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From the Art World, the Party of Migrant People Emerges

Sonia Sierra | El Universal
Martes 29 de mayo de 2012

En español

A proposal initiated by Cuban artist Tania Bruguera

If one speaks using a politician’s discourse, with strategies to create a political party, it’s possible that art may be a means to reach them and permeate their discourse.

This is why artist Tania Bruguera has proposed the creation of the Party of Migrant People, (Partido del Pueblo Migrante, PPM), that has been taking form since December 2011, and has been preceded by Immigrant Movement International in Corona, Queens, New York.

Yesterday, after announcing the launch of the PPM in the Historical Center of Mexico City, several voceadores (newspaper vendors) – in reminiscence of past times- brought together by the artist to announce the opening of PPM, and the addresses of organizations and spaces for migrants, the party will be launched in the campaign headquarters at Centro Cultural Casa Talavera, located at Talavera 20 in the Historical Center, during an event that will be held at 6:00pm.

Newspaper vendors invited people to attend the launching and chanted slogans such as: “The Party of Migrant People, an option for those who don’t have one,” “Because you could be the next migrant” and “Migrant Vote”, which is the action that will take place on July 1st.

This piece is initiated by the Cuban artist and produced by the Sala de Arte Público Siqueiros, created within the context of the Mexican presidential elections to which the initiator points to the lack of a political platform that includes migrants as a political subject and priority.

Given that Mexico is a country where migration is one of the most important issues, due to its border with the United States among other reasons, is that this political party has been proposed from this place.

“It is about trying to incorporate the issue of migration into the discourse of the presidential candidates, with more visibility that the one that is currently being given by them. It’s a main issue in the lives of many Mexicans and, they, however, are addressing it as a secondary issue, the idea is to try to give more visibility to the migration problem here, since the government has neglected this situation and how civil and religious associations have taken responsibility in solving migrant issues.

Types of Migrants

Bruguera states that there are different ways of categorizing migrants: one: those who leave; two: those who leave and have to come back; three; those who are passing by, and four; those who stay.

“Mainly” –says the artist through a phone interview – “people talk about Mexican migrants that go to the United States and send remittances. We have to show that the government, with the little attention that it provides, gives most of its attention to migrants who send remittances, however they are not addressing those migrants that are passing through from Central America, Asia, from China, with respect, or those who have come back due to the economic crisis or have been deported.”

With regard to migration, the artist states that much has been discussed in Mexico, such as the idea of having a migrant sanctuary, but many proposals have fallen through.

“We are interested in criticizing the professional life of politicians, which is closely related to great powers, like banks or Televisa, and disconnected with the interests of the people.”

What Can Be Done with Art

Tonight, Casa Talavera will give out memberships to the party, slogan stickers will be distributed around the city and, meetings with public associations will be held for all citizens, migrants or not, to participate in.

“What I am looking for is, that migrants, a social group that has no representation of any sort, can have that representation. They are people to whom no laws of any country work, laws from their own countries don’t represent them, laws from the country they arrive to don’t either and they do not recognize them as people.”

From Bruguera’s point of view, the artist is a citizen that must be responsible and art institutions must be centers where collective and citizenship models can be proposed. “What makes artists different is that they have a type of language that allows them to create a reality before it actually exists and that it can be shared with people.”



Yaniireth Israde | El Reforma
Martes 29 de mayo de 2012

En español

Mexico City (May 29, 2012) –The Party of Migrant People, intended to be a “useful art” project, was launched tonight at Casa Talavera in the Historical Center, which will be the headquarters of the initiative.

Just as politicians use art resources for their campaigns – for example in their videos – artists propose using political tools to influence social transformation, Tania Bruguera explained, the promoter of the project sponsored by Sala de Arte Público.

“This is why we call it the Party of Migrant People, using the language of politicians, so that they understand that we are a citizen force that intends to intervene in political plans”, she states.

In the face of the upcoming elections, a module for people to affiliate to the party and obtain a membership card was installed yesterday. With this, people will participate in a symbolic gesture next July 1st by depositing their vote in ballot box and evaluate migrant policies of the political parties that are contending in the elections.

Some of the actions of the group include voceadores, newspaper vendors, handing out information for migrants with tips about dangerous places or conditions for crossing the border so that they will not risk their lives.

Every Monday at 6:00pm meetings will be held at Casa Talavera where people who are interested can contribute their ideas on upcoming actions.


MAY 29, 2012

Immigrant Movement International is proud to announce the opening of a sister project in Mexico City, El Partido del Pueblo Migrante (PPM)!  Join the PPM team at 6 pm at Casa Talavera, click here for directions.  Scroll down to read more about the project.

