Lizabel Mónica on El Paquete's Art Gallery at Cuban Counterpoints.

Visual Artist Nestor Siré has set up an art gallery in today’s most popular Cuban media. El Paquete is a 1 Terabyte size changing database of digital content, mostly pirated, and transferred informally through USB external hard drives. El Paquete is nothing like television, any form of radio, or the Internet. A media phenomenon that is run through hand-to-hand distribution, it is outside of government control. It is there that Siré has managed to insert an art gallery. Read More

Lizabel Mónica’s intro to three poems by Juan Carlos Flores in Cuba Counterpoints.

The poems included here are taken from El Contragolpe, the latest book by Juan Carlos Flores, published in Havana in 2010. Accompanying them are selected tracks from a record issued under the same title and in the same year, a work that combines the poems read by the author with music by Tony Carreras. I invite you to appreciate the work of Flores as both text and sound. The book, little known outside Cuba, is rarely read alongside the audio. The English translations of these poems are included below, courtesy of Kristin Dykstra, who has prepared a bilingual edition of El Contragolpe, forthcoming from the University of Alabama Press. As a complement, please see the make-of video, which allows us to enjoy the body language of the poet in action. Read More

We Can Be Fictions, upcoming (with Melanie Crean)

The We Can Be Fictions project explores the intricacies involved with artistic, economic and political relationships through the metaphor of a romance between a Cuban and American couple. The overall narrative, told through letters, images, maps, and rule sets for performance games, will be based on a series of communications between myself and the Cuban writer Lizabel Monica. The plot involves a young American filmmaker who meets an aspiring Cuban politician in early 1990’s Havana, during the country’s Special Period. As the Filmmaker gets increasingly involved in reporting on Guantanamo Bay, and the Politician rises in ranks of the Castros’ Cuba, the two correspond, conflating references to their relationship with the intense, secret negotiations said to occur regularly between Cuban and American officials about the use and maintenance of Guantanamo Bay. 

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