We developed this report of our own accord, no one commissioned it from us. It has no doubt become so extensive due in part to our very personal relationship to the Havana Biennial. This may have already been noticeable from our report on the 6th Havana Biennial that we put on the Net in 1997, only a few months after the launch of Universes in Universe. Pat Binder (who is from Argentina) was represented as an artist in the 5th and 6th Biennials (1994 and 1997). Gerhard Haupt is the non-Cuban who has visited the most Havana Biennials. As an art critic, he has participated in the symposia of every Biennial since 1986.
During our stays we have always sensed the special communicative atmosphere, now elevated to the 7th Havana Biennial's leitmotif with the theme "One Closer to the Other". That is why it was relatively easy to establish a dialogue with the artists present this time as well. The consequence, among other things, was the abundance of material we brought back with us.
However, the concerns of the Havana Biennial's organizers - to offer artists from Africa, Asia, Latin America and the Caribbean an internationally noted platform - particularly correspond in essential traits to the goals we are following with Universes in Universe at the Internet level.
It was not possible for us to document the entire 7th Havana Biennial. Our selection should not necessarily be understood as an assessment. For technical or time-related reasons, we were simply unable to record several works that we found equally important (videos, certain installations and actions, lighting conditions, etc). We could not deal more closely with the entire complex of exhibitions and events on architecture and urbanism because this alone would have warranted a special publication. And after all, there were only two of us collecting the material in Havana and doing all of the work for the report. We merely engaged Rebeccah Blum for the translations into English, whom we thank for her involvement.
We would also like to thank Nelson Herrera Ysla, Director of the Centro de Arte Contemporáneo Wifredo Lam, and his team. From a relatively early point, they sent us continually updated versions of information on the Biennial and later answered our questions as well. Furthermore, our special thanks belongs to Ingrid Blanco, the coordinator of the Meeting for Theory and Criticism. We also owe our thanks to everyone who sent us photos, texts or important information via e-mail after the event.
Pat Binder and Gerhard Haupt
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he editors of Universes in Universe