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#11 Talk • Claudia Comte & Tom Battin: the seabed & how the artist awakens consciousness by working with science

In the light of current times, the Foundation is broadening its field of exploration to include ecological issues through a series of online and live conversations “Creators facing the climate emergency”. Artists, scientists and searchers are invited to question today’s world and create new narratives to draw more desirable futures:

– Which commitment and responsibility do the artist and the philosopher have regarding this crisis?
– How are artistic and writing practices impacted? Which behaviour should individually and collectively be implemented?
– What new way to produce and display art while public engagement becomes increasingly immaterial?

The Swiss contemporary artist Claudia Comte is invited to share her practice and conception around natural and sustainable materials to engage new ways of producing and displaying art. Mainly known for her impressive site-specific installations that allow the public to encounter art through nature, Claudia Comte’s recent practice integrates the life cycles of rivers and oceans, notably through several scientific collaborations.

Moderated by Stefano Vendramin, curator in art related to ecology.


Claudia COMTE 

Born in 1983, Claudia Comte holds a master’s degree in art and science from the Haute Ecole Pédagogique des Arts Visuels in Lausanne, Switzerland. Mainly known for her impressive site-specific installations that allow the public to encounter art through nature, her minimalist work mixes geometric painting and abstract sculpture. Through the decomposition and repetition of motifs inspired by Op Art and Pop Art, Claudia Comte offers a colourful and dynamic work. However, although seductive to the eye, her works question above all the memory of materials and their ecosystem. Thus, the wood she uses reminds us of the climatic evolution of the planet, making us aware of the modification of materials intrinsically linked to their ecosystem. After numerous residencies in France, the United States and South Africa, she was awarded the Swiss Art Awards in 2014. Claudia Comte is represented by König Galerie and Gladstone Gallery.


Tom Battin has a doctorate in ecology and is a professor of environmental science at the Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL), specialising in aquatic ecosystems. By demonstrating the role of microbial biofilms in river ecosystems, Tom Battin has made the scientific community aware of the importance of inland waters in the global carbon cycle. Dominating microbial life, biofilms are an ancestral and multicellular life form of the Earth, which, by reproducing, contribute to the balance of ecosystems and the carbon cycle. His current research focuses on high mountain streams. To this end, he leads the project “Vanishing Glacier – What Else Besides Water Is Lost?” at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Lausanne (EPFL). In recognition of his research, Tom Battin was awarded the prestigious Start Prize in Austria.