Herramientas del Poder (2021) is a durational performance exploring the tension between servitude and self-liberation. The artist stands in a gallery wearing all white while they dig inside of their mouth, using one hand at a time, repeating “Patria y Vida.” This piece is in response to the peaceful manifestations of J11 in Cuba, and to the artist's interrogation at the Ministry of Immigration and Foreigners in Havana, May of 2018, after participating in Cuba’s first alternative biennial, 00Bienal de La Habana.
“When experiencing these entanglements with conflict my nervous system will communicate to my body that it is in danger, retreating to silence as a posture of fear and a mechanism of self-preservation. Investigating the recent protests on July 11, 2021 and the on-going manifestations of protest against social crisis’ in Cuba, Colombia (2021), and Puerto Rico (2019), I am thinking of the Latinx feminine, trans, and non-binary people and artists of color who are frequently at the foreground of resistance and receive the brunt of political violence.”
“Returning to one of the four gestures I repeated during my time performing in Tania Bruguera’s Untitled (Havana, 2000) in 2018, I perform an act of self-censorship. Examining silence as a tool structures of power use to oppress artists and activists identified as dissidents by the state. Many of whom, in Cuba, have been routinely disappeared or arrested under fabricated accusations. Wearing the same outfit I styled during the Trans Youth March in Brooklyn, 2021, I “dig” for the words that could lead to my liberation or violence enacted by the state. Simultaneously excavating and muting a chant of protest by my own doing.”
“Patria y Vida” is a chant born from the song bearing the same name by artist Maykel Castillo Perez (Maykel Obsorbo), in the exact moment when a sea of protestors vocally erupted with his words “Patria y Vida” as he liberated himself from arbitrary detention during the J11 protests.
Alexis Ruiseco-Lombera is a performance artist, writer, and director working at the intersectionality of being nonbinary and Latinx. They have a BFA from Parsons School of Design in New York City. Their work has been on view in numerous venues in New York and at Galleria Menjunje and the 00Bienal De La Habana in Cuba. They also performed at MoMA for Tania Bruguera, Adrian Piper, and Simone Forti and participated in the Marble House Project residency and En Foco Photography program.
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