a Sisyphean/Fitzcarraldean task involving a 50 lb. bag of Domino Light Brown Sugar, a flight of stairs, Antillean brand coconut oil, and a looping track of "Siboney" sung by Cuban coloratura soprano Xiomara Alfaro
excerpt from a durational performance @ Fitness in NY
In true Beuysian fashion, the performance began 15 hours earlier in Boston, as I dragged the sugar inside of this broken travel bag through Chinatown, on my way to the bus terminal. En route to NY, I enter a Popeyes franchise to find them playing a country-western style version of Siboney...later, I catch a glimpse of the decaying Domino factory complex as we cross into Manhattan. Throughout the journey, I read from Mariel Iglesias Utset's A Cultural History of Cuba During the U.S. Occupation, 1898-1902. Boarding the return bus back to Boston, a porter checking the manifest reads my name aloud and asks: "Like the explorer, right?!"
This piece is intended to draw attention to the historical relationship between agriculture and economics in colonizing the Caribbean. The intensity with which sugarcane and other crops were cultivated in this region, lead to the creation of several monocultures within the Caribbean and fostered an era of economic dependency that persists in areas such as Puerto Rico, where, despite the favorable climate, most produce is imported from the U.S. The performance reflects on the difficulty of self-decolonization in the face of culturally/racially specific marketing strategies, such as those employed by the Domino company.