Title: Autobiography (The Remix)
Collaborator: Achy Obejas
Composer: Lou Carlozo
Vocals: Eduardo Aparicio and Tania Bruguera
Materials: Soundtrack to be played at parties and nightclubs. Remix as disco music of political slogans used by the Cuban Revolution
Autobiography (Remix), a piece made in collaboration with Achy Obejas and Lou Carlozo, takes the sound track of Autobiography (Cuban version) and transforms its sternness into something suitable to dance in parties and discos. It approaches the concept of sound as an independent and self-sufficient means capable of generating ideas in the conscience of the individual. The piece appeals to memory and functions as an autobiography not only of the artist, but of all Cubans born in the Revolution who recognize the rhetoric of political oratory, in this case, slogans issued by the power which have been part of their social reality and have entered their conscience as individuals. Foreign or national audiences experience identification or alienation depending on the degree of knowledge they have of the Cuban revolutionary context. The piece provides evidence on how the lives of Cubans, merged with the political process, lack a clear differentiation between the public and private aspects of individual existence to favor the needs of the macro-social project. It sparks off a moving and critical encounter with the history of Cuba in the last fifty years.
Autobiography (Remix) is a sound track made by a group formed by Tania Bruguera named Las chancletas vanguardistas (The Vanguard Slippers) for its use in dance clubs and parties. The artist created a mixture of patriotic slogans and fragments of speeches of the Cuban Revolution. The political circumstances in Cuba have created in foreigners a stereotyped fascination on its reality. This piece approaches the significance of Cuba as an element of attraction playing with souvenir concepts for political tourism by using politics as entertainment. The piece also finds inspiration in the Marxist statement: “History repeats itself first as tragedy and then as comedy.” In Cuba, because of its idiosyncrasy, this statement may be modified: History repeats itself first as tragedy and then as pachanga (festivity).
Lida Abdul / Tania Bruguera. Maintenant, Ici, Là-bas [Now, Here, Over There]. Frac Lorraine, Metz, France. Curated by Béatrice Josse. (catalog)
September 16 – November 5
Download SOUNDTRACK -HQ– (Recommended)
Maintenant, Ici, Là-bas [Now, Here, Over There]
photos: Yuneisky Villalonga
(by alphabetical order)
Pinto, Roberto “A Homenaje to Tania Bruguera,” Tania Bruguera, On the occasion of the solo show “Giordano Bruno for Saint,” MLAC – Museo Laboratorio Di Arte Contemporanea, Roma, Italy. Ed. Postmedia Srl. Fiesola, Italy, November 2010, (cover & illust.) pp. 38 – 45. ISBN 88-7490-051-0
Villalonga, Yuneisky “Tania Bruguera: Her Place an Her Moment. Maintenant, Ici, La-Bas [Now, Here, Over There],” Frac Lorraine. 2007 (illust.) pp. 74 – 95. ISBN 978-2-911271-11-3
“…We can find more than an echo of this in Arte o Muerte. Sobreviveremos, or in the more recent sound work (realized in collaboration with the writer Achy Obejas) Autobiografia Remix, an unusual musical piece in which the slogans of the Cuban revolution are sampled to create a “politically committed” disco music, that also offers a reworking of Marx’s famous words that open Il 18 Brumaio:”La historia ocurre primero en forma de tragedia y después en forma de pachanga…”
Roberto Pinto, MLAC – Museo Laboratorio Di Arte Contemporanea, Roma, Italy. November, 2010.
“… Autobiography – remix (2004) is a sound piece to be listened to in discos and at parties, installed as background music at the opening of the exhibition in FRAC Lorraine. The artist has put together a mix of patriotic slogans from the Cuban Revolution and fragments of historic speeches over a techno rhythm track. In the Cuban context – which is her primary context – the piece restores to the spectators the memory of the various political demonstrations in which they participate every year.
What always remains of the speeches, the demonstrations and the ceremonies are the slogans. To paraphrase Edmundo Desnoes, these are the vox populi of political systems, the ‘popular ideology’ THAT functions like the sound bites of advertising.12 The piece carries an implicit gesture: the contagion of a political discourse that has become lax. Autobiography – remix is a ‘distorted echo’ with more or less significance according to how close the listener is to the phenomenon it refers to, but there is no doubt that everyone can ‘enjoy’ it and dance to it. Its existence is propagated by the artist distributing it to her friends, putting it on the Internet, circulating it within the art world. She ‘exports’ it as perhaps the perfect souvenir for that political tourism with its eye on Cuba…”
Yuneisky Villalonga, Frac Lorraine, Metz, Fance. 2007.