Death and Birth in My Life
1st April to 30th May 2021
Which births and deaths have so far impacted or changed your life? These are the existential experiences that Mats Staub explores in his new long-term project of interviewing two people at a time. Many of his interviewees have known each other for decades, while others will be meeting for the first time. They will be filmed both when they speak and when they listen to the other person speak. Outside of the constraints of everyday conversation, the listener will not ask any follow-up questions nor will they take an active interest by providing well-meaning statements – so the script says. We too will simply listen, will turn our attention to the conversation and will engage with it: two screens will simultaneously show us both the face of the person relating the story and that of the listener.
With his installation set in the field of tension between video and exhibition, Mats Staub creates a communal space that reaches into the corner points of life. The individual stories about the two experiences that connect us all come from the heart and speak from the soul. We invite you to come really close.
Gezeichnet 2020 - The best drawings published in the Swiss media this year
11th December 2020 to 7th February 2021
You may laugh: Gezeichnet 2020 is a walk-through review of the year’s main events and topics of debate. In this exhibition about 50 Swiss caricaturists and cartoonists display their most important and funniest drawings published in the Swiss media.
The book “Von Corona gezeichnet” was published parallel to the exhibition: 52 press cartoonists present their cartoons on the Covid-19 crisis.
Killjoys and weaker selves. The exhibition on inhibitions
15th November 2019 to 2nd August 2020
We all know the feeling: things suddenly get uncomfortable. Are you allowed to say so? Do I want to go along with this? What will the others think? Inhibitions accompany us through life and shape us as individuals – sometimes powerfully and clearly as stage fright before a performance, sometimes discreetly and quietly when we avert our eyes while enjoying a flirt.
Our next major temporary exhibition will be facing up to inhibitions and exploring a phenomenon that subtly but lastingly influences our social interactions and our communication. Where do inhibitions come from and what are they good for? How can we overcome them? And when can we count on them? There will be plenty for both the inhibited and the uninhibited to look forward to here.
Gezeichnet 2019 - The best drawings published in the Swiss media this year
13th December 2019 to 9th February 2020
You may laugh: Gezeichnet 2019 is a walk-through review of the year’s main events and topics of debate. In this exhibition about 50 Swiss caricaturists and cartoonists display their most important and funniest drawings published in the Swiss media.
Sounds of Silence
9th November 2018 to 7th July 2019
Like noise, silence is an essential part of our lives. By no means a modern phenomenon, it has become increasingly rare.
Whilst more and more people seek moments of quiet in their busy everyday lives, our relationship with silence is an ambivalent one. The idea of complete silence is pleasing and at the same time alarming. This is manifest in the great variety of silence. The time has come to put on a courageous exhibition that allows visitors to experience this potential variety. The exhibits will go way beyond the topics of digital detoxing, noise cancelling and zones of relaxation and will shed light on the societal and historical balance between noise, quiet and silence.
Gezeichnet 2018 - The best drawings published in the Swiss media this year
14th December 2018 to 10th February 2019
You may laugh: Gezeichnet 2018 is a walk-through review of the year’s main events and topics of debate. In this exhibition about 50 Swiss caricaturists and cartoonists display their most important and funniest drawings published in the Swiss media.
EXTREME – 175 years of Swiss postage stamp production
2nd March 2018 to 8th July 2018
Postage stamps not only serve as a reflection of cultural history, but in a Swiss context, they are also part of a success story. Switzerland was only the second country ever to introduce postage stamps. Today these rare pieces are some of the world’s most sought-after stamps.
From 2nd March to 8th July 2018 the Museum of Communication will stage an unparalleled exhibition. The display will include 50 of the most important gems from the early years of Swiss postage stamp production. The entire collection is valued at several million Swiss Francs.
They may be small, but the production of postage stamps is a complex process with great artistic value. Thanks to original designs by Ferdinand Hodler and other artists, the exhibition will highlight the creative work behind the production of stamps.
