14ymedio, Havana, 27 December 2015 – Announcing a performance in the Plaza of the Revolution tossed the artist Tania Bruguera into the middle of a hurricane of repression and solidarity. The reprise of Tatlin’s Whisper, this time under the title #YoTambienExijo (I Also Demand), would have brought microphones to the emblematic locale for those who wanted to express themselves during the day on 30 December 2014.
Cuban cultural authorities initially pressured Bruguera to change the location of her artistic action, then rained down threats upon her and finally arrested her. Her passport was confiscated and retained, and for months she suffered several clashes with State Security, in addition to a sequence of interrogations and preparations for an alleged judicial process that never materialized.
Born in 1968, Bruguera defines herself as an artivista (art-activist), and was excluded from the latest edition of the Havana Biennial. Despite all of this she decided to honor Hannah Arendt with more than 100 hours of consecutive reading of her book, The Origins of Totalitarianism, and founded at her own home the International Institute of Artivismo, which carries the name of the renowned German philosopher.
In July of 2015, the authorities returned Bruguera’s passport, which enabled her to participate in international events, exhibitions and conferences. In New York City she was awarded a fellowship to the renowned Yale University, and was chosen by People Magazine in Spanish as one of the 50 most influential Latinos in the world.