Fortress of Human Rights

Light Emitting Diode, IC, Electric wire, Mirror, Steel case.

Site specific commissioned work for the University of Geneva

Courtesy Uni Dufour project in Geneva and the University of Geneva

Geneva is a well-known place where international conferences such as those organized by UN are often held. These 'international conferences' and 'communication' are crucial activities to protect Human Rights in the world. In fact, the first session for the 'Universal Declaration of Human Rights' which was adopted in Paris in 1948, took place in Geneva. Tatsuo Miyajima thought that Geneva was deeply involved in 'Human Rights' in this sense.

In addition, the former University of Geneva, where Miyajima set up this art project, was the Collège de Calvin established by John Calvin. He criticized 'Indulgence', which regarded people as a 'money-making instrument' and brought religion back to people. He aimed to spread the idea of 'religion for people' in place of 'people for religion'. It is the most significant aspect of the University's history. In other words, the University of Geneva has been playing a role as a fortress to protect 'Human Rights' from the very beginning.

Miyajima has been thinking that the purpose of education is to spread 'the idea of human rights' to protect 'people.' University is also a place to learn 'harmony' and 'communication' among human beings. That is what knowledge is for and what education is for. He also thinks art is flexible education. Therefore, he decided the 'Universal Human Rights' as the concept for this project. He hopes that teachers and students who visit Geneva from all over the world, and every citizen of Geneva will think about 'the idea of Human Rights' once again through this work of art.

The device, 'Counter Gadget' has a mirrored surface, which reflects the surrounding landscape in the daytime. People get different images from it as they pass through the city. It signifies harmony and communication between human and environment. When the night comes, sparkling digital numerals start counting.

Each of the 220 digital counters Miyajima installed represents 'life of man' in a contemporary way. The idea behind, however, is not based on the digitization of man at all. The reason why Miyajima employs numbers is that they are a 'universal language,' which people around the world can understand, and clearly recognizable when they change. As he wishes to deliver his messages throughout the world, he has been using a rather unusual language called 'numbers' for about ten years. These shining numbers count from one to nine progressively, but zero is not indicated. They are set to repeat all over. They symbolize the idea that humans repeat drama of life and death, which is based on Eastern philosophy. The speed of each counter was determined by 222 Geneva citizens and associates from the University of Geneva, all of whom were selected through a draw of lots. These LED numbers count endlessly in the building of Uni Dufour at a different speed set by the 222 people. Miyajima used red and green LEDs for the 'Counter Gadgets,' and these colors symbolize "opposition" and "difference". He wants to suggest 'Harmony of Opposition' using these two colors. It is obviously a strong criticism against 'Negative Discrimination'. Each 'Counter Gadget' is a modern metaphor for the 'radiance of Human Life'. It is the 'shine of personality' reflecting Geneva citizens' free will and 'Bright Life' of the people in Geneva. The shine is the beauty of people whose 'Human Rights' are guaranteed. It is as if the Universe played a symphony, reverberating in the whole university where these red and green shining 222 counters are installed. It is a song of victory, praising the 'Idea of Human Rights'.

This work is entitled as 'Fortress of Human Rights', in the hope that the University of Geneva and every single person who comes by this place would respect the 'Idea of Human Rights'.

