Photo/Foto: Paula Kupfer
Untitled (Bogotá, 2009)
During the Encuentro Guillermo Gómez-Peña and Tania Bruguera presented 'Two Simultaneous Performances.' Although their projects emerged from different geographical contexts and different performance languages, Bruguera and Gómez-Peña engaged in a 'performatic conversation' whose goal was to 'coexist and co-create a parallel, temporary universe' as 'an act of international reconciliation.' This is a video documentation of Tania Bruguera’s contribution to the conversation, 'Untitled (Bogotá, 2009),' presented as part of the artist's series around political stereotypes of specific countries. In this controversial piece, Bruguera brought together a panel of Colombian people who had been directly affected by their country's national conflict around drugs, to discuss their concerns and share their diverging points of view. Unbeknownst to them, the audience, and the curators of the event, Bruguera had arranged for a tray of cocaine to be circulated throughout the space. As the cocaine was freely offered by a kind of cocaine 'server,' focus quickly shifted from the panel to the audience. Some were confused, some were outraged, others engaged in drug use. All of this complicated the issues addressed by the panel speakers - the Colombian war on drugs and those who suffer its consequences - creating a clash between the victims of the conflict and the very drug that is ostensibly at the center of that conflict.
Tania Bruguera is a political artist who works primarily in behavior art (arte de conducta). Her work explores the role of the audience in performances and the relationship between ethics and desire. Bruguera is interested in creating political situations through her work. She has exhibited and performed at Documenta, Vienna Biennials, and museums such as the Tate Modern. In 2008 she received a Prince Claus Award (Holland). Her work has been discussed in Artforum, the New York Times, Performance Research, and Performance: Live Art Since 1960, among others. In 2002 she created the Cátedra Arte de Conducta, the first center in Havana dedicated to the study of political art.
Additional Media Available
Further Reading about her performance: