Video of critical art performance in Cuba


From: Pomairino. “Performance”, Youtube, March 30, 2009. Participación de cubanos (entre ellos, algunos blogueros) en el espectáculo Performance de Tania Bruguera, Décima Bienal de La Habana (marzo 2009) Category:News & Politics.

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Transcription of video, “Performance”

Guillermo Gómez Peña: We are about to present two performances simultaneously: Tania’s work in this courtyard. Three hundred disposable cameras will be handed out so, very frugally and strategically, you may take your pictures with a flash of the people who will have a minute in the podium to talk freely of whatever they want. Thank you very much for being with us and for your patience.

2. Cuba is a country surrounded by the sea and it is also an island walled in by censorship. Internet and especially the blogs have opened some cracks on the wall of information control. The phenomenon of the alternative blogsphere has been growing and a large part of the Cuban population is now aware of its existence. We are a few bloggers yet, but our sites contribute to awaken civic opinion.

Authorities consider new technologies are a “wild stallion” that must be tamed, but independent bloggers want them to run freely. Difficulties to spread our sites are many. Hand to hand and thanks to flash memories, CDs and the obsolete floppies, the contents of the blogs covers the entire island.

Internet is becoming a public debate square where we Cubans write our opinions. The real island is becoming a virtual island, more democratic and plural.

Unfortunately, those free opinion winds in the net have barely blown on our guarded reality. We should not continue waiting to be granted authorization to enter Internet, to have a blog or to write an opinion. It is time to jump over the control wall.

3. That there is a day when we all have some minutes to say into a mike all we want and, also, that those with this possibility devote a minute at least to say the truth.

4. The worst about our problems is not how serious they are, but the lack of perspective to solve them. I do not dare suggest even one solution, but I think that the path towards these solutions is to put mikes at the disposal of all those with an idea in their heads. For these mikes to multiply and have a larger audience, it is necessary first of all to decriminalize the exercise of dissenting opinions. The day when the decriminalization of political discrepancy is clearly announced in this country we will witness a transcendental event. Economic, political, social, cultural and many other projects now hidden into numerous drawers because of the fear of being misunderstood will come to light. Projects by serious, professional, honest, intelligent and informed people who, because they respect the law and love their families, have not wanted to suffer the penalties we all know about. An additional advantage will be the decrease in simulation and there will be less reason for opportunism.

5. I want to talk against surreptitious militarization in Cuba. I am against it and want to speak out against all the things that upset me day by day. I am against and I protest and I express it. I am against people staying on that side without taking the chance to jump to this side, not even today. I am against it.

6. That one day freedom of expression in Cuba will not be a performance.

7. Hey, I have a mike just like this one. I wanted to say that a very serious thing has happened. State security confiscated some papers of mine and has not returned them yet. They said they were going to confiscate them. They took my flash memory and erased everything I had in it. These were pictures I wanted to publish and things like that. I need the paper to be returned to me, because it is mine. That’s all. If I think up something else I’ll come up again, after all, nobody is coming up.

8. The only thing I want to say is that they should come up and talk here. Come up and talk. Come up and talk. That they do not cut into phone calls. That they let you do what you want. Long live democracy! We hope some day it will prevail in Cuba.

9. I only want to say that the chance to come up here feels really nice. Those who have not come up, please do although your ideas may not be too clear. It feels very, very nice. It is a step forward. Please, come up.

10. It is said that in a meeting with intellectuals, Virgilio Pinera once answered: “I only know that I’m afraid.” Me too.

11. I am a wounded man and would like to go away and reach that place where men that are alone with themselves are heard. I only have pride, goodness, and I feel an exile in the midst of men.

12. Revolution is to change everything that should be changed.

13. I would like to have all those here vote to see if we agree on certain aspects. You would only have to raise your hand, all those who want to. Who actually agrees that the Castro family, which is the one that has been monitoring us during these fifty years, should leave power? That they hand it over, that elections of a different type are held in Cuba, that there is talk about the political prisoners, Antunez case, for example. He is in a hunger strike. One of us may have much access to direct information. Well this and so on and so forth. I think that raising our hand here today we may change things right now. Then one, two, three: raise your hands so things change today.

