ArtWorks are multimedia publications that center a work of art, a performance, or a collection. Whether as virtual museums, online exhibition catalogues, or digital retrospectives, ArtWorks invite artists, scholars, students, and researchers to encounter, engage with, and reflect on artistic practices across the Americas. Combining photos, videos, text, bibliographies, and audio recordings, these collections are designed to make connections between disciplines, to serve as a research resource for artists and scholars.
“El Ciervo Encantado: An Altar in the Mangroves” (2015) analyzes El Ciervo Encantado’s performances and public interventions in the tradition of 1980s Cuban performance art, using Rancière’s theories of space and the political and Maryse Condé’s poetics of the mangrove to understand how these works create a space for freedom, not within the actor/performer in his or her theatrical work, but in the public space of the community.
The Centro de Estudios Mapuche Pewma is a Spanish-language initiative of members of an Argentinian Puel Mapu Mapuche indigenous group, most of whom live in the province of Neuquén. This publication serves as a collection of their primary documents and a space for scholars and community members to continue researching, documenting, and discussing different aspects of the Mapuche history, culture, and language.
At the Hemispheric Institute’s fifth Encuentro, “Performing ‘Heritage’: Contemporary Indigenous and Community-Based Practices,” members of two indigenous communities in Brazil, the Kaiapó and the Maxacalí, staged performances that generated fascination, confusion, and considerable dialogue. “Indigenous Encuentros” (2005) presents audio-visual documentation and analysis of their participation in this event.
Rather than a “bricks and mortar” museum, VAAAM (2015 and ongoing) presents curated materials from US and international repositories to visualize, analyze, and contextualize Asian American art history. VAAAM facilitates the discussion of key topics emerging from the developing discourse of digital art history, American art, national and international standards for museum and institutional collection sharing, and digital access while fostering a transnational narrative of Asian American art.
This collection (2018) of archival materials in the Hemispheric Institute Digital Video Library represents the historical, cultural, and political legacy of Franklin Furnace, an internationally renowned institution that commissions, presents, and preserves “time-based art” (performance).
On September 26, 2014, a group of students from the Ayotzinapa Rural Teachers College, traveling by bus in Iguala, Guerrero, came under armed attack by police. The police abducted 43 of the students. They have not been seen since. “Until We Find You: The Disappeared of Ayotzinapa” (2017) features captures the relentless struggle to find the missing 43, and amplify the demand for truth and justice that has reverberated across Mexico and the world.
Tepeyac Television Service (TTS) is a public television project formed by a group of Mexican migrants in New York City. Its fundamental goal is to facilitate access to video cameras for migrant workers whose voices are systematically silenced, allowing them to document their lives and communities. This publication is meant to present and publicize the group’s work of defending migrants in the tri-state area and encouraging their creative expression and transnational dialogue.
Founded in 1969, the American Indian Community House (AICH) of New York City Performing Arts Department serves an important function of promoting and supporting Native American performing artists and providing them with a performance space to showcase their pieces. This publication (2004) serves as an introduction to the work of AICH and to the diverse collection of performance materials amassed by the Performing Arts Department.
This multimedia site functions as an introduction to and collection of materials on H.I.J.O.S., an organization started in 1995 of the children of people who were disappeared during the Argentinian military dictatorship. “H.I.J.O.S.” (2002) explores their strategies, philosophies, and practices of resistance, placing them in the context of, and in conversation with, forms of political performance during the dictatorship itself.
“Sarhua: Land of Mountains and Colors” (2006) houses photographs of and Spanish-language texts about the eponymous indigenous community in the Peruvian Andes, which is comprised of painters whose paintings serve as gifts for couples building a home and are integrated into the beams of their roofs. It tells the story of these beams’ history and brief international commercial popularity in the 1970s, ultimately underlying the importance of this age-old artistic form in Sarhua.
“Los Rumbos de la Rumba” (2003) focuses on rumba as a transitory space and as a cartography of the Diaspora. The structure of the site is based on the rumbos de la rumba: its different global routes, directions, and emergences, and the forms it takes in each of its locations. In compiling rumbas and considering them geographically, “Los Rumbos de la Rumba” explores their constant making and unmaking of place, nation, narration, and themselves.
“Repasos” (2004) studies the implicit relationship between art and politics (and between art and life) in Augusto Pinochet’s Chile. Through personal interviews with artists, performers, writers, and museum and gallery directors, it tells the story of the Escena and Avanzada and Colectivo Acciones de Arte specifically—two groups of artists and intellectuals who stayed in Chile during the years of military rule and “dared to gamble on a form of creativity.”
“Fragments of Peruvian History and Society” offers its visitors a brief tour of Peruvian history by exploring a selection of key moments, figures, and practices. This tour does not follow a linear route, though, but rather presents a series of fragments for the visitor to explore and creatively connect. Each of the organizing axes—characters, places, and representations—contains specific cases selected to provide insight into larger historical processes that have informed Peruvian life and culture.
Founded in 1988 by Cuban dancer, choreographer, and performer Marianela Boán, DanzAbierta is one of Cuba’s most prominent and innovative dance companies. Videos and photographs of its work compiled here (2001), as well as articles and reviews, serve as an introduction to the company for students, scholars, and artists, and which is meant to further the international dispersal of Cuban dance and music traditions.
