Mo Diener (EN)
Mo Diener is a Choreographer, Performer, Video Artist, Researcher and Writer. She studied Art, Ethnography, Anthropology and Comparative Religion in Zurich. Since 2014 she holds an MA in Fine Arts from ZHdK. Her artistic practice is located in the transdisciplinary and conceptual field of critical art and theory. In 2009/10 she started researching her maternal ancestors line (Roma /Sinti) as part of her artistic research project “Science, Fiction & Politics” at Bern University of the Arts HKB. She was 2011 invited into the Master’s program at ZHdK to continue her research. In this context Mo Diener founded the Roma Jam Session art Kollektiv (RJSaK) 2013, together with RR Marki and Milena Petrovic. She is the artistic director of the RJSaK as well as board member of the connected association. Mo Diener introduced the public performance practice to RJSaK opening up new possibilities of intersectional collaborations. During the pandemic years she was editing the publication and art project Morphing The Roma Label together with RR Marki.
RR Marki (EN)
RR Marki is a Roma activist, graphic designer, radio maker and performance artist. 1979 he was working at Radio Bran and 1980 he started his studies at the Technical university in Skopje. RR Marki emigrated 1985 to Switzerland, were he started in the 1990ties to work as an artist. He studied graphic design at the School of Media and Design F + F in Zurich. He worked in Radio Lora Romanes, an independent Roma program of Radio Lora in Zurich. Since the Millenium he exhibited in diverse galleries and off-spaces in Switzerland: Zentrum Karl der Grosse, Zigeuner Kulturtage, Shedhalle amongst others. During the pandemic RR Marki was co-editing the art publication Morphing the Roma Label with Mo Diener. RR Marki is a foundation and board member of RJSaK.
Milena Petrovic (EN)
Milena Petrovic is a Serbian, Austrian and Swiss citizen. From 1994 to 1997 she was studying acting in Zurich. Since then she has worked on diverse projects for film and theater stage, among others in the Schauspielhaus Zurich and Maxim Theater Zurich. She was also engaged in Swiss Television SF1 and independent film projects. She collaborated amongst others with film director Reto Gmür, Peter Palitsch and the stage director of Maxim Theater Jasmine Hoch. From 2010 till 2014 she was an active member of the Maxim Theater Company. With their socio critical pieces the theater was touring on the Swiss German theater stages. Milena Petrovic was playing in the well received pieces Kreis Fear, Schweizerpass Superstar, KissKill KillKiss and Spielt Gott Fussball? She is an active and activist and one of the founding members of Roma Jam Session art Kollektiv.
BASIC ROMA (EN)
Intervention and Discussion with the Kollektiv and invited guests of different perspectives: art historian Stefan Wagner, sociologist and activist Heinz Nigg and Angela Mattli, member of the NGO Gesellschaft für bedrohte Voelker were discussing the following question: What do the damned of the world do in the discursive space of art – what is their presence if not a permanent revolt against the western canon of art language and perception? Corner College 19th of December 2014, Zurich.
drive in – drop out 2015
Intervention with a car and friends, Stadtgalerie, PROGR Hof, Berne 2p.m. 28th of March 2015. This performative Intervention was a collaboration of Roma Jam Session art Kollectiv and GLAM, an analytical tool for art and research as para – institutional practice. On this occasion Mo Diener developed a performance for the collective characterized by diverse fragments of body workout relaxation and sports. The choreography was performed by all masked performing participants with music. It was an act of self-empowerment, seeking for common ground and for multiplicity in artistic and political fields. The car was carrier of GLAM definitions of activities: from Gallery to Geography, from Librairy to Liberty, from Archive to Activism, and from Museum to Multiplicity. The performance claims for multiplicity instead of monotony on professional and other fields. It was part of the exhibition project ArtArchiveArt, which was on the same time in Galerie of the city of Berne.
what is the color of your car
the longest day – 12 hours of permanent performance, Zeughaushof, Zurich / 21st of june 2014
Mo Diener, RR Marki, Eva Merkling-Mihok, Milena Petrovic / Esther – Maria Haeusler (dramaturgy)
The performance is a conversation on stage engaging language, text, media, music, corporal gestures, and a car. Desire and rejection is the dynamic that moves the conversation forward, exposing processes of discrimination. The vehicle parked at center stage is alternately container, membrane, screen, mental medium and dazzling reflection of its users. The performance merges aesthetic strategies from propaganda, the musical and activism into a hybrid form. At the heart of the performance is an extract of a conversation from the film “Privileges” by Yvonne Rainer. The film was released in 1990, just in time for the end of the Cold War. It contains a dialogue which links racism to the economic interests of the West and uses the analysis of colonialism to refute the fear of the other. The dark and dirty, and the imagination that it sprouts, are exposed as the means to preserve ones privileges. Yvonne Rainer revisited.
Maxim Theater, Hohlstrasse 100, november 2014, Zurich
Tableaux (très) vivants
The first performance of RJSaK in summer 2013 coincides with the forming of the collective on the occasion of the event “guess who’s coming to dinner” in the off space “The Proposal” in Zurich. Participating artist Mo Diener extended her invitation to several friends and performed with the newly constituted group on four evenings in this contemporary art space. Tableaux (très) vivants relates to the traditional bourgeois colonial eye of the portrait photographer of the 19th century. The concept of the performance consists of a détournement of the viewer by means of the camera lens, in which the performer’s self-determination is greatly enhanced while allowing the multiplicity of the audience to become part of any self-definition.
The setting is based on research in 19th century portrait photography in Switzerland. In 1852 – shortly after the foundation of the Swiss nation-state, portrait photographer and lithographer Carl Durheim accepted a mandate by the federal prosecutor to take mug shots of all prisoners made during a large-scale federal action in view of controlling travelers, homeless persons and carneys. Carl Durheim’s photographic records establishes a direct tie between the history of the Swiss state and the history of portrait photography in the service of prosecution of the poor and other undesired forms of existence in Switzerland. He goes down as the inventor of police photography in Europe.
Guests and Organisations (EN)
RJSaK works with guests, friends, acomplices and organisations. We had the opportunity to work several times with Sophie Wanda Pagliai, artist, theoretician, activist and friend based in Geneva swell as with the Serbian radio journalist and writer Violeta Aleksic based in Switzerland. Since 2016 we performed and developed work with the great Desirée Gnaba, artistic researcher in performance and dance. 2018 we started to collaborate with Maricruz Penaloza, curator and performance artist based in Zurich who invited us for 9th Performancereihe Neu – Oerlikon and participated in the intervention in September. We currently work with Reinhard Schmiedt, our graphic designer who is engaged with our upcoming publication.
2017 we have been part of the OnCurating Programm (ZHdK) De-Colonizing Art Institutions, a Symposium held in Art Museum Basel (online publication ). 2018 we were part of the First Roma Biennale Berlin with CHROMA – Detox Switzerland – Detox Europe, performative Intervention in public spaces in the center of Berlin. In Mai and September 2018 we engaged into the intersectional project “die grosse um_ordnung”, again with public performances in the streets and in the Art Museum Helmhaus Zurich. The opening performance Nothing about us without us of the exhibition refaire le monde * Proposition involved 14 performative bodies and 2 compositions played live (concept Mo Diener).
In the last years we had great support of institutions: “INES” (Institute of New Switzerland), “Society for Threatened People Switzerland”, RomArchive Berlin, ERIAC Berlin.
We are supported by City Council of Zurich and Bundesamt für Kultur (BAK).
Thank you all for participating, inviting and supporting our work.