Untitled (Havana, 2000) video Performance installation 2000 Milled sugar cane, black and white monitor, Cubans, dvd disc, dvd player.
13. 12 x 39. 37 x 164. 04 feet.
“Bruguera’s installation took place in a tunnel at la Fortaleza formely used as a penitentiary cell, “Untitled (Havana 2000)” […]. You entered at one end of a guarded, cave-like space that emitted a powerful odor of fermentation; the floor was covered with layers of bagazo, milled sugar cane, which made each step difficult. disoriented by the darkness, the smell, and the effort of walking / trudging, you were drawn toward a blue light emanating from the hard-to-discern distance that turned out to be a television screen, silently projecting looped video images of Fidel Castro in what are for Cubans famous scenes of their ‘maxi- mum leader’ displaying his heroism and humanity.
Only on looking back from the end of the tunnel could you see that you were being watched by men -non professional actors from Bruguera’s neighborhood- standing naked in two rows of two and making a series of repetitive gestures: One bowed rhythmically; another rubbed himself as if trying frantically to remove a stain (like the lady Macbeth figure in Kurosawa’s throne of Blood). (…) it was as though Bruguera were presenting a philosophy of (national) history, in which people journey through a collective experience that can only be comprehended once they’ve reached its end, whereupon ‘the past’ reveals itself as having consisted of repeated rituals and empty gestures .”
nico israel: vii Bienal de la Habana, art Forum internacional, February, 2001. (illust.) pp. 147-148.