SWITZERLAND IS NOT AN ISLAND #2
April 10, 2013 – May 21, 2013
Opening: April 9, 2013, 7 p.m.
Well, we live in the 21st century!
Conversations with members of the vagrant community of the Yeniche
at the Feckerchilbi Brienz 2011
Series of video collages, 5-10 min., CH, 2013
In seven video collages shot at the Feckerchilbi *, members of the Yeniche community answer questions concerning different aspects of their current life – about their lifestyle, labour, language, identity, economy and about their future.
The work is part of Mo Diener´s long term research about Yeniche, Roma and Sinti people in Switzerland. Diener is searching for appropriate artistic and political strategies in dealing with the economic, legal and social exclusion of Yeniche from majority society, through different historical periods and today.
* Fecker is a 16th century yeniche word for gangster. The Feckerchilbi is an annual meeting of Yeniche and vagrants in Switzerland. For the years 1722-1817 and 1982-1989, the realization of the Feckerchilbi in Gersau/CH is certified. Since 2003, it is held sporadically. In 2009, the Radgenossenschaft der Landstrasse organized a Feckerchilbi in Brienz for the first time. In 2010, it was held together with the first swiss „Bootchen“ (yeniche boccia) championship, in cooperation with the association „schäft quant“. On 7th October 2011, the Feckerchilibi was incorporated into the list of living traditions of Switzerland. 2011 and 2012, the Feckerchilbi was held in Brienz aswell.
The Confession – a filmic dispute on „being different“
Video, 27 min., CH, 2008
Protected by the darkness of the confessional box, the narrator gives insights to her own autobiography: she recounts the supression of her father´s existence within the family – a czech Rom who absconded. She talks about feelings of inferiority and guilt which are rooted in her mother´s and grandmother´s disgust towards her father and in feelings of shame about the (half-)romni daughter. About childhood and coming-of-age experiences that made it clear to her that repression does not give protection from prejudices and discrimination. And she talks about having found a self-determined way of dealing with her history and identity during growing up. „The Confession“ formulates charges against the father as well as the desire to reconcile with him and ultimately, with herself.
Video, 1:57 min, CZ, 2007
Jana Bluchová’s experiences of discrimination were the springboard for Tamara Moyzes’ idea for „Miss Roma“: discrimination which has denied her access to numerous places in the Czech Republic on the basis of her heritage. Before subjecting her protagonist to a so-called „white washing“ (the application of white make-up to the skin), Moyzes begins her two minute stop-animated video by listing the clubs, shops, restaurants etc where she, along with Jana Bluchová, was denied entry in this self-experiment. With „Miss Roma“, Moyzes places a magnifying glass over the cultural segregation of Roma in Czech society, as well as the inclusion and exclusion mechanisms of the dominant beauty ideology. The price of the acceptance and inclusion that is hoped for lies in the necessity to assimilate one’s body to the normative criteria of the white mainstream.
(Text by Lith Bahlmann)
An undesirable society
Video, 70 min., A, 2001
„This past projects into our present. Even if it is suppressed, distorted, denied, it is present.”
The documentary “Eine lästige Gesellschaft” (“An Undesirable Society”) shows the painstaking search of director Marika Schmiedt for her murdered grandmother. In Austria, this means buerocracy: 20 different departments; waiting time due to employees` coffee breaks; ongoing visits because files had been relocated; having to bring declarations of intent to get insight into files of relatives. The film document shows the reality of a young woman who – like many others – lost their relatives due to the nazi murder machinery.
Roma Memento. Uncertain future?
Video, 55 min., A 2012
Beginning with images of the current living conditions of Roma in Belgrade, the film takes us from the grim contemporary situation to a forewarning past. In a conversation between the filmmaker and her mother, we get an insight into the mother’s experiences of exclusion, characterized by a parentless childhood in which the young Roma woman moved from foster care to children’s homes. Her mother was murdered in a concentration camp and for a long time Margit Schmiedt knew nothing about her own origin; neither did she know or understand the reasons behind the prejudices and continuous experiences of exclusion she encountered. Among other things, inequities were repeatedly reflected in withholding of food and stigmatizing actions. This violent process of degradation has led to deep-seated and lasting pain that the mother confides to her daughter. The long-term experiences of discrimination, along with the current political situation for Roma in Europe, haunt Margit Schmiedt until the end of her life. Pogroms still exist in Europe today - life-threatening conditions are ubiquitous.
