To go beyond the display and create a communal space for discussion, a precursor to the exhibition programme was the introduction of an annual conference scheme, DISPUTAZIUNS SUSCH, gathering scholars, writers, artists and scientists for a weekend of conversations and lectures in Susch. The first edition, in 2017, On Reformation and Standards of Thought on the occasion of the 500th anniversary of Martin Luther’s Ninety-five Theses or Disputation on the Power of Indulgences being sent to Albert of Brandenburg, the Archbishop of Mainz, in October 1517, was an invitation to debate what happened in the early 16th century when concepts of magic, miracle and divine intervention as epistemologies ceased to square with the burgeoning intellectual integrity of the time. The 2018 edition, Do They Dream of Electric Sheep?, challenged beliefs and re-examined assumptions about Artificial Intelligence and its potential uses, implications and consequences in terms of economies, culture, ethics and belief systems. Touching on the mystical aspects of both technological and artificial power structures, an invited group of experts discussed the agencies and dangers of transferring gender and power imbalances from the physical sphere to the digital. In 2019, The Magicians of the Mountain brought together scholars and artists in memory of the 90th anniversary of the Davos disputation in 1929 by Ernst Cassirer and Martin Heidegger that marked a ‘continental divide’ (Peter E. Gordon), anticipating major philosophical debates to come. 90 years ahead, in Susch, 40 minutes away from Davos, once again in times of disorientation, disillusion, with radical movements on the rise, we were repeating the question that led the historical debate: Can the critique of reason grow into a critique of culture? What does it mean to be human?
The annual conference format is open to the public upon registration, no fees are charged and all contributions are fully recorded, edited lectures and discussions are shared online.