Background and Concept
Ronald Kolb/Dorothee Richter: What are your professional backgrounds?
Brand-New-Life: The editorial team consists of Ann-Kathrin Eickhoff, Lucie Kolb, Pablo Müller, Barbara Preisig, and Judith Welter. We all have had professional training and work in various roles and contexts in contemporary art.
RK /DR: How did Brand-New-Life come about?
B-N-L: We founded Brand-New-Life as an online art magazine in 2015. We felt that there was little controversial art criticism in Switzerland, which was the main reason we started our project. The magazine offers polyphonic perspectives on contemporary art and its political and social contexts. Our goal is to encourage pointed and analytical comments about art.
RK /DR: How does it work?
B-N-L: In Brand-New-Life, artistic, journalistic, and academic approaches complement each other. We would like to push disciplinary boundaries and are looking for experimental formats for a reflection on art.
RK / DR : Is there a certain aim you wish to reach?
B-N-L: Our aim is to create a critical discourse for Switzerland which takes the local context as a starting point to discuss topics that are of international relevance.
RK /DR: Do you have a space to work?
B-N-L: We do not have a working space. Our editorial meetings take place at cafés or at someone’s home.
RK /DR: How do you finance your project? Do you have funding? From whom?
B-N-L: We have funding from public and private sources. A considerable part of our budget comes from our association members and the online ads.
RK /DR: Can you make a financial profit for yourself?
B-N-L: The editors are working voluntarily. We all have our jobs, and Brand-New-Life runs alongside. Our writers and also the translators and copy editors are paid a standardized fee. We want every contribution to be fairly paid.
RK /DR: What is the working process like? Do you decide on your own? Are others involved?
B-N-L: Once a month, we have an editorial meeting. At those meetings, we discuss what we want to do next, which themes seem relevant, which exhibitions would be interesting to review. Our writers also can make suggestions. One other main part of our work is reading their texts and giving feedback. Each contribution is read at least by two people of the editorial team.
A productive exchange with our writers is essential to us.
RK /DR: How would you define your practice? Is it a writer/critic approach? Does the collective play a role?
B-N-L: Our approach is pragmatic. We try to deal with limited resources and push our project always a step further.
RK /DR: How do you archive a project? B-N-L: Our website also works as an archive.
RK /DR: Is there a quota for gender on the funding schemes or acquisitions?
B-N-L: We do not have a quota for gender. Connections/Networks
RK /DR: What role does your project space in the city of Zurich play locally (or internationally)? What is the role of art in your opinion and from your position? How are you connected in Zurich, with whom?
B-N-L: We all are mainly based in Zurich.
RK /DR: Could you tell us more about the visibility of your project—how do you make it known and visited? What is the relation between real space and digital space, especially in your case as a digital-only project?
B-N-L: Our project does not exclusively exist online. We have published two books, realized at least two exhibitions, we do launches for our editions, and annual association meetings. Additionally, we are planning to do public editorial meetings on an irregular basis. In this format, readers and others can contribute to the editorial process.
RK /DR: What do you wish for the Zurich art scene?
B-N-L: Open-mindedness, visions, and a global perspective.
Judith Welter is a curator, and since 2015 she has been the director of the Kunsthaus Glarus. Before that, she was collection curator at the Migros Museum für Gegenwartkunst.
Pablo Müller is an art critic and art historian. Since 2014, he has worked as a researcher and lecturer at the Lucerne University of Applied Sciences and Arts. His research interests include art and economics, institutions of art, art criticism, self-organization in visual arts, and artistic research.
Ann-Kathrin Eickhoff is a writer and curator, based in Zurich and Nurnberg. She is working as a curator at Kunstverein Nurnberg and as a researcher at ETH Zurich. She is currently working on contemporary painting discourses and their intertwining with economic and neoliberal theories.
Barbara Preisig is an art historian and art critic. Since 2015, she has worked as a researcher and lecturer at the Zurich University of the Arts. Her research interests include contemporary artistic research, institutional critique, conceptual artistic practices of the 1960s and 1970s, feminism, and translocality.
Lucie Kolb is an artist. She is a researcher and lecturer at the Institute of Experimental Design and Media Cultures Basel, the Zurich University of
the Arts, and the Academy of Fine Arts Vienna. Her main fields of research are institutional studies, art writing, self-publishing, and art education.