Stamp collections are sources of great passion. Collectors invest a considerable amount of time and large sums of money in their collections. Various video portraits provide a personal glimpse into their world.
Gezeichnet 2017 - The best drawings published in the Swiss media this year
15th December 2017 to 11th February 2018
You may laugh: Gezeichnet 2017 is a walk-through review of the year’s main events and topics of debate. In this exhibition about 50 Swiss caricaturists and cartoonists display their most important and funniest drawings published in the Swiss media. The sketch artists of all the figureheads of the Swiss media world, including 24heures, Aargauer Zeitung, Basler Zeitung, Berner Zeitung, Der Bund, Le Temps, Nebelspalter, NZZ, Tages-Anzeiger, Tageswoche and many more, have once again come together, this time to celebrate the anniversary.
17th February to 26th March 2017
Migration is a complex and highly topical subject. What is it, besides their pedigree, that defines people’s acceptance in everyday life? In this interactive photographic exhibition, one female and six male photographers deal with the different aspects of immigration into Switzerland. Can I distinguish between Swiss people and migrants? And how much migration is lodged within me?
In collaboration with Severin Nowacki, Peter Eichenberger, Eve Lagger, Daniel Luginbühl, Werner Lüthi, Kuno Schläfli and Karl Schuler.
Gezeichnet 2016 - The best drawings published in the Swiss media this year
16th December 2016 to 29th January 2017
You may laugh: “Drawings from 2016” is a walk-through review of the year’s main events and topics of debate. In this exhibition more than 50 Swiss caricaturists and cartoonists display their most important and funniest drawings published in the Swiss media. Included in this who’s who of pictorial satire are the well-known drawing pens of Felix Schaad (Tages-Anzeiger), Max Spring (Berner Zeitung), Peter Schrank (Basler Zeitung), Chappatte (Le Temps / NZZ am Sonntag), Orlando (Der Bund), Ben Marchesini (Le Matin) and Michael Streun (Nebelspalter), amongst others.
Danse macabre. The Dance of Death in contemporary art
15th October to 25th November 2016
The transience of life has always fascinated human beings. Artists process this game of fear, fascination and hope in extremely different ways. The exhibition in the Museum of Communication shows how varied contemporary danse macabre artworks can be. Particular focus is on new media.
Peter Aerschmann, Judith Albert, Lars Arrhenius & Johannes Müntzing, Jürgen Brodwolf, Com&Com, Ingeborg Doetsch, Food Cultura, Jeanette Ehlers, Julienne Jattiot, Frantiček Klossner, Reto Leibundgut, Giovanni Manfredini, Rupprecht Matthies, Franziska Megert, Andrea Nyffeler, Meret Oppenheim, Lothar Seruset.
In front of the Museum of Communication:
Offspace Container fahrnisbau mit Vivace I by Pia Maria Martin, video, 03‘03‘‘, 2006
In collaboration with videokunst.ch
A dialogue with time. How will I live when I am old?
13th November 2015 to 10th July 2016
Statisticians have calculated that by 2035 more than a quarter of the population of Switzerland will be 65 years of age or older. This significant increase will change the dynamics of our society and old age is becoming an important topic of conversation.
However, there is no such thing as a typical old age – aging is a multifaceted and very personal process, which everyone experiences in a different way. It clearly includes more than a deterioration in one’s health, a reduction in mobility and an increase in the gaps in one’s memory. Although public perception often focuses on these phenomena that can be linked to the aging process, this paints a biased and incomplete picture. Aging also brings additional freedoms, more time and increasing room to manoeuver. The exhibition at the Museum of Communication allows its visitors to observe and experience the entire range of phenomena linked to the aging process.