Moisés Castillo interviews Tania Bruguera
Animal Politico

Writer Eduardo Galeano states that migrants are people who are tired of waiting for so long and, that with no hope left, they flee. That is the reality of those “without papers”. There are those who go in search of the “American Dream”, but there also exists the drama of those left behind or those who couldn`t cross the Bravo River.

In the midst of this global issue, artist Tania Bruguera began a project seven years ago that would give visibility to and protect the human rights of migrants. This is how “Immigrant Movement International” was born, presented by Creative Time and The Queens Museum of Art. This is a long-term art project that initiates a sociopolitical movement.

Parallel to this, The Party of Migrant People (Partido del Pueblo Mexicano, PPM) will be created in our country, a party that will break into the Mexican electoral process on May 29. Setting out from the migration phenomenon, the party has among one of its main priorities to direct its steps towards a borderless world: where dignity has no nationality.

The PPM presented by the Sála de Arte Público Siqueiros (SAPS), will hold a series of conversational forums with citizens, open to the general public and focused on the complex migration issue in Mexico.

Tania says that her inclination towards political art was natural: “I’m Cuban and was born in 1968, what do you expect? Having lived a revolution branded me for life.” She works between Cuba and New York. She travels constantly and tries to understand social environments. From her perspective, art needs to be real and not a representation. She explores and analyzes the relationship between art and power in her work.

Performances such as “Auto-sabotage” (2009) shook the audience of the 53rd edition of the Venice Biennale, when she read a few political considerations while playing Russian roulette.

That same year, in the Faculty of Fine Arts at the Universidad Nacional in Bogota, Colombia, she asked a member of the paramilitary, a leader of the displaced, an ex-guerrilla member and a family member of one of the disappeared: “What is a hero to you?” A tray with cocaine suddenly started circulating and was offered to the spectators. This action generated indignation among mass media and the students.

“I was very interested in the way the Colombian guerrilla is portrayed in mass media, and how for example, the guerilla “Che” Guevara is seen through the eyes of history. What interested me about this piece was that the audience had the option of becoming a hero or not, to guide them to a public behavior that would reveal a stance toward reality.”

The PPM idea emerged in November of 2005, when she witnessed in Paris, France the violent upheavals of that agitated the depressed neighborhoods of the Parisian outskirts and other regions. The upheavals started with the death of a teenager of African descent in Clichy-sous-Bois. Witnessing the indignation of the marginalized shook her up: “How could this possibly happen in France, a society that boasts freedom and brotherhood?” She was crushed by the idea that the only language that migrants had access to was violence, due to the lack of options among lies and the lack of legitimacy of political parties.

Tania presented this project to different pro-migrant cultural institutions until Creative Time, The Queens Museum of Art in New York, and the Sala de Arte Público Siqueiros Mexico City supported the Cuban artists’ project. Such projects do not fit into a traditional exhibition format to display a work of art. It is a work of processes and social experiences where people live and take part in the construction of political representation.

Migrants have been shunned and manipulated by political parties in order to win votes. When they reach power they are forgotten. Now with the creation of the PPM, presidential candidates will be demanded to include in their electoral platform the concerns of those who are evicted of their land due to lack of opportunities.

-Why create a Party of Migrant People in Mexico?

To me, it was very important to initiate the project in Mexico, after getting it going in in New York. The United States is a country that sells itself as a place where people “are welcome”. People think that it’s a country that gives opportunities for excellence; the famous “American dream”. Immigrants know that it’s not that easy. In my projects, I’m interested in presenting contradictions between reality and government discourse. We will discuss “the breech between what you actually are and what you say you are”. Mexico is the country that has the most impact with regard to migration to the United States. Its history is also complicated because a big part of its territory was taken from it. The large amount of Mexicans that are in Arizona, Texas, how much of that is Mexican territory?  We might as well think of it as a repopulation of their territory. Perhaps we should think about the relevance of concepts like nationality and of boarders in a globalized world. But ironically, Mexico also reproduces some of the same injustices with migrants that are passing through their territory, similar to those suffered by Mexican immigrants in the United States.

How to convince people to join the PPM with the loss of credit towards the political class?

