Mar Picado

Haina, Dominican Republic   

Photo: Miguel Collado Di Franco.

In 2009, due to the social, political, and economic context of my country, I was reflecting on the tension between publicly funded social programs as a means of social investment and their instrumentalization as a political tool of domination. When I was invited to Performar Festival, I faced the challenge of making a work for an unknown audience in an unknown context. Haina--where many imported products were unloaded in the island-- was one of the most impoverished cities of the Dominican Republic. A new question was added to the mentioned reflection: what was the pertinence of art practices to an environment of extreme economic and social need.

In the performance, I took the sardines cans out the box one by one and I took their labels off. I wrote an improvised instructional performance related to context in the blank side, I pasted the label back to the can with the new writing facing outside and delivered it in diverse ways to the audience. The performance lasted for 4 hours. I required a safety circle by beach guard volunteers. The messages affected the behavior of the audience. The performance eventually ended with the looting of the box by the local residents.