A struggle has emerged over the past two years between state authorities and a young generation of cultural producers, focusing on an important question: to what extent can those who work outside state-run institutions operate freely in the Cuban public sphere?
Coco Fusco, a Cuban-American multidisciplinary artist and writer, has explored topics such as gender politics, identity, ethnicity, and power in her work, through multimedia productions and performances with active viewer involvement, as well as through her multi-award-winning literary works that criticise colonialism, globalism and cultural stereotypes. In this conversation, moderated by contemporary art theorist and critic, professor Eduarda Neves, Fusco will discuss the recent clashes between the Cuban art community and the Cuban government, which recently prevented her from entering the country, days before the start of the Havana Biennale. Ongoing repression of independent activities reached a peak in 2018, with the announcement of new legislation that effectively criminalises cultural expression generated without prior authorisation from the state. Additional legislation has been introduced to control independent film production, internet use, and journalism, in 2019. These governmental measures have met with the most open and widespread protest by Cuban citizens to have occurred in Cuba for decades – how long can the government continue to oppress independent artistic creation using the unbearable weight of utopia?