“‘I just design with old things,’ she tells me with a shrug. But Yanet hasn’t worked on a play in years, and her job, apartment, and everything in it relies on the discretion of her customers. Attachment to the material and the beautiful is fleeting in Havana, breakable.”
— if Alan Gross’ story is any indication — is a pretty crap deal. See Tracey Eaton’s amazing analysis, here at Along the Malecón, of the shady dealings that he signed up for, which subsequently got him put in jail and abandoned there by the U.S. government. Here’s hoping that a second Obama term will hold only good things for U.S.-Cuban relations, and nothing like the Bush-era strategery outlined here.
I’m still undecided on the work of Tania Bruguera, but this is a very clear, straightforward assessment by her:
“Every country has certain censorship and self-censorship,” Tania says. “In capitalist places, it has to do with the economy. As an artist, if you don’t do something that is liked, the corporations won’t buy the work or the collector won’t collect it. In Cuba, it is strictly political, in the sense that there is a responsibility for the artist, who has been raised and educated for free, to not touch some subjects.”
(An old story, on the 1997 Havana Biennial, in the Brooklyn Rail)
Sometimes you’re just going about your day, listening to an 80s song like you do, and a Fidel Castro speech blares through the background of said 80s song. Such is the case with this 1983 Art of Noise track, which samples the comandante’s speech on imperialism plus U.S. Army announcements about the invasion of Grenada that year. It takes us back to a time when the U.S. would invade small nations in order to send messages to bigger ones — wait, hang on a sec…