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Human Rights Pavilion, World Tour, MAY 2019 - MAY 2022

The Human Rights Pavilion is an evolving artwork by renowned Belgium artist Koen Vanmechelen, initiated in the context of the 58th Biennial of Venice, 'May you live in Interesting Times', in collaboration with Global Campus of Human Rights, Fondazione Berengo and the MOUTH Foundation.

With the Human Rights Pavilion, Vanmechelen explores the complexities of human nature, the possibility of a universal concept of human rights and the role of art in its development. He presents nature as a human right and contemplates its safeguarding in the Anthropocene, the era in which the human impact on the Earth’s geology and ecosystems reaches critical proportions.

Over the next two years, the evolving work will gain weight and momentum through the dialogues, travels, correspondence, explorations and creations of Vanmechelen during a world tour on almost all continents. Roaming about, the evolving pavilion-to-be will gain form through contact with people and organizations involved or interested in human rights. The focal point is Vanmechelen’s adage ‘the global only exists through the generosity of the local.’

Vanmechelen’s tools include both living and non-living materials: wood, marble, glass, ceramics, photography, living bio-installations, as well as video messages, letters, private conversations, round table settings, café’s, and accidental encounters. Debate will be stimulated in all locations, through so-called SoTO dialogues in Cosmocafes. Those are local hubs to debate the conditions for sustainable coexistence of individuals and human cultures with each other, and with other species on the planet. The focus is on the existence of a body of human rights to which humans, and by extension nature on our planet are inherently entitled. A concept that is in fierce decline worldwide, much like biocultural diversity is in decline.

At the end of 2020, all inputs will be reworked into a unifying OPUS. This collective memory of our moment in time and space, will be presented to the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, the European Commission and the President and Curator of the 59th Venice Biennale of Art. It will be accompanied by a call to establish a recurrent supra-national Human Rights Pavilion as part of the structure of the Venice Biennial

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