre maker. He studied philosophy, classical singing as well as theatre and performance in Zürich, Lausanne, and Bern. After singing in various opera productions, he founded the interdisciplinary company 3art3 in 2012. For his first project K., a collaboration with the choreographer Quan Bui Ngoc, he won various prizes. Most recent productions are the musical theatre evening Nach Lampedusa— Wandererfantasien on the Swiss asylum system and the interactive performance Full Service. In June 2015, his solo performance Traumboy premiered at the Gessneralle Zürich. Daniel Hellmann’s plays have been shown at various theatres and festivals. He is currently based in Zürich and Berlin.

ORBIT 2046
Urs August Steiner – Zürich (Switzerland)

Together we will travel to the future. The central element in the online project Orbit 2046 is a website that hosts a video. The video depicts an endlessly spinning roulette wheel void of markings, quietly overseen by a croupier. On January 1st, 2046, the website will be deleted. In the intervening years, a logbook will document every change made to the interface. Steiner maintains an omnipresence before eventual erasure. The roulette wheel represents the mechanisms of probability: like the ball jettisoning off the wheel repeatedly, we wait for the outcome of our own orbital path.

Urs August Steiner’s interest in film manifests itself in his dismantling of tropes and turning points in movies. Re-contextualizing important events, symbols, or scenes through a process of fragmentation, he looks to interrogate image and sound, time and space, as agents in the cinematic experience. He has worked across several media and has shown internationally. He is the recent winner of the Fokus Art Prize, with an upcoming solo exhibition at Kunsthaus Glarus (2016). His other solo projects include: “Orbit 2046” at MoCa Pavilion, Museum of Contemporary Art, Shanghai; “Buster Six” at Des Pacio, San José; “Twin Peaks” (2014) at the Grand Palais, Bern; and “Some Scream and Some Don’t” (2013) at Splatterpool, New York. He is currently based in Zürich.

Mica Sigourney – San Francisco (USA)

A juke box of ghosts, Mica Sigourney reads the words of Tenneesee Williams, David Wojnarowicz, and himself to anyone who will listen—drink for drink, word for word, and fag for fag.

Mica Sigourney is VivvyAnne ForeverMORE!, a tornado in a dress. Vivvy hosts Club SOME THING every Friday in San Francisco. Vivvy and Mica have performed at TBA, American Realness, Dublin Fringe Festival, zürich moves! and ImPulsTanz. Vivvy is currently working on a project called “I'm a Very Understanding Woman” with Amanda Apetrea and “For the Glory” with Larry Arrington. Mica was part of (X)change: Zürich + San Francisco // sister city queer performance in dialogue. He is currently based in San Francisco.

Marie-Caroline Hominal – Geneva (Switzerland)

Where’s the MC is an artisanal radio show, a ten minute encounter between two guests and the lost MC. Hominal continues her work on voice over and radiophonic pieces and is mainly interested in exchanging ideas and perspectives. The conversation starts by picking an unknown topic from the tombola that can lead in many different directions. Let’s talk about the unknown.

Marie-Caroline Hominal is a dancer, choreographer, and performer. Her practice includes video, text, songwriting, music, choreography, and performance. She received her dance education at the Schweizerische Ballettberufschule in Zürich
 and the Rambert School of Ballet and Contemporary Dance in London, where she joined the National Youth Dance Company. She has collaborated with François Chaignaud, with whom she created Duchesses (2009), Clive Jenkins, Cristian Vogel, and visual artists Kim Boninsegni, David Hominal, Delphine Coindet, and Lukas Beyeler. Hominal has been presenting her work internationally in both theaters and galleries. Marie-Caroline was part of (X)change: Zürich + San Francisco // sister city queer performance in dialogue. She is currently based in Geneva, Switzerland.

Valérie Reding – Zürich (Switzerland)

A performer, a mirror, a chair, a table filled with make-up, copious amounts of glue, hair and clothes—these build the framework for a multiple hour long morphing process, exploring possible identity expressions within the gender spectrum and beyond. The observers can closely witness time and again how one subjectivity is being destroyed while another one is already emerging, suggesting a conception of identity that is not based on a linear narrative, but rather on fragmentation, multiplicity, fluidity, failure, and unfinishedness.
But what happens when this mechanical mask painting is suddenly interrupted by the demolition of the mirror and the performer needs to entirely rely on the way that the Other sees her to be able to continue the never ending strainful metamorphosis of her skin’s surface?

