In conjunction with this issue of Interventions, the Department of Art History and Archaeology at Columbia University held a symposium entitled Homeland Security: Borders and the Global Contemporary on September 27, 2012. Part of an annual discussion series organized by graduate students in the Modern Art: Critical and Curatorial Studies program, this event was developed by Cecelia Thornton-Alson, Carmen Ferreyra, and Carmen Falcioni. Guests Joaquín Barriendos, Tania Bruguera, and Coco Fusco were invited to present their current research and artistic production in regard to the notion of borderlessness within the contemporary art world. These presentations were followed by a round-table discussion moderated by Deborah Cullen. Specifically, the speakers were asked to address the question of what global contemporary practice might mean from artistic, scholarly, and curatorial standpoints–in a globalized world, where and how do our critical discourses take shape? Below, we have posted audio excerpts from the presentations and the round-table discussion.
*Joaquín Barriendos is an instructor in the Department of Latin American and Iberian Cultures at Columbia University, specializing in visual culture and contemporary art. He has taught at the University of Barcelona, and was a visiting scholar in the Museum Studies Program at NYU and a research fellow at the Institut National d’Histoire de l’Art in Paris. He has published extensively on the globalization of contemporary Latin American art as well as on the economic, aesthetic, racial, and epistemic asymmetries that give shape to the so-called global art world. He is the editor-in-chief of the Journal of Global Studies and Contemporary Art and the director of Culturas Visuales Globales, an open forum that addresses visuality as a global-scale intercultural phenomenon and promotes theory-based reflection and problem-oriented research.
*Tania Bruguera is an interdisciplinary artist working primarily in performance, installation, video, and behavior art. She trained at the Instituto Superior de Arte in Havana, where she founded Arte de Conducta, the first performance studies program in Latin America; and at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. Bruguera has exhibited internationally and her work is part of collections in Europe, Latin America, and the United States. She has participated in Documenta 11 as well as biennials in Venice, Johannesburg, São Paulo, Shanghai, Havana, and Santa Fe. In 2010, Bruguera launched Immigrant Movement International, a five-year project that posits the immigrant as a unique, new global citizen in a post-national world.
*Deborah Cullen joined Columbia University this summer as Director & Chief Curator of the Miriam and Ira D. Wallach Art Gallery. Previously, she served at El Museo del Barrio in New York for over 15 years. As Director of Curatorial Programs, her exhibitions include Nexus New York: Latin/American Artists in the Modern Metropolis and Arte (no es) Vida: Actions by Artists of the Americas, 1960-2000, for which she received an Emily Hall Tremaine Exhibition Award. Cullen was Chief Curator of the 3rd Trienal Poligráfica de San Juan, which ran from April to August of this year; and she has recently been appointed Curator of the 30th Ljubljana Biennial of Graphic Art, which will open next September. Cullen’s work on graphics stems from her long-standing affiliation with legendary Jamaican-American printmaker Robert Blackburn and The Printmaking Workshop.
*Coco Fusco is a New York-based interdisciplinary artist and writer and the current Director of Intermedia Initiatives at Parsons The New School for Design. She has performed, lectured, exhibited, and curated around the world for over two decades. Fusco’s performances and videos have been presented at numerous prominent events worldwide, including biennials in New York, Sydney, Johannesburg, Gwangju, Mercosul, and Shanghai. She has published five books: English Is Broken Here: Notes on Cultural Fusion in the Americas; Corpus Delecti: Performance Art of the Americas; The Bodies that Were Not Ours and Other Writings; Only Skin Deep: Changing Visions of the American Self; and most recently, A Field Guide for Female Interrogators, which along with a series of videos and performances, addresses the role of women in the War on Terror and the military’s use of female sexuality as an interrogation tactic against suspected terrorists.
We would like to thank Professor Kaira Cabañas, Deborah Cullen, and Professor Kellie Jones for their guidance and support in putting together this event; the staffs of the Visual Media Center and the Art History Department for their assistance; and guests Joaquín Barriendos, Tania Bruguera, and Coco Fusco for their engaging discussions.