Design + Magic An Open Investigation Into Two Intertwined Realms

21.10.2023, 10.30am–8pm – Kornhausforum, Kornhausplatz 18, 3011 Bern

The lettering "Design + Magic" in front of squares in different sizes and colours.

“Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.” – Arthur C. Clarke's third law.

From the beginning of our school days, we have been taught how science has illuminated the dark night of medieval mysticism and ignorance. Science and magic were portrayed in Europe as eternal opposites for centuries. In a simplistic narrative, we could say that science ended up in school books, whereas magic was demoted to fairy tales and fantasy stories.

Since the 20th century, several academic studies have turned their attention back to supernatural practices. Sociology and anthropology highlight new perspectives and ways to interpret magical traditions. They have proved to be subjects of interest at the edge of many disciplines, disobedient to the coded rules of a man-made nature. As a cultural practice, magic is a vessel for communities to perform folk rituals and local traditions, apart from coexisting with globalization. In the past, performing magical spells have been negatively associated with witches. However, it has recently become a subject of interest for feminist activism and studies as a superhuman phenomenon escaping the control of humankind and its rational logic. Yet it is impossible not to notice the striking proximity magic has to modern technology, like artificial intelligence.

By its very vast and ever-changing definition, design has always had a special preference for in-between territories, where it finds new ways to reinvent itself. So it comes down to the question: which unexpected and mysterious new intersections can we imagine?

Registration required for workshop.


  • Start date 21.10.2023, 10.30am–8pm
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  • Place Kornhausforum, Kornhausplatz 18, 3011 Bern
  • Costs free of charge