Castro condemns the propagandistic anti-Cuban machinery of performance at 10th Havana Biennial

Flash Art
March 2009

From: Online, Flash Art. “Castro condemns the “propagandistic anti-Cuban machinery” of performance at 10th Havana Biennial.” Flash Art Online, United States.“propagandistic-anti-Cuban-machinery”-of-performance-at-10th-Havana-Biennial

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Castro condemns the “propagandistic anti-Cuban machinery” of performance at 10th Havana Biennial

Flash Art

Monday evening’s performance by Tania Bruguera in Havana has hit a nerve with Castro’s government, prompting them to brand the participants in the event as “dissidents” (reports the Miami Herald).

Two actors, who were dressed to resemble officials from the Ministry of the INterior, flanked a podium and microphone, which Bruguera had set up at the Wifredo Lam Center .Members of the audience were invited to come to the podium and speak on any subject they wished for 1 minute – prompting many to exclaim the lack of freedom of expression on the island.

The piece parodied Fidel Castro’s victory speech from 1959, when a white bird that landed on his shoulder was seen as divine intervention. At times, the accompanying actors in Brugera’s performance placed a white dove on the speakers shoulders. A figure pertaining to be Castro also appeared in the performance, exclaiming, “I think this should  be prohibited.”

Bruguera, who also staged a performance at Tate Modern earlier this year, stated: “What I was doing was giving my space to others […] People went up, but they could have done nothing, and the performance would have been the vacuum […] I never thought that so many people were going to go up like that, that people were going to speak out like they did. I don’t know the people who spoke [… In reality, it was out of my hands, which I think is fine.”