Under Discussion, 2005
1 video projector, 2 loudspeakers, 1 amplifier, 1 video, NTSC, colour, sound, 6'25. Gift of the Société des Amis du MNAM, Centre Pompidou, PAC, 2006.
Collection Centre Pompidou
Jennifer Allora and Guillermo Calzadilla are two artists internationally recognised for their socially and politically committed art, their performances, videos and installations. Their work was recently shown at the 2005 Venice Biennale, at the last Whitney Museum Biennial, and at the Guangzhou Triennial.
Jennifer Allora was born in 1974 in Philadelphia and Guillermo Calzadilla in 1972 in Havana. They both live in Porto Rico in the West Indies. Under Discussion is very connected to their socio-political environment. In the form of a performance, the artists filmed the Island of Vieques, which was a site used by the Americans to test certain weapons for 60 years, from 1941 to 2003. Following protests from Porto Rican inhabitants, the Americans left the island in 2003, leaving the remains of their occupation and military testing behind them. In the video screening, we watch a somewhat atypical journey: a young Porto Rican – apparently the son of a fisherman from the island who led the anti-American movement – drives around in an upturned table that he converted into a makeshift boat, giving us a tour of the Island of Vieques, emphasising the scars and remnants left by the US troops. This work is one of a series of artworks and actions entitled “Landmark”, using the island of Vieques as “an emergency platform for testing ideas, generating dialogue and creating proposals for this island” but that nonetheless concerns universal questions of territory, from a historical, social, and geopolitical point of view.
Under Discussion is an important work owing to the creative tension that it produces, between formal historical imperatives and statements regarding the global geopolitical space, aligning the artists with the postcolonial thinking of the 2000s.
Christine Van Asche
Gift from the Société des Amis du Musée National d'Art Moderne.