“Indigenous Praxis” (2005) presents five recently developed ethnographies of the Peruvian Amazon that problematize the process of identity construction and reconstitution in indigenous contexts. Using a performative frame, the main case studies use interviews, analytic essays, mapping, and historical texts to explore the Asháninka and Shipibo communities’ appropriation of speech related to bilingual education and the internet.
New Era Veterans is a transitional housing facility for previously homeless veterans in the Bronx. Its work includes providing shelter, counseling, and social services to residents, many of whom struggle with physical disabilities, psychological disorders, and addictions. The texts compiled here (2003) include poetry and prose written and performed by residents and recorded at the facility’s poetry group meetings.
Grupo Cultural Yuyachkani is an activist theater group with a 30-year history of performing in reaction to and defiance of political and economic policies in Peru. This collection (2004) of written and visual materials are meant to present the origins and actions of this important theater group and link its work to the larger political and social history of Peru.
The Mapuche Campaign for Self-Representation was created in 2002 in order to redefine Mapuche identity and reflect the diversity of the community in a national and global context. This publication furthers that project by presenting a collection of texts and drawings aimed at both promoting self-knowledge in the Mapuche community and furthering its self-representation to an online audience.
In “RARA Vodou, Power and Performance” (2002), Elizabeth McAllister draws on years of scholarship on and interest in Haitian culture in order to present a look at Rara festivals, societies, and music. The photographs and videos compiled here from McAllister’s time in Haiti also serve as a supplement to her work in Rara! Vodou, Power, and Performance in Haiti and Its Diaspora (UC Press, 2002).
“Intangible Heritage” (2003) is the product of a one-week conference on Intangible Heritage held in Cuernavaca, Mexico in 2003, over the course of which participants collaboratively investigated Day of the Dead celebrations. By considering these celebrations as performances, the group and the cuaderno they created offer insight into the ways that cultural memory is transmitted through social practices, customs, actions, and rituals.
Drawing on texts and practices from colonial Mexico, this Spanish-language publication (2005) discusses the wide variety of expressive behaviors within the country’s colonial societies, from the performing arts to civic and courtly festivities. Due to their public nature and their coded messages, these practices, as Toriz demonstrates, embedded a multiplicity of important, implied commentaries on power and political life.
“Political Performance” (2004) was created by members of a course dedicated to examining the use of performance by state actors, oppositional groups, and artistic practitioners to solidify or challenge structures of power. Organized around eight key themes, it brings together images, videos, definitions, and original analyses in order to both investigate specific historical moments and paradigms of power and open up broader discussions on the intersections of performance, power, and resistance.
“The Death of Inca Atahualpa” (2004) is a collection of multiple representations—written, drawn, or enacted—created by communities of the Peruvian Andres. Compiled by a team of researchers, the materials in this cuaderno are meant to provide researchers and students with insight into a foundational colonial scene: the capture and death of the Inca Atahualpa.
This publication (2009) draws on text and archival photographs to chronicle the performance art practice of post-Mexican writer, artist, and activist Guillermo Gómez-Peña. By tracing his personal history and relationships as well as his past 30 years of theatrical, literary, political, and artistic engagement, Gómez-Peña contextualizes his work and demonstrates its relation both to his own life and to the main political and social events of the times.
Plaza Baquedano, also known as Plaza Italia, is the heart of Santiago de Chile, serving as a geographic and historic center of encounter in the city’s urban environment. “Architecture and Performance” (2002) offers interviews, architectural analysis, and historical information about the Plaza that together establish an overview of the various roles the space has played for those in the city and throughout Chile.
“Vachiam Eecha” (2007) draws on Yoeme Indian language and aesthetics to demonstrate how one tribe in Mexico has combined religiosity, indigeneity, and ritual performance to assert sovereign control over its homeland. In exploring the lives and practices of Yoeme people, this cuaderno works to examine collective memory, ethnographic performance, and the politics of representation in the virtual territory of the Internet.
This publication (2011) offers a chronological presentation of artistic actions in the Americas and corresponding historical events around the world from 1957 to 2000. The overview it provides first appeared in 2008 as part of the exhibition catalog for Arte ≠ Vida: Actions by Artists of the Americas 1960-2000 in New York’s El Museo del Barrio. The Hemispheric Institute first digitized it in 2011 to accompany the 8.1 emisférica issue “Performance ≠ Life.”
“Holy Terrors” (forthcoming) updates and augments the original book Holy Terrors: Latin American Women Perform (Duke University Press, 2003), providing the full original text and an expanded archive of visual materials (including videos, slide shows, and photos), performance texts, interviews, scholarly essays, bibliographies, and related links concerning the artists in the volume.
“Festive Devils of the Americas” (2011) is dedicated to the research on and continuing iterations of fiestas, religious practices, and carnivals involving devils’ dances in the Americas. Their appearances help us to untangle and explore one of the most charged figures in history: a figure that carries the charge of “evil” and “play,” along with honor, faith, and collective action, simultaneously centering and diffusing the binary of good and evil.
The Problematics of Passage (2020) is a photographic series of Alicia Grullón’s performative interventions at historic colonial sites in the United States. Grullón’s self-portraits—taken during the annual reenactment of the Battle of Brooklyn, inside the Old Stone House, and on the grounds of James Madison’s House—position the artist as a witness of ‘future’ rebellions coming back to the ‘past’ in an effort to alter them.