14. I want to quote words by famous artist Joseph Beuys: “Art does not exist, artists do not exist. We are all artists.”

15. Reverse a phrase: “With the Revolution, everything; without it, nothing.”

16. For the good of every Cuban, I want to listen in self-sound.

17. Well, a very important thing: doves are kind of peculiar as to their meat, but well, I don’t know what to say about their feathers. I’m very nervous with this mike here. I don’t know what to say. I am talking on behalf my teacher Saavedra, an announcement for this exhibition. There are many people here. I see it is very hot. I could not see the beginning because I bumped into a lot of people. Don’t laugh. What else can I say? Nothing. That it is a very beautiful show.

18. One, two, yes. Please, when you come to the podium do not touch the mike, because it captures much signal, noise comes off and you do not hear yourselves. Understood? Leave it as it is. You go near it and say what you want to say.

19. Disappointment is the worst feeling.

20. People, this is a democratic opening, right now in this festival. Freedom, freedom, freedom!

21. I don’t understand Spanish. Long live change, change!

22. Millions of children are starving. None of them are Cuban.

23. (A different language)

24. I am 20 years old. This is the first time I feel so free. Of course, I invite those older than me, even those who are dead, to come and recite here.

25. I am 20 years old too. I am a theater professor and am very happy that so many peoples can be in this biennial exhibition and that there is unity. I also fight for world peace.

26. Good evening. I am from Puerto Rico. Although my island is a colony, I have had the privilege of having had freedom of expression. I make you an additional suggestion to the one that has been made here tonight: that we stay here for 24 hours defending that this mike is kept open. Especially that all foreigners who can defend this free forum for 24 hours stay here until tomorrow. Have more Cubans come, come and talk with the dove.

27. Well, I ask please, do not dare hide and much less banish this piece from the media, because it has been too many years trying to hide the sun with a finger.

28. Good evening. I am a Cuban. I am an artist and am working in the Biennial Exhibition. I came some days ago here, to the Lam, to pick up the catalogue the Biennial Exhibition was supposed to give me. They told me the catalogue was only for foreigners. I would like to know why we Cubans do not have the right to a catalogue.

29. This summarizes everything.

30. My name is Marta Toledo. I am a Mexican. I am Juchitepech. I come from a pre-Hispanic culture, a culture based in corn. In Mexico we know that without corn we would have no country. That is why women organized and formed a group called MAMAZ. We have given birth to all of you, fuckers. You know what? They are screwing us in this world. Yes, they are screwing us. There is a woman killed every minute in Ciudad Juarez, in Mexico, in Oaxaca, in Spain. They screw them. They rape them. What will happen to us? We are your mothers, your partners. The future is guaranteed if we, together, join hands. I like it very much to be in this Exhibition and see so many women here. Until a while ago it was only men who controlled the works of art. Yes, it is thus…

31. Freedom is to be found in self-esteem. Please, defend your right to pleasure.

32. Please, a minute of silence for ourselves.

33. Good evening. My name is Lisette Quintana. I graduated from the Visual Arts Academy in Ciego de Avila. As it happens, my dissertation deals with social criticism and that is why I am here. Many things are said about Cuba in the world, but by sheer chance I was walking down Obispo Street some days ago and I saw something very sad. I saw a Cuban child begging. He entered a place and we threw him out. We threw him out with shouts. I would like to know if we speak of children with so much vivacity, with so much pride, why was that child there?

34. I expect you protest. I expect you protest so there is no need to do this. Long live freedom of expression!

35. What is more important, to talk or to do? What is more important, to talk or to do? What is more important, to talk or to do? What is more important, to talk or to do? What is more important, to talk or to do?

36. Hello. If somebody has found my equipment, please, this is the moment to return it. Thank you.

37. A shout.

38. And why do we need a podium to say the truth? Do we simply expect that with our works… Why do we need a podium to say what eats up our soul? Why do we need a podium to say the truth?

39. I think this should be banned.

40. Thank you very much, Cubans.