List of 222 participants from the citizens of Geneva: Anne Vu / Cornélia MAURER / Olivier WEBER / Alvaro VILA / Georges ZAHND / Marietta BIERI  / Dominique DONZE / Muriel OLESEN / Cecilia LEUENBERGER / Marianne BEUCHAT / Marius AGUESSY / Paola JUNQUEIRA / Janny JUSTIN / Denise ARBEL / François ALADJEM / Simine SHEYBANI / Nicolas BUCHELER / acqueline AMMANN / Frédéric WALTHER / Steven DE PALEZIEUX / Sylvia THODE / Nicolas HARING / Christophe BEUSCH / Roberto VIGNOLA / Boris BUCHET / Rainer BRAUN / Claude-Alain COUTAZ / Serge QUELOZ / Monia CUSIN / Séverine D'ALBIS / Jean-François ETTER / Chirine SHEYBANI / Jean-François CHRETIEN / Guy WACHSMUTH / Boubacar BA / Julien BABEL / Regula WUTHRICH / Sara KASME / André DUCRET  / Michel PAQUET / Gabrielle DAVICO / iziana ALADJEM / Rong SUN / Pascal ROGUET / Léo MARRONI / Franklin REGAD / Bernard GIRARDET / Alexandre MOTTIER / Flore BLANCPAIN / Jacques BRACHET / Bernard HOLLIGER / Arielle MOLLOF WAGNER / Claudine WIDGREN  / Isabelle BRUNNER / Marc MINGHETTO / Terence FUREY / Zissis NASIOUTZIKIS / Pauline HUDEK / Henri MAUDET / Sabrina DONZE / Cédric MAGNIN / Rosa TURETSKY / Simon STUDER  / Séverine TORCHE / Eric PISLER / Pedro MENDOZA / Mehmet AYOSIN / Adela MANHOSEN / Aude PITTARD / Christian TRIPOD / Livia Valeria DE JESUS BOSTA / Alexandra LASSERRE   / Lily-Marie JOHNSON / Pierre-Philippe CHAPPUIS / Gita DORNES / Eddahbi MANDOUR / Cyrille GIRARDET / Yo CHAPPUIS / Claudine LUCCO-DENEREAZ / Antoine SOKOLOWSKI / Tanguy RIS / Sarmir KASME / Tomas FRIC / Roxane SHEYBANI / Vivianne HENTSCH / Nichola FUREY  / Martial FRAGNIERE / Jean-Pierre CEREZ / Béatrice MILTON DUCRET / Elisabeth BOUCHARDY / Lamine CONDE / Sonia FUREY / Jessica DONZE / Guillaume TAYLOR / Claudine RIME / Jean-Jacques OBERSON / Adrienne SZOKOLOCZY-GROB / Lidia CARLOS SILVETT / Carole ESCARNOT / Fernanda TASSOTTI / Michel MASSON / Maria Graziella MASLIJ-CASTELLAN / Nikolai HENTSCH / Jean-Baptiste ORY / Marie-Christine BERNEY / Sylvie REGAD / Mag REVERDIN / Christine DETRAZ / Yasmine WALLER / Virginie BUCHELER / Ana-Bela BARRAS / Olivier RASCHER / Christian VALITON / John DE VECCHI / Marie TERRISSE / Evelyn BECK / Françoise GARNIER-TERRAILLO / Gérald MINKOFF / Nathalie RIS / Logan RIS / Jenny LUNDSTROM / Mary LAFER / Esmail SHEYBANI / Guilé THIOUNE / Léa RASCHER / Sylvie HAMDANI / Henda FELDMANN / Manuel ALONSO UNICA / Simon-Pierre MBENG / Erida BEGA / Patrick GALLATI / Janos FARAGO / Joëlle RESSEGUIER / Tatiana MOLLOF / Laurence DE CECCO / Marie-Elisabeth PEYSSON / Anouchka NEUVECELLE / Lise CHRISTEN / Dominique LEVY / Roland KUNGI / Gérald MENTHA / Nadège BURKLE / Ute GOLLNOW / David CANTATORE / Nathalie AMOOS / Antoine RIS / Emmanuel CHANSON / Pierre-Jacques VALLIERES / Philippe NAKACHE / Gabriele GRAS / Ronny BECK / Nadia ROSSI / Alexandra MOLLOF / Rita CROTTA  / Lorenzo GIAFFREDA / Adon PERES / Elliott CROSET / Jean-Pierre TRIPOD / Danielle CERUTTI  / Raphaël BECK / Laurent SHEYBANI / Ludovic AMIGUET / Ann NOCK / Jordan BOJILOV / Clara BETRISEY / Alain BOURRELY / Doris BASHA / Giséle BRUYERE / Agaath PISLER / Max NAHMANI / Jocelyne FRIEDLI / Alexandra REGAD / Françoise NYFFENEGGER / Hikari KIKUCHI / Annick RICHARD / Bekhaled BOUDA / Marianne REGAD / Philippe FICHARD / Yasmine STUDER  / Mario ROSSELLO / Aude RAMSEIER / Philippe BANDELIER / Charles TARCHINI / Thérèse-Anne MASSET / Parvin SHEYBANI / Reina KALO / Roberto SEILER / Xavier OTHENIN-/ Roland-Richard MARTIN / José VARGAS / Cédric GROBON / Eveline NOTTER / Baba DIAO / ean-François ROSSIGNOL / Nicole CHAPPUIS / Malick SIDIBE / Maria Carmen PERLINGEIRO / Sven WIDGREN / Alexandra THEILER / Antoine REMOR / Chiara DI ANTONIO / Martine SOKOLOWSKA / Emmanuelle CRETTON AKBARI / Jelena KOJIC / Michèle PAQUET / Igor STUDER / Heinz LIENHARD / Bénédict HENTSCH / Claire CICALONI / Gérard ROBERT / Alain MARGOT / Andrée GRUFFAT / Adrien WALTHER / Ali MERZOUK / Philippe JOYE / Philippe MEYER / Stefan SIGEL / Stéphane RENOU / Jan Stanislaw PAWLOWSKI / Céline KALTENRIEDER / Sické TOURE / Thierry TRIPOD.