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REFRESH #4 New Realities: Design – Arts – Technology

Digitalisation permeates our everyday lives in complex ways. There are legitimate concerns around the new and increasingly conspicuous dependencies and imbalances between humans and technology, but at the same time, the potential of digital strategies and immersive technologies for the arts and for design becomes ever more evident – not least because of the experiences of lockdown. There is no turning back!

In what ways do cultural institutions need to adapt in order to remain compatible? How do social media platforms influence our self-awareness and notion of identity? What are the potentials of immersive technologies for investigative journalism? How can digitalisation help us to see our ecosystem with different eyes? Does AI gradually jeopardise our understanding of originality? What steps are necessary to design digital technologies and future innovations in an inclusive way? How can material experiences be digitised? How can fashion become more sustainable through digitalisation? Together with our international guests, we will tackle these and other questions in this 4th edition of the festival.

«Immersive Journalism», «Immersive Play», «Digital Identities», «Digital Doubles» and «Techno-biological Futures» are the main topics of REFRESH #4. Artists, designers and researchers who have been invited include [alphabetical order]: Stine Deya, Ekho Collective (Finish National Opera), Ersin Han Ersin (Marshmallow Laser Feast), Maria Guta, Kidus Hailesilassie, Lauren Huret, Karim Ben Khelifa, Lawrence Lek, Andreas Refsgaard, Ainslee Alem Robson, Yasaman Sheri (Serpentine Galleries), Theo Triantafyllidis, Matthias Wittmann, and many more.

The festival REFRESH #4 will take place from November 10th to 14th, 2021 at the Toni-Areal. Under the title «New Realities: Design – Arts – Technology», REFRESH is an interdisciplinary forum for keynotes, masterclasses, panels, lab insights and an exhibition. The festival deals with the risks and opportunities of digitalisation for design and the arts, also including speculations about possible futures.

REFRESH is initiated by the Department of Design and organised in cooperation with the Immersive Arts Space at Zurich University of the Arts. For the first time the festival is being realised in partnership with the Swiss Digital Days.

REFRESH is open to the public.

A valid covid-certificate is mandatory for all participants. Free tickets for the various events are available at

REFRESH #4 New Realities: Design – Arts – Technology
REFRESH #4 New Realities: Design – Arts – Technology