Contact Zones – radioQWAS

a transdisciplinary radio project

After the project “QWAS – Migrating Dialogue” focused on spaces of transit and overcoming borders in recent years, we wanted to explore a different spatial concept: the invisible, liminal space of digital radio waves.

Against the background of a global pandemic, countless live streaming platforms emerged, providing an excess of options for expanded listening across the globe. We set out to examine the potential and relevance of broadcasting in a contemporary media setting by connecting artists across the globe and across all disciplines. The surfacing of new contact zones — new spaces of encounter, of radical empathy, of careful listening — are at the center of this project. We are curious to examine and experience the entanglements of transmission, translation, and translocality.

The project took place online, although the temporary radio-studio was physically hosted at the Zurich off-space MATERIAL and could be visited during opening hours. Based on a previous collaboration between Kazakhstan and Switzerland, the digital setting expanded the network and invited artists from across the world and from all disciplines to participate.

Finally, 11 Participants from Brazil, Colombia, Estonia, Germany, Kazakhstan, Turkey and Switzerland – located over three time-zones and a difference of 9 hours – worked online together during 5 days to exchange and create a broadcasting programme of 48 hours.

For the detailed broadcasting programme as well as an introduction of the participating artists and their broadcasted works please navigate here.

contact-zones logo


“QWAS – Migrating Dialogue” started in 2017 as an student-led internationalization project within the ZHdK’s Department of Cultural Analysis. After two exchange trips (by train from Zurich to Almaty; with final exhibitions as part of the ARTBAT-FEST) and two e-learning modules (with simultaneous exhibitions at both locations), its work continues with a transdisciplinary lab seminar in spring semester 2020 (“Stop, Collaborate and Listen!”)  where participants from Zurich, Almaty and Nursultan (aka Astana) collaboratively explore the topic of identity through sound. All formats are created in close dialogue with the School of Artistic Gesture, a free advanced training course in contemporary art, which is realized by our partner organization, Eurasian Cultural Alliance (ECA).


QWAS – Migrating Dialogue (

Eurasian Cultural Alliance (


Material – Raum für Buchkultur, Zürich (



Rada Leu

Peter Tränkle