Future Island: Cuba at ACT’s Lecture Series – March 7, 2016

Armando Marino Help Me

By addressing the contexts and forces shaping the practice of curation today, ACT’s Spring 2016 lecture series Curation: Agencies + Urgencies is a platform to reflect on transnational urgencies and local desires beyond the shackles of formal disciplinary definitions. After an intense lecture by Carolyn Christov-Bakargiev last Monday, we’re pleased to announce the lecturers for our next session on Monday, March 7.

Alejandro de la Fuente, Director of the Afro-Latin American Research Institute, at Harvard, will be joining us with Cuban-born multidisciplinary artist and SMFA Professor Magdalena Campos-Pons, and Doris Sommer, the Director of the Cultural Agents Initiative at Harvard University, and Timothy Hyde, architecture historian and professor at MIT.

The lecture, titled Future Island: Cuba, will raise timely questions for evolving artistic research within transitional contexts in terms of time and territory, specifically in a program such as ACT in the midst of its own curatorial moment: experiments in finding new forms and spaces of relief, to form new associations and ecologies of works, people, venues, and sites.

Paloma Duong, Assistant Professor Latin American Studies at MIT, will be joining us as respondent for the lecture.

The talk will take place on Monday, March 7 at 6:00pm – 9:00pm at the ACT Cube, E15-001. 

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Alejandro de la Fuente

A historian of Latin America and the Caribbean who specializes in the study of comparative slavery and race relations, Professor de la Fuente joined Harvard University after holding faculty appointments at the University of Pittsburgh, the University of South Florida in Tampa, and the University of Havana. His works on race, slavery, and Atlantic history have been published in Spanish, English, Portuguese, Italian, German, and French. He is also the curator of two art exhibits dealing with issues of race: Queloides: Race and Racism in Cuban Contemporary Art (Havana-Pittsburgh-New York City-Cambridge, Ma, 2010-12) and Grupo Antillano: The Art of Afro-Cuba (Santiago de Cuba-Havana, 2013, ongoing). Between 2007 and 2012 de la Fuente served as a Senior Co-Editor of Hispanic American Historical Review.

Professor de la Fuente is the author of Havana and the Atlantic in the Sixteenth Century (University of North Carolina Press, 2008), and of A Nation for All: Race, Inequality, and Politics in Twentieth-Century Cuba (University of North Carolina Press, 2001).

Professor de la Fuente is the founding Director of the Institute of Afro-Latin American Studies at Harvard and the faculty Co-Chair, along with Professor Jorge Domínguez, of the Cuban Studies Program. He is the Senior Editor of the journal Cuban Studies.


Magdalena Campos-Pons

Maria Magdalena Campos-Pons’ work of the last 20 years covers an extended range of visual language investigations. Campos-Pons’ work emerges from the early 1980s focus on painting and the discussion of sexuality in the crossroads of Cuban mixed cultural heritage to incisive questioning, critique and insertion of the black body in the contemporary narratives of the present. Installation art, performative photography and cultural activism define the core of Campos-Pons’ practice of the last two decades. A cross collaboration with musician composer and husband, Neil Leonard, that started in 1988, has complemented and enriched the scope of Campos-Pons’ work. Together they founded GASP, a lab and studio for the 21st century. She has lectured from the Tate Modern to the Brooklyn Museum and the School of Art in Dakar.

Campos-Pons has been exhibited internationally since 1984 when she won the Honorable Mention at the XVIII Cagnes-sur-Mer Painting Competition in France, and the Bunting Fellowship in Visual Arts at Harvard 1993; solo shows followed at MoMA, the Venice Biennale 2001, Johannesburg Biennial, the First Liverpool Biennial, the Dak’ART Biennial in Senegal; most recently the Guangzhou Triennial in China hosted her work. A 20-year retrospective of Campos-Pons’ work, Everything is Separated by Water: Maria Magdalena Campos-Pons, opened in Indianapolis in 2006 and traveled to the Bass Museum in Miami. A new museum show opened in Nashville in 2010.


Doris Summer

Doris Sommer, Director of the Cultural Agents Initiative at Harvard University, is Ira and Jewell Williams Professor of Romance Languages and Literatures and of African and African American Studies. Her academic and outreach work promotes development through arts and humanities, specifically through “Pre-Texts” in Boston Public Schools, throughout Latin America and beyond. Pre-Texts is an arts-based training program for teachers of literacy, critical thinking, and citizenship. Among her books are Foundational Fictions: The National Romances of Latin America (1991) about novels that helped to consolidate new republics; Proceed with Caution when Engaged by Minority Literature (1999) on a rhetoric of particularism; Bilingual Aesthetics: A New Sentimental Education (2004); and The Work of Art in the World: Civic Agency and Public Humanities (2014). Sommer has enjoyed and is dedicated to developing good public school education. She has a B.A. from New Jersey’s Douglass College for Women, and Ph.D. from Rutgers University.

Timothy Hyde

Timothy Hyde is an architectural historian whose research focuses on intersections of architecture and politics. His writings, ranging from a genealogy of mat-building, to a précis of the work of John Johansen, to an explication of Reyner Banham’s concept of the gizmo, have appeared in a number of journals including Log, Praxis, and Thresholds. Hyde is currently pursuing an extended study of entanglements between architecture and law, research that includes his book, Constitutional Modernism: Architecture and Civil Society in Cuba, 1933-1959; his essay, ‘Some Evidence of Libel, Criticism, and Publicity in the Architectural Career of Sir John Soane,’ published in Perspecta; and a new project on the aesthetic debates about ugliness in Great Britain in the 19th and 20th centuries. He is a founding member of the Aggregate Architectural History Collaborative and is one of the editors of the first Aggregate book, Governing by Design. He has been a MacDowell Colony Fellow and his work has been supported by grants from the Graham Foundation. Hyde received his BA from Yale University, MArch from Princeton University, and PhD from Harvard University.


Paloma Duong

Paloma Duong’s research focuses on the intersection of culture and politics in 20th and 21st century Latin America. She is currently writing about democratic imaginaries, new media, and participatory forms of culture in post-Cold War Cuba, including blogs, performances, and music. Her work and her teaching draw from cultural studies, political philosophy, and literary and media theory to examine the aesthetic dimensions of citizenship, and the history and reception of Marxism, in Latin America.