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.
Vanmechelen’s tools include both living and non-living materials: wood, marble, glass, ceramics, photography, living animal installations, as well as video messages, correspondence, private conversations, round table settings, cafes, academic debates, and accidental encounters.
The Pavilion develops over a period of 18 months at different global locations and through a wide variety of partners. It is built up of three chapter: SoTO Dialogues, SoTO Environment and SoTO legacy. SoTO which is short for Survival of the Other gives name to the different chapters, and weaves the Vanmechelen’s fundamental philosophy through the various elements of the work: every organism needs another organism to survive.
At the end of 2020, all inputs are consolidated by the artist and reworked into a unifying OPUS, a collective memory of our moment in time and space, which will be presented to UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, the European Commission and to the President and Curator of the 59th Venice Biennale of Art with a call to establish a recurrent supra-national Pavilion of Human Rights as part of the Venice Biennale of Art.