Instar Offers Two Residencies to Promote Civic Initiatives in Cuba

The artist Tania Bruguera directs the Hannah Ardent Institute of Artivism. (Youtube)

14ymedio bigger14ymedio, Havana, 30 May 2019 — The Hannah Arendt Institute of Artivism (Instar) is offering two Vita Activa (Active Life) Residencies “to promote civic initiatives with viable solutions in the short or medium term.” Every Cuban resident on the island can apply and novelty and creativity will be rewarded.

Vita Activa is looking for “projects which, using a strong theoretical and investigative base, are implemented in the public sphere,” explains Instar, the institute led by the renowned artist Tania Bruguera. The registration period has been extended until July 1, 2019 and individual or collective projects will be considered.

The jury that will select the winners will privilege those proposals that explore “new management models for the social and cultural development of a community.” The projects selected will be both “transdisciplinary artistic projects” and “innovative projects that start from any other social practice,” says the call for applications.

“Projects that are already in the process of being implemented and that need support will also be accepted, and priority will be given to those with the prospect to continue beyond the time of residency,” the call states. Projects will be evaluated based on a “sense of social justice, and the mutual trust generated by the project in the community and creativity,” it adds.

Two residences will be awarded and, during the first three months, the residents will have to “develop a research period to explore the potentialities and possible implementation of their proposal.” To achieve this they will have a stipend of 200 CUC per month, in addition to advice and logistical support from Instar.

The residency takes its name from the concept “vita activa,” one of the fundamental approaches of Hannah Arendt’s work “The Human Condition,” which designates three fundamental activities — labor, work and action — which condition and determine in a basic way the existence of man.

The Institute itself uses the term “artivism” to define itself based on the idea of combining art and activism, which results in socially responsible actions. It bears the name of Arendt, the political scientist who “studied totalitarian systems, both in capitalism and in socialism, and its effects on the concept of citizenship,” Bruguera said in an interview.

“In the following six months, the resident must implement the project in the space or community for which it was conceived with a budget of up to 5,000 CUC, depending on the production needs of the project.” The institute will work with the project during its first year and the results will be presented at the Instar headquarters in Havana.

The application for residencies is available on the Institute’s website and can be sent via email or presented in person to Instar headquarters.

The call emphasizes that the funds used for the residencies do not come from “donations from institutions or entities that incite violence, discrimination, demand ideological ties or demand commitments against our principles.”

Instar and Bruguera have been accused by the official press of working “actively to subvert the Cuban constitutional order” and receiving funds from the National Foundation for Democracy (NED).


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