Tania Bruguera and Saskia Sassen: In Conversation

Discussion hosted by South London Gallery and Theatrum Mundi

Tania Bruguera’s work crosses art and activism to highlight the nature of political upheaval, create real space for freedom of expression within situations of oppression, and seeks new tactics to engender global rights and citizenship for migrants. An attempted 2014 staging of her work Tatlin’s Whisper, a temporary platform allowing citizens 60 seconds of uncensored public speech, in Plaza de la Revolucion in Havana, led to her imprisonment and interrogation by the Cuban authorities.

Bruguera held a conversation with Saskia Sassen, urban sociologist and long-time Theatrum Mundi collaborator. Sassen’s work on global migration in her recent book Expulsions highlights the devastating socioeconomic and physical conditions under which citizens across the world are literally expelled from their livelihoods and living spaces. Her ongoing interest in the “Global Street” focuses on the capabilities of cities, and particularly everyday streets, to be the spaces in which disempowered migrants can make a history and a culture for themselves.

Photo: THE FRANCIS EFFECT is courtesy Studio Bruguera

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    Tania Bruguera

    Tania Bruguera was born in Havana in 1968. She received a BFA in fine art from Escuela de Arte San Alejandro, Havana, in 1987, an MFA in painting from the Instituto Superior de Arte, Havana, in 1992, and an MFA in performance from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago in 2001. Bruguera choreographs performances that question the possibility of political representation and attempt to collapse the distance between art and life, eroding institutionalized injustice and prejudicial hierarchies in the process.

    Saskia Sassen

    Saskia Sassen is Robert S. Lynd Professor of Sociology at Columbia University and co-chairs its Committee on Global Thought. Her research and writing focuses on, immigration, global cities, the new networked technologies, and changes within the liberal state that result from current transnational conditions. Her most recent book is Expulsions: Brutality and Complexity in the Global Economy (Harvard University Press 2014). She has received multiple honours, most recently the 2013 Principe de Asturias Prize for the Social Sciences.