Click above for the video produced by filmmaker John Duke in collaboration with Kristin Juárez, or click here to watch it on Vimeo.
From May to June 2012, Cinema Remixed and Reloaded 2.0 was presented in Cuba at the 11th Havana Biennial. In order to make this video, John Duke and I relied on the exhaustive efforts of curators Andrea Barnwell Brownlee and Valerie Cassel Oliver for photographs, audio recordings, and their thoughts about the development and impact of the show as it traveled overseas. Not only was it the first exhibition of its kind in Cuba, Brownlee and Oliver—from the Spelman College Museum of Fine Art and the Contemporary Arts Museum Houston, respectively—were the first American curators to be invited to show in the biennial.
Initiated in 1984, it is one of the oldest running biennials dedicated to Latin America, Africa, and Asia. This year’s theme Practicas Artisticas e Imaginarios Sociales, or Artistic Practices and Social Imaginaries, was meant to investigate the ways in which people imagine their bonds and shared space.
To our benefit an audio recording device traveled with the team around the city, capturing the music underscored throughout the video as well as interviews from curators, artists, and art enthusiasts alike. Overheard through the murmur of each event are excited discussions on art, the next days’ programming, and the best underground happenings.
Plenty of Americans made it down as well, including Atlanta’s own Susan Bridges of Whitespace Gallery who traveled down with a tour that included visits to artist studios and biennial sites. In all my interviews, travelers returning from the biennial remarked on Havana’s vibrant public life and the priority of culture in the city.
The resulting video gives a glimpse into a city that, for many Americans, lives primarily in the imaginary. We took it as an opportunity to celebrate Atlanta’s contribution to this watershed moment.