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What's Left of Cuba?

Colloquium - Tania Bruguera on "Partido Revolucionario Cubano (PRC)"

Monday, May 6, 2013, 6:00 p.m.

Auditorium of King Juan Carlos I of Spain Center, 53 Washington Square South, New York University, New York, NY 10012 (map)

Tania Bruguera one of the leading political and performance artists of her generation, researches ways in which Art can be applied to the everyday political life; focusing on the transformation of the condition of "viewer" onto one of active "citizenry" and of social affect into political effectiveness. Her long‐term projects have been intensive interventions on the institutional structure of collective memory, education and politics. To define her practice she created and uses the terms arte de conducta (Conduct/Behavior Art), Arte Útil (Useful Art), political­ timing specific and aest­ethics.

Called a catalyst, Bruguera is highly regarded by artists, academics and political activists and organizations. Her art project of an art school for performance and political art in Havana inspired other similar institutions created in Latin America (to which she has served as advisor). Bruguera has been invited as an expert to work with the Special Rapporteur in the field of cultural rights to ensure artistic freedom to be presented at the United Nation’s Human Rights Council in 2013; she was part of the originating group for Occupy Wall Street and a TED Talks Global speaker in 2013. She is curating a survey exhibition and book on Arte Útil at the Van Abbemuseum for autumn 2013 and is working on a book about her art terms in collaboration with Claire Bishop to be published by the Colección Patricia Phelps de Cisneros’s book series “Conversations.” She is currently working on the political representation of migrants through her long‐term project Immigrant Movement International (conceived in 2005 and initiated in 2010).

The title for the Spring 2013 Colloquium series is "What's Left of Cuba? Culture, Politics, and Civil Society". This Distinguished Speaker series addresses where Cuba is now in the geopolitical imaginary that once heralded Cuba as the exemplar of radical left projects in Latin America. In recent years, Cuban culture has challenged the projects of the revolution and has recast the cold war frames of embargo, exile, and exceptionalism. A new generation of writers, bloggers, visual and performance artists, and political activists and dissidents have insisted on freedom of expression, the rule of law, the politics of remembering, and the notion of civil society. Both on and off the island, many campaign “for an other Cuba” (Por Otra Cuba), reclaiming the nation and challenging the state. From a burgeoning presence in social media to smaller, poignant acts of reclamation such as political tattoos and graffiti, these social actors are creating spaces of expression and action that open fissures and apertures in the discourse of the revolution and the control of the state. Although they vary in political philosophies, these new voices demand both universality and contingency: an agenda that mixes the politics of human rights, Cuban values, and the unfinished projects of both the republic and the revolution.

*Photo ID is required for entry in the building