Manifesta purposely strives to keep its distance from what are often seen as the dominant centres of artistic production, instead seeking fresh and fertile terrain for the mapping of a new cultural topography.

All education projects

Liberation bar

Education: community project

Sometimes most pertinent projects are not initially programmed but arise late in the process. Therefore, there is always a foreseen space for unforeseen, called responsive programming.

Liberation Bar was born out of Manifesta 11’s (Dis)Assembly meetings between educators from various art institutions of Switzerland. These regular meetings aimed at reflecting on current challenges of art education (as well as education professionals) within the institutional context. After a dozen meetings, participants were exhausted by intense group discussions which felt like walking in circles.

Discussing the position of the art educator as a mediator between institutional (exhibition) context and public, the group fell the necessity to engage in conversations with cultural workers outside of the (Dis)Assembly circle and in a public space.

Liberation Bars took place every Wednesday between 7pm and sunset at changing public fountains in Zurich. Each bar’s location, theme, drinks and music were programmed by a different member of Manifesta 11’s (Dis)Assembly group.

This self-managed and self-sustained bar did not have permission to operate in public space, therefore information about gatherings was communicated through a newsletter subscription. A community of the Liberation Bar followers grew very quickly bringing together educators, critical voices from local cultural scene, art students, general public as well as Manifesta team and participants. It became one of the most active platforms for discussing cultural events, city’s cultural politics, and Manifesta 11 itself.