Pascal Schwaighofer is a multi- and interdisciplinary artist, a Mellon Graduate Fellow at the Society for the Humanities, and a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of Comparative Literature at Cornell University. His research is grounded in environmental humanities, visual culture, and critical theory. Starting from the material culture of apiculture, his dissertation project explores the modern Western fascination with honeybees and its transdisciplinary influence on linguistics, cybernetics, economy, and ecology. The thesis revisits the findings of Nobel Prize-winning ethologist Karl von Frisch (1886-1982) and Thomas D. Seeley, the Horace White Professor in Biology at Cornell University; it tracks the ontological and epistemological reshuffling prompted by von Frisch’s “Bee Language,” Seeley’s “Honeybee Democracy,” and the dramatic decline in pollinator populations worldwide. Against the backdrop of major ecological disruptions, Pascal uses the study of honeybees to probe the complex imbrication of neurobiology, tropology, and political concepts such as democracy and care.
Pascal has written “The Book Hive: A Material Metaphor,” an essay currently under review for the collection “Critical Insect Studies and the Long Eighteenth Century,” a special issue of The Eighteenth Century: Theory and Interpretation. In this essay,he discusses the epistemological implications of the hiving system designed in the form of a book and the visual impairment of its inventor, Genevan naturalist François Huber (1750–1831). In addition to his academic research, Pascal pursues a research-based artistic practice focused on the comparative strategies of technology and aesthetics. His artworks have been acquired by private and public collections and exhibited in major European museums, such as the Aargauer Kunsthaus (Switzerland); Kunstmuseum Luzern (Switzerland); Kolumba Museum (Cologne, Germany); MAGA museum (Gallarate, Italy); Centre Culturel Suisse (Paris, France); Center of Contemporary Art (Plovdiv, Bulgaria), and many others. In collaboration with art curator Jan Verwoert, Pascal is the author of Tulipmania, a publication focusing on the link between contemporary aesthetics and the abstract economy of tulips in the seventeenth century. He was awarded the prestigious Swiss Art Awards and the Manor Art Prize, Switzerland, and in 2019 he received a Production Grant from Cornell Council of the Arts and was awarded the Cornell University Comparative Literature Essay Prize.
His artistic practice has been exhibited in several institutions across Europe such as the Center of Contemporary Art, Plovdiv, (BJ); Kunstmuseum Lucerne, (CH); MAGA museum, Gallarate, (IT); Aargauer Kunsthaus, (CH); Kolumba Museum, Cologne, (DE); Centre Culturel Suisse, Paris, (FR); Museo Cantonale d’Arte, Lugano, (CH); AR/GE kunst, Galerie museum, Bozen/Bolzano, (IT). Recent lectures include La classe sterile, with Christian Marazzi, at Museo Vincenzo Vela (2016); The Fable of the Bees, at Performa Festival (2015); Tulipmania, with Jan Verwoert, at Le Foyer, Zurich (2014). He was awarded the Manor Art Prize, Ticino, Switzerland and the Swiss Art Awards (2011). In January 2016 Tulipmania was released, a publication based on a dialogue between Jan Verwoert and Pascal Schwaighofer as an extension of a multi-part work called Economimesis. In 2011 he was selected for the Collection Cahier d’Artiste, a publication series promoted by the Swiss Art Council Pro Helvetia.
In Absent Places We Dwell activeRat, Berne et Genève 2012 English, French, 66 x 45 cm ISBN: 978-3-9521842-7-1 http://www.pianonobile.ch
Pascal Schwaighofer / Misha Stroj AR/GE kunst - issue #13 Mousse Publishing, 2012 Limited edition: 800 copies (1 booklet, 1 Poster) English, Italian, German, 21 x 15 cm http://www.moussepublishing.com
OPOYAZ Pascal Schwaighofer edition fink Zürich, 2012 Italian/English, 25,5 x 21 cm, 92 pages ISBN: 978-3-03746-161-7 http://www.editionfink.ch
Cahiers d'Artiste Pascal Schwaighofer Edizioni Periferia, Luzern, 2011 Edited by Pro Helvetia, Swiss Arts Council Italian/English, Softcover, 165x240 mm, 48 pages ISBN 978–3–907474–88–4 http://www.prohelvetia.ch
The Sterile Class Seminar November 21-22, 2016 CCC Research Master Programme at HEAD – Geneva School of Art and Design https://head.hesge.ch
The Common 15 Juli 2016 Pascal Schwaighofer im Gespräch mit Vesna Tomse, Stadtsoziologin und Daniela Kühne, Dozentin für Öffentliches Recht, Universität Luzern Maagplatz, Zürich http://lefoyer-lefoyer.blogspot.ch
Jacques Derrida trifft Alexander Kluge oder: Zur Aktualität des Poststrukturalismus für zeitgenössisches philosophisches und künstlerisches Handeln Colloquium May 8, 2014 Zürcher Hochschule der Künste, ZHdK, Switzerland http://www.zhdk.ch
Cannibalismes et autres «pratiques» d’assimilation Workshop March 24 - 28, 2014 l'Ecole cantonale d'art du Valais, ECAV, Sierre, Switzerland http://www.ecav.ch
Mythological Reenactment Lecture/debate December 4, 2013 with Nicola Soldini, architect, historian and lecturer at SUPSI-Scuola universitaria professionale della Svizzera italiana. i2a, Istituto Internazionale di Architettura, Vico Morcote http://www.i2a.ch
Production Grant, CCA, Cornell Council of the Arts, 2019 Comparative Literature Department Essay Prize, Cornell University, 2019 Canton Zurich Art Award, 2017 Production Grant, Pro Helvetia, 2017 Research Grant, Pro Helvetia, 2016 UBS Culture Foundation, 2015 Pro Helvetia Studio Residency, New Delhi, India, 2014 Manor Art Prize,Ticino, Switzerland, 2011 Swiss art awards, 2011 Collection Cahier d’Artistes, Pro Helvetia, 2011
2022 Jury member Master Program, École cantonale d’art du Valais, ECAV, Valais, Switzerland
Jury member Bachelor Program École cantonale d’art du Valais, ECAV, Valais, Switzerland