Six years ago at the Havana Biennale, artist Tania Bruguera set a podium with a microphone in the center of the Wifredo Lam Center in Cuba and invited the audience to step up and freely express their thoughts, without fear of censorship, for one minute. In late 2014, Bruguera attempted to restage the piece in the Plaza of the Revolution under the title #YoTambienExijo (I Also Demand), but was arrested, had her passport confiscated, and is currently being detained. Today, thousands of miles away, the spirit of Bruguera’s performance was revived in the heart of Times Square in the form of #YoTambienExijo: A Restaging of Tatlin’s Whisper #6.
The #YoTambienExijo hashtag served as both the title of the work and the engine for the performance, which was hosted by Creative Time. The set up was simpler than Bruguera's 2009 act: speakers stood atop a soapbox and spoke without a microphone. Viewers were asked to take photos and videos with their phones. “By restaging Tania Bruguera’s participatory artwork Tatlin’s Whisper #6, we stand in solidarity with her, Angel Santiesteban, Danilo Maldonado “El Sexto,” and all other artists around the world who face criminal charges and violence for exercising their basic human right to free expression,” Creative Time explained in their event invite.
According to the New York Times, Bruguera was planning to ask civilians to share their hopes for the future of Cuba when she last attempted the project. After 14 artists wrote a letter to The Guardian condemning Bruguera’s arrest, the hashtag #FreeTaniaBruguera soon began trending. "This silence she left us with has united all of us," said Carmen Hermo, on behalf of the Guggenheim Museum who participated in today's staging. Below, check out a few moments from the the participatory performance, and use the #YoTambienExijo to show your support: