- ABRAMOVIC Marina & ATLAS Charles, The Biography, 1992-93.
- ALBARRACIN Pilar, Sin titulo (Sangre en la calle)/Untitled (blood in the street, 1992.
Série de 8 actions. documentation vidéo : 6’25’’.
- ANTONI Janine, Loving Care, 1992. Londres.
- ARAHMAIANI, Uwek-Uwek,, with the musician Slamet Abdul Syukur, Ismael Marzurki Art Center, Jakarta, Indonesia.
- BANANA Anna, Condensed History of Performance Art at Interzone Performance Festival, Le Lieu, Québec.
- BRUGUERA Tania, Homenaje a Ana Mendieta (Tribute to Ana Mendieta), 1992.
Tania Bruguera (1968, Cuba, USA) is a contemporary interdisciplinary artist working internationally with such media as performance and installation art. Her political art both reflects and discusses her personnal and national background – Bruguera was born and grew up in Cuba – by exploring matters of power, discipline, violence, exile and migration. She understands ‘art as an agent for social change’ and proposes that it has ‘to be completely linked with life – and not a fiction or virtual reality, but as alive as possible. My art has to have a real function for myself, to heal my problems, or to help other people to reflect and improve.’ Interested in influencing rather than representing socio-political contexts, Bruguera has created long-term interventions such as Catedra Arte de Conducta (Behavior Art School) – a school she founded in Havana with the pedagogical and artistic purpose of improving ‘the relationship between performative arts and politics and its implementation in society’ – and the Immigrant Movement International, the formation and development of a political party.
The project Homenaje a Ana Mendieta started as Bruguera’s thesis at the Instituto Superior de Arte in Havana. For 10 years she re-enacted artworks and projects by Ana Mendieta, including her signature Silueta Series, opposing official policies aimed at erasing the cultural contributions of Cuban expatriates. The Silueta Series (1973-1980) is a group of works in which Mendieta – exiled from Cuba at the age of 13 ans – placed her naked body or marked her female silhouette (using different organic materials such as rocks, sand and flowers) in varied landscapes.
- BUSTAMANTE Maris, Tarzan, 1992, Action. Mexico.
- ESPALIU Pepe, Carrying, 1992. Saint Sébastien. Espagne.
- FLANAGAN Bob & ROSE Sheree, Visiting Hours, 1992. Santa Monica Museum. Californie.
- FOX Terry & DENIS Claudine, Sette Selle, 1992, Selle di Borgo Valsugana, Italie.
- FOX Terry & DENIS Claudine, Ventre affame n’a pas d’oreilles,1992, Kunstraum Fuhrwerkswaage, Cologne.
- FOX Terry, Corpora Cavernosa, 1992, Cologne.
- FOX Terry, Echo & Narcissus, 1992, Paley/Levy Galleries, Moore College of Art and Design, Philadelphia.
- FUSCO Coco & GÓMEZ-PEÑA Guillermo, Two Undiscovered Amerindians Visit Irvine University, 1992.
Coco Fusco (1960, USA) is a New York-based interdisciplinary artist and writer; Fusco’s work combines electronic media and performance in a variety of formats – from staged multimedia performances incorporating large scale projections and closed circuit television to live performances streamed to the internet that invite audiences to chart the course of action through chat interaction. Her work is an ongoing reflection on the conditions of (women’s) bodies in globalizing and technologically imbued environments. Her most recent work, a video entitled La Plaza Vacia (The Empty Plaza), was shot in the Plaza de la Revolucion
in Havana. It is a meditation on the legendary Cuban site as a stage devoid of human presence but filled memories of past political performances. Text: Coco Fusco.
— The Year of the White Bear. Extrait de l’entretien de Coco Fusco et Guillermo Gómez-Peña par Kim Sawchuk, revue Parachute, n° 67, 1992 :
« Coco Fusco : Le projet est une installation d’arts visuels avec plusieurs projections d’images, des performances spécifiques pour certains lieux, une pièce radiophonique et éventuellement une publication.
