The Zurich Node of the Planetary Collegium. Institute of Cultural Studies, University of Applied Arts, Zurich, Switzerland.


Z-node was a research initiative, which began in 2004 as a collaboration between the Institute for Cultural Studies, Zurich University of the Arts, (ZHDK) Zurich, Switzerland and the School of Technology, Communication and Electronics at the University of Plymouth, England. The four main aims of Z-node were: to explore and define new cultural epistemologies between design, art, science and technology, to search for original hybrid combinations of media and art practice and scientific theory by focusing on critical and ethical discourses, and to discuss the future of the arts in relation to the cultural and social impact of technology on society.

See the final conference and exhibition below.

Who were we?

The researchers in Z-node were doctorial candidates and supervisors, based at the University of Applied Arts in Zurich, but the University of Plymouth awards their graduate doctoral degrees. These artists-researchers wished to explore trans-disciplinary and trans-cultural theory and practice in subjects like communication, collaboration, social science, cultural difference and environmental sustainability.

Director of Studies: Prof. Dr. Jill Scott
First Supervisors: Jill Scott & Angelika Hilbeck

How did we work?

We, at z-node, were linked to the main hub of PhD researchers in Plymouth called THE PLANETARY COLLEGIUM which has a trans-disciplinary focus. Like the Plymouth group (The CaiiA Hub) and the Milan Group (M-node), the z-node students/researchers as well as the supervisors are still practicing artists, theoreticians, scientists, designers and teachers/professors with years of experience from Switzerland and elsewhere. The members met three times per year for face-to-face 10-day seminars and once a year for international conferences that were attached to our Visiting Scholars Program.

Announcing the Final Z-node Conference and Exhibition

Models of Diversity

Welcome to the conference and exhibition that mark the end of Z-node - a seminal trans-disciplinary PhD research initiative, which began in 2004, as a post-graduate PhD research collaboration between: The Institute for Cultural Studies, Zurich University of the Arts (ZHDK), Switzerland and The Planetary Collegium at the University of Plymouth, England and The Institute for Integrative Biology, ETH Zurich



The main aim of this conference is to create 3-way discourses to search for correlations and models that can foster deeper creative levels of discourses across the disciplines of art, science, sociology and philosophy. Consequently, this conference will be a round table conference with paired presentations of art researchers, scientists and theorists in diverse fields of inquiry- alongside dynamic moderators who stimulate discourse.

The first day of the conference will highlight and extend the research on the environmental arts and science cluster of Z-node, where artistic researchers have been involved with specially invited scientific advisors. Here, the presentations will focus on topics like: Resources -Healthy Water Quality and Healthy Air QualityKnowledge -Resilience and Agriculture, Environment -Evolution and Cellular Metaphors and Trans-disciplinary Frameworks

The second day of the conference will highlight artist-researchers and theorists who explore trans disciplinary and transcultural theory and practice in art, human biology and social science subjects. Here the presentations will focus on topics like: Behaviour- Materiality, Space and Physics.

Representation: The “Self” and the “Other” Sociology- Sociable Technologies and Artificial Theatre



Grounded Visions

Co-curated by Boris Magrini and Jill Scott
Scientific advisor: Angelika Hilbeck

This exhibition presents artworks and artistic research, documenting how artists work with scientists on environmental issues. It takes place at the Department of Environmental Systems, ETH Zurich, where art exhibits are rarely shown.

The Artists are: Brandon Ballengée, Tiffany Holmes, Andrea Polli, Aviva Rahmani, Juanita Schläpfer-Miller, Jill Scott, Eugenio Tisselli

Friday, 27. November 2015, 17:00

Zurich, Institute of Integrative Biology
Green Floor, Universitätstrasse 16
CH-8092 Zurich, Switzerland

Curated by Jill Scott and Boris Magrini, the exhibition is part of the PhD program z-node at the Institute for Cultural Studies in the Arts resulting from a cooperation between the ZHdK and the ETH Zurich and presenting works inspired by environmental science. It includes Brandon Ballengée with photographs of amphibians, Aviva Rahmani with drawings about long-term landscape restoration and Juanita Schläpfer-Miller with a project called Climate Hope Garden 2085. Also Tiffany Holmes shows her innovative eco-visualization software to measure water quality, Andrea Polli presents a project with weather observers in Antarctica and Jill Scott exhibits a media sculpture about sound perception with stories from wild plants. In addition, a community web project by Eugenio Tisselli is shown that was developed with farmers together in Tanzania (in cooperation with Angelika Hilbeck). The scientific advisors for these projects were, Angelika Hilbeck, Christopher Robinson, Christoph Kueffer, Norbert Diller and Andreas Fischlin.

Longer Press Release (PDF)
Grounded Visions (Website)

Interview "Art and Science Research @ Znode"

z-node_brochure_2013_DE.pdf (Deutsch)
z-node_brochure_2013_EN.pdf (English)

Program & Abstracts


Members of Z-Node

Supervisors Graduates Alumni