Public Art Munich - PAM 2018 – Olaf Nicolai - Rara Avis in Terris - Black Swan as VIP hotel guest | Cocktail and talks hosted by Nan Mellinger, Olaf Nicolai & guests

Public Art Munich - PAM 2018 / Game Cangers

All swans are white. This truth was taken for granted in Europe until the seventeenth century, when it was challenged by the first accounts of travelers to Australia. In Germany, the black, or mourning, swan (lat. rara avis) is rarely seen, especially not in the context of a five-star luxury hotel. Olaf Nicolai stages a performance at the Bayerischer Hof ( — the historic grand hotel and annual venue for the Munich Security Conference — that blurs the boundaries between fiction and reality, imagination and factual knowledge. Its starting point is the so-called black swan theory of Nassim Nicholas Taleb. The work of this financial mathematician and former Wall Street trader examines the phenomenon of entirely unimaginable or unexpected events and their profound effects on the prevailing view of the world.

The public part of this intervention takes place a few days after a real black swan has visited the hotel. On a day that is unannounced, the swan stays incognito at the Bayerischer Hof, as VIPs often do. It is through documentation and discussion that the black swan becomes another reality and, simultaneously, an object of imagination, speculation, and knowledge transfer.

Productive insecurity is the theme of the cocktail reception on May 19, creating sensual experiences and a chance to think the unthinkable and and find far-reaching syntheses. Staged at the swan’s former hotel suite and in the roof garden lounge with its terrace allowing stunning city views, the black swan-cocktail and talk presents facts and rumors related to climate and environmental science, species research, coincidence and futurology, articial intelligence, astrophysics, and parascience.

Don’t forget: You are not expected to arrive at a cocktail party on time, but to leave it in a timely fashion.