En mars 1992, nous avons performé The Year of The White Bear : Première partie – Deux aborigènes non découverts visitent Irvine à l’Université de Irvine. C’était la première d’une série de performances semblables que nous allons donner tout au long de cette année en Amérique du Nord, en Europe et en Australie. Nous prétendons être des habitants d’une île nommée Guatinau […]. Nous vivions dans une cage de 10 x 12 m. pendant trois jours, durant lesquels nous nous livrions à nos activités traditionnelles aborigènes, par exemple, regarder la télévision, travailler sur un ordinateur portable, porter des poids, coudre des poupées vodou, écouter du rap bilingue, etc. Nous ne parlions pas l’anglais, et comptions sur le gardien pour la traduction, pour nous nourrir et nous amener aux toilettes. Une plaque devant la cage donnait des informations toxonomiques à propos de nos origines supposées et une carte montrait l’emplacement de notre île dans le golfe du Mexique. Un panneau indiquait que nous dancerions, chanterions, raconterions des histoires aborigènes et nous laisserions prendre en photo avec les visiteurs pour quelques sous. Nos gardiens de zoo vendaient d’authentiques souvenirs aborigène, tels que cheveux ou ongles d’orteils, et donnaient aux visiteurs des gants chirurgicaux s’ils souhaitaient nous toucher ou nous nourrir.
La réponse a été tout à fait stupéfiante. Avant que nous arrivions à Irvine, les services du département santé et hygiène de l’Université avaient déjà adressé une pile de mémos au département des arts afin d’informer chacun que les ‘aborigènes’ ne pouvaient aller aux toilettes en pagne. En fait, il y avait une certaine confusion : étions-nous des vrais aborigènes ou des anthropologues apportant des vrais aborigènes dans la galerie ? Nous avons reçu des pages d’instructions concernant la prévention de pertes humaines et une liste de trente maladies transmissibles par les excréments, particulièrement les excréments des ‘gens de la campagne’ dans le monde.
Même après notre arrivée, beaucoup de visiteurs étaient confus, voire dérangés par notre présence dans la cage. Quelques personnes pensaient que nous étions de vrais aborigènes et étaient tout à fait bouleversés. D’autres étaient troublés par le fait de voir des humains en cage – une femme s’est même évanouie en pleurant. D’autres n’avaient aucune idée des précédents historiques et entraient dans la performance à la lumière de la célébration du cinq centième, désireux de poser en photo et d’applaudir nos chants et danses, sans se rendre compte à quel point ils étaient visqueux. Beaucoup de gens nous apportaient de la nourriture et des petits cadeaux. Un critique d’art nous a offert une caméra vidéo afin que nous puissions filmer les visiteurs. La chose qui semblaient heurter le plus les visiteurs était notre comportement sexuel quel qu’il soit – si nous nous embrassions ou nous caressions l’un l’autre, quiconque quittait rapidement la galerie.
Une autre dimension intéressante de la réponse du public était le problème du langage – le fait que la plupart des gens ne pouvaient nous parler, ne connaissant pas l’espagnol. Cela a immédiatement créé une sensation de distance qui effrayait les visiteurs. Nous avions un téléphone dans la cage et beaucoup de gens demandaient des informations, juste pour être irrités par notre réponse en espagnol. Dans certains cas, les gens raccrochaient en colère et rappelaient ensuite en admettant parler quelques mots d’espagnol. Ils nous demandaient alors de parler lentement, de façon à ce qu’ils puissent capter ce que nous disions. A la fin, il est apparu que les gens devaient reconnaître leur méconnaissance des langues étrangères – même contre leur volonté. »
« Guillermo Gómez-Peña : Je suis intéressé par le territoire du malentendu qui existe entre nous et notre public et aussi entre les latinos et les anglo-américains, aussi bien qu’entre une sensibilité catholique et une éthique protestante.
L’une des stratégies les plus efficaces des Border Artists a été de travailler avec les contingences historiques – que se passerait-il si le continent était retourné ? Si les États-Unis était le Mexique ? Si les gringos étaient des aliens illégaux ? Si les anglais étaient espagnols ? – tourner la table à 180 degrés et adopter une position privilégiée pour parler, même si cette position privilégiée est une fiction. »
— In order to adress the widespread practice of human displays, Fusco and Gómez-Peña enclosed their own bodies in a ten-by-twelve-foot cage and presented themselves as two unknown « specimens representative of the Guatinaui people » in the performance piece « Undiscovered Amerindians ». Inside the cage Fusco and Gómez-Peña outfitted themselves in outrageous costumes and preoccuped themselves with performing equally outlandish « native » tasks. Gómez-Peña was dressed in an Aztek style breastplate, complete with a leopard skin face wrestler’s mask. Fusco, in some of her performances, donned a grass skirt, leopard skin bra, baseball cap, and sneakers. She also braided her hair, a readily identifiable sign of « native authenticity ».
