Ursula Biemann (Switzerland) is an artist, theorist and curator who has in recent years produced a considerable body of work on migration, mobility, technology and gender. In a series of internationally exhibited video projects, as well as in several books "Been there and back to nowhere" (2000), "Stuff It - The Video Essay in the Digital Age“ (2003) and her new monograph „MISSION REPORTS“ (2008) she has focused on the gendered dimension of migrant labour from smuggling on the Spanish-Moroccan border to migrant sex workers in the global context. Her experimental video essays connect a theoretical macro level with the micro perspective on political and cultural practices on the ground.
Insisting that location is spatially produced rather than pre-determined by governance, she made space and mobility her prime category of analysis in the curatorial project "Geography and the Politics of Mobility" (2003) at the Generali Foundation in Vienna, „The Maghreb Conncection“ on migratory systems in North Africa, Cairo/Geneva (2006) or the art research projects “Black Sea Files” on the Caspian oil politics at Kunstwerke Berlin (2005) and „Sahara Chronicle“ on trans-saharan mobility. The most recent video essay "X-Mission" (2008) is an analysis of the Palestinian refugees camps as a zone of exception.
Biemann's practice has long included discussions with academics and other practitioners, she has worked with anthropologists, cultural theorists, NGO members, architects, as well as scholars of sonic culture. Her video essays reach a wide and diverse audience through festival screenings, art exhibitions, activist conferences, networks and educational settings.
Recent exhibitions include: Zona B at Tapies Foundation, Barcelona; International Biennial Istanbul; Centre d'art Contemporain, Geneva, solo exhibitions at the Bildmuseet Umea in Sweden, Nikolaj Contemporary Art in Copenhagen and the Helmhaus Zurich, a retrospective at the film festivals FID Marseille and TEK Rome, as well as participation in major exhibitions at the Arnolfini, Bristol, A Foundation Liverpool; LACE, Los Angeles and the Art Institute, San Francisco; Artist Space, New York, Kunstverein Hamburg;the Gwangju, Shanghai and Sevilla Biennials, steirischer Herbst, Graz, Flaherty Film Seminars, NY and many others.
Ursula Biemann is a researcher at the Institute for Theory of Art and Design at HGK Zurich and teaches seminars and workshops internationally. She is guest editor for a special issue of the cultural webmagazine ArteEast: Regimes of Extrateritoriality in the Middle East, December 2009.
She is appointed Doctor honoris causa in Humanities by the Swedish University Umea, 2008, and receiver of the 2009 Meret Oppenheim Prize, the national art award of Switzerland.
X-Mission is a piece of video research on the extra-territorial status of Palestinian camps and the refugees who inhabit them.