The exhibition does justice to the theme by turning the visit into a personal experience. As part of a concept that is a novelty in Switzerland, aging experts guide visitors through the exhibition rooms; these so-called senior guides are between 70 and 84 years of age and have extensive experience with the exhibition’s theme. In conversation with the group, aging thus becomes a personal experience, which is further enhanced by exciting stories from the lives of the senior guides. There is a lot to discover here, from a Sumatran rhinoceros as a travelling companion to a game of tennis against John Lennon. Most definitely an experience not to be missed!
Gezeichnet 2015 - The best drawings published in the Swiss media this year
18th December 2015 to 24th January 2016
You may laugh: “Drawings from 2015” is a walk-through review of the year’s main events and topics of debate. In this exhibition more than 50 Swiss caricaturists and cartoonists display their most important and funniest drawings published in the Swiss media. Included in this who’s who of pictorial satire are the well-known drawing pens of Felix Schaad (Tages-Anzeiger), Max Spring (Berner Zeitung), Peter Schrank (Basler Zeitung), Chappatte (Le Temps / NZZ am Sonntag), Orlando (Der Bund), Mix & Remix (L’Hebdo) and Michael Streun (Nebelspalter), amongst others.
Oh Yeah! Pop Music in Switzerland
14th November 2014 to 30th August 2015
A Journey through the Adventure of Swiss Pop Music from the 1950s to the Present.
What today represents a whole feeling for life, indeed a lifestyle for many, was a sensation in the mid-1950s. Pop music has been with us for over half a century. In 1954 Elvis Presley sang That's All Right Mama and ignited the sparks of the pop revolution. Soon the first waves of this musical earthquake also reached Switzerland.
Authentic rockers were rare or were considered beatniks. But that would change quickly in the 1960s. First electric guitar became the rage then the Beatles and the Rolling Stones left their mark on Switzerland. In 1968, Swiss pop music celebrated its first high point: Les Sauterelles made the hit parade! With that a colorful scene and new horizons opened up. Beat mixed with soul and jazz. In the 1970s the Minstrels, Toni Vescoli, Polo Hofer and Rumpelstilz sang in Swiss-German. Krokus brought hard rock to the scene and captured the USA.
A new era began in 1983 when private local stations like DRS3, Couleur3 and Rete3 started broadcasting and finally Swiss pop and rock bands were being played on the radio. That fertilized the burgeoning Swiss pop music scene. Some bands even made the leap abroad. How did things progress from the 1990s on? François “FM” Mürner, a radio man of the first pop music hour, is the one to ask – let yourself be guided by him through the exhibit and learn about beats, bands and pop music in Switzerland. Oh yeah!
In the crucible of propaganda. Switzerland and the First World War
A joint exhibition by the Swiss National Library and the Museum of Communication
21st August to 9th November 2014
In 1914, as Europe became engulfed in the First World War, Switzerland was also affected. The country was split: while a majority of Swiss-German speakers sympathized strongly with Germany and Austria-Hungary, in the western part of the country most French-speaking Swiss sided with France and its allies. The split within Switzerland was picked up on by the foreign war powers – and used. They began massive propaganda campaigns to win over Swiss public opinion.
The deep divide in sympathies proved a severe challenge to Swiss domestic politics. Although it stayed united politically, after the war the country was marked by deep social and cultural divides.
In the crucible of propaganda showed various documents from the First World War era. It focused on the propaganda war and the splits that divided Switzerland.
Rituals. A Guidebook to Life
8th November 2013 to 20th July 2014
Our lives are marked by rituals. We encounter them in all areas of life – at the family table, the work place, in sports stadiums and at church, at state receptions, the youth center, popular fests and rock concerts. Thanks to rituals we learn how we are expected to behave. Rituals support us, help us form a sense of identity and trust, give us feelings of belonging and being safe. But they can also ostracize and manipulate. As codes of communication they regulate behavior in the community. In its exhibition entitled “Rituale. Ein Reiseführer zum Leben” – Rituals. A Guidebook to Life – the Museum of Communication took a closer look at rituals.