In a similar fashion to the live human spectacles of the past, Fusco and Gómez-Peña performed the role of cultural « other » for their museum audiences. While on display the artists’ « traditional » daily rituals ranged from sewing voodoo dolls, to lifting weights to watching television to working on laptop computers. During feeding time museum guards passed bananas to the artists and when the couple needed to use the bathroom they were escorted from the cage on leashes. For a small donation, Fusco could be persuaded to dance (to rap music) or both performers would pose for Polaroids. Signs assured the visitors that the Guatinauis « were a jovial and playful race, with a genuine affection for the debris of Western industrialized popular culture …Both of the Guatinauis are quite affectionate in the cage, seemingly uninhibited in their physical and sexual habits despite the presence of an audience. » Two museum guards from local institutions stood by the cage and supplied the inquisitive visitor with additional (equally fictitious) information about the couple. An encyclopedic-looking map of the Gulf of Mexico, for instance, showed the supposed geographic location of their island. Using maps, guides, and the ambiguous museum jargon, Fusco and Gómez-Peña employed the common vocabulary of the museum word to stage their own display.
Despite Fusco and Gómez-Peña’s professed intentions that Undiscovered Amerindians should be perceived as a satirical commentary, more than half of the visitors to the museums who came upon the performance believed that the factitious Guatinaui identities were real.
En 1992, Fusco and Gómez-Peña first staged the performance on Columbus Plaza, Madrid, Spain, as a part of the event Edge ‘92 Biennial, organized in commemoration of Columbus’ voyage to the New World. The performance piece had an illustrious two year exhibition history including performances at Covent Garden in London, The National Museum of Natural History at the Smithsonian in Washington D.C., The Field Museum in Chicago, the Whitney Museum’s Biennial in New York, The Australian Museum of Natural History and finally in Argentina, on the invitation of the Fundacion Banco Patricios in Buenos Aires.
Quote about Undiscovered Amerindians from Coco Fusco:
According to Fusco, she and Gómez-Peña aimed to conduct a ‘a reverse ethnography… Our cage became a blank screen onto which audiences projected their fantasies of who and what we are. As we assumed the stereotypical role of the domesticated savage, many audience members felt entitled to assume the role of colonizer, only to find themselves uncomfortable with the implications of the game’ (Fusco 47).
- Coco Fusco, English is Broken Here, New York: The New Press, 1995.
- Guillermo Gómez-Peña, The New World Border, San Francisco: City Lights, 1996.
— Coco Fusco and Guillermo Gómez-Peña by Anna Johnson (http://bombmagazine.org/article/1599/coco-fusco-and-guillermo-g-mez-pe-a) (30/12/2014), Bomb 42-Winter 1993 :
« In March 1992, performance artist and MacArthur Fellow, Guillermo Gómez-Peña and writer/artist Coco Fusco locked themselves in a cage. Presenting themselves as aboriginal inhabitants of an island off the gulf of Mexico that was overlooked by Columbus, their spectacle provided a thorn in the side of postcolonial angst.
Enacting rituals of ‘‘authentic’’ daily life such as writing on a laptop computer, watching TV, making voodoo dolls, and pacing the cage garbed in Converse high-tops, rafia skirts, plastic beads, and a wrestler’s mask, the two ‘‘Amerindians’’ rendered a hybrid pseudo primitivism that struck a nerve. Interested members of the audience could pay for dances, stories, and polaroids. Guilt, molestation, confusion, and letters to the humane society were among audience responses. Nearly half the visitors that saw the cage in Irvine, London, Madrid, Minneapolis, and the Smithsonian in Washington D.C. believed that the two were real captives, true natives somehow tainted by the detritus of technology and popular culture.
– Guillermo Gómez-Peña : We performed the piece at Irvine, which is known for it’s incredible xenophobia towards Mexicans. We also performed the piece in Madrid in Columbus Plaza, the heart of the Quincentennial debate, and later on in London at Covent Gardens. People of color were exhibited at Covent Gardens and many other places in Europe, from the 17th century to the early 20th century.
In all of the cities we have performed, there have been a range of responses from absolute tenderness and solidarity – people giving us presents, offerings, quietly being with us, sending notes of sympathy – all the way to extremely violent responses. In London, a group of neo-nazi skinheads tried to shake the cage. In Madrid, mischievous teenagers tried to burn me with cigarettes while some handed me a beer bottle of urine. There were business men in Spain regressing to their childhood, treating us as if we were monkeys – making gorilla sounds or recist ‘‘indian’’ hoots.
I think we have touched on a colonial wound in this piece.
– Coco Fusco : When we created this piece, our original intent was not to convince people that the fiction of our being Amerindians was a reality. We understood it to be a satirical commentary both on the Quincentenary celebrations and on the history of this practice of exhibiting human beings from Africa, Asia, and Latin America in Europe and the United States in zoos, theaters, and museums. When we got to Spain, more than half the people thought we really were Amerindians. Then there were others who came to watch those who were taking us seriously. There were people who were not sure whether to believe that we were real. Other people were absolutely convinced that they understood Guillermo’s language, which is virtually impossible because it’s a nonsense language. One man in London stood there and translated Guillermo’s story for another visitor. We had a lot of sexualized reactions to us. Men in Spain put coins in the donation box to get me a dance because, as they said, they wanted to see my tits. There was a woman in Irvine who asked for a rubber glove in order to touch Guillermo and started to fondle him in a sexual manner. There were several instances where people crossed the boundaries of expected sexual behavior. I think that was provoked by us being presented as objects, by their sense of having power over us…
– G. G-P : …the boundary between ethnography and pornography. To add to what Coco Fusco has said, this endemic dual perception of the Other, as either noble savage or cannibal, has existed at the core of European and American relations since the very first encounters. We try to play very much with these dualities. When we appear in the cage I am the cannibal, I am the warrior, this threatening masculine Other who causes fear to the viewer. Coco performs the noble savage, you know the quiet, subdued innocent. The response people have towards her is either one of compassion or one of sexual aggression.
– C. F. : The most hysterical reactions we had to the piece happened when we appeared at the Smithsonian. One alarmed person called the Humane Society. The Humane Society told that person that human beings were out of their juridiction.
The response we had from Native Americans and Latins were more interesting. They tend to find fault with the hybridity of the contents of the cage, while Anglos take this as a sign of our lack of authenticity. In Washington, for example, there was a Native American elder from the Pueblo tribe of Arizona wha was interviewed by a Smithsonian representative. He said that our performance was the most real thing about the Native Americans displayed in the whole museum. He said the installation and performance ought to be permanent to give people a very clear idea of the Native American experience. Then there was a man from El Salvador who pointed to the rubber heart hanging in the cage and told everybody, ‘‘That heart is my heart.’’
– Anna Johnson : In your performance, you presented artifacts from a fictional land, including : a lap-top computer, video, a bottle of Coca-Cola… poking fun at the idea that you were authentic savages from a foreign place. Could you talk about your idea of authenticity and ethnic identity?
– C. F. : We were trying to blast this myth that the non-Western Other exists in a time and place that is completely untouched by western civilization or that in order to be authentic one would have to be devoid of characteristics associated with the West. It’s reasonable to say that non-Western cultures have a better understanding of Western civilization than Western civilization has of other cultures. In any case, we introduced into the cage some elements that shocked and bothered many people and became the focus of a lot of questions put to the zoo guards. People said, ‘‘How could we be authentic if he smoke Dunhills? How could she really know how to use a computer if she is from this undiscovered island? Why is she wearing Converse high tops?’’ Everything they viewed as part of their world, they didn’t want us to have. That would mean that we were inauthentic. However, if you see Conchero dancers in Mexico City, they do wear Converse high tops and Adidas and Nikes. They probably listen to hard rock when they are not dancing to traditional music. We wanted to make fun of this very Euro-centric notion that other people operate in a pristine world untouched by Western civilization.
– G. G-P : To me, authenticity is an obsession of Western anthropologists. When I am in Mexico, Mexicans are never concerned about this question of authenticity. However, when I am in the United States, North Americans are constantly making this artificial division between what is an ‘‘authentic’’ Chicano, an ‘‘authentic’’ Mexican, an ‘‘authentic’’ Natice American in order to futfill their own desires. Generally speaking, this authentic Other has to be pre-industrial, has to be more tuned with their past, has to be less tainted by post-modernity, has to be more innocent and must not live with contemporary technology. And most importantly, must have a way of making art that futfills their stereotypes; in the case of Mexico – Magical Realism.
– C. F. : This fetish about authenticity is connected to an idea that the non-Western being doesn’t have a sense of reflexivity about him or herself. I think, for example, of the videos being made now by Kayapo Indians in the Amazon. I was at a conference this year where American academics questioned the Kayapos’ interest in filming themselves filming and editing. They want to talk about the process while they’re making it and that blows American academics away.
– G. G-P : The bottom line is they don’t want us to be part of the same present or the same time. They want us to operate putside of history.
– C. F. : The Kayapos aren’t allowed to be self-conscious. if you can be ironic, if you can be reflexive, it’s because you can think. Ethnography and anthropology have consistently negated that dimension of non-Western cultures. It would threaten the veracity of the Western observer’s ‘‘information.’’
– G. G-P : A lot of the work that our contemporaries are doing, like James Luna and Jimmy Durham, attempts, through performance, to take identity out of this historicists ice cube and bring it back into the present, to tell North Americans, ‘‘Hey, we’re members of the same society and the same historical moment.’’
– A. J. : Guillermo, in a recent article you referred to the Western view of Latin American culture as a fantasy of descending into the underworld, and the Latin American perception of the West as an ascent. Could you expand on this?
– G. G-P : European and Euro-Americans utilize a Dantean model when they deal with other cultures. For them to abandon the United States or Europe (conceptually or physically) implies a descent to hell. It is very much part of the Western psyche: you descend in search of enlightenment, sexual pleasure, magic, exorcism… and come back.
– A. J. : In your performance, Border Brujo, you use kitsch imagery, Mexican visual mythology, plus references to the 1940s Hollywood conception of Mexico as a libidinous and carnival atmosphere where servicemen could pleasure themselves. The young Jane Powell could go down to Mexico, warble a few musical numbers and perhaps, lose her virginity. What conception do Mexicans have of the way in which Americans present them? As you were growing up, how did you respond to those Hollywood images?
– G. G-P : Observing Mexican culture, you can find two very schematic responses. A more politicized response is that of anger, realizing that an extremely complex culture that is two or three thousand years old has been reduced to an inventory of very simplistic stereotypes. We are viewed as lazy, over-sexual, romantic, irrational. Then the other response is that of simulation, which is the saddest one for me because of the way the United States has broadcast these stereotypes through movies, television, and art. The publicity has been so powerful that we, in fact, have internalized many of these stereotypes and regurgitated them. You have situations of many cities in Mexico creating simulated environments after the meta-Mexican environments created by Californians. Tijuana is a perfect example; like many of the border towns, Tijuana has recreated, as reality, this fantasy about the Amigo country that Hollywood invented 40 years earlier. It’s like a game of mirros in which images and symbols reflect and ricochet off each other and, at some point, reality gets lots for good.
– C. F. : The situation is even more grave among Latinos in the U.S., many of whom lose direct contact with their culture of origin after one or two generations. Their primary experience of cultural identity becomes the reductive stereotype broadcast via mainstream United States cultures. Which, in many cases, they assimilates as ‘‘real.’’
– G. G-P : Hope for Latin America really lies in the incrdible capability that Latin Americans have to subvert these stereotypes and bring them back in a politicized manner. Unlike the traditional notion of the Left, that everything the United States sends to Latin America is damaging to Latin America identity, we strongly believe that Latin American popular culture has creative capability. It can take this information – plastic, and neon, and cheap industrial materials – and turn it into art. It’s called Rascuachismo in Mexico, a form of voluntary kitsch and political practice: an altar from hubcaps, a temple from plastic, a decoration for the house from cereal boxes…
– C. F. : This does not square very well with with this very Anglo and European notion of authenticity. A very banal example of this is the reaction of many Americans who went to Nicaragua during the Sandanista revolution. They would get to Managua and be upset to find Sandanistas playing baseball and going to la ciudad plastica, ‘‘the plastic city’’ or mall, to eat at McDonalds. The gringos wanted to go to the mountains to find the peasant.
– A. J. : How does this bear upon the mid-to-late ‘80s obsession with evething border and everything Latin, the revival of the kitsch invention you’re talking about?
– C. F. : The United States has been enamored with Latin culture on and off since the transfer of Mexican territory in the 1840s. It’s a cyclical thing, every once in a while there is a return to this fetishistic fascination. Usually, what is appealing is what Americans perceive as the spirituality, the carnality, the sentimentality of Latin culture. We are there to fill a void for Americans every time they recognize or they sense that they have no meaningin their lives.
– G. G-P : It is very symptomatic that the ‘‘Latino boom’’ and the multicultural craze and the border hoopla that hit the United States art world around 1987 coincided with a realization that the United States was healed towards an economic disaster, the crumbling of the American dream. It is precisely this moment of disenchantment that Americans look towards the Other to seek those answers they no longer can find inside themselves. The United States art world is fascinated with the form and the carnality but really not with the political content. They want enlighment without irritation.
– A. J. : That’s why Frida Kahlo is such an appealing icon. She was a martyr and she suffered. Even though she was strong, she was literally pierced through the middle.
– C. F. : What is interesting, is that the Frida Kahlo venerated by American feminists a a very different Frida Kahlo to the one people learn about in Mexico, in the Chicano community. In her country, she is recognized as an important artist and a key figure in revolutionary politics of early 20th century Mexico. Her communist affiliations are made very clear. Her relationship with Trotsky is underscored. All her political activities with Diego Rivera are constantly emphasized. The connection between her art and her politics is always made. When Chicana artists became interested in Frida Kahlo in the ‘70s and started organizing homages, they made the connection between her artistic project and theirs because they too were searching the Euro-American feminits latch onto Frida Kahlo in the early ‘80s and when the American mainstream caught on to her, she was transformed into a figure of suffering. I am very critical of that form of appropriation.
– A. J. : You have both been received on a very literal level. The reviews in the New York Times, the audiences around the cages. Why do you think that people always address th superficial aspects of your performances? Are they discomforted by the more subtle anxieties and antagonisms?
– G. G-P : One of the most popular traditions of North American literature is that of the testimonial-style narrative, the confessional mode that comes from a Protestant tradition. In Mexico, a transcendentalist Catholic culture, allegorical symbolic thinking is more popular. We don’t have a tradition of pyschological realism in literature or in theater. Social realism was really known in Mexico after the Cuban revolution and more as a fashion than an organic tradition that came from within. As a result you have two drastically different world views that create incredible misunderstandings between artists living a border experience like me. I have learned to create a meta-commentary that makes these misunderstandings evident. I have referred to the border as a place where symbols crack open. I try to make this evident on a stage right in front of an audience.
– A. J. : How your cage performance altered over time?
– G. G-P : it is becoming more focused and cleaner. The first time it was performed, it was excessive in all ways. We are much more conscious of the piece as a visual performance. Now that we have tried so many possibilities, we know exactly how to trigger reactions. We have added to our list of activities; mine is walking around with a kitchen knife, and as members of the audience ask to be photographed with us, I sometimes take out my knife and pose with it. The police have gotten very upset. Dark skin, a mustache, and a knife are a deadly combination.
– C. F. : Something else is happening. There is this feature film about Ishi the Yahi, the Native American who was made to live in a museum in California for five years. He was the last of a tribe that was wiped out by white settlers.
Meanwhile, there has been all of this press about Ota Benga, a Pygmy who was brought to the U.S. in 1904 and exhibited at State Fairs and in the primate cage of the Bronx Zoo. He wound up shooting himself. tri-Star is now making a movie about the life of Ota Benga. In addition, many women have done work on the Hottentot Venus lately… For some reason, this history of human exhibition is receiving a great deal of critical reevaluation.
– G. G-P : People believe these practices are extinct. And we say it still exists in more benign forms. While we were in Minneapolis a month ago, we were invited to the Minnesota State Fair. There was a freak show, and one of the people exhibited was called Tiny Tisha, Island Princess. We entered, completely shocked to find a Haitian midget on display in the same way freaks were displayed in the late 1800s. In fact, her donation box was strangely similar to our donation box.
– C. F. : You could take a picture of her for $2.
– A. J. : In Queensland, Australia, they actually had plastic versions of Aborigines in glass cases. That was about 14 years ago. Today, the museum has changed in many respects but it was a very colonial museum.
