stop. think. feel. act.

open your eyes Fotofestival Zürich
8. September bis 15. Oktober 2023

open your eyes

Fotofestival Zürich
8. September bis 15. Oktober 2023

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.

Click here for the visitor center.

open your eyes photo festival zurich

In partnership with ETH Zurich
and The Photo Society


Bundesamt für Raumentwicklung ARE
Delegierter des Bundesrates für die Agenda 2030

Facts & Figures

  • The thematic focus of the OPEN YOUR EYES photo festival is on the 17 Sustainable Development Goals of the United Nations. (Sustainable Development Goals SDGs)
  • The open your eyes photo festival brings together world-class science and world-class photography.
  • Together, the festival’s photographers and scientists from the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Zurich (ETH) create a new communication format.
  • Many of these photographers are members of The Photo Society (TPS), the association of nearly all National Geographic photographers.
  • The exhibition designers are among the leading minds of the international photography scene.
  • 27 exhibitions in 10 outdoor exhibition islands spread over a distance of 3 kilometres.
  • The positioning of the image worlds is precisely planned and approved by the city authorities.
  • The exhibited works are researched information, journalistic enlightenment, artistic expression AND scientific knowledge.
  • A professional visitor flow count will be posted.
  • On media day we expect up to 100 national and international media.
  • For the public, the festival is accessible barrier-free and free of charge.
  • The city becomes a gallery.
  • A collaboration with the city of Zurich for the world.
  • Emotions that touch.
  • Images full of magic that will enrich the visitors and charge them with confidence in life.

In this way, the creative, contemporary and at the same time deeply humanistic orientation of this festival is shaped into an event that makes attendance possible for everyone and becomes identity-forming for Zurich and Switzerland.

open your eyes.

About the Photo Festival

„Photography is too good to be just art“. – Timm Rautert

In the heart of the city of Zurich, world-class science will meet world-class photography for the first time from September 8, 2023. Together, the festival and the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Zurich (ETH) are creating a new communication format. It promotes a new era of understanding the world. The focus is on the United Nations‘ 17 Sustainable Development Goals: A Multinational Compass for Developing a More Peaceful and Just World.

Spacious open-air installations intertwine documentary photography and scientific knowledge in 17 exhibition islands to create a plea for peace, tolerance and togetherness borne of a humanist spirit. „The exhibited works are testimonials that prove that the connection between man, technology and nature is more than ever of unique social relevance,“ says Lois Lammerhuber, co-initiator of the festival and himself a multiple award-winning photographer. He recognises in the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) a kind of „new 10 commandments of multinational coexistence“.

Stop. Think. Feel. Act

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.

The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development was adopted by 193 United Nations member states in September 2015 and provides a common blueprint for peace and prosperity for people and the planet today and in the future.

Open your eyes also means being very clear about the transformation of our world. In the design and implementation of the goals, the importance of people is emphasised as the central force of sustainable development – in the sense of people, earth and welfare.

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.

The exhibitions engage with the human condition in such an intense and easily understandable way that their experience becomes a highly empathetic international communication benchmark that is unparalleled.

ETH Zurich adds around 50 contributions from its own universe of science and innovation to the pictorial works. The projects and solutions selected by ETH for each of the SDGs provide orientation for options for action. In terms of content, this means making the successes of our civilisation visible. And further, it means triggering national and international media communication to strengthen the Sustainable Development Goals as a frame of reference for peaceful and just coexistence in a global society. Successful living as the matrix of our existence, because: Without peace, everything is nothing. The chosen themes will celebrate life.

Zurich in a different dress

The open your eyes photo festival is dedicated to all people and the natural and built environment. The goal is to reach the breadth of globalised society with a unique exhibition format in the fall of 2023. It creates a new narrative of art and science as a collaborative intellectual-artistic narrative, thus creating an impact with the highest possible social dimension of sustainability.

With open your eyes, the cityscape of Zurich will put on a different dress. From the Polyterrasse of the ETH Zurich, where the sustainability goal 4 „High Quality Education“ is thematised, the view glides over to the Lindenhof and up to the lake. The two rounds of photography and science begin at the Lindenhof and at General Guisan Quai and extend over a length of around three kilometres through the city and along Lake Zurich to the lakeside resort of Enge.

open your eyes festival buerau
Bahnhofstrasse 24
8001 Zürich
Phone: +41 44 218 11 03