This performative intervention Took place with a car and friends at Stadtgalerie at PROGR Court, Berne at 2pm. the 28th of March 2015. It was a collaboration of Roma Jam Session art Kollektiv and G L A M, an analytical tool for art and research as para – institutional practice. The performance for the collective was characterized by diverse fragments of body workout, relaxation practices and sports. The choreography was performed masked and with background music demonstrativ an act of self-empowerment by declaring the court yard as a temporäre common ground for a multiplicity of artistic and political fields. The car carried the G L A M definitions: from Gallery to Geography, from Library to Liberty, from Archive to Activism, from Museum to Multiplicity. The performance claims multiplicity instead of monotony on professional and political fields. It was part of the exhibition project ArtArchiveArt, where Mo Diener was invited. She invited the collective and friends to claim a common ground.
An attack by masked artists* in a Zurich off space. The scene is garishly illuminated by two car headlights that stop just outside the shop window. In addition, a furious track of the Urban Dance Squad of loud boxes. The surroundings startle. The white walls are fully sprayed, and “on the catwalk of glam” large areas of the walls and floor are covered. “Glam” stands for the institutions of cultural knowledge, for galleries, libraries, archives and museums. The intervention is understood as hacking the code inscribed in the GLAM. A furious rebellion of a Roma activism that is to be understood as deeply connected with other minority struggles. The collective acts intervene in the art field from a position in the center: nothing less than transformation and rewriting the white cube… (excerpt of the Morphing Portraits, a text by Michael F. Grieder in Morphing the Roma Label, published October 2022)
Performance at the Launch of the publication “The Air will not Deny You – Zurich in the sign of a different Globality”, curated by Daniel Kurjacovic. Johann Jacobs Museum, June 2016
Decolonization is in one way or another always a “phenomenon of violence,” writes the physician Frantz Fanon shortly before his death. The minimal demand of the colonized is the tabula rasa, a “fundamentally changed social panorama”. Frantz Fanon speaks of the colonized as a world divided in two, whose boundaries are shown, for example, in police stations. The parallels to antiziganist policies in Europe are not self-explanatory, but they are impressive enough. In taking up Silvia Federici’s thoughts, one must also speak of colonization within the centuries of European expansion, which on the one hand took shape as a “war against women” and on the other hand was directed against several minorities. (Michael F. Grieder in the publication Morphing The Roma Label 2022).
Performance with following Discussion on diverse forms of artistic and social decolonial interventions, with invited guests. Carte Blanche Invitation by Stefan Wagner, Corner College, December 2014
Intervention and discussion with the collective and invited guests: art historian Stefan Wagner, sociologist and activist Heinz Nigg and Angela Mattli, member of the NGO Gesellschaft für bedrohte Völker 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?
19th of December 2014, Zurich in Corner College.
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 Häusler
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, musical and activism into a fragmented and 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.
What is the Color of Your Car?
Maxim Theater, Hohlstrasse 100, Zurich 2014
The first intervention of the Roma Jam Session art Kollektiv was recalling two historical situations in the history of photography. On the one hand, the title “Tableaux très vivants” speaks of the fashion phenomenon of the bourgeoisie in the 19th century, to re-enact situations or paintings in expensive photographs, artistic alienations by means of disguise, staging and precisely the new technology of photography. Tableaux vivants, images that have come to life, an existential trip, visual transgression, exemplified by the omnipresent orientalist motifs. On the other hand, as is well known, the 19th century is characterized by class struggles. The emergence of the disciplinary society, as Michel Foucault describes it in lectures and works, served on the one hand to drive the masses into the factory, and on the other hand, and this is characteristic, this system is structurally dependent on the existence of unemployed people, the Marxist “reserve army”. Unemployed people were used as a potentially available labour force, so the disciplining did not only affect the workers in the factories, but especially those working differently: debauchery, refusal, nomadism or vagabondage are the cornerstones of what capitalism feared most at this stage. It is against this background that the “homeless question” takes place, which settled Switzerland sought to solve “once and for all” in the middle of the 19th century. The “gens sans feu et sans aveux” were hunted through forests and meadows, arrested en masse and interned, the aim being to be forced to settle or expelled. As the “homeless” showed some skill in going underground, covering their tracks and reappearing under a new name, thus escaping the bourgeois grid, the authorities were faced with the question of a secure identification technique. Here the history of criminology meets the history of photography. (excerpt of the full text by Michael Felix Grieder, publication Morphing The Roma Label 2022).
Roma Jam Session art Kollektiv is an artists collective featuring art projects. The association has the aim to support and enhance the visibility of Roma art production and activities. Become a supporting member of our association. We have been working successfully for about ten years now and can look back to an international artistic and activist visibility and decolonizing art history through our multi layered contributions. Thank you for your interest. Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org.
RJSaK works with friends, accomplices, institutions and guests. Actually the collective has finalised its activities.
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Mo Diener is a performance and video artist and choreographer, researcher and writer. She studied Art, Ethnography, Anthropology and Comparative Religions in Zurich University and Geneva. Since 2014 she holds an MA in Fine Arts from ZHdK and ESAV. Her artistic practices are located in the transdisciplinary and conceptual field of Eco-feminist and Materialist theory. In 2009/10 she started researching her maternal ancestors line (Roma) as part of her artistic research project “Science, Fiction & Politics” at Bern University HKB. She was 2011 invited to the Master’s program of ZHdK to continue her research. In this context Mo Diener cofounded the Roma Jam Session art Kollektiv (RJSaK) 2013, together with RR Marki and Milena Petrovic. She was designated artistic director of the collective and is founding member of the connected association. Mo Diener introduced her understanding of public performance practice to RJSaK opening up new possibilities of intersectional collaborations. During the pandemic she was writing and editing the publication Morphing The Roma Label together with RR Marki.
RR Marki was 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 offspaces in Switzerland. RR Marki was a foundation and board member of RJSaK. RR Marki was co-editing the art publication Morphing the Roma Label with Mo Diener. RR Marki has passed the 3rd of December 2022.
R. I. P. RR Marki.
Milena Petrovic was born in Jalovic, Serbia and grown up in Vienna, Austria. She is an Austrian citizen. Since 1989 Milena Petrovic lives in Switzerland were she studied acting at the Vera Foster School in Zurich. She has worked on diverse projects for film and theater, among others in Schauspielhaus Zurich and Maxim Theater Zurich. She collaborated 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 sociocritical pieces the theater was touring on the Swiss German stages. Milena Petrovic was playing in the well received pieces Kreis Fear, Schweizerpass Superstar, KissKill KillKiss and Spielt Gott Fussball? She is a founding member of Roma Jam Session art Kollektiv and a Romani activist. She speaks German, Romanes, Serbian and English.