– C. F. : Those museums are the existence of their collections to colonialism. The relationships are now somewhat more egalitarian because museums are realizing that they are not always entitled to objects they have laid claim to. We saw this happening in Minneapolis where there is a dispute over the exhibit of Native American sacred pipes. The curators of the museum felt they had every right to them. And Native Americans protested. it lead to a long series of discussions that the Native Americans wound up winning.
– G. G-P : This is one of the most important aspects of the battle right now in this country. Who is in control of the means to represent Otherness? Our national institutions are part of ths struggle and there are two sides. Although it’s taking place in the field of the emblematic and the allegorial, nonetheless, it is reflective of the larger political struggle in this country. If we can contribute to giving light to this conflict, we would be very satisfied…
– C. F. : Why do people feel the way they do when they see us in a cage? The image and the chronology that we present is something people don’t want to see, it implicates the audience. That understanding is very difficult and painful. Many would rather operate with the belief that racism no longer exists because legal segregation is part of the past.
– A. J. : Your image of the woman in the cage is a very sexually loaded image.
– C. F. : Eliciting the same type of comments women hear on the street. I think men do that because they think they can get away with it – I’m in a cage; how can I understand? Or even if I can understand, I’m a character, so I can’t react. A lot of guys get a kick out of that. Also, I had very little clothing. To repressed Westerners, my costume represented pure sexuality.
– A. J. : Like dressing Naomi Campbell up as a Northern African tribeswoman, or Gauguin’s Tahitian odalisque…
– C. F. : In Minneapolis, people tendes to be less verbally aggressive, choosing instead to take pictures, more than the Spanish or British had. I decid that their way of sublimating was voyeurism.
– A. J. : People feel that with a camera, they have the right to make a theft. Do you feel stripped-down, exhausted, after you’ve been in the cage for a few weeks?
– C. F. : It’s physically tiring but nonetheless fascinating.
– G. G-P : I think every human being who undergoes the experience of living in a cage for three days would have a different experience according to their degree of familiarity with being exposed to the public eye. Coco and I had very different experiences. Coco, as a woman, has had to face this sinister experience of always being objectified. Because of that, she has already developed mechanisms of protection against that gaze which make her seem very tough. She can turn off an inner channel and disconnect from that experience, just as she would riding the subway.
– A. J. : And you, as a male, experiencing the perptual gaze?
– G. G-P : I had a more emotionally involved experience, I don’t know how to turn off. As a result I came out of the cage three days later completely, spiritually devastated. And Coco was complete and whole and ready to do the next piece. »
- GILBERT & GEORGE, The Singing Sculpture, 1992. Video, 20 minutes, sound, color.
In the performance The Singing Sculpture (1992), reconstruct a performance originally enacted in 1969, in the course of which they stood on a table in black woolen suits with their faces painted gold. Performing the same cyclical series of actions, they repeatedly sing a song popular in pre-WWII Britain. Their resemblance to sculptures, or identical objects of sorts, constitutes a form of ironic social commentary, and an externalization of eccentric behavior by theatrical means.
Gilbert Proesch was born in Italy, 1943; George Passmore was born in England, 1942; they live and work in England.
- GRUPO ESCOMBROS, Perro NN, 1992.
- GAULKE Cheryl, Burning the bush, 1992.
- LACHOWICZ Rachel, Red not Blue, 1992. Shoshana Wayne Gallery. Santa Monica. Californie.
- M + M, Call an Artist, 1992 (action).
- MARMOLEJO Maria Evelia, Sesquilé II, 1992.
Vegetacion Compenetrada y Remembranzas del Reino Vegetal, 1992.
performance-installation at III triennal of Bogota, Colombia. performance by Maria Evelia Marmolejo and Sesquilé Ramon.
- MOSS David, Universe Symphony, 1992 (action-son).
- NICOLA L., The Red Coat ‘‘Same Skin for Everybody’’, performance with Fernando Arrabal, NYC, 1992.
- SPRINKLE Annie, Post-Porn Modernist Show, 1992. NYC.
- WEN Lee, Journey of a Yellow Man no. 2 the Fire and the Sun, 1992, Karnataka, Inde.
- WEN Lee, Journey of a Yellow Man, 1992, Londres.
- WILKE Hannah, Intra-Venus, 1992-93.