Valérie Reding completed her dance education at the RAD Jeanette Hutchines School of Dance, studied architecture at the ETH Zürich, Media Arts at the Zürich University of the Arts as well as at the University of Applied Arts in Vienna and is currently exploring Butoh (Sylvie Xing Chen) and dance theatre (Julie Ann Stanzak, Tanztheater Wuppertal Pina Bausch). Her works have been shown, amongst others, at the Showroom Z+ as well as at Gessnerallee (Zürich), at Synkoop (Vienna) and Galeria MD_S (Wroclaw). She works multimedially and performatively with a special interest in stereotypes, norms, masks, the body as well as the influence of technological and societal novelties on interpersonal interactions.

Yangzom Brauen – Los Angeles (USA)

Born in Battle (2015) is a film about a boy who struggles with his past as a child soldier escapes into his dream world. The life he seeks fades the tighter he grips. Fantasy twists back to reality and when he stands in front of his parents and sister, he has to make a choice—life, death, and the path that decision will take him.

Yangzom Brauen is a Swiss-Tibetan actress and director who studied at the University for Theater and Music in Berne, Switzerland. She directed her first award winning feature film “Who Killed Johnny” in 2013 with a theatrical release in Switzerland. She continues working as a director as well as a writer and actress. The short film “Ruprecht” won the audience award at the Short Film Long Night L.A. Film Festival in 2014. She wrote her bestselling book, a memoir about three generations of Tibetan women called “Across Many Mountains” published by St.Martins Press in 2008 which is now translated into 12 languages. She currently lives in Los Angeles.

Lukas Beyeler – Zürich (Switzerland)


Everyone Wants Me It’s My Biggest Downfall (2012) is a video about the lives of some personalities that are caught up in a self-centered universe of their own. Habits and behaviors that seem just like an everyday routine to the protagonist might appear as manic to the spectator. How many of us live a life that we are not meant to follow? And why is mankind so wretched? Let’s celebrate the fall of the year 20XX!

Lukas Beyeler was born in Lausanne (Switzerland). He graduated in Visual Arts from the Ecole Cantonale d'Art de Lausanne (ECAL) and was awarded by the Prix de la Fondation Ernest Manganel 2005 for his final year project. Among other things, Lukas has been assisting photographer Walter Pfeiffer on several projects. In 2009 Lukas provided live visuals and stage design for Bruce LaBruce's live performance “Macho Family Romance” at the Theater Neumarkt, Zürich. His work was included in “New Art from Switzerland” at the Essl Collection in Vienna and his films have been screened at The Mix Film Fest (NYC, 2007 & 2009), Yerba Buena Center for the Arts (San Francisco, 2008 & 2010), Fully Flared Film Fest (Berlin, 2010), MADRe Museum (Naples, 2009), Animatter Film Fest (British Columbia, Canada, 2010), The Horse Hospital (London, 2009, 2010 & 2012), Vision of Excess (London, 2009), OutFest (Los Angeles, 2008), Collective Unconscious (NYC, 2008), Mise au Jeu (Montreal, 2011), and S&S Project (Chicago, 2012). In 2011 Lukas collaborated with Bernhard Willhelm on his lookbook for “S/S Men's Collection 2012” in Paris. In 2013 Lukas was awarded by the Prix du Jury from the exhibition “Accrochage [Vaud 2013],” Musée cantonal des Beaux-Arts, Lausanne. Artists such as Fabrice Gygi, John Armleder, and Karim Noureldin took part in his work. He is currently based in Zürich and Los Angeles.

Marc Streit

Born and raised in Bern, Switzerland, Streit completed Curatorial Studies at the University of the Arts in Zürich and has been working as curator for several institutions and organizations in research, production, and realization of artistic projects. Collaborations include: Fondation Beyeler in Riehen/Basel, Tanzhaus Zürich, Kunstverein Zürich, Kunstraum Walcheturm, Réunion-Random Institute, Riffraff Cinema, Dance Festival Steps by Migros Culture Percentage, The Horse Hospital London, Susanne Bartsch, and most recently, CounterPulse and swissnex San Francisco. Streit initiated the zürich moves! Festival ( zürich moves! is an annual, international festival that breaks boundaries between different art forms, creating a new audience outside of an avant-garde community that focuses on identity and interpersonal perspectives beyond national borders. Together with visual artist Lukas Beyeler, Streit manages and organizes the queer party label KUNT, which produces social experiences that go beyond nightlife culture through art and performance. He is currently based in Zürich and Los Angeles.