Tania Bruguera is an artist known for her controversial, no-bullshit “artivism”, shining a light on the corrupt politics of Cuba. Now, she claims that she intends to run for the state’s presidency.
At the Creative Time Summit in Washington, DC, the artist spoke in a video shown during a keynote talk by Hans Ulrich Obtrist. The conference was a space for artists and those in the creative industry working with issues of social justice. She said: “Let’s start today a civic exercise. Let’s start by proposing ourselves as potential candidates to the elections. And let’s start thinking, ‘What if we actually had that power?’”
“Who would we be? What would we do? And that’s what we’ll demand from those who are in power,” she added. “Today I will start this exercise. I propose myself as a candidate for the 2018 elections. Propose yourself!”
The video description asks the people of Cuba to nominate themselves with the Instituto de Artivismo Hannah Arendt, what she calls a “hub for civic literacy in Cuba”.
As Artnet reports, Bruguera told the New York Times the video was more a performance, rather than an official campaign assertion, which she hopes will encourage Cubans to challenge the current political climate.
“Let’s take advantage of the 2018 elections to change the culture of fear, the culture of ‘I can’t,'” she said. “To think differently. To change the culture of apathy. To change the culture of ‘I don’t care.’ To change the culture of ‘that’s their problem, I’m here without getting into any trouble.”
#YoTambienExija saw Bruguera in a censorship protest-performance carried out during talks about the US-Cuba embargo, for which she was arrested. Artists and figures such as Anish Kapoor and Howard Hodgkin protested her arrest in 2015.