Zeitgeist: Zurich to Berlin

June 20 – July 4, 2018

Zurich Badge

This study trip offers a unique experience in 2018!

We will start in Zürich and visit Cabaret Voltaire, the heart and soul of the Dada movement for a two day workshop with the Director of the cabaret, Adrian Notz. After Zürich we will travel to Bregenz to see the world famous Museum Kunsthaus by architect Peter Zumthor  and continue to travel to Munich to follow the historical route of the Dada movement East, continue to Kronach and stay in a medieval castle, visit Concentration Camp Buchenwald, visit Weimar, the birthplace of the Weimar Republic, the Bauhaus and workplace of Goethe and Schiller and eventually arrive in Berlin, where participants will work in a studio in Berlin Mitte and prepare an exhibition concluding this trip.

No other branch of Dada was quite as radical, anarchical, politically aware, and alert as the Berlin group in the 1920s. Within a few years artists and intellectuals started to question and subsequently replace all established ideas about contemporary art. Economical pressure and political diversity, instability and radicalism created a climate for artistic ideas that would change the world forever and yet could not prevent the decline that was to come.

The study trip will follow ideas and work of artist like George Grosz,  Hannah Hoech, Emmy Hennings, Raoul Hausmann, Max Ernst, John Heartfield, Sophie Täuber, El Lissitzky, Marcel Duchamp, Francis Picabia, Kurt Schwitters, Tristan Tzara, Hans Richter, Hugo Ball, Richard Huelsenbeck and Jean Hans Arp on the eve of the Great Depression and World War II. The key ideas and developments of Dada will be discussed and put into historical context with readings from Hannah Arendt, Walter Benjamin, Anton Kaes and Alfred Döblin among others.

We will examine the political strategies intrinsic to Dada and its contemporary equivalents and what such gestures offer to practicing artists today.

Credits: 3 or 6 credits STUDIO (4000-level)

Instructors: Oliver Sann, Assistant Professor, Photography Beate Geissler, Lecturer

Program fee: Approx. $3,000 (including accommodation in hostels and hotels, ground transport; not including airfare).

PLUS Tuition cost per credit: Undergraduate—$1,552 per credit hour Graduate—$1,625 per credit hour.


Budget at least $1,600 for airfare if flying from the United States. (Note this is only an estimated figure. Actual fare will depend on many variables including airline, number of stopovers, exchange rate fluctuations, ports of departure and return, and date of ticket purchase).

Online registration begins: March 14, 2018

Deposit due at registration: $525

Information sessions: Thursday, February 8,  12:10 p.m. MacLean Centre, room 111

Thursday, March 1, 12:10 p.m. MacLean Centre, room 111

Scholarship Opportunities: Students who intend to register for this study trip are eligible to apply for  SAIC Travel & J. Field/R. Field Family Travel Scholarships to assist with expenses. Application deadline February 14, 2018.

From previous Zeitgeist course evaluations:

  • As a student who may not have as many -- or another -- opportunities to travel and see the world, I greatly appreciated the nature of the study trip course. I was able to learn and grow in an amazingly fruitful environment, with the fostering and safe backing granted by Oliver and Beate • It was wonderful! I learned so much is such a small amount of time.
  • Was such a great experience meeting complete strangers through this trip and have developed great friendships with some incredible students. Plus, we saw a LOT of contemporary art (not just Dada) which was so fantastic.
  • Was so incredibly lucky to have Oliver and Beate as instructors on this trip!!!! They were so well educated about the work we saw/had fantastic discussions with them plus everyone was so kind and fun! • Really helpful and make the whole trip really fun.
  • This has been one of the most nourishing experiences of my life without it being challenging to the extreme of leaving me exhausted. It was overwhelming the amount of information/art I was exposed to, but rather than exhausting it was vitalising and inspiring.
  • Don't hesitate in signing up for this course future students/evaluators