Police dog, Zurich, 2016, from the series «How to Secure a Country», 2014–2018 © Salvatore Vitale

Salvatore Vitale
How to Secure a Country

23 February to 26 May 2019

Switzerland is generally regarded as one of the safest countries in the world - and as exemplary in terms of efficiency and productivity. But how do state and private actors ensure this valuable commodity, which is as much a basic need as a billion-dollar business? And how much freedom are we as citizens willing to give up for our security? Resulting from a visual research project carried out over several years, Salvatore Vitale (born 1986 in Palermo, living in Lugano and Zurich) investigates the mechanisms underlying this preventive and defensive shield. He takes a close look at the various protagonists involved - police, military, customs and migration authorities, weather services, IT companies and research institutions for robotics and artificial intelligence. With photographs as well as data analysis and a sensor-based installation, the exhibition makes it possible to experience the sometimes hidden and often abstract creation of security in a tangible way. It sees itself as a contemporaneous artistic contribution to the debate in a society that is confronted with growing threats – real or perceived – from terrorism and cybercrime, surveillance and data misuse. Fotostiftung Schweiz presents the first comprehensive exhibition of this work by the Swiss artist of Italian descent.

The exhibition is accompanied by a publication published by Lars Müller Publishers.

Special events
Sunday, 31 March, 11.30 a.m. Dialogical tour: Der Schweizer Sicherheitskomplex im globalen visuellen und politischen Kontext. Roland Bleiker (Professor of International Relations at the University of Queensland) and Jonas Hagmann (Senior Researcher and Senior Lecturer at the Institute of Science, Technology and Policy at ETH Zurich) in conversation with Lars Willumeit (in German language).

Sunday, 21 April, 11.30 a.m. Artist tour: Seeing the State vs. Seeing like a State. Salvatore Vitale in conversation with Lars Willumeit.

Sunday, 12 May, 11.30 a.m. Panel discussion: Tracing Security in Late Modernity: From Investigative Processes to Media Exploration. Susan Schuppli (artist and researcher, reader and director at the Centre for Research Architecture, Goldsmiths) in conversation with Salvatore Vitale and Lars Willumeit.

Sunday, 19 May, 11 a.m. Performance lecture: What, How and for Whom? Data Collection in the Name of Security. With security and data experts, organized by Opendata.ch.