Monday, September 16, 2019

English is Broken Here Essay

English is Broken Here: Notes on Cultural Fusion is a series of essays where Coco Fusco examines the work of Latino performance artists born in the United States of America and the themes of â€Å"otherness† and culture clash. Fusco’s work depicts cultural fusion thru live performances. She meant to educate people thru her work of art and being the â€Å"other,† even posed herself with Gomez-Pena, a performance artist, under public scrutiny. They created a live exhibit of various complex societies having multi-faceted traditions, rituals and lots of different languages. This might only appeal superficially to mainly white audience but they made a difference in this kind of performance. They stirred the audience’s imagination and sense of cultural awareness. Comments gathered from the audience regarding Housekeeper’s Diary varied to some extent. There were those who talked about their own discomfort of not understanding their housemaids or on how to treat them humanely. Some might have even lauded their maids to feel important and cheerful despite their indifference. Fusco and Gomez-Pena performed live in museums and municipal buildings to know the public reactions. They exhibited themselves as indigenous tribal members. They were in a cage on display as â€Å"two undiscovered Amerindians† from the island of Guatinau. Coco Fusco describes the performance in â€Å"The Other History of Intercultural Performance,† as: â€Å"Our plan was to live †¦Ã¢â‚¬ ¦Ã¢â‚¬ ¦ authentic Guatinaui male genitals for $5 (p. 9). † People watching them did not know what to believe in. Some of the audience thought that the performance was real. However, such presentation, no matter how believable or not, could only mean taking a second look on what is really going on in the daily lives of people. The curiosity of people paying just to have a peek on the male genitalia of Gomez-Pena acting as Guatinaui is somewhat a spectacular thing to some, as if the genitalia of the fictional Guatinaui is different from the existing humans. Among artists and scientists during the Renaissance, it was a prevailing belief that the artwork or study of the male form was in itself an artwork or study of God, thus they placed value on sculpture of the male form as one of the highest works of art. In the case of Fusco’s and Gomez-Pena’s live performance, it was their priceless work of art as it was tangible. In the course of their live exhibits, others would feed Fusco and Gomez-Pena with bananas and posing with them for some souvenir photos. A realization regarding the performance might have hit into some audience such as acting out their own fantasies in life. Another part of the essay is what Fusco wrote as: â€Å"Gomez-Pena found the experience of being continually †¦Ã¢â‚¬ ¦Ã¢â‚¬ ¦ of public objectification (p. 57). † In her perspective as a woman with varied experiences in life, the performance would make her deflect the scrutiny and objectifications of the audience. The possibility of having undergone more serious and debilitating experiences in life might have made her stronger and more open as accepting people’s objections and criticisms as well. While to Gomez-Pena, the experience of being exposed to people being someone else has depressed him to some extent. Psychologically, their performance also made an impact to themselves, which actually opened their minds as well and not only the audience that they wanted to observe them. What they did was something not all can do. It would take a lot of courage, determination and imagination for them to execute such a unique performance, a unique work of art, just to educate people on the existence of various cultures and expose them to the consequences of cultural fusion.

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