Voices and Shells, HD, 18:21, 2020

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17.05.    30.05.


It opens in the dark, in a corridor; water is flowing … Voices echo in these sewertunnels; it is the abyss of Munich, under the river Isar. The voices tell fragments of stories: about vanished people, violence, memory loss—while the camera is now above ground, scanning the city’s facades, including those of the “Third Reich.” The city appears as a body winding its way through time, past and present. Like a thread through memories, a spiral runs through it: a shell, a whirlpool, the turn of a staircase,the ever-recurring voices of the past. The film is a collage: it jumbles traces of history and forms of nature, bringing images, voices and sounds from different sources to the same level. A story of living beings and living environments, of fossils which challenge our perception of time.  

Sti image of water from film Voices and Shells by Maya Schweizer

Produced by Museum Villa Stuck, Munich, for the show Stimmen (Voices), 2020. Screened in the German competition of the 67. Internationalen Kurzfilmtagen Oberhausen, 2021, and at Forum Expanded of the 71. Berlinale, 2021.


Maya Schweizer, born in Paris, studied art and art history at the university Aix-Marseille, photography and media arts at the Academy of Fine Arts Leipzig (HGB), and visual arts at the Berlin University of the Arts (UDK) where she completed her master’s degree in 2007 in the class of Lothar Baumgarten. Schweizer works with different media, directing her focus in particular on experimental short films. 

She has had numerous solo exhibitions (including Westfälischer Kunstverein Münster (2010), Frankfurter Kunstverein (2011), Kunsthalle Baden-Baden (2014), Irish Museum of Modern Art, Dublin (2016), Kunstverein Leipzig (2018), Museum Villa Stuck, Munich, 2020) and showed her works in group exhibitions and at biennials (including Berlin Biennale, (2006), Centre Georges Pompidou (2007), The Elizabeth Foundation for the Arts, New York, (2013), Kunsthaus Dresden (2016), Anren Biennale, China (2017), La Stagione, al Spaziosiena, Sienna (2019), NBK. Der Neue Berliner Kunstverein de Berlin (2020), Manifesta, Marseille (2020). Her videos have already been selected for numerous festivals and events including the 67th Berlinale /Forum Expanded (2017), The Vancouver International Film Festival (2017,2019, 2020) and the Internationale Short Film Festival Oberhausen (2006, 2016, 2019, 2020). In 2019 her film was awarded with the e-flux award. Her latest film has been screened at the Short Film Festival Oberhausen, in the German competition and will be shown at the 71st Berlinale / Forum Expanded exhibition (2021). 

In addition to several grants, project funding and residencies, she received a Villa Aurora Fellowship, Los Angeles, (2008), a residency at 3bis F, lieu d’arts contemporains, Aix-en-Provence (2010), a film grant from the Goethe-Institute, Naples, (2015-2016), a 2015 catalog grant, from The Cultural Foundation of the Free State of Saxony (2015), a residency at Askeaton Contemporary Arts, Askeaton, Ireland (2017), a residency, at the Goethe-Institut, Fondazione – Morra-Museo Nitsch, Naples, (2016), a catalog grant, from The Cultural Foundation of the Free State of Saxony (2018), a research fellowship, Senate of Berlin, (2017), a working fellowship from the Senate of Berlin (2019), and the Film/Video Artists Program from the Senate of Berlin in 2021. 

To date, four monographs on her work have been published: Voices, (Walther and Franz König, Cologne 2020), Where Ivy Cracks The Wall (Naima, Paris / Berlin 2019), Lieux de mémoire and Desire (Archive Books, Berlin 2015), The Same Story Elsewhere / Die selbe Geschichte an einem anderen Ort – Maya Schweizer (Spector Books, Leipzig 2010).