mLAB residency

First residency projects in the mLAB start in autumn

We are pleased to announce the first projects of the mLAB residency. A total of 149 applicants with 35 projects applied for a residency for transdisciplinary research collaborations between academia, research, (digital) media, and arts. The residency aims to foster collaborations that experiment with new methodological approaches, forms of knowledge production and science communication. 

The first edition of the residency program deals with the topic of GLOBAL IN/JUSTICE. While the project Climatology and Climatography examines the measuring and visualization methods of climate data with regard to its socio-political dimensions, the speculative project 3000Peaks asks for future ideas on how to use the Swiss Alpine summits once all the ice on them has melted. In both projects, artistic and scientific concerns complement each other.

The residencies will take place in autumn at the Institute of Geography and will be financially supported by the Faculty of Science. The public parts will be announced here on this website. 

The residencies will be used to develop insights that will lead to a follow-up project. Whether it will culminate in an artwork, a film, an exhibition, or a research project that involves artistic modes of data collection or dissemination.

A new call for further residencies will follow soon. Here you can find the first call for proposals.

Die Jury bestand aus Dr. Laura Coppens, Medienanthropologin, Institut für Sozialanthropologie und Filmemacherin; Laura Perler, Sozial- und Kulturgeographin, Geographisches Institut (GIUB); Prof. Dr. Carolin Schurr, Unit-Leiterin Sozial- und Kulturgeographie, GIUB PD Dr. Matthias Stürmer, Leiter der Forschungsstelle Digitale Nachhaltigkeit, Institut für Informatik; Dr. des. Alexander Vorbrugg, Unit Kritische Nachhaltigkeitsforschung, GIUB und Mirko Winkel, Koordinator mLAB, GIUB und Künstler


The Jury consisted of Dr. Laura Coppens, Media Anthropologist, Institute of Social Anthropology and film maker; Laura Perler, Unit Social and Cultural Geography, Institute of Geography; Prof. Dr. Carolin Schurr, Unit Head of Social and Cultural Geography, Institute of Geography; Dr. Matthias Stürmer, Head of the Research Unit Digital Sustainability, Institute of Computer Science; Dr. des. Alexander Vorbrugg, Unit Critical Sustainability Studies and Mirko Winkel, mLAB coordinator and artist, both Institute of Geography


Climatology & Climatography of Care

Visual Histories and Global Futures 

The team includes Dr. Sria Chatterjee, Dr. Jamie Allen and Karolina Sobecka from the Max-Planck Kunsthistorisches Institut, and the Critical Media Lab at the FHNW, Basel and Prof. Dr. Stefan Brönnimann from the Institute of Geography of the University of Bern. Within the framework of the residency they will work together for the first time in this constellation.

The proposed project is interested in histories and futures of climatology and climatography, not simply as a scientific trajectories and disciplines, but as a means of knowledge production that relates to colonial enterprises. Climate change not only causes social inequality, but the ways in which we measure, visualize and communicate climate data could better encompass complex regional differences, modes of care and social implications of climate sciences. The perspective of climatology as a discipline that is entrenched in economic and political spheres, extends the existing research at the Institute of Geography with their work in historical climatology, recomposing weather and climate over the past ca. 400 years, as well their research into a combination of early instrumental data, proxies and climate models, climate dynamics and large-scale variability and climate and society interactions.

Using collected historical imagery, from select international archives, the team will produce research writings on the themes of ‘climate data empathy’, colonialism, climate and public health and also seek to produce  media-topological  profiles of language, data and imagery. Considering the impetuses, geographies and local practices of gathering and measuring climate “data”, climate epistemologies will be mapped in light of their links to human and non-human health, welfare and situated ways of life.  

The project centers around a series of semi-public, workshop-encounters between the team members, developing modes for the visualization and historical context and climatological knowledge.  

A prospective outcome of the Climatology & Climatography of Care project creates work for exhibition, using newly developed techniques, and expanding on the residency theme of Global In/Justice.  

Dr. Sria Chatterjee is postdoctoral fellow based at the 4A Lab program of the Max-Planck Kunsthistorsiches Institut in Berlin, and works with the Cycles of Circulation project at the Critical Media Lab Basel. She holds a PhD from Princeton University and was awarded the Charlotte Elizabeth Proctor Prize for her dissertation. She specializes in the political ecologies of art and design in the Global South and her work draws on transnational environmental histories, the history of science - in particular plant science, agriculture and climatology, landscape studies, design and cybernetics. She is currently Contributing Editor at British Art Studies and her work has been published or is forthcoming in journals such as Contemporary Political Theory, Cultural Politics among others.  