Video, 42 min., A 2011
(Call the Witness Roma Pavilion, 54th International Art Exhibition, La Biennale di Venezia, 2011)
The work VERMÄCHTNIS. LEGACY. (2010–2011) is devoted to artist Ceija Stojka and her offspring. Stojka is a Roma woman painter, musician, and writer from Austria, one of the few living survivors of the Nazi Holocaust who lived through all horrors of internment in the concentration camps Auschwitz, Bergen-Belsen and Ravensbrück and who experienced the most severe consequences of racism even after the end of the Second World War. The main issue that Marika Schmiedt explores in the work is very similar to a question asked by philosopher Giorgio Agamben: „What is the juridical structure that allowed such events to take place?“ In pursuit of an answer to this question, the artist interviewed different generations of Stojka’s female descendents who constantly face the need to renegotiate the past as they live with the silent „testimonials“ of those who cannot testify. Such fragmented oral micro-histories may, of course, significantly differ from macro-historic documents. While fighting historical amnesia, these testimonials warn us both of racism’s eternal return and of the aporia of the „proxy witness“: the survivors’ testimony as „a potentiality that becomes actual through an impotentiality of speech […] an impossibility that gives itself existence through a possibility of speaking“ (Agamben).
(Text by Suzana Milevska)
Video, 9 min., A, 2009
The film shows interviews with police officers about a memory plaque in the Federal Police Directorate Vienna/A, which states: „In the period from 1938 to 1945, there have been both perpetrators and victims of the Nazi regime’s violence within in the ranks of the Vienna police. Policemen have been abused for crimes against Jews and other victims. This work serves as a reminder and memory of people’s suffering, their poverty, courage, guilt and contempt for life.“
studied in Zurich and Geneva/CH. Currently, she is pursuing a Master of Fine Arts at the ZHdK/CH. In 2011, she was invited to the transdisciplinary conference „Genetics in a Consumerist Age“ to Innsbruck/A.
Since 2010, Mo Diener deals with the history of nomadic craftspeople in Switzerland in her artistic research. The artist encountered the issue through experiences and conversations in the family as well as through information and gaps in the family archives. Her subsequent genealogical research revealed evidence of a history of migration and nomadism in Switzerland and brought Mo Diener to central questions in her work: an autonomous way of dealing with ascriptions and identity. The „thick skin“, being a result of such experiences, can strategically be left behind, if needed.
Since 1998, Mo Diener ist married to the Russian artist Sergei Nikokochev, they have a daughter.
was born in 1966 in former Czechoslovakia and came to Switzerland as a singer/saxophonist in 1990. She lives and works in Zurich as a Djane, filmmaker and music therapist.
Born in 1975, Bratislava/SK. Lives and works Prague/CZ.
Education: 2000-05 MA studies, Academy of Fine Arts, Department of New Media, Prague/CZ, 2003-04 Exchange program, The Bezazel Academy of Fine Art and Design, Department of Video and documentary films, Jerusalem/IL, 1999 The Bezazel Academy of Fine Art and Design, Department of Art, Jerusalem/IL, 1997-98 Academy of Fine Arts and Design, Department of Painting, Bratislava/SK, 1996-97 Avni Institute of Fine Arts, Tel Aviv/IL.
Tamara Moyzes is a video artist. Her work is characterized by the orientation on political issues. In her work she does not choose an academic approach but prefers a direct intervention – she does not comment on the reality from a distance but she is part of the story. People depicted in her fictional documentaries are not real actors and their artistic „role“ only emphasizes and completes their real status. To reflect current social contestations she uses a blend of documentary, pathetic and humorous scenes. Parody-like handling of topics is a strategy that does not relieve the situation, on the contrary it presents its fiery nature and content in a form that is not very digestible for us. For Tamara Moyzes video is a tactical and political tool.
born 1966 in Traun/Upper Austria, is an activist, film maker and visual artist. Dealing with the situation of Roma before and after 1945 constitutes a major focus point in her artistic work.
For more information on the artist´s work: