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Coco Fusco: The Empty Plaza/La Plaza Vacia

Coco Fusco: The Empty Plaza/La Plaza Vacia

Inspired by the 2011 Arab Spring, Coco Fusco chose the empty Plaza de la Revolución in Havana as the site for her meditation on public space, revolutionary promise, and memory. Fusco’s video punctuates views of the Plaza’s current architecture with long takes documenting Fusco’s passage through the vacant square, intermingled with archival footage depicting scenes from post-revolutionary Cuba. Throughout the video, the Spanish narration (with English subtitles) by acclaimed Cuban journalist Yoani Sanchez describes what does and does not appear.

“The absence of public in some plazas seemed just as resonant and provocative as its presence in others,” Fusco noted. “Cuba’s Plaza of the Revolution is one such place—a stark, inhospitable arena where all the major political events of the past half-century have been marked

by mass choreography, militarized displays and rhetorical flourish. I decided to create a piece about that legendary site—an empty stage filled with memories, through which every foreign visitor passes, while nowadays many, if not most, Cubans flee.”

Fusco has performed, lectured, exhibited, and curated internationally since 1988. She is a recipient of a 2013 Guggenheim Fellowship and a 2013 Fulbright Fellowship. Her work has been included in two Whitney Biennials (2008 and 1993), the Mercosul Biennial (2011), the Sydney Biennale (1992), the Johannesburg Biennial (1997), the Shanghai Biennale (2004), and Performa05. She is an associate professor and Director of Intermedia Initiatives at Parsons The New School for Design in New York.

This program was curated by Andrea Inselmann, curator of modern and contemporary art & photography at the Johnson Museum, with Hannah Ryan, PhD student.