Human Rights Pavilion

The Human Rights Pavilion is an evolving artwork by renowned Belgium artist and curator 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, café’s, 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.

Funding and Sponsoring: The realization and scope of the Human Rights Pavilion will evolve over a defined period of 18 months. While we have already secured funding and other contributions to realize the fundamental aspects of the Human Rights Pavilion, there are many opportunities and costs involved in bringing this initiative to its full potential.  A partnering program for funding and sponsorship is available on request at  

The Human Rights Pavilion presents a unique opportunity to better our common understanding of the complexity, importance and achievability of a universal concept of human rights and define and document our place in time and space, contributing to our collective memory and exploring the role of art in how we choose to live our lives and evolve. Participation links into a unique network of interconnectivity and provides opportunity for important global visibility and media coverage on the topic.

Artistic Research: Over a period of 18 months, as part of the artistic research and development of the work, artist and curator Koen Vanmechelen collects inputs from different people all over the world, through dialogues, travels, correspondence, inputs and contributions from promoting and partner organizations. He invites different partners to contribute to the artistic research and development of the artwork by organizing related dialogues in their locations or providing other inputs on the topic that could be inserted in the OPUS. For more information on how to contribute to the research, please contact:

For more information on the project, visit




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