We are holding a silent campaign and afterwards we will intervene in public spaces where we invite all those who want to join the party. We will constantly work with social networks due to the lack of funds, and the lack of visibility that traditional political parties have. But above all, we will work with the great sense of dignity Mexicans have. We want to work with all those who want to be identified with an attitude toward migrants that is different from the political parties that are engaged in these elections. Our idea is to change the way in which migrants are perceived because they always seem to be portrayed as delinquents. The first campaign that we have planned for May 29 and has been a collective creation and effort that parts from the idea of a young Mexican named Germán who is part of the project. It will be the image of a person riding a bike that says: “It takes me 30 minutes to get to work.” Another person riding a car: “It takes me 2 hours to get to work”. And, a third person riding the train known as “the Beast”: “To go to work, I lose my rights.” We want to create awareness that these people are just seeking work. We need to stop seeing migrants as ghosts and understand that they are an active and positive part of our society. The temporality of migrants is complex and is generally associated with a type of unstable compromise because one might think: “I’m going to stay a year” and it becomes 5 or 10 or they need go back. But what happens with all their work and all the help a migrant has accomplished in the host country? After many years, some of them go back, disconnected and rooted in the air. Meanwhile, politicians think that migrants can be used as bait. How can it be possible that in the XXI century there are still people that think they can treat other people as slaves?

Do you plan to take your proposals to the presidential candidates?

We have seen that there are a lot of people in Mexico that address the rights of immigrants, but they are civil society institutions, the Catholic Church and/or international organizations that are addressing something that is the duty and obligation of the government. These citizens and associations have limited possibilities of making the rights of migrants’ permanent and extend them to a national level; they are putting a bandage over a hemorrhage. Mexico has the opportunity to lead others in terms of migratory issues, if they were to seriously include it in their political platform. To all kinds of migrants: those who left, those who came back, those who are passing by and those who have stayed. What we discuss in our meeting is to talk more about the Mexican immigrant that has left, the one that sends money back to their country. We think about and give value to the money that creates a parallel economy of survival for the country. But who is responsible for the migrants in transit?  And the Mexican migrants that had to come back? These are people that don’t fit in, here or there, that have to readapt to a new reality, strangers in their own land. How are we going to treat them now that they are not sending money? We also visited la Casa del Migrante San Juan Diego  (Saint Juan Diego’s Migrant House) in Lechería and many told us that they wanted to stay due to violence risks and the North American economic depression. How will we treat those migrants from Central America that stay in Mexico? How will the government treat them?

Have you convened with other people that are fighting towards the migrant cause?

We have had meetings with father Alejandro Solalinde, with researchers from the Center of Border Studies, with José Jacques Medina. We have listened to different stances and are sure that this is the time to do something concrete in favor of migrants.

How will you evaluate if the PPM project worked or failed?

I think that this project has different stages. This first stage is institutional. We are fighting against institutional limits. Although the SAPS have cleared our way, we find ourselves in “electoral closure”. I think it is already a success to have opened a space in Mexico and that we’ve started a conversation with those who are interested. The second stage will be a conversation with those who are not interested. To talk about success or failure now, does not seem relevant. How do you assess the political imaginary of a human being?

Political Art and Havana

Tania Bruguera has fair skin and almond colored eyes. She is convinced that artists must have social commitment. She states that there is a new generation in Cuba that has different interests because an incipient capitalism has peeped in. Because of the Castro regime, her generation had no opportunities, nor the means to launch change on the island, but that desire is still floating in the air.

“If I’m part of this world, I need to be in constant dialogue with what is happening, I can’t shut myself off and I can’t think of indifference.”

Her father was a distinguished diplomat and her mother a sociologist and translator. She remembers that when she was a child, there were always political discussions, which were inevitable: the Cuban revolution boom. Due to ideological differences and opposing visions of Cuba’s political situation, her parents divorced. Tania defines herself as a migrant with privileges, due to her work as an artist and as a professor, she travels to different places and moves like any professional. But she would like that what today is a privilege of a few migrants, becomes the right of all migrants. Her political art is a task of much research and a constant and severe self-criticism.

In 1998, she was selected as a Guggenheim Fellow and in 2008 she received the Prince Claus Prize. A year later, she was the first resident of the Neuberger Prize and finalist of the Ordway Prize. She is the founder and director of “arte de Conducta”: the first study program in political art and performance. She currently teaches at the École des Beaux‐Arts in París and Advisor in the Rijsakademie in Amsterdam.

“People have gotten used to the idea that contemporary art is art that pleases. Where rebellion is even held comfortably. I am not interested in that. We have to be honest with ourselves, as a friend constantly reminds me, we have to be brutally honest. I can only understand what happens in my life and around me through my artistic work.”

