Wednesday, May 18, 2011
CALL THE WITNESS
2 MAY 2011
CALL THE WITNESS, ROMA PAVILION
COLLATERAL EVENT, 54TH INTERNATIONAL ART EXHIBITION
LA BIENNALE DI VENEZIA 2011
1 JUNE–9 OCTOBER 2011
LIVE TESTIMONIES: 1–3 JUNE 2011, 13.00–18.00 HRS
Open Society Foundations and BAK, basis voor actuele kunst, Utrecht proudly present the project Call the Witness, the Roma Pavilion, which takes place as a Collateral Event in the framework of the 54th International Art Exhibition – La Biennale di Venezia 2011. A makeshift exhibition evolving over the course of the Venice Biennale preview days through the flux of live “testimonies” — works of art, performances, talks, and conversations by and with artists, thinkers, and politicians — Call the Witness considers the situation of the Roma and Roma art as emblematic for the world today, and in solidarity speculates about more hopeful futures.
The project calls on Roma artists to bear witness, through works of art, to their communities’ struggles as they are caught in the paradox of being at once assigned to the edges of mainstream society and at the center of this society’s discriminatory order of control. One needs only to think of recent political events that have specifically targeted the Roma, such as deportations, forcible repatriation, and ethnic registration in many nations in Europe. Recognizing that this very condition is emblematic of the state of the world we all find ourselves in, over the course of the preview days of the Venice Biennale other artists, thinkers, and activists of Roma and non-Roma origin contribute to the accumulation of testimonies (performances, lectures, readings, and dialogues). Works of art, filmed testimonies, and material ephemera are “left behind” in a spatial intervention, itself an interpretation of a proposal by the artist Constant Nieuwenhuys (1920–2005) for a site to accommodate the nomadic Roma community. This constellation forms a makeshift exhibition on view till 9 October 2011, merging with the daily activities and conferences of the host UNESCO Venice Office.
As an extra-national Pavilion in the context of the national representations at the Venice Biennale, Call the Witness comes to life through contributions by remarkable artists, thinkers, and activists from various parts of the world:
All testimonies become available as they evolve during the Venice Biennale preview days, and can be accessed via the project’s digital platform
Call the Witness builds upon the legacy of Paradise Lost, the First Roma Pavilion (Collateral Event, 52nd Venice Biennale, 2007), which was commissioned by the Open Society Foundations, and recognizes the growing dynamics in discussing and presenting Roma art in relation to the cultural and political urgencies in Europe, not only in regards to its Roma communities, but also in view of the larger issues of the nation and the national, mobility and migration, majority and minority, hospitality and solidarity.
Posted by Morgan at 1:47 PM