September 22, 2009

“Human Rights and Human Wrongs: Performance and Politics in Guatemala”

Sheila C. Johnson Design Center at Parsons The New School for Design
Regina Galindo, Plomo, 2006. Performance.
Photo: George Delgado

Parsons School of Art, Media and Technology will launch its Intermedia Initiative with a symposium on October 3, 2009, entitled Human Rights and Human Wrongs: Performance and Politics in Guatemala. The symposium brings together visual artists, cultural theorists and investigative journalists to explore how contemporary art engages with the struggle over official public memory of civil strife in Central America.This symposium will feature Regina Galindo, Anibal Lopez and David Perez, three contemporary artists from the Guatemalan capital whose works explore the residual effects of state violence on public memory everyday life. Combing body art, street actions, video and photography, they draw attention to recent histories of political unrest, genocide and urban lawlessless. In addition to presenting their work at the symposium, the artists will be performing and lecturing at various New York venues between September 29th and October 3rd.

Regina Galindo, recipient of a Golden Lion award at the 2005 Venice Biennale, creates powerful visual metaphors by subjecting her body to various forms of aggression. Her first solo exhibition in New York will open on October 2nd at Exit Art, where she will also perform. She will also lecture at NYU’s Hemispheric Institute on September 29th.

David Perez ‘s collective performances comment on global power relations through the careful positioning of participating bodies. Supported by a commission from the Franklin Furnace Fund for Performance Art, he will create a new piece involving ten performers entitled Túmulos that will premiere at Exit Art on October 3rd.

Anibal Lopez, otherwise known as A-1 53167, creates street interventions that combine the rationalist detachment of Conceptual art with the political bravado of Latin American guerrilla fighters. He will stage a new work in the Wall Street area of Manhattan on October 1st.

The artists will be joined by art historian Johanna Burton (Whitney Independent Study Program), Performance Studies scholar Jill Lane (NYU), cultural theorist Silvia Vega-Llona (The New School) and National Security Archive Senior Analyst Kate Doyle, who will be discuss the artists work and the social context in which they are immersed.

Guatemala endured more than three decades of brutal armed conflicts from the 1960s through the 1990s in which more than 200,000 people were killed. Although a peace agreement was finally reached in 1996, the past thirteen years have been marked by the rule of impunity, social inequality and violent crime. Assaults, death threats and killings continue. None of the political officials who presided over massacres have been brought to trial. Although political activist efforts continue to by thwarted by forces of repression, in recent years, many artists in the capital city have devised creative means of addressing the political turmoil that continues to shape the lives of all Guatemalans.

Human Rights and Human Wrongs: Performance and Politics in Guatemala is organized by Professor Coco Fusco for the Intermedia Initiative at Parsons School of Art, Media and Technology.
For more information please contact Fusco at: [email protected]or call 212 229 8942

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