With the Party of Migrant People she seeks to redefine the situation of immigrant citizens and test the concept of arte útil, useful art, a notion that promotes the incorporation of art in the search of solutions to social and political urgencies. Above all, through her work, she likes to reveal those moments of hypocrisy of society.

Moisés Castillo
Animal Politico

El escritor Eduardo Galeano dice que los migrantes son personas que se han cansado de tanto esperar y que, ya sin esperanza, huyen. Esa es la realidad de los “sin papel”. Los que se van en busca del “sueño americano” pero también existe el drama de los que se quedan o los que no pudieron cruzar el río Bravo.

Ante esta problemática global, la artista cubana Tania Bruguera comenzó desde hace siete años un proyecto para visibilizar y proteger los derechos humanos de los migrantes. Así surgió el “Movimiento Inmigrante Internacional”, presentado por Creative Time y el Museo de Arte de Queens. Es un proyecto artístico a largo plazo, en donde se inicia un movimiento sociopolítico.

De forma paralela, creará en nuestro país el Partido del Pueblo Migrante (PPM), un partido que irrumpirá el próximo martes 29 de mayo el proceso electoral mexicano. A partir del fenómeno de la migración, el partido tiene entre sus prioridades dirigir sus pasos hacia la desaparición de las fronteras: la dignidad no tiene nacionalidad.

El PPM presentado por la Sala de Arte Público Siqueiros (SAPS), realizará una serie de foros de conversación ciudadana, abiertos al público general, centrados en la compleja problemática de la migración en México.

Tania dice que se inclinó por el arte político de forma natural: “Soy de Cuba y nací en 1968, qué quieres. Haber vivido una Revolución me marcó muchísimo”. Trabaja entre la isla y Nueva York. Viaja constantemente y trata de entender el entorno social. Para ella el arte debe ser real y no una representación. Investiga y analiza en sus obras las relaciones entre arte y poder.

Sus performances como “Autosabotaje” (2009) sacudieron a los espectadores de la 53 edición de la Bienal de Venecia, ya que mientras leía algunas reflexiones políticas jugaba a la “ruleta rusa”.

Ese mismo año, en la Facultad de Bellas Artes de la Universidad Nacional de Bogotá, Colombia, preguntó a un paramilitar, a un líder de los desplazados, a una ex – guerrillera y a un familiar de un desaparecido: “¿Qué es para usted un héroe?”. De repente circuló una charola con dosis de cocaína que se ofrecían a los asistentes. Esa acción provocó la indignación de varios medios de comunicación y estudiantes.

“Me llama mucho al atención la manera en la que se retrata a la guerrilla colombiana por los medios de prensa y, como es vista por ejemplo la guerrilla del “Che” Guevara a los ojos de la historia. Lo que me interesaba de esta obra es que el público tenía la opción de convertirse en héroe o no, orillarlos a que tuvieran una conducta pública que revelara una postura ante una realidad”.

La idea del PPM surgió en noviembre del 2005 cuando se encontraba en París, Francia, en plena violencia que agitó varios de los barrios deprimidos de la periferia parisina y de otras regiones. Los disturbios se iniciaron con la muerte de dos adolescentes de ascendencia africana en Clichy-sous-Bois. Presenciar la indignación de los marginados le sacudió las entrañas: “Cómo es posible que esto suceda en Francia que presume libertad y hermandad”. Le aplastó la idea de que el único lenguaje al que le dejaban tener acceso a los migrantes fuera la violencia porque no tienen otra opción ante las mentiras y falta de legitimidad de los partidos políticos.

Tania estuvo proponiendo este proyecto pro migrante a varias instituciones culturales hasta que Creative Time, el Museo de Arte de Queens en Nueva York y la Sala de Arte Público Siqueiros en el DF respaldaron la obra de la artista cubana. Este tipo de proyectos no se adaptan en un formato de exposición tradicional de mostrar una obra de arte. Es una obra de procesos y experiencia social donde la gente vive y forma parte en la construcción de una representación política.

Los migrantes han sido ninguneados y manipulados por los partidos políticos para ganar votos. Cuando alcanzan el poder se olvidan de ellos. Ahora con la creación del PPM se exigirá a los candidatos a la presidencia de la república que incluyan en sus plataformas electorales las preocupaciones de los que son expulsados de sus tierras por falta de oportunidades.

-¿Por qué crear el Partido del Pueblo Migrante en México?

