3+1=54+1=55. Letter of the Year: A multimedia sculptural installation

María Magdalena Campos-Pons & Neil Leonard

53+1=54+1=55 Venice Installation, photo Toshiki Yashiro
Photo taken by Toshiki Yashiro
55th Venice Biennale
Museum of Archeology, Piazza San Marco, Venice
The Cuba Republic Pavilion, La Perversion de lo Clasico: Anarquia de los Relatos.
June 1 – Nov 24, 2013
Opening: May 31, 2013, 5:00 pm

53+1=54+1=55.Letter of the Year is a multimedia installation about home, migration, the necessity of finding and redefining the meaning of permanency and locality. Birdcages were used by emperors and common men to capture beauty and to dream of freedom. From Yoruba deities, to Leonardo da Vinci, to space travel today, men and women have always dreamed of flight as embodying a lightness of being.

The interviews in the birdcages document the reconstruction of a dialogue between Cuban residents and their family members who live abroad, and the transformative power of this exchange. The sonic environment is complemented by recordings of street criers, known as pregoneros, a reflection of the increased liberalization of small businesses that exists within a void of corporate control. The voices in the cages elude physical, political and cultural borders in contemporary society. The small videos featured inside the cages were conceived as a performative response to the historical weight of the exhibition site.

The installation is a construct of architecture and sound, old and new, evoking a country that is evolving. And, like birds, people keep singing their songs of hope and freedom.

53+1=54+1=55 multimedia sculptural installation Venice
Photo taken by Dorothy Leonard