The Explosive World of Jean Tinguely

Raised in Basel, Jean Tinguely (1925–91) was indefatigable, working on his art, including countless installations, until shortly before his death. Known above all for his ‘kinetic art’, Tinguely spent much of his life in Paris, immersed in the artistic avant-garde. Not all of his sculptural machines were designed for posterity – among his more spectacular installations (at a time when installation art was in its infancy) was his self-destructible Homage to New York, which failed to completely self-destruct in the gardens of New York’s Museum of Modern Art in 1960. A more successful big bang was his Study for an End of the World No 2 in the desert near Las Vegas in 1962.

Get the full story at Museum Jean Tinguely.

Acid House

In 1943 a chemist at the Sandoz company, Albert Hofmann (1906–2008), accidentally absorbed an experimental compound through his fingertips while searching for a migraine cure and (oopsie!) took the world’s first ‘acid trip’.

Hofmann's mind-bending discovery soon crossed the Atlantic and became a favoured tool of writers such as Aldous Huxley, William S Burroughs, Allan Ginsberg and Hunter S Thompson. It was also embraced as a recreational drug and spiritual gateway by the flower children of the 1960s.

While you won't find too many trippers on a pilgrimage around Basel's streets, the city has become the epicentre of Switzerland’s multibillion-franc life-sciences and biotech industries. Global pharma-giants Roche and Novartis are headquartered here and are responsible for a steady stream of English-speaking expat scientists and sales representatives – if your German or French is rusty and you crave an interesting chinwag.