Where it seems most uncomfortable, most dangerous, there is often an underestimated area: the inbetween. Francois Julien has differentiated it, on the one hand as a place that is occupied without reference, either ignorantly, subordinately and/or dominantly. And on the other hand, as a space of relations that can be changed by introducing a distance that maintains the relationship. This sphere can then become an agora, a place of negotiation, a space of possibility. What does it take for this to happen and for it to become a stage on which everything can be said and done? 

The philosopher Marie-José Mondzain has sensitized us to the fact that the concept of ’empathy’, which is so often brought into play at the moment, has its roots in pathos. Let’s look at the three rhetorical styles that relate to argumentation: Ethos, Pathos and Logos. 

Ethos refers to the credibility of the speaker, pathos to the emotional appeal to the audience and logos to the logic of the argument. So when we demand or forbid empathy, we are on an emotional level that threatens to confuse our own feelings with those of others. Shouldn’t we strive to feel, think and question all in one? Our time is characterized by a fear (phobocracy) of complexity, which leads us to an apparent inefficiency, slowing down and disorientation. But if we perceive this as productive, as an opportunity for change, as a creative space, we are open. How can we now turn the deadlocked space of destruction and fear, in which a few self-appointed or even elected leaders set the direction, into a space of articulation in which alternatives can emerge? Alternatives in perception, speech and action. How can we make real utopias legitimate and free them from being discredited as naïve or pacifist and see them as just as possible as the impossible horror proves every day? It is inherent in human beings to anticipate danger and protect themselves, as well as to develop and try new paths. Let us allow ourselves to make the impossible as concrete as possible. If we keep to the Italian word for design/creation progetto, we are already designing in a project, throwing something into the world. 

We invite you to ask questions between the lines and, if you like, to make suggestions – possible and impossible, legitimate and illegitimate, sensible and crazy, in order to open up a spatium, an in-between space, which may initially appear to be a sideshow, but in its function between the lines is also at the center and can expand as an alternative.

The talk can be joined in room 11 or on zoom.


Meeting-ID: 673 9485 2764

Kenncode: KISD

Sociologist Vera Baur, specialized in visual and urban anthropology, is president of the association and the international transdisciplinary network Civic City – Institute for research and critical sciences in design and, with Ruedi Baur, directs the Ten-billion-humans laboratory which aims to carry out research, advice and development in relational, civic and social design. She is an associated researcher at the ETH_Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Zurich at the Hubert Klumpner Chair of Architecture and Urban Planning in Urban Anthropology and has been engaged as a visiting professor among others at USEK University, Beirut, EHESS and SciencesPo Paris as well as at the University of Strasbourg. In her research, creative projects and teaching, she aims to combine reflection, commitment and practice for a more just, solidaire and sustainable world.


Since the 1980s, Ruedi Baur has thought of his activity as a designer in the context of a civic space to be transformed. Initially working as a graphic designer for many cultural institutions, he organized transdisciplinary teaching in the 1990s based on critical research into the culture of design nourished by the practical experiences developed in his workshops.

Claiming an interdisciplinary design very early on, he created the Integral network in 1989 and ran the workshops until 2023: Integral Ruedi Baur, Paris, Zurich and Berlin, then Integral designers. In 2004 he created and directed with the sociologist Vera Baur at the ZHdK in Zurich the Design2context institute, then in 2011 the Institute for critical research in design Civic-City; in 2018, the 10-billion-human university start-up.

His bibliography makes it possible to follow his course, in particular with books such as “Architecture-graphics” (1998), “Des-Orientation 1 and 2” (2008-09) “Signs for Peace, an impossible visual Encyclopedia” (2012), “Facing the territorial brand” (2013), “A World to change” (2017) and “And suddenly the world was immobilized” (2020).