Coco Fusco is coming to Auckland!!

Invitation to a lecture and symposium with visiting Hood Fellow, performance artist and writer Coco Fusco 

“The War on Terror offers an unprecedented opportunity to the women of [America]. Our nation is putting its trust in our talents, and is providing the support we need to show the world that American women are the linchpin in the worldwide struggle for democracy.”

With these words, Coco Fusco – a New York-based, Cuban-American performance artist, writer and forthcoming Hood Fellow at The University of Auckland – sets the stage for her latest work, “A Room of One’s Own: Women and Power in the New America.” As part of her Hood Fellowship in early August, Associate Professor Fusco will stage two performances of the work in Auckland and lead an Australasian artists’ symposium examining the role of contemporary art practice and performance as a vehicle for social change.

“A Room of One’s Own: Women and Power in the New America”

 What? A performance-lecture about the expanding role of American women in the War on Terror. Fusco takes on the persona of a female graduate of military intelligence school and a seasoned interrogator.

When? Thursday, 2nd August at 1pm and Friday, 3rd August at 7.30pm

Where? Maidment Theatre, Auckland, New Zealand

Tickets? Free tickets can be picked up from the Maidment Theatre

Enquiries? For further information, call 09 308 2383

In developing “A Room of One’s Own” the internationally recognised artist underwent a mock interrogation process, confronting first-hand the often torturous, sometimes sadistic practices of military personnel charged with eliciting intelligence from would-be terrorists.

Her performance-lecture focuses on the rationale behind using sexual innuendo as a tactic for extracting information from Islamic fundamentalists. It also stresses, with cutting satire, how a career in the military intelligence represents an opportunity for emancipated women of the 21st century to shed their role as victims and become victimizers, wielding significant power and control over “others”.

The Artists’ Symposium, “Society, Politics and the Performative”

 What? A seminar comprising discussions led by Coco Fusco alongside Pasifika trans-gendered artist Shigeyuki Kihara, Maori artists Tracey Tawhiao, Australian-based Deborah Kelly and Lebanese-Australian artist Khaled Sabsabi. The symposium will examine the role that contemporary art practice can play as a vehicle for social change. The artists will discuss their use of art to help articulate and highlight the complex issues of gender, ethnicity, politics and society.

When? Saturday, 4th August, 10.30am-4.00pm

Where? Engineering Theatre 439, 20 Symonds Street, City Campus.

Tickets? The symposium is free to attend, however registration is required. To register, phone 09 373 7599 ext. 84464 or email Media welcome.

“Coco Fusco has developed an impressive profile internationally in relation to both her performances and writing,” says Caroline Vercoe, Senior Lecturer in the University’s Department of Art History. “Her visit will provide an opportunity to discuss the ways that art can engage with current social, political and cultural issues, as well as to make connections between local and international art practice.”

Ms Fusco has had a long-held interest in the complex relationship between gender, race, stereotype and encounter. She is perhaps best known for the controversial 1992-1994 work, “Two Amerindians Visit the West”, in which she and her Mexican collaborator Guillermo Gómez-Peña exhibited themselves in a cage, acting as representatives from a group of people previously “undiscovered” by western explorers. Intended as a satirical commentary during the sesquicentennial celebrations of Columbus’ so-called founding of the Americas, Fusco was shocked to find many viewers believed the performance and even paid money to have their photos taken with the fictional indigenous characters.

 Coco Fusco’s latest documentary, “Operation Atropos”, in which she and a group of female friends experience a mock interrogation process, will screen continuously in the foyer of the Gus Fisher Gallery (74 Shortland St) from 20 July – 1 September.

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