What similarities and synergetic potentials between Swiss and British culture did you encounter throughout your time in London that add to your work as an artist?
I came here as a very young person that was trying to shake off that reputation that a Swiss heritage comes with. Early twenties I didn’t feel like Switzerland as being the most exciting place to be coming from so it was important for me to go somewhere else to adopt and absorb and be influenced by other cultures. So maybe I lost my Swissness a bit. Though the funny thing is that I actually have the biggest part of my clients in Switzerland as of today. I guess I started to appreciate it more in that sense that people are quite interested in value based clothing. The ethical part seems to be rather important to them.
Though if there is still a part of Swissness in you, what would you say that part represents?
It’s definitely not my organisation skills. I guess caring about nature and other people are values that I picked up in Switzerland. But they are “rule followers” to a certain extent. In little aspects you can see that for example in term of their recycling habits. This conscience is not as developed in London. In Switzerland people carry their trash with them until they see a legitimate place to throw it away.
Is there a need that should be tackled politically in your community? What is it and how would you go about it?
Yes there is. Having a young daughter, I notice in this community that topics such as nature and looking after the environment are still not as important as they should be. People litter constantly and are not really aware of how to eat healthy. So all of that contributes to this cycle. You eat a bunch of junk food so you produce lots of rubbish, you’re prone to be unhealthy and possibly are not able to have your body work to its full potential. An increased awareness in these areas could have an immense positive effect on this community and the whole of society. I guess to go after the task the youth should be addressed in a way that is not patronising but informational and interesting. So young and cooler people should address the issues, not only politicians, whom nobody really cares about. So maybe artistic and musical sort of projects or festivals that try to implement a certain way of thought in this respect, could help. But also schools and teachers should talk about how to eat. Not having an ice cream car in front of the primary school would help. As a mother having to constantly explain to your child why it can’t have an ice cream everyday even though other kids can is tiring.
What does nationalism mean to you? How do you regard nationalistic tendencies in Switzerland and around Europe such as in Spain (Catalonia, Basque), UK (Scotland, Ireland), France (Front National), etc.?
Most of the time it’s definitely not a good force. I mean I understand if people are proud of their country but usually it doesn’t lead to the best. These tendencies are terrifying. Scary. Switzerland shocks and embarrasses me in that sense that international headlines pick up on the Swiss as foreign haters. For example the SVP billboards with the black and white sheep that are just unbelievably racist and yet still legally accepted. The Scottish referendum was motivated differently. As it was moreover motivated by a sense of need to separate themselves from the big capitol that London is. So independence was the driving force. They did not feel part of the bigger picture. So their decision to try to separate and nationalism in this sense I can understand but other nationalistic tendencies and parties such as the Front Nationale in France I find terrifying. I also don’t understand why people vote conservative anyhow as most people don’t profit from their rather rich people oriented policies.
Do you feel more Swiss or European? More European or moreover a citizen of the world?
Definitely more European. I would love to be able to say that I am a citizen of the world but it would not be true since I’ve only lived in Europe so far. I guess as much as I’ve travelled and understand different cultures it would not be appropriate to call myself a citizen of the world. But we should all see the world as ours and take care of it.
What’s your take on terrorism? à Isn’t one person’s terrorist another person’s freedom fighter?
It’s an easy name to put upon people that don’t fit your political agenda. I guess it’s mostly us putting labels around peoples necks in a way that suits our general understanding of the system. So yes it is a dangerous wording.
How do you regard today’s practice of counterterrorism?
It’s very scary at the moment what is going on. Things are obviously happening and people are in danger but it’s important for the west to keep in mind that possible interventionist actions might lead to an Arab vs. the west front. Especially looking at ISIS there should be emphasise on diplomatic rather than military ways to solve the issues if possible.
Do you believe in international cooperation?
In an ideal world that should be the case if people act rational.
Would you call yourself a realist, idealist or utopist?
Yes maybe even an utopist.
What’s a recent miracle you’ve encountered in your life?
Apart from my child haha. Nothing really.
Where and how will you be living in 20 years from now?
As a citizen of the world which I might be until then. I will hopefully live in a world that managed to resolve issues diplomatically and peacefully. Having an adult daughter that absorbed all this information out there and uses it to improve the world. I’ve tried to move to Spain for 5 years and I am still here so who knows. But yes Spain would be nice. Probably it will still be Europe to be honest because of the family.