LUMEN Fifth Annual Video and Performance Art Festival curated by Esther Neff Staten Island, NY June 28, 2014 Performance w/ Ian Deleón
Over 3 hours, we transformed a several-ton pile of road salt into a topographical map of the Cuban archipelago--a reversal of the Caribbean nation's designation as one of the infamous "sugar islands".
In retrospect, our action of "rebuilding" Cuba, seemed like an act of revolutionary dentistry. The legacy of sugar production in the Caribbean--and its continued use as an important commercial export for many of those countries--represents a kind of tropical malady, a cavity, with detrimental economic, social, and biological aspects reaching far beyond the region's aquatic borders. Our act of "filling" is an attempt to start anew with this island, using a material that not only often represents the "opposite" of sweetness, in terms of taste perceptions, but which also has a long history of representing freedom from eternal bondage in the cane fields.
It is a new vision for the Caribbean...free from the historical tyranny of that addictive tall grass. A rejection of the master's tools. And with all of that salty water lapping at our feet--why not?
The title of the piece combines a term describing a dental infection with the name of a work by Martinican writer Édouard Glissant