7th Havana Biennial -  Home November 2000 - January 2001Home
Enrique Banfi / Silvana Perl - Statement
Written down by Pat Binder and Gerhard Haupt, based on an interview. + zoom: click on images
For five years we have been working together on projects in the field we call "urban art". We proceed from the criterion of designing city spaces without forcing another materiality on them than that which is already present in each space. It is our intention to produce visual events which draw people closer and have to do with the transformation of that which is urban, which create attention for the city's aesthetic and which contain a poetic element.

In the thematic context of the Biennial, we were invited to show our project " Fountain of Poetry." It is an immaterial intervention in luminous writing with the projection of poems happening automatically throughout the night. We chose the Castillo de la Real Fuerza as the location because it is a meeting point for the residents of Havana. Here we had the opportunity to be present at the celebration of the 481st anniversary of the founding of Havana. It is a custom at this celebration to walk around the ceiba, the tree planted at the founding, three times while making three wishes. During the night from the 15th to the 16th of November, we were on location with our "Fountain" on which people rest and wait to be able to enter the fenced-in area containing the tree.

The texts are fragments of international poems, 70 to 80 percent from recognized and less well-known Latin American authors, all in Spanish. They are fragments which we ourselves chose because we liked them or because they awakened in us a certain feeling or memory. Although the authors are named, the countries are not, as we wanted to emphasize the poetic text's universality and not cling to the nationality of each author.

With regard to the reactions of the local audience, it is a very special thing that the Cubans are reading the texts aloud. Choruses of people from Havana have gathered together to read the same poem in unison and discuss the ideas touched upon. The project will run throughout the Biennial and, at the end, it may remain here if so desired.

(Translated from the German version by Rebeccah Blum)

© Photos: Banfi / Perl
Interview, translation:
Gerhard Haupt & Pat Binder,
Universes in Universe
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Banfi / Perl - 1 Tour

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