Dr. Jamie Allen is occupied with what media and technologies teach us about who we are as individuals, cultures and societies. Born in Canada, he has been an electronics engineer, a polymer chemist and an exhibition designer. He likes to make things with his head and hands — experiments into the material systems of media, electricity, and information as artworks, events, and writing. He lives in Europe, works on arts and research projects, writes a fair amount, and tries to engage himself with and create prefigurative institutions that are generous and collaborative, acknowledging that friendship, passion and love are central to aesthetic, research and knowledge practices. He is a Senior Researcher at the Critical Media Lab Basel. (

Karolina Sobecka is an artist and researcher working at the intersection of art, science and technology, arranging and participating in social configurations that channel, accommodate or resist technological shifts. Karolina’s current projects explore notions of ecology and governance through case studies in the fields of climate- and carbon- engineering. She is currently a PhD candidate at ECAM European Center for Art, Design and Media based Research Basel, and Kunstuniversität Linz.

Prof. Dr. Stefan Brönnimann heads the group for climatology at the Institute of Geography at the University of Bern. He and his group also belong to the Oeschger Centre for Climate Research. They process historical atmospheric data from the last centuries and use them to create three-dimensional data sets that reach further back than the start of modern measurement series. With these data sets, they analyse large-scale climatic variations and extremes.


conversing alps in times of climate crisis

As part of the first mLAB residency, Jana Thierfelder, Marius Förster, Peter Tränkle will come together to initiate a speculative thought experiment in dialogue with the Institute of Geography.

It is part of a multi-stage project that questions Switzerland's self-image in the face of the climate crisis. With the thawing of permafrost soil in the Swiss Alps, the alpine rock becomes increasingly unstable, and events such as mudflow, rockfalls, or even massive landslides become more frequent. Through an Open Call, the 3000Peaks project invites to develop ideas for the redesign of approximately 3.000 affected Swiss Alpine peaks as well as for the utilization of the removed rock masses. The perspectives and narratives created this way should network actors with a wide range of interests through public discussions. It aims to broaden the horizon of what can be imagined and to negotiate the complexity of design processes.

The Open Call is prepared in the mLab. As part of the residency, the project seeks exchange with the Geographic Institute's fields of knowledge and through visits of "affected" Alpine communities. It utilizes participatory formats like OpenStudio, Common Grounds and Graphic Mapping. The exploration of intersections between artistic and scientific concerns pursues the goal of enriching perspectives, making them accessible and open for discussion. The team would like to define potential aims collaboratively with the scientists and the community residents involved.

The “peak loss” affects not only residents and economic interests, but rather erodes the identity-creating importance of the Alps – for both the regional and national self-image as well as for external perception. The 3000Peaks project asks how, in a shared speculative exploration, skills of imagination and action can be multiplied through distribution and networking?


Open Studio

With an open studio, the team explores intersections between artistic and scientific concerns regarding the transformation processes in the Alps. By collecting, reflecting, and testing different positions (temporary) forms of representation on-site and digitally ( will be developed. That serves, among other things, the long-term development of the 3000Peaks website as a media hub.


Common Grounds

With visits to alpine communities in the Bernese Oberland, we aim to encourage residents to share their stories in the speculative narrative of 3000Peaks. Common Grounds strives to establish personal contact with relevant communities and to weave the voices, ideas, and fantasies of their residents on an equal footing in the open discourse space. In conversations and interviews, as well as in practical, interactive formats and spontaneous encounters (mini or ad hoc workshops) the joy of speculation should be fostered and the potential of created ideas addressed.

Mit Besuchen in alpinen Gemeinden des Berner Oberlands, möchten wir deren Bewohner*innen zum gemeinsamen Fabulieren im spekulativen Narrativ von 3000Peaks einladen, um einerseits persönlichen Kontakt zu relevanten Gemeinden herzustellen sowie andererseits die Stimmen, Ideen und Fantasien ihrer Bewohner*innen gleichberechtigt in den eröffneten gemeinsamen Diskursraum einzuweben. Über Gespräche und Interviews aber auch praktisch-interaktive Begegnungsformate (Mini- bzw. Ad-hoc-Workshops) soll die Lust am Spekulieren gefördert und das Potenzial entstandener Ideen besprochen werden.

Jana Thierfelder pursues a Ph.D. under supervision of Prof. Dr. Michaela Schäuble and Prof. Dr. Priska Gisler (artistic/design-scientific doctoral program SINTA, University of Bern & Bern University of the Arts) on the epistemic role of design in evolutionary biological knowledge production. Besides, she is an assistant in the Master in Transdisciplinary Studies at the Zurich University of the Arts.

Marius Förster works at the intersection of design, research, and art. In his work, he examines possible roles and limits of design in social transformation processes. He is co-editor of the publication Un/Certain Futures (transcript, 2018) and co-founder of the design studio

Peter Tränkle has a background in sociology and science and technology studies, in recent years active in transdisciplinary and transcultural collaboration contexts. He is a co-initiator of the "QWAS - Migrating Dialogue" project and is currently a research assistant at the Zurich University of the Arts in the Department of Cultural Analysis.