Para mí era muy importante hacer el proyecto en México después de echarlo a andar en Nueva York. Estados Unidos es el país que se vende como el lugar donde “eres bienvenido”. La gente cree que es el país de excelencia, el que da oportunidades, el famoso “sueño americano”. Los inmigrantes sabemos que eso no es tan fácil. Con mis proyectos me interesa mucho presentar las contradicciones entre la realidad y el discurso que hacen los gobiernos. Vamos a discutir “qué hay entre lo que eres y lo que dices que eres”. México es el país que más incidencia tiene con respecto a la migración hacia Estados Unidos. Además tiene una historia difícil porque le quitaron la mitad de su territorio. La cantidad de mexicanos que hay en Arizona, Texas, ¿cuánto de ese territorio era mexicano? Quizás podemos pensarlo como una repoblación de su territorio. Quizás podemos pensar cual es la pertinencia de los conceptos de nacionalidad y de fronteras en un mundo globalizado. Pero también, en México irónicamente, se reproducen algunas de las injusticias para con los migrantes que están de tránsito por su territorio que la que sufren los inmigrantes mexicanos en Estados Unidos.

-¿Cómo convencer a la gente para que se sume al PPM ante el desprestigio de la clase política?

Nosotros estamos haciendo una campaña silenciosa y posteriormente haremos intervención en espacios públicos a la que invitamos a todo el que se quiera sumar. Vamos a trabajar mucho en redes sociales porque no tenemos dinero, ni la visibilidad de los partidos políticos. Pero sobre todo vamos a trabajar con el sentido de dignidad que tienen los mexicanos. Queremos trabajar con todos aquellos que se quieran identificar con una actitud frente a los migrantes diferente a la de los partidos políticos que están compitiendo en estas elecciones.  La idea es cambiar la forma en que se ve al migrante porque siempre se le tilda de delincuente. La primera campaña que hemos planeado es para el 29 de mayo y ha sido una creación y esfuerzo colectivo a partir de una idea de Germán, un joven mexicano partícipe del proyecto. Sería una imagen de una persona en bicicleta que dice: “Para ir al trabajo me toma 30 minutos”. Otra persona en carro en periférico: “Para ir al trabajo me toma 2 horas”. Y una tercera persona montada en el tren conocido como la “Bestia”: “Para ir al trabajo pierdo mis derechos”. Queremos que se tome conciencia que esas personas sólo buscan trabajo. Hay que dejar de ver al migrante como un fantasma y entender que son una parte activa y positiva de nuestra sociedad. La temporalidad del migrante es complicada y generalmente se le asocia con un tipo de compromiso inestable porque si bien puede pensar: “Me voy a quedar un año” a veces en realidad se queda 5 o 10 o nunca regresa. ¿Pero qué pasa con todo lo que ha trabajado y ha ayudado a lograr un migrante en el país que le acoge? Algunos después de muchos años regresan a su casa, desconectados y con sus raíces en el aire. Los políticos mientras tanto piensan que los migrantes son su carne de cañón. ¿Cómo es posible que en pleno siglo XXI haya quienes piensan que pueden tratar a las personas como esclavos?

-¿Tienen planeado llevar sus propuestas a los candidatos presidenciales?

Hemos visto que hay mucha gente en México que se ocupa de los derechos de los migrantes, pero son instituciones de la sociedad civil, la iglesia u organismos internacionales que están subsanando lo que es deber y obligación del gobierno. Estos ciudadanos y asociaciones tienen posibilidades limitadas de hacer permanente y llevar a escala nacional los derechos de los migrantes, están poniendo una curita en una aorta en hemorragia. México tiene la oportunidad de estar a la vanguardia de los problemas migratorios si decide incluirlo en su plataforma política con seriedad. A todos los tipos de migrantes por igual: el que se fue, el que se fue y regreso, el que está de paso y el que se ha quedado en el país. Lo que estamos discutiendo en las reuniones es que se habla más del migrante mexicano que se ha ido, el que manda las remesas. Se piensa y se valora ese dinero que crea una economía paralela de sobrevivencia para el país. Pero, ¿quién se ocupa de los migrantes de tránsito? ¿De los migrantes mexicanos que tuvieron que regresar? Son personas que no encajan ni aquí, ni allá, que tienen que readaptarse a una nueva realidad, extranjeros en su propia tierra. ¿Cómo los vamos a tratar ahora que no mandan las remesas? También estuvimos en la Casa del Migrante San Juan Diego en Lechería y muchos nos dijeron que mejor se querían quedar por los riesgos de violencia y el bajón de la economía norteamericana. ¿A esos migrantes centroamericanos que se quedan en México cómo los vamos a tratar? ¿Cómo los va a tratar el gobierno?

-¿Se han reunido con algunas personas que también están luchando a favor de la causa migrante?

