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The Center of Negativity is composed of different practices that look at emotional difficulties in the field of art: Are the specific discrepancies that artists experience an expression of today’s hyper-individuality? And by working on them, can tools be developed that disclose the personal in the political and the political in the personal? Starting from listening, a variety of practices offer opportunities to engage with these issues. One-on-one talks, as well as workshops in art schools, group conversations and a research project cross-fertilize each other.

In short, The Center of Negativity creates spaces for exchange about feelings, negative emotions and mental health in the field of art with the aspiration to develop collective practices to deal with them.

One-on-one conversations

A one-on-one conversation usually lasts one hour and takes place in a shielded setting. The topics discussed are kept confidential. Some protocols generate a document (e.g. a diploma), the publicity or privacy of which can be decided by the recipient. At the beginning of the conversations, the talking partner decides which protocol to follow.


The Center of Negativity offers the shortest study programs in the world: Diplomas can be obtained within the frame of one talk. Because we assume that you are already a practitioner, you will only need to present your qualification and knowledge to the examination committee.

The highest degree in our program is the Master of Arts in Depression (MAD). If you find yourself operating on other levels, The Center of Negativity also offers a wide range of alternatives, like the Bachelor of Arts in Romanticising the Blues (BARB) or in Avoiding Conflicts (BAAC). During the examination talk, we find out what suits you best. Maybe what is missing on your path is a Professional Blamer (PB) certificate. See our graduates below!


Agreement is a one-on-one talk about feelings. The conversation builds the fundament of relating to each other by speaking out what “we agree on”. This includes the setting and the mode of the conversation as well as ideas, perceptions and states of being that are present to both. The talk revolves around these agreements and as it unfolds, we might dismiss some of them or add new ones. In the end of a session, we revisit all the agreements.

Can we agree that we sit on a carpet or lay on the floor? Can we agree that the windows are open or the curtains are closed? Can we agree that we talk about feelings?


Our talk is based on a list of dark emotions, that were most present in my life as an artist and have led me to make a lot of artworks. You choose the two of them which are most present in your life and we exchange our experiences. A motivation letter will be issued.

Job Interview

You apply to work in The Center of Negativity. The job interview is conducted in intervals of talk and silence, which we will first have to define. A letter of recommendation will be issued.

Open Space

There are situations in which no protocol should get in the way of a conversations. In the Center of Negativity, emotions can be expressed and find a place to be heard.

If you want to have a conversation, please send an e-mail to:


By Tanja Schwarz and Roger Fähndrich, in collaboration with Nicole Frei (ZHdK) and Francesco Micieli (HKB)

The Art of Feeling Bad, April 2022, ZHdK Zürich
Hello Darkness My Old Friend, April 2021, HKB Bern, in the frame of the Y Toolbox week


graduates center of negativity graduates center of negativity