Just a question

Tania Bruguera

From: Bruguera, Tania. “Just a question”, Around America VII, Curated by Sandra Dagher and Lamia Joreige. Beirut Art Center, Beirut, Lebanon.


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“Just a question” was created during the last election campaign in the United States, one where the first African American candidate was racing for a real possibility to be elected president.  The ghost of white supremacists, of political violence, and of ideological extremism reappeared and increased during the last days of the race in an open matter that shocked the public view.  These visceral reactions confronted the image of a country that preaches itself as the land of opportunity.  A week before and a week after the election, this piece was presented in the aim of portraying the contradictions and the elements that generated such reactions.

For te first version, the piece was located in the street and the passing audience was invited to sit and answer the question: “This campaign season has been wrought with political hatred; how do we ensure that political violence doesn’t lead to physical violence?”.

For the second version, the piece was located inside a building where an African American guard, veteran of two wars, randomly picked audience members to follow him to a room where some images of violent act generated by racism were projected on the wall while he was asking the person: “As you know there has been a lot of talk about the possibility of assassinating Barack Obama.  What do you think generates such feelings?.”

For the third installment of this piece, the same set up will prevail but the question will be: “As we have seen in the news, some extremist have appeared at events where the president of the United States is talking with guns and other means for physical violence.  Why do think people see the death of a leader as an option for implementing their ideas?.”