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Festival REFRESH #4

The REFRESH #4 festival will take place physically at the Toni-Areal from November 10 to 14, 2021. Under the title “New Realities: Design – Arts – Technology”, the interdisciplinary REFRESH will discuss risks and opportunities of digitalization for design and the arts in keynotes, masterclasses, panels, lab insights and a comprehensive exhibition, and speculate on possible futures.

The event is open to the public. Compulsory certification applies.

Obtaining free tickets for the various event offerings is mandatory at As tickets to the events are limited, we recommend early ticket reservations.

What is REFRESH #4 about?

Digitization permeates our everyday lives in many ways. In addition to justified reasons for concern arising from new and intensifying dependency relationships and imbalances between people and technology, the potentials of digital strategies and immersive technologies for the arts and design – not least through the Lockdown experience – are becoming increasingly evident. There’s no turning back!

How must cultural institutions change to stay connected? What impact are social media platforms having on our experience of self and our sense of identity? What potential do immersive technologies offer for investigative journalism? How can digitization help us see our ecosystem through new eyes? Does artificial intelligence successively threaten our understanding of originality? What steps are needed to make digital technologies and future developments inclusive? How can material experiences be digitized? How can fashion become more sustainable thanks to digitalization? Together with our international guests, we would like to address these questions, among others, in the fourth issue.

“Immersive Journalism”, “Immersive Play”, “Digital Identities”, “Digital Doubles” and “Techno-biological Futures” are the focal points of the festival. Confirmed artists, designers, and researchers include [alphabetical order]: Stine Deya, Ekho Collective (Finish National Opera), Ersin Han Ersin (Marshmallow Laser Feast), Maria Guta, Kidus Hailesilassie, Lauren Huret, Karim Ben Khelifa, Lawrence Lek, Andreas Refsgaard, Ainslee Alem Robson, Yasaman Sheri (Serpentine Galleries), Theo Triantafyllidis, Matthias Wittmann, and many others.

REFRESH is an initiative of the Department of Design and the Immersive Arts Space at the Zurich University of the Arts. This year, for the first time, the festival is realized in partnership with the Swiss Digital Days. 



Maike Thies (Wissenschaftliche Mitarbeiterin, Departement Design),

Prof. Christian Iseli (Leiter Immersive Arts Space),