Rituals are defined as regularly repeated yet often unconscious courses of action with symbolic meaning. The exhibit staged the theme in a (fictive) land of rituals and sent visitors on a voyage through the peaks of power, the plains of security, the fields of everyday life, and the valley of tradition. The viewing point at the end of the exhibit rewarded visitors with both a vista and an overview: they could test their newly-acquired knowledge via the “ritual decoder” while the “ritual creator” suggested a ritual tailor-made just for them.
21 – Remembering coming of age
30th August to 27th October 2013
Bernese artist Mats Staub's video installation revolves around three questions: What year did you turn 21? What did you experience at the time? And how did you become an adult? Mats Staub asked people of all ages these questions and recorded the answers. The long conversations were condensed into short portraits. He later played them back to his conversation partners and filmed them at the same time. Visitors of the «21» exhibition experienced both simultaneously: as they listened to the stories, they could see how the narrators were faced with their own history as they listened to it – intimate moments of remembering were created.
«21 – Remembering coming of age» is a long-term project by Mats Staub and grows as it goes from place to place. The 50 portraits screened at the Museum of Communication had never been shown in Switzerland before. Out of them, 20 were shot specifically for the exhibition in Bern, twelve of which in German and the remaining eight in French.
Am I beautiful?
A joint exhibition by the Museum of Communication and the Natural History Museum of the Burgergeimende Bern
9th November 2012 to 7th July 2013
You look in the mirror to check, you readjust your hair, a bit of powder to fix your complexion – the desire to be admired is as old as man. «Am I beautiful?» is a question that keeps us on our toes throughout our lives – sometimes in very subtle, other times in very immediate ways. Is beauty merely a means to optimising procreation? Is what is beautiful also good? How far will the beauty imperative push us? The exhibition «Am I beautiful?» explored these questions and others and encouraged its visitors to look for individual answers.
The collaboration between the Museum of Communication and the Natural History Museum of the Burgergemeinde Bern has broadened the question of «Am I beautiful?» to include the animal kingdom, because beauty is a deciding factor both in human and animal coexistence. The exhibition conveyed biological fundamentals and investigated ideals of beauty through the ages and across cultures without neglecting questions of power and the creation of beauty.
A special section of the exhibition was devoted to acoustic beauty. One of the items on display was a voice modulator, which allowed the visitors to briefly change their tune.
«Am I beautiful?» subsequently toured to the Museums of Communication in Berlin and Frankfurt. The Swiss National Museum took over the exhibition for the Swiss History Forum in Schwyz.
Thorberg. Behind bars.
30th August to 28. October 2012
Documentary filmmaker Dieter Fahrer's exhibition «Thorberg. Behind bars.» showed film portraits of convicts shot at Thorberg, a Bernese prison. Several years of work allowed Fahrer to gain an insight into this closed-off world. He gave 18 inmates the opportunity to talk about their lives in short film portraits. The men talked about being locked up, their lives beforehand, their guilt, hopes and fears. They showed Thorberg, a prison with mythical status, from the inmates' point of view. At the time of filming, the men portrayed in the documentary were between the ages of 28 and 45. The visitors watched the film portraits inside six 8.5 sqm prison cells, rebuilt as life-size replicas. Every cell housed an original item from Thorberg Prison: this one a bed, that one a sink or mirror cabinet, another one a table and chair. There was a TV screen in all cells, fulfilling as a dual-purpose medium of communication: in the exhibition it served as a window into the prison; as part of everyday prison life, the TV screen is the inmates' window to the world.
The exhibition was later shown at the Museum of Communication in Frankfurt.
