Patrick J. Gyger (born 1971 in São Paulo, Brazil) is a Swiss historian and writer. In the 1990s he specialised in medieval studies and in 1998 published the book, L'Épée Et La Corde: Criminalité Et Justice À Fribourg (1475-1505) on the topic of crime and justice. One of Gyger's publications is the history of the flying car, with Les voitures volantes, Souvenirs d'un futur rêvé (2005, rev. 2019), published in English as Flying Cars: The Extraordinary History of Cars Designed for Tomorrow's World. From 1999 to 2010, he was the director of Maison d'Ailleurs, museum of utopia in Switzerland. In late 2010, Gyger was appointed as the director of Le Lieu unique, French national cultural center in Nantes. In 2014, the Swiss Federal Council appointed him Honorary Consul of Switzerland in Nantes.
In September 2020, Patrick Gyger is appointed by the Council of State of Vaud (Switzerland) general director of Plateforme 10, in Lausanne. It is a museum quarter currently under construction, bringing together the Cantonal Museum of Fine Arts, the Museum of Contemporary Design and Applied Arts, and the Musée de l'Elysée.
From 1999 to 2010, he was the director of Maison d'Ailleurs (translated as "House of Elsewhere"), a museum housing one of the world's largest collections of literature relating to science fiction, utopia, and extraordinary journeys. Maison d’Ailleurs is located in Yverdon-les-Bains, Switzerland. It was founded by the French encyclopedist Pierre Versins in 1976 and now owns over 90,000 books and thousands of pulp magazines, as well as many other items related to science fiction and its imagery. It is also a gallery showing temporary exhibitions exploring the main themes of the field. In 2008, Gyger opened the "Espace Jules Verne", a wing of Maison d'Ailleurs dedicated to Jules Verne and extraordinary journeys. This extension also houses a science fiction pulps collection. In 2009, Patrick Gyger was a keynote speaker at the Lift Conference in Geneva.
In the early part of the 21st Century, Gyger was one of the co-managers (along with Arthur Woods) of the European Space Agency's Innovative Technologies from Science Fiction for Space Applications study (ITSF), a research and educational project looking into science fiction to find ideas for space engineers.
Patrick Gyger was artistic director of the Utopiales International Science Fiction Festival International in Nantes, France from 2001 to 2005. Utopiales is the largest European event for science fiction. Held yearly, it reaches a wide public with a program that has involved the participation of writers such as Samuel R. Delany, Brian Aldiss, James Morrow, K.W. Jeter, David Brin, Robert Holdstock, Christopher Priest, Terry Bisson, Norman Spinrad. Jeffrey Ford, Lucius Shepard. It also has art exhibitions and a lively film screening programme.
Le lieu unique
In January 2011, Gyger became the director of le lieu unique, the National Center for Arts in Nantes (France), a venue dedicated to contemporary and performing arts. It houses several exhibition and performance spaces, a restaurant, a bookstore, a hammam, a bar/club, a kindergarten, etc. Gyger stated that the concept of utopia was a guideline in his programme.
Into the Unknown
In 2017, Gyger curated "Into the Unknown: a Journey through Science Fiction" a major travelling exhibition about science fiction, produced by the Barbican Centre in London.
- As the director of the museum, Gyger was Guest of Honour at Eurocon 2004.
- Gyger was nominated as one of the 100 most influential people in Western Switzerland (L'Hebdo, 2006)
- Gyger received the "Grand Prix de l'Imaginaire" in France twice (2001 and 2010) for his work at Maison d'Ailleurs.
- In 2017, Gyger was made a Knight in the Order of Arts and Letters (France)
- Gyger, Patrick (1998). L'Épée Et La Corde: Criminalité Et Justice À Fribourg (1475-1505). Section d'histoire médiévale, Faculté des lettres, University of Lausanne. ISBN 2940110123.
- Gyger, Patrick (2001). "A Few Thoughts about Ideas and Images in Science Fiction". Innovative Technologies from Science Fiction for Space Applications. European Space Agency. OCLC 60500585. ESA BR-176. Archived from the original on 2013-01-27.
- Gyger, Patrick, ed. (2003). Îles sur le toit du monde: une anthologie romande de science-fiction [Islands on the top of the world: an anthology of French science fiction]. Archipel.
- Gyger, Patrick (2005). Les voitures volantes : Souvenirs d'un futur rêvé [Flying cars: memories of a perfect future]. ISBN 2828908429.
- Gyger, Patrick; Valery, Francis (2011). Flying Cars: The Extraordinary History of Cars Designed for Tomorrow's World. Haynes Publishing. ISBN 978-0857330918.