Year: Medium: Decontextualization of an action. Materials: Mounted police, crowd control techniques, audience. Dimensions: Variable Photo: Sheila Burnett. Courtesy Tate Modern and Estudio Bruguera.
Sorry for the Inconvenience
A stage with a podium, two microphones, and a huge golden-brown curtain as background were placed at one end. The set was reminiscent of the staple one used by Fidel Castro for his speeches. Two actors, a woman and a man dressed in Cuban military uniforms, stood at each side of the podium. The woman had a white dove in her hands. Two hundred disposable cameras were handed out by Bruguera to the public to document the event. Then people were summoned to speak their minds on the podium for one minute.
There was a long silence. When the time assigned for freedom of expression ends, the persons in military uniform that until then had been at each side of the speakers — to defend their right to talk or to control it — take the dove from their shoulder making them leave the podium and the dais and they become once more part of the audience. This action was repeated with each speaker.
They were all treated in the same way. A total of 39 persons made use of the mike to express their affinity with the Cuban political system or criticize it in the 41 minutes the work lasted, after which Tania Bruguera took the podium to thank the Cubans for their courage and their exercise of freedom of expression. Year: Medium: Decontextualization of an action, Behavior Art Materials: Stage, Podium, Microphones, 1 Loudspeaker inside and one outside of the building, 2 persons on a military outfit, White dove, 1 minute free of censorship per speaker, disposable cameras with flash Dimensions: Variable Photo: Courtesy of Studio Bruguera, Collection Solomon R.
One can surmise that the Biennial organizers, the State Security, and other implicated officials miscalculated the possibility of people reacting so strongly to the occasion facilitated by the performance. They probably thought that self-censorship as a result of terror would make people afraid to take the risk of speaking out and, in the case of someone going beyond the limits, his action would take place within a reduced art context.
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The authorities possibly considered also that the audience would chiefly consist of international visitors and that some light critical expressions would serve to project a good image. On the other hand, the prospect of no one daring to speak out was also considered by the artist, who conceived her piece to work in a different way in case the public remained silent.
In Cuba, it was a historic event: for the first time in half a century a free public tribune was allowed for people to express their ideas.
Thus, the artwork managed to create a space for freedom in a totalitarian context. The performance was art due to its symbolic structure, and because it was labeled as such and was taking place in an art framework. Simultaneously, it was a radical political action in Cuba.
The most important element in this series is the participation of spectators who may determine the course the piece will take. Visitors generally answer by complying with the oral instructions of the officers and submitting to the imposing physical and historical presence of the horses, used as repressive means. Paradoxically, it is in Cuba that people rose up to the challenge of speaking out in spite of the danger they were facing.
It was a socio-political movement mobilizing citizens, occupying public spaces for an artistic-political intervention. All art is useful, yes, but the usefulness we are talking about is the immersion of art directly into society with all our resources.
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It has been too long since we have made the gesture of the French Revolution the epitome of the democratization of art. We should not care for how many people are going to museums. We need to focus on the quality of the exchange between art and its audience Bruguera, n. Her objective was to perform a year-long art piece meant to improve the image of immigrants and highlight their plight while her ultimate goal was to blend politics and art to empower immigrants through English classes, legal help and impromptu performances.
She lived for three years like her working-class Latino neighbors and vowed not to tap her credit cards, personal bank account or assistants in Italy and Cuba. Immigrant Movement International functions both as social intervention and as an extended work of conceptual art. The movement addresses such concerns as the effect of invisibility and exclusion of marginalized populations and examines strategies for gaining access to political power and social recognition.
Being international as we understand it is traveling with all your human rights. In a brilliant move Tania is organizing a seminar dedicated to studying the Cuban penal code in order to analyze the ramifications of her case and those of others. Camnitzer Bruguera tried to obtain authorization from the National Revolutionary Police to use the plaza. Her request was denied.
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Bruguera made public her intent to continue with the performance without official support, and was detained on the morning of December Several dissidents who had expressed solidarity with her project were either detained or placed under house arrest at the same time. Under US pressure, Bruguera was released on December 31, She opened the doors to the street, as in her memorable performance The Burden of Guilt. The readers were inside, but their voices were directed toward the street, with the help of a loudspeaker, so as to be overheard by people passing by.
According to Luis Camnitzer:. She presented a situation that on its surface was totally harmless. She only used her private space, precisely stopping at the borderline of where public space starts. The reading was not louder than any music coming out of a window that one might normally hear on the street. Camnitzer, She was whisked away in a police car as locals and international visitors to the 12th Biennial looked on. As for Bruguera, she stated that she would not be intimidated by arrest or torture which would only reinforce her belief in the power of art to create a space for freedom.
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Around 3pm, the mail carrier saw the children walking alone and away from the beach in the general direction of their home. He was familiar with the family.
The mail carrier said that the children looked happy and that they greeted him. He was the last person to see them alive. This case is discussed at length on my blog. On several occasions, police excavated an area behind the Castalloy factory but found no traces of the three missing children. On Aug 10, , Helen Whitlock found their badly decomposed bodies on her farm.
The girls were tied up, partly undressed, and both shot to death. Their bodies were found in dense underbrush near the Cedar-Polk county line. Law enforcement found dragging signs so the girls were not killed where they were found. New hope to solve this case came when authorities spoke to a jail inmate who had just been arraigned for an unrelated murder.
He said he knew who killed Hazel and Cynthia. Then-Sheriff Simmons considered the man a reliable informant. His name is withheld. They said they picked up Hazel and Cynthia on Aug 4, At one point, the inmate said, one of the girls became upset because one of the men got rough with her. She fled, screaming, from the car they were in, and threatened to turn the two men in for rape. The men then drove to a spot to dump the bodies. At that spot they shot the girls again to make sure they were dead.
They then dragged the bodies into or underneath bushes and just left them there. The two men said they traded the gun at a pawn shop in Butler. Simmons tried to find that gun. The alleged murder weapon was long gone, and never recovered. Simmons believes the pawn shop owner had been tipped off about the gun, and got rid of it.
After this in , no more new leads came in. Six days later, the same man broke in the home of Bruce and Debra Bennett. He bludgeoned and stabbed Bruce to death and then raped-killed both Debra and their 7-year-old daughter Melissa. The killer also shattered the face of 3-year-old Vanessa, who survived.