Susana Pilar sees her body as an archive of the forced displacement of people from Africa and Asia to Cuba. Her performative works, often in-situ, are charged with the history of the place where they are made. In this interview, the artist talks about empowerment and the conflicts she faced with her participation in the 12th Berlin Biennale.
C&AL: In your work, you have gone through projects on affective and family memory, and at the beginning of your career you turned to performance as a way to present your own body as an archive and as the strength of those memories. If we take into account a context like Cuba, where the policies of forgetting are systematic and determine daily life, reinventing memory and the archive is an important key, even more so in the case of a migrant body like yours. How have you developed that experience in your work with performance?
Susana Pilar Delahante: Reinventing memory and the archive are super important in my research and artistic practice because some in power have erased the facts. My body, a descendant of forcibly displaced migrants from Asia and Africa to Cuba, is my archive and my memory. My family’s oral narratives (since we were denied the right to write our History, and today we are reclaiming those rights) are my textbook. My ancestors inhabit my body and I generate actions that reclaim what we are.