Hemos tenido reuniones con el padre Alejandro Solalinde, con investigadores del Centro de Estudio Fronterizos, con José Jacques Medina. Hemos escuchado distintas posiciones y está claro que es momento de hacer algo políticamente concreto a favor de los migrantes.

-¿Cómo evaluarás si este proyecto del PPM funcionó o fracasó?

Pienso que este proyecto es por etapas. Esta primera etapa es institucional. Estamos luchando con los límites institucionales. Por más que la SAPS nos quiera dar carta blanca nos encontramos en “veda electoral”. Ya para mí es un éxito que se haya abierto un espacio en México y que hayamos comenzado la conversación con los interesados. La segunda etapa será la conversación con los que no están interesados. Ahora, hablar de fracaso o éxito no creo que sea pertinente. ¿Cómo evalúas el imaginario político de un ser humano?

Arte político y La Habana

Tania Bruguera tiene la piel clara y los ojos color almendra. Ella está convencida de que el artista debe tener un compromiso social. Dice que existe una nueva generación en Cuba que tiene intereses distintos porque ya se asomó en La Habana un capitalismo incipiente. Por razones del régimen castrista su generación no tuvo oportunidad, ni los medios de impulsar un cambio en la isla pero el deseo está flotando en el aire.

“Si estoy en este mundo tengo que estar en constante diálogo con lo que está pasando, no puedo aislarme y no puedo pensar en la indiferencia”.

Su padre fue un destacado diplomático y su madre traductora y socióloga. Recuerda que cuando era niña siempre había discusiones políticas, era inevitable: el auge de la revolución cubana. Por diferencias ideológicas y visiones contrarias de la situación política de Cuba, sus padres se divorciaron.

Tania se autodefine como una migrante con privilegios, ya que gracias a su trabajo como artista y docente viaja a distintos lugares y se desplaza como cualquier profesionista. Pero le gustaría que lo que es ahora privilegio de unos pocos migrantes sea el derecho de todos los migrantes. Su arte político es una tarea de mucha investigación y una autocrítica constante y severa.

En 1998 fue seleccionada Guggenheim Fellow y en 2008 recibió el Prince Claus Prize. Un año más tarde fue la primera residente del Neuberger Prize y finalista del Ordway Prize. Es fundadora-directora de “Arte de Conducta”: el primer programa de estudios de arte político y performance. Actualmente es profesora en la École des Beaux‐Arts, París y Advisor en la Rijsakademie en Amsterdam.

“La gente se ha acostumbrado que el arte contemporáneo sea un arte complaciente. Donde incluso la rebeldía se realiza cómodamente. A mí eso no me interesa. Hay que ser honesto con uno mismo, como me dice un amigo hay que tener honestidad brutal. Sólo puedo entender lo que pasa en mi vida y en mi entorno a través de mi trabajo artístico”.
Con el Partido del Pueblo Migrante busca redefinir la situación del ciudadano-inmigrante y poner a prueba el concepto de “arte útil”, noción que promueve la integración del arte en la búsqueda de soluciones a las urgencias sociales y políticas. Sobre todo, le gusta revelar a través de su obra esos momentos hipócritas de la sociedad.

Transeuropa Journal Interviews Tania Bruguera

Coralba Marrocco and Ségolène Pruvot


You are running in Queens the art project Immigrant Movement International (IM International) and in Mexico its version PPM (Migrant People’s Party). It is a collaborative process that includes the running of a social centre and the launch of an immigrants’ party. How did it start? What was your motivation? Could you describe the process and its future developments?

