Coco Fusco

Performance, Video

Welcome to the universe of cultural  misunderstanding. “It took Marco Polo nine years to reach Cathay; and eight months for H.M. Stanley to get to the heart of Congo. Now, it only takes seconds for you to concoct the paradise of your own choice. Bathe yourself in its warm rays without leaving the security of your home. Enjoy the pleasure of escape without the pain of displacement.” With these words Coco Fusco invites you to her Exotech Industries, “a universe beyond any border you’ve ever known”.
This online virtual paradise is but one of the many sites where you can encounter the New York based interdisciplinary artist and writer Coco Fusco. She is one of the most significant and influential performance and video-artists (also an articulate and outspoken theoretician, as well as an active curator) dealing with issues such as globalisation, and intercultural theory and practice. Her work is an ongoing reflection on the conditions of (women’s) bodies in globalising and technologically imbued environments.
City of Women has asked her to introduce some of the  different aspects of her multifaceted cross-cultural work. She proposed to screen the video The Couple in the Cage, to give a reading from her forthcoming book The Bodies That Were Not Ours and Other Writings, and do a performance-reading of her latest play The Incredible Disappearing Women.
The Couple in the Cage documents the travelling performance of Guillermo Gómez-Peńa and Coco Fusco, in which the two exhibited themselves as caged Undiscovered Amerindians from an imaginary island. While the artists’ intent was to create a satirical comment on the notion of discovery, they soon realised that many spectators believed the fiction, and thought they were confronting real “savages”. The video-recording of their interactions with audiences in four countries dramatises the dilemma of the cross-cultural misunderstanding we continue to live in. Their experiences are interwoven with ethnographic found footage, giving a historical dimension to the artists’ social experiment. The Couple in the Cage is a powerful blend of comic fiction and poignant reflection on the morality of treating human beings as exotic curiosities.
In her forthcoming book, The Bodies That Were Not Ours and other writings, Fusco explores issues such as sex tourism in Cuba as a barometer of the island’s entry into the global economy, Frantz Fanon’s theorisation of metropolitan blackness, and net.activist responses to the effects of free trade on the Mexican populace. It also includes her critical reflection on cyber-feminist theory and the role of maquiladora workers in the global information network. Approaching the dynamics of cultural fusion from many angles, Fusco’s satires, commentaries and sociological inquiries form a sustained meditation on how the forces of globalisation affect the making of art. Her own essays, interviews, performance scripts and photonovellas, which will be published alongside critical essays by Jean Fisher and Caroline Vercoe on Fusco’s theoretical and performance work -, take readers on a tour of the current trans-cultural landscape.
The multimedia theatre work-in-progress, The Incredible Disappearing Woman is about art, sex and death in the US-Mexico border zone. It is the result of three years of research into the role of subaltern women workers in the global economy and untold intercultural tales from the history of American performance art. The piece is set in 1998 in a museum diorama, just before the opening of a landmark retrospective exhibition. The ‘live’ characters (one of them is played by Fusco) are three exiled Latin American women who are members of the custodial staff of the museum. These stage actors will interact with ‘virtual’ characters on video projections (curators and scholars, visiting artists and museum guests).
The Incredible Disappearing Woman is written by Coco Fusco. The video projections were developed in co-operation with Isaac Julien and Peter Norman, and the play will be directed by Robbie McCauley. It was commissioned by the Portland Institute of Contemporary Art and will begin an international tour in 2002. At City of Women Fusco will ‘introduce’ this work-in-progress in the form of a performed-reading, illustrated with video. 

Program Coco Fusco
Monday, 8. October at 23.00, Klub Gromka - Metelkova Mesto
The Couple in the cage - a Guatinaui Odyssey;  Coco Fusco & Paula Heredia 1993, video, 30 min

Friday, 12. October at 17.00, Moderna galerija, Info center, Tomšičeva 14, Ljubljana
The Bodies That Were Not Ours and other writings / Reading from her forthcoming book

Friday, 12. October at 22.00, Galerija Kapelica, Kersnikova 4, Ljubljana
The Incredible disappearing women  / Performance – reading of her latest play, illustrated with video

organised by: Mesto žensk / City of Women
in co-operation with: Klub Gromka – Metelkova Mesto, Moderna galerija, Galerija Kapelica

Date and time of event: 
Oct 08th - Oct 12th
Place of event: 
Različne lokacije