May 27, 2011 - Roma Pavilion at the Venice Biennale - Call the Witness, Roma Pavilion, 54th Venice Biennale
May 27, 2011

Call the Witness, Roma Pavilion, 54th Venice Biennale

“Call the Witness,” designed by
Kummer & Herrman, Utrecht.

Call the Witness
Roma Pavilion

Collateral Event
54th International Art Exhibition – La Biennale di Venezia 2011

Open Society Foundations

Realized by:
BAK, basis voor actuele kunst

Artistic Director:
Maria Hlavajova

Live Testimonies:
1–3 June, 13–18 hrs

1 June–9 October 2011

Palazzo Zorzi, UNESCO Venice Office, Castello 4930

Call the Witness is the project of 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 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 people as emblematic of a world filled with inequality today, and in solidarity with the largest minority in Europe speculates about another, hopeful future.
Themselves testimonies of sorts, works of art by the following artists establish a foundation for the program of live testimonies that unfolds in the Roma Pavilion: Lynn Hutchinson Lee (Canada) & Hedina Tahirovic Sijercic (Germany) (chirikli collective); Milutin Jovanovic (Serbia and Hungary); Ferdinant Koci (United Kingdom); Kiba Lumberg (Finland); Aernout Mik (The Netherlands); Nihad Nino Pusija (Germany); Marika Schmiedt (Austria); Alfred Ullrich (Germany); and Mona Vatamanu & Florin Tudor (Romania).

Live Testimony Program:

1 June 2011

13.00 hrs
Daniel Baker, artist, United Kingdom & Paul Ryan, artist, United Kingdom: Mirror Mirror (lecture-performance)
14.15 hrs
Tom McDonough, art historian, United States: Campo nomadi: Constant’s Design for a Gypsy Camp (lecture)
15.30 hrs
Maud de Boer-Buquicchio, Deputy Secretary General, Council of Europe, France: Roma Advocacy Quilt (presentation)
16.15 hrs
Cristinela Ionescu, journalist and producer, Tumende TV Production, Romania: Romani Kris: Court of Common Consent (lecture-presentation)
17.30 hrs
Salman Rushdie, author, United Kingdom/United States (talk)

2 June 2011

13.00 hrs
Roseanna McPhee, educator and activist, United Kingdom: No Justice – Tinker, Help Thyself (lecture-performance)
14.15 hrs
Shamus McPhee, artist, United Kingdom: Out in the Open (conversation with Daniel Baker)
15.30 hrs
Thomas Acton, Emeritus Professor of Romani Studies, University of Greenwich, United Kingdom: The New Romani Art (lecture)
16.45 hrs
Tanja Ostojic, artist, Serbia/Germany: Naked Life 2, 2011 (performance, 24 min.)
00.00 hrs
Boris Ondreicka, artist, Slovakia: BLACK BIRDS & BLACKBIRDS, 2011 (reading/performance, approx. 30 min.)

3 June 2011

13.00 hrs
Christiano Berti (Italy), Nigel Dickinson (United Kingdom), Tina Carr (United Kingdom/Wales), and Annemarie Schoene (United Kingdom/Wales) (participating artists), Web Launch of the Roma Media Archive ( (talk-screening)
14.00 hrs
Robert Kushen, Roma rights activist, United States: Sticks and Stones and Words that Hurt: Roma Rights in Quotation (lecture-bricolage)
15.15 hrs
Zelimir Zilnik, film director, Serbia: Kenedi Trilogy (lecture and presentation)
16.30 hrs
Stalker/ON, art and architecture collective, Italy: New Destination: The Moon! (presentation)
18.00 hrs
Opening with contributions by George Soros (financier and philanthropist, address via podcast), Jan Truszczynski (Director-General for Education and Culture, European Commission), Robert Palmer (Director for Culture and Cultural and Natural Heritage, Council of Europe), Wolfgang Petritsch (Chairman European Cultural Foundation), and others, as well a panel discussion organized by Decade Trust Fund, followed by drinks and an informal reception.

The Roma Pavilion is organized by Open Society Foundations, and developed and realized by BAK, basis voor actuele kunst, Utrecht under the artistic directorship of Maria Hlavajova, in collaboration with Daniel Baker (artist, theorist, and activist, London), Tom McDonough (art historian, Binghamton University, Binghamton), and Suzana Milevska (theorist and curator, Skopje; initial idea and title Call the Witness).

Supported by:
European Commission, Brussels; Council of Europe, Strasbourg; European Cultural Foundation, Amsterdam; Swiss Cultural Programme in the Western Balkans, Sarajevo; Sigrid Rausing Trust, London; HIVOS, The Hague; Decade Trust Fund, Washington, D.C.; and Mondriaan Foundation, Amsterdam.

For more information on the project please contact:
Esther Deen:;;

Call the Witness, Roma Pavilion, 54th Venice Biennale
Roma Pavilion at the Venice Biennale
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