Caution: communication endangered
4th November 2011 to 15th July 2012
Piles of junk mail in the letter box, hundreds of daily e-mails, non-stop tweeting on social networks: no wonder people feel increasingly overwhelmed , no wonder we feel drained, stressed out, irritated. How afraid are we to miss out on something? How much of a strain is it to always have to be reachable? When do unlimited communication outlets turn into a tide impossible to cope with? In the exhibition «Caution: communication endangered», the Museum of Communication shows how you can navigate the flood of communication free of stress. The exhibition was staged as a health spa and conveyed tips and strategies on how to deal with the flood of communication in a relaxed and sensible manner, spread across 13 interactive stations. The entry station called «check-up», where the visitors were able to initially reflect upon and document how they deal with communication, proved very popular. The computer-aided software originated from a questionnaire based on scientific research and was made up of 20 questions. It was developed in collaboration with the Institute of Sociology of the University of Bern specifically for this exhibition. The result of the check-up was the so-called Personal Communications Index (PKI) reflecting every spa visitor's use, fun and woes.
Where are you? YOUR MOBILE MAKES YOU MOBILE
15th October 2010 to 3rd July 2011
The «Where are you?» YOUR MOBILE MAKES YOU MOBILE exhibition showed how mobile communication is changing our communication habits. A selection of devices from the museum's collection documented the rapid development from the first car phone all the way to today. The mobile phone, however, was not simply the subject of the exhibition, but also the audio guide though it. This type of visitor's guide was a technological world premiere and proved very popular. A large proportion of the visitors took part in the «mobile etiquette manual», a poll on the visitor's relationship with and usage of their mobiles. An analysis of the data showed that differences in answers weren't primarily determined by differences in age.
My grandparents – stories to remember
3rd September to 10th October 2010
Bern artist Mats Staub's audio and photo exhibition «My grandparents – stories to remember» showcased fifty grandchildren's memories. «My grandparents – stories to remember» looked back on the upheavals of the 20th century, but placed the focus on the descendants. The grandchildren tell the stories of a time they didn't witness themselves, but know only from hearsay. They fashioned a narrative out of their own memories of narratives. The focus of the exhibition were 50 conversations in which grandchildren from across Switzerland, Germany and Austria spoke of their grandparents. Mats Staub condensed these narratives into approximately 10-minute audio pictures which the audience were free to select and listen to on iPods. The lives of the grandparents and grandchildren spanned over a hundred years and thus several eras: the oldest grandfather was born in 1880, the youngest grandchild in 1985. Several grandparents were from abroad. With the help of individual biographies, «My grandparents – stories to remember» also provided an insight into the history of Switzerland as a country of immigration.
16th October 2009 to 4th July 2010
Wherever people communicate with each other, it will sooner or later pop up: the rumour. Whether that be at a family gathering, in the stairwell, down the local, at the office, on the trading floor or in parliament.
The rumour is neither lie nor truth. It's located somewhere between information and false report and leaves room for interpretation. Rumours enjoy a dubious reputation, yet everyone will eventually help spread them – sometimes unknowingly, sometimes very deliberately. In the eponymous exhibition, the Museum of Communication allowed the visitors to experience the many facets of the rumour. The temporary exhibition conveyed valuable information on the subject of the rumour, amongst other things with ten easy questions and answers. Several interactive stations allowed the visitors to immediately put this «dry theory» to the practical test. The rumour generator, a PC station that generated rumours out of a few personal details and started spreading them, proved one of the most popular stations. The biggest draw, however, was the «Spy in the service of the rumour», a small, projected character visitors could directly communicate with.
«Rumour» was subsequently shown at the Museums of Communication in Berlin and Frankfurt.
Goodbye & Hello: a dialogue with the hereafter
17th October 2008 to 5th July 2009
There are many ideas of what life after death looks like. Much rarer are clear definitions or demarcations between this life and the next. In its "Goodbye & Hello: a dialogue with the hereafter“, the Museum of Communication zeroed in on the point of intersection between this life and the next. In doing so, it entered a field of uncertainty that offers fascinating insights. At the core of the exhibition at the Museum of Communication lay those directly affected and their experiences.
