From September 8 to October 15, 2023, OPEN YOUR EYES will present a festival of creative photography to the public in Zurich – as a plea for understanding the UN’s 17 Sustainable Development Goals. The photographs will be exhibited in the streets, squares and parks of Zurich to break the boundaries with viewers and involve them in the process of reflecting on these works, which have been created around the globe and show the social, political, scientific and cultural diversity of our world from a different perspective.

Wühre: SDG14 – David Doubilet – Zwei Welten: über und unter dem Meer, © ETH Zürich/Allesandro Della Bella

Wühre: SDG14 – David Doubilet – Two Worlds: Above and Below the Sea; © ETH Zürich/Allesandro Della Bella

Through the aesthetic magic of picture narratives, the gardens, streets and squares of Zurich are transformed into a picture city. Public space becomes the setting for a Gesamtkunstwerk, whose energy culminates in research findings that affect us all. This results in surprising perspectives full of sensual creativity. The aim of open your eyes is to invite visitors to engage with the challenging issues of our time in a sensual way and to be amazed by great images. Nature, beauty, art, insight – and inspiration to reflect on the world we live in.

Limmatquai: SDG14 – Jennifer Hayes – Zwei Welten: über und unter dem Meer, © ETH Zürich/Allesandro Della Bella

Limmatquai: SDG14 – Jennifer Hayes – Two Worlds: Above and Below the Sea; © ETH Zürich/Allesandro Della Bella

The choice of theme for the photo festival: The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are to be achieved globally and by all UN member states by 2030. This means that all states are equally called upon to solve the world’s pressing challenges together. The 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) take into account the economic, social and environmental dimensions of this task in a balanced way and bring together poverty reduction and sustainable development in one agenda for the first time.

Kirche St. Peter: SDG2 – George Steinmetz – Den Planeten ernähren; © Arnd Wiegmann

Kirche St. Peter: SDG2 – George Steinmetz – Feed the Planet; © Arnd Wiegmann

The exhibition concept comprises 17 SDGS „theme islands“. For each SDG theme island, one or two narratives are shown that relate to each other and inspire new ways of looking at our world and understanding the complex happenings in our society. These photographs open the view for something new, good, not self-evident, because the other is also shown. ETH Zurich complements the theme islands with relevant research results.

The presented photographic works are not to be understood as illustrations of the SDGs, but as comments and remarks in the sense of Cornell Capa’s „Concerned Photographers“. Capa chose this term to describe works that go beyond documenting events and show them with a humanitarian impulse. This school of thought is also known as a concept in the context of science: The term „Concerned Scientists“ is used to describe harnessing rigorous, independent science to solve our planet’s most pressing problems.

Die Themeninseln können zu Fuss oder mittels öffentlichen Verkehrsmitteln erreicht werden. Der Rundgang teilt sich in eine Stadtroute von der Polyterrasse der ETH Zürich über den Lindenhof hinunter zur Limmat um die Altstadtkirchen bis zum Bellevue und in eine Seeroute vom General Guisan Quai bis zum Seebad Enge.

The theme islands can be reached on foot or by public transport. The tour is divided into a city route from the Polyterrasse of the ETH Zurich via the Lindenhof down to the Limmat around the old town churches to Bellevue and a lake route from the General Guisan Quai to the lakeside resort of Enge.

The festival divides the exhibitions into a city route – Polyterrasse, Lindenhof, St. Peter, Münsterhof, Frauenmünster, Limmat, Grossmünster – and a lake route that leads from General Guisan Quai through the Arboretum to the lakeside resort of Hafen Enge. Almost four kilometres long, with free admission.

ETH Polyterrasse: SDG4 – Sonderausstellung CERN – Der Code des Universums; © ETH Zürich/Allesandro Della Bella

ETH Polyterrasse: SDG4 – Special exhibition CERN – The Code of the Universe; © ETH Zürich/Allesandro Della Bella