It started during the 2005 civil unrest in the suburbs of Paris. I was in Paris at the
time. It was so clear that the state reaction was wrong, very wrong. Even though I did not have the same cultural nor the same lived experiences, through this moment I identified myself for the first time with immigrants. I do not justify violence no matter who initiates it, no matter what the justification is, but I saw the frustration those immigrants had, the lack of representation, the lack of ‘authorized’ language, the lack of direct access to political power. I asked myself why they can’t ask for their rights and are forced to be defensive if they are contribution to this country in the same way as anyone else? Why they are portrayed as if they are irrationally against something instead of seeing their proposals as new avenues? What is the need to brutalize them as if they could not think and dialogue, as if they were fierce animals? Why does their relationship with political power have to be mediated by nationals? After thinking about this for the next day or so it was clear that immigrants need to represent themselves in the political structure; that they should not be seen as modern slaves but as a powerful new social class for the 21st century; that no matter where you come from, no matter your social class, you share a human common immigrant experience and narrative. An idea became clear: a Migrant People’s Party. Imagine how great it would be if an undocumented migrant was elected in the era of the redefinition of nationstate concepts. This idea has to go beyond art as a short-term practice; it has to be art implemented into reality; it has to be Arte Útil (Useful Art). The audience for this have to be prepared to receive the work; you need to create a community, bringing together people from different social classes to a common and new understanding of immigrants. I believe art can solve problems, even political and social problems, but for this it needs to use a language that is shared with the people it is dialoguing with. Artists cannot be in the comfortable space of their art routine and pretend that it is the other’s problem if they are not understood. If it is about politics the artist needs to find a language that is shared by artists and by politicians, otherwise it will not be art or it will not be politics. The International’s Party of Migrant People’s goal is to infiltrate the system and speak to the politicians. They need to stop seeing immigrants as inadequate, uneducated, poor, undocumented, delinquents that are tokens for the economy. The concept of belonging to a place also needs to be redefined; the ideas around connectivity, permanence and temporalities have changed. Places in the world are easier to adapt to, it is one outcome of the cultural globalization. The way we envision an immigrant needs to be radically changed: they are an active part of a better future. My original idea was to do this political party in Europe, after the experience in Queens and in Mexico the project is ready to become a real political structure acquiring power. We call it a ‘party’ so politicians understand that we want to have real political power but the ways in which this political form works and defines its actions should be more exciting than the non-functional political parties. The project should propose another way to be in society, an open society. It will be the role of all to figure out how this can exist and how can it work for the benefit and advancement of all.

Do you think art can trigger change? How would you describe political art?

The relation between struggle and change is not simple. Change is a process, a messy slow process with a lot of negotiations, readjustments of your original ideas, compromises, persistence, a lot of hard work that most people never know about so it looks like a fairytale coming from out of the blue. Then the victories you achieve are big only because and when they prefigure the array of new further changes. A change is just the beginning of your new struggles to keep that change in the right direction. Change is all about educating people. Yes, art can be part of change, it can help in the educational part, it can help imagining the change, it can provide an experimental space to try out change and so on. But political change is a complex negotiation with many pressure points and I see art working as one of them. I believe in political art – art that works  politically- if it is long lasting, made collectively and works with the consequences, can have a real impact. For such political art there are no sustainable institutional structures in the art world. Political art demand various roles from the artist at various moments in the project: from initiator (the one that proposes the idea), to information conduit (educating and sharing with the group the explanation of the project open to new developments of the idea from the group), to facilitator (of the directions of the project), to disappear (becoming another member of the group).

Do you think European Alternatives would be a good partner to develop your project in Europe?

Yes, I do. We’ll propose a first presentation of the project in the frame of the Transeuropa Festival in Paris. With European Alternatives, we share the understanding that the language can be renewed to advance different political results, that as an activist one should also work on ‘concepts’. That activism should also concentrate on education and make people understand the power of ‘I should care!’ Now it’s a great moment to reintroduce humanism in politics.

Tania Bruguera is one of the leading political and performance artists of her generation. Bruguera’s work researches ways in which Art can be applied to the everyday political life. Bruguera has participated in Documenta, Performa, Venice, Gwangju and Havana Biennales and at exhibitions at mayor museums in Europe and United States including the Tate Modern, The Whitechapel Gallery, PS1, ZKM, IVAM, Kunsthalle Wien, and The New Museum of Contemporary Art.

Tania Bruguera and Immigrant Movement International will be participate in the Transeuropa Festival in Paris on the 9th of May and in Rome on the 2nd and 3rd of June.

Cinema Club: May

Don’t Worry What Happens Happens Mostly Without You Featuring IM Staff Member Camilo Godoy

Radiator Gallery presents…

Don’t Worry What Happens Happens Mostly Without You

Exhibition dates May 4 – May 27, 2012
Opening Reception: May 4th 6 – 9PM
Radiator Gallery 10-61 Jackson Ave, LIC, New York 11106

Featuring performance by Marni Kotak
Artists: Jeanie Choi, Camilo Godoy, Ted Kerr,
James Richards, Aldrin Valdez, Sam Vernon
Curated by Kris Nuzzi

Radiator Gallery presents “Don’t Worry What Happens Happens Mostly Without You”, an exhibition that explores the personal identities of artists Jeanie Choi, Camilo Godoy, Ted Kerr, James Richards, Aldrin Valdez and Sam Vernon, as they navigate through a world shaped by experiences of marginalization, silencing and difference. Whether speaking from their own life, recreating a historical memory or representing an underrepresented community, their work explores poetic and subtle ways to communicate issues of immigration, race, queerness and desire. Together they reveal the connections and differences between these loaded social issues and invite the viewer to share in their intimate experiences.

