Is Tania Bruguera in the Running for President of Cuba?

She urges Cuban citizens to 'change the culture of apathy.'

While the US anxiously approaches November’s presidential elections, Cuba still has a couple of years to go before its 2018 election. And who is the latest contender for the one-party state’s presidential position? Activist artist Tania Bruguera—sort of.

In a video premiered during a keynote talk by Hans Ulrich Obrist at this past weekend’s Creative Time Summit in Washington, DC, the Cuban artist offered herself as a candidate, and asked other Cubans to do the same.

“Let’s start today a civic exercise,” the artist invites her viewers. “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.”

“Today I will start this exercise. I propose myself as a candidate for the 2018 elections. Propose yourself

Bruguera explains to the New York Times that the video is more of a performance than a true campaign. In her words, “It’s artivism.” Despite its webcam sensibilities, it comes across as a commanding call to action.

“Let’s take advantage of the 2018 elections to change the culture of fear, the culture of ‘I can’t,'” Bruguera asserts. “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,” she continues.

In the description of the video, hosted on Bruguera Estudio’s YouTube page, the artist urges Cubans to share their own self-nominations with the Instituto de Artivismo Hannah Arendt (INSTAR), her “hub for civic literacy in Cuba,” via Facebook.

In 2018, Cuban President Raúl Castro will step down, and the country’s National Assembly will elect a new president. The current leader has been in office since 2008, appointed by his brother Fidel Castro, who had been in power since 1976.

The 2016 Creative Time summit, a meeting of creatives involved in the world of social justice, took place from October 14-16. The list of speakers included Carrie Mae Weems, Eileen Myles, Vaginal Davis, and Pedro Reyes. Bruguera’s project fits right in with the summit’s theme of “Occupy the Future.”


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