Washington Project for the Arts Presents Citizens without citizenship|Ciudadanos sin ciudadanía

By Editorial Team on October 25, 2021
Here Lies a Flag. Miguel Braceli in collaboration with students from New Rochelle High School. Artist-in-Residency at VAEA New Rochelle, NY. 2021 © Miguel Braceli

What does it mean to belong to a city? How do different cultural notions of citizenship affect our experience of cities, and how does government policy determine who can make them their home? Venezuelan-born, artist-organizer Miguel Braceli is exploring these questions with prominent artists—including Angel Abreu from Studio K.O.S. and Tania Bruguera—and members of the DC-area community.

The word “citizen” is derived from the Latin root “civitas,” meaning “city.” In English, the modern definition of a citizen refers to one’s national status and access to legal rights. Whereas in Spanish, the word ciudadanos is closer to the definition of “a person who lives in a city.” It describes belonging to a city as an intrinsic experience of where you live.

Citizens without citizenship | Ciudadanos sin ciudadanía uses language and dialogue as a tool to consider the tensions between different constructions of what it means to belong to a place. The project will be developed through public talks and workshops, culminating in a collective public performance in Spring 2022 that will take place in DC.

Programs

  • A conversation with Angel Abreu (Studio K.O.S.)
    Thursday, October 28 at 7:30 pm EDT via Zoom
  • A conversation with Tania Bruguera
    Thursday, November 18 at 7:00 EDT via Zoom

About the Artist Participants

Angel Abreu is an artist, writer, and educator. Abreu joined Tim Rollins and Kids of Survival (K.O.S.), an artist collaborative originating in the South Bronx in 1986. Their work, which is based on canonical literature as well as music, resides in over 120 permanent museum collections around the world including the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA), Philadelphia Museum of Art, and Tate Modern. Through his collaboration with K.O.S., Abreu was the youngest, at 14, to have a work acquired by and be listed on the artists’ roster of MoMA in New York City.

Tania Bruguera choreographs political performances that examine institutionalized injustice, and has been outspoken about the Cuban government and its oppressive policies. She received her BFA from Escuela de Arte San Alejandro in Havana, and MFAs in painting and in performance from Instituto Superior de Arte in Havana and School of the Art Institute of Chicago, respectively.

Among her most powerful works: “The Burden of Guilt” (“El Peso de la Culpa,” 1997–99), a performance informed by the tale of mass suicide of indigenous Cubans in resisting the Spanish; and “Department of Behavior Art” (“Cátedra Arte de Conducta,” 2002–09), an alternative art school she created to explore the making of arte útil (useful art). In “Tatlin’s Whisper #5” (2008), visitors to the Tate Modern were confronted by police officer performers responding to an imagined riot. In “Tatlin’s Whisper #6 in Havana” (2009), Bruguera created a temporary space for the kind of free speech normally denied in Cuba.

About the Artist-Organizer

Miguel Braceli is a multidisciplinary artist working at the intersection of art, architecture, and education. His practice is focused on participatory projects in public space. Most of these projects have been large-scale, developed in countries such as Argentina, Bolivia, Chile, Costa Rica, México, Spain, Sweden, United States, and Venezuela. They explore notions of borders, migrations, national identities, and social-political conflicts, working from the geopolitical geography to a human scale. Museums and art spaces that have presented Braceli’s collective performances include Matadero Madrid, LABoral Centro de Arte y Creación Industrial (Asturias), and the University Museum of Contemporary Art (Mexico City).