Artist Jeanie Choi explores our longing to confess the unspeakable. Through a series of collaborations, her work mediates a language through gesture and silence by examining the relationships between the confessor and the unreciprocated other. Using photography, video and performance, the reiteration of symbols and mistranslations never reach a conclusion, but reassure us that we are all trying to broaden the possibilities of truth between us. Camilo Godoy’s work is concerned with the politics of migration and citizenship in the U.S. by drawing upon the immigrant experience and playing upon narratives extracted from government documents. Through these intimate and powerful works, we hear their personal stories in deportation proceedings while addressing the quotidian struggles detained immigrants face in the U.S. Ted Kerr’s piece “FOR MYSELF IN THE SCENE” is a poster installation comprised of 3 posters that are available for viewers to take. Through the work, Ted works to find himself amid socio-political-sexual anxieties produced in a time of ongoing AIDS, increased articulation of queer vs. LGBT politics, self-as-brand and digital culture. Using the poster, a format popularized during the AIDS crisis by Fierce Pussy, Gran Fury and General Idea, this work explores identity, activism and visual culture. At the same time, James Richards’ poster “Don’t Worry” is inspired by a quote by Joseph Albers and is part of an ongoing project by James and artist Matt Keegan. He works with existing text, accessible images and footage from disparate sources that he then remixes and returns back into the world.

Aldrin Valdez tells his story through an installation that is a personal mix of collage and family photos, piecing together memories of his childhood. He presents images of being a child in the Philippines, photos of his parents in the U.S. when he and his siblings had not immigrated to America yet, and collages that explore patterns and surfaces.

Exploring identity and memory, Sam Vernon creates fictional characters that symbolize parts of her culture while blending aspects of neo-futurism with stereotypes, images, spirits and ghosts. Her work takes the form of drawing, painting, installation, photography and printmaking to pay homage to the past, while addressing questions of postcoloniality, racialization, sexuality and historical memory. Her work reminds us that our ghosts and past histories always remain with us and at times are unsettling and challenge us to remember.

Camilo Godoy
“ALIEN”, 2012
Etched mirror, 10″ x 11″

The opening reception will feature a performance by Marni Kotak. In conjunction with the exhibition, on Sunday, May 20th, there will be an event on deportation titled “Retracing I.C.E.”, organized by artist Camilo Godoy. On Sunday, May 27th, there will be a salon organized by Ted Kerr and Kris Nuzzi titled “I am not alone in this way”, featuring live performances that invite viewers to consider how our most intimate ways of being—striving and surviving, often in a hostile world—can be viewed as responsible for positive social change.

Kris Nuzzi is a Brooklyn based independent curator and currently works as an art advisor. She received her BA in art history from Pratt Institute in Brooklyn and her MA in the art market from the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York, where her focus was site-specific installation art. She is the 2011-2012 recipient of the Lori Ledis Curatorial Fellowship, where she had the opportunity to curate the exhibition “Figured” as well as organize the public program “Embody” at the BRIC Rotunda Gallery. She is a former intern and continued supporter and volunteer for Visual AIDS, using art to fight AIDS through initiating dialogue and supporting HIV+ artists to remind us that AIDS is not over.

About the Performance artist:
Marni Kotak is a Brooklyn-based performance artist who creates multimedia works in which she presents her everyday life as art. “The Birth of Baby X” was a durational performance that Kotak conducted from October 8 through November 7 at Microscope Gallery in Brooklyn New York, culminating in the live birth of my baby boy Ajax, on October 25, 2011.

Creative Writing Workshop in English & Spanish

Friday May 18, 2012
1-3 PM
Immigrant Movement International 108-59 Roosevelt Avenue Corona, NY

Join us for a free, bi-lingual creative writing workshop!

Express yourself, spark your creativity, meet other writers, write, think, dream, and celebrate the power of the written word!

Please join us for writing and sharing work in a supportive and respectful environment. Open to writers of all genres—poetry, fiction, memoir, whatever you want to write. All levels of experience welcome. No prior writing experience is necessary. RSVP (not required) and more info at

This workshop is part of NYWC Day, a city-wide celebration of 10 years of NY Writers Coalition’s free, unique and powerful creative writing workshops for unheard New Yorkers.

Presented in partnership with Immigrant Movement International.

Find out what’s going on in Mexico…

PPM launches its website! Click here to stay connected to developments in Mexico.