A great number of visitors felt compelled to share their own experiences. 70% believe in the hereafter or life after death. A quarter of our visitors had experienced hauntings, seen ghosts or been in contact with the dead. Half the survey respondents believe in ghosts and hauntings.
The International Forum Design in Hannover honoured "Goodbye & Hello: a dialogue with the hereafter" with the "iF communication design award 2009“. The exhibition was designed by gewerk, Berlin.
19th October 2007 to 6th July 2008
The exhibition investigated the level of objectivity of images and highlighted the patterns of manipulation through and with images. The visitors immersed themselves into an "ABC of lies“ and travelled along the alphabet from A for "aktuell“ ("current“) to Z for "Zukunft“ ("future“). Over 300 images from the last 100 years, roughly, served to illustrate the scope of the subject. The Museum of Communication exclusively exhibited Swiss images. The images shown in the exhibition exemplified and disclosed the three basic patterns of how images can be deceitful: the doctoring of images, the distortion of text and context references and lying with the help of real images. "Deceitful images“ illustrated how images sources can be critically analysed and read. The exhibition explained the ethical demands that need to be asserted when dealing with image sources, and made it clear that the onus is not just on those who produce and distribute images, but also on those who consume them.
The touring exhibition "Deceitful images“ was developed by the Haus der Geschichte der Bundesrepublik Deutschland Foundation and created with financial support from the German Federal Agency for Civic Education.
hair-raising: Man – Animal - Communication
A joint exhibition by the Museum of Communication and the Natural History Museum of the Burgergemeinde Bern.
20th October 2006 to 1st July 2007
The temporary exhibition "hair-raising: Man – Animal - Communication" offered an insight into the fascinating universe of animal and human communication, because communication is a prerequisite to living together, be that among humans or animals. The animal kingdom has many forms of communication at its disposal. When hyaenas' neck hairs stand on end, wolves put their ears back, whales sing and fireflies glow, they are sending out warning and attraction signals that are unambiguous and vital messages to their fellow species. However, there is also communication between member of different species: between predator and prey, parasite and host. Across this species boundary, humans communicate with their pets. "hair-raising" got to the bottom of the relationship between man and animal, and illustrated how they communicate together, but also how animals communicate amongst themselves.
Three German exhibitions that had been shown at the Museum of Communication in Berlin, the Übersee Museum Bremen and the State Museum of Nature and Man in Oldenburg formed the basis of «hair-raising». They were pulled together and added to for the exhibition in Bern.
"reisegelb“ – 100 years of post buses in Switzerland
2nd June to 3rd September 2006
The Museum of Communication dedicated a celebratory exhibition to the Post Bus, a Swiss institution, for its 100th anniversary. Over its history, the bright yellow Post Bus became part and parcel of the Swiss brand and of the Swiss cultural heritage. The "reisegeld“ exhibition traced the history of the Post Bus, from its bumpy beginnings to the hightech vehicle of a modern public transport company. The themes ranged from vehicle development to its role in tourism and transport, its cultural aspects and the significance of the Post Bus as part of everyday life in Switzerland. Fringe events offered were tours around Bern in vintage post buses and a national vintage post bus rally to the Museum of Communication. Vintage post buses were on constant display in and around the museum.
Electric guitars: Legends. Noise. Passion
21st October 2005 to 28th April 2006
The exhibition told the story of the electric guitar and its effect on society. The starting point were original specimens, milestones of its 70-year history, displayed in the exhibition: very rare instruments of peerless aesthetic value. Texts, images, sounds and films testify to the explosive potential and the sensuality of the electric guitar and its music. The visitors could, under expert guidance, personally hazard a Hendrix or Clapton-style riff on about 15 guitars. «Electric guitars» was a multimedia journey through the century of mass culture. The headphones the visitors were handed upon entering could be plugged in anywhere and provided the necessary soundtrack.
«Electric guitars» was an exhibition of the Deutsches Technikmuseum and the TECHNOSEUM in Mannheim, with the addition of Swiss elements.