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BAK publishes We Roma: A Critical Reader in Contemporary Art

We Roma: A Critical Reader in Contemporary Art, edited by Daniel Baker (artist, curator, and researcher; London) and Maria Hlavajova (artistic director of BAK, Utrecht), inquires into the contemporary moment through the lens of Roma artistic and intellectual practices, gathering knowledge from the Roma way of life.

We Roma Photograph on cover: Daniel Baker, Occupy London, 2012.
We Roma Photograph on cover: Daniel Baker, Occupy London, 2012.
As the so-called West’s misconceptions of itself, inherited from the legacy of the modern, are being unmasked through unprecedented shifts in politics, society, aesthetics, and economics—what can we learn from the commonalities among political struggles of historically marginalized communities such as Roma and in what we know as majority society? With the emblematic claim in the artistic imaginary “we Roma,” with which we appeal to wider society—how can we invoke the possibility of a different world and alternative futures? Artists, theorists, writers, and activists—both Roma and non-Roma—speculate on such questions and the possibility of art to imagine the world otherwise.

With contributions by Albert Atkin (philosopher, Sydney), Huub van Baar (researcher and writer, Amsterdam), Damian James Le Bas (writer, journalist, poet, and filmmaker; Essex) & Delaine Le Bas (artist, various locations across Europe), Zygmunt Bauman (social theorist, Leeds), Ethel Brooks (writer and researcher, New Jersey), Agnes Daróczi (curator and activist, Budapest), Tony Gatlif (film director, actor, composer, and producer; Algiers) & Cécile Kovacshazy (researcher and writer, Limoges) with Alex Lykidis (film theorist, New York), Ian Hancock (Roma linguist, historian, and political advocate, Austin), Sanja Iveković (artist, Zagreb), Tímea Junghaus (curator and cultural activist, Budapest), Regina Römhild (cultural anthropologist and curator, Berlin) & Bonaventure Soh Bejeng Ndikung (curator and writer, Berlin); Salman Rushdie (novelist and essayist, London and New York), and Mike Sell (theorist, Pittsburgh).

We Roma: A Critical Reader in Contemporary Art departs from the discussions which unfolded through BAK’s inquiry into Roma knowledges in art, philosophy, politics, activism, and everyday life during the project Call the Witness at the Roma Pavilion, realized in the context of the 54th Venice Biennale, Venice, 2011 (the project’s digital venue can be accessed via

It is the fifth publication in BAK’s Critical Reader Series. The series comprise select collections of new and anthologized propositional writings by a rich array of artists, art historians, philosophers, theorists, activists, and other thinkers grappling—with, from, and through the prism of contemporary art—with what we believe to be the critical matters of our time. Other publications in the series include On Horizons (2011), The Return of Religion and other Myths (2009), On Knowledge Production (2008), Concerning War (2006/2010), and the forthcoming sixth reader, From Viewer to Consumer-Spectator to (Insurgent) Citizen (2014). These publications are paralleled by a series of BAK Critical Readers in Artists’ Practice, within which a compendium of writings appeared in 2012 on the practice of Beirut-based artist, actor, director, and playwright Rabih Mroué.

To order a copy of We Roma: A Critical Reader in Contemporary Art, please send an e-mail to [email protected] or visit the website of Valiz at

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