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Kunsthistorisches Institut

Kollektiv  U5

Kollektiv U5

  • Mitarbeiterinnen künstlerische Forschung im snf-Projekt Conflict and Cooperation. Episteme and methods between art history art and ethnology in the performative pictorial practices of Vodun


Mitarbeiterinnen künstlerische Forschung im snf-Projekt Conflict and Cooperation. Episteme and methods between art history, art and ethnology in the performative pictorial practices of Vodun

U5 arbeiten seit 2007 als Kollektiv zusammen. Zu ihren künstlerischen Mitteln gehören Film, Fotografie, Objekte, Installationen und Performances. Der Essayfilm The Human Crater (2017) entstand im Rahmen des Forschungsprojekts „Tourism and Cultural Heritage: A Study on Franz Junghuhn“. Der Essayfilm Double Bind (2019) war Teil des transdisziplinären Forschungs- und Ausstellungsprojekts „Priests and Programmers“ an der ersten Architekturtriennale in Sharjah, VAE 2019.



U5 is an arts collective that is opposed to traditional notions of individual authorship. U5 actively pursues historical and contemporary approaches to research in art, especially approaches that transcend disciplines, or produce new forms of art and knowledge.

The collective U5 first formed at Zürich University of the Arts in 2007 before graduating as a group in 2011. The working method depends on unanimous founding principles:

  • All members have equal rights, but consensus is not necessary.
  • All works are created in cooperation.
  • Presence and absence influence the work equally.


Work originates from a fascination for materials of all kinds, especially everyday materials and utensils made of plastic. The accumulation of digital and analogue materials is an important component of the artistic approach, both a ballast and a trove at the same time.

Since the collective‘s foundation, all work processes have been documented and archived in real time with the help of a self-developed live camera (PALM). The handling of this absurd amount of material and data forms the basis of production.

Since 2011 the collective’s studio in an industrial building on the edge of Zurich gained additional significance as an event space, as a permanently transforming, semi-public place. During four years the «Automatenbar» took place every Tuesday: a live format for music, performance, screenings and discussions.

The studio is a production site for objects, costumes, films, installations and performances that oscillate between natural, artificial, fictitious and virtual. They are combined with sound, dance, food and drinks, scent, fog and light and then assembled into immersive installations in the exhibition space. Such exhibitions are not a final product, but iterations for further productions. They are possibility-spaces in which something can happen that is not-thought-through precisely, but which can provoke reactions and actions. 



  • since 2021 Artistic Research, SNF-project: 'Conflict and Cooperation. Episteme and methods between art history, art and ethnology in the performative pictorial practices of Vodun' University of Zurich, Art History Department, Prof. Dr. Bärbel Küster
  • 2015-2018 Artistic Research, '17 Volcanoes' project with Professors Philip Ursprung and Alexander Lehnerer, Future Cities Laboratory, Singapore ETH Center, Singapore
  • 2009-2011 Master of Arts in Fine Arts, Zurich University of the Arts
  • 2006-2009 Bachelor of Arts (Media Arts), Zurich University of the Arts
  • 2007 foundation of U5


Grants, Awards, Residencies

  • 2021 Werkbeitrag, Stadt Zurich
  • 2020 Werkbeitrag, Kanton Zurich
  • 2020 Publikationsbeiträge: Stadt Zurich, Kanton Zurich, Pro Helvetia, ETH
  • 2019 Digital Arts Residency San Francisco, Stadt Zurich
  • 2018 Digitale Kultur, Werkbeiträge Migros-Kulturprozent
  • 2017 Residency at NUS Museum Singapore
  • 2015-18 Residency at Future Cities Laboratory Singapore
  • 2013 Kiefer Hablitzel Award



  • 2021 Protect Us from What We Want, Innovedum grant, with Helene Romakin, Prof. P. Ursprung, ETH Zurich
  • 2018 Teaching experiment: Seminar 'live', Project PALM, Institute for the History and Theory of Architecture, Prof. P. Ursprung, ETH Zurich
  • 2017 Performance Seminar Week 'Europa', Institute for the History and Theory of Architecture, Prof. P. Ursprung, ETH Zurich
  • 2016 Project 'Raspberry Pi' and Mentoring, F+F School of Art and Design Zurich
  • Talks & Screenings
  • 2020 Screening 'Double Bind': Videoex Festival, Zurich
  • 2019 Screening 'The Human Crater': The Laundry, San Francisco
  • 2019 Transmediale, Berlin, Haus der Kulturen der Welt, Artist Talk: 'HI meets AI: Der 'UngenauBot' von Bircher/Hurkxkens und 'PALM' vom U5 Kollektiv'
  • 2018 F+F guest_*talks, Artist Talk & Performance: 'Bleach'
  • 2018 Screening 'Halfway Demolition', La Biennale di Venezia, Central Pavilion, Unless Ever People - Caritas for Freespace, Architecten de Vylder Vinck Taillieu
  • 2018 Screening 'The Human Crater': -Engadin Art Talks, Zuoz, -Kino Rex, Bern, -Helmhaus, Zurich
  • 2017 Screening 'The Human Crater': -Kortum Gesellschaft, Bochum, -Filmpodium Zurich
  • 2017 Screening 'tracer',, Bern



  • Romakin, Helene, U5, (Hrsg.) 2021: TRUST, Wien: VFMK [monograph].
  • Wojciechowska, Patrycja, 2020: U5, in OnCurating,Issue 48, Zurich Issue: Dark Matter, Grey Zones, Red Light and Bling Bling, Ronald Kolb and Dorothee Richter (Eds.) [online publication]. 
  • Bühler, Kathleen, Sarah Merten, 2018: République Géniale, [online publication]. 
  • Romakin, Helene, Artfridge, 2018: Interview U5 [online publication]. 
  • Perrez, Sidd, Adrianne Joergensen, 2018: 17 Volcanoes, Singapore: NUS Museum, National University of Singapore.
  • Schindhelm, Michael, Damian Christinger (ed.), 2018: Happy Tropics No.1. Zürich: ZhdK, Connecting Spaces #10.
  • Hirsch, Helen (Hrsg.), Barbara Berger, 2014: U5 Parasite. Nürnberg: Verlag für Moderne Kunst Nürnberg.
  • Luchsinger, Katrin, 2012: U5 Kollektiv: Quadrabble. In: «ungesehen und unerhört, Künstler reagieren auf die Sammlung Prinzhorn», Ingrid von Beyme, Thomas Röske (Eds.), Heidelberg: Sammlung Prinzhorn Wunderhorn.
  • Kahn, Hassan, 2010: A new Formalism. In: «Art Dubai 17-20 March 2010», Dubai: Art Dubai