The Institute of Artivism Hannah Arendt is located in Habana, Cuba.
The opening performance which marked its creation coincided with the date of Cuba’s Declaration of the Republic, May 20th, and consisted of a 100-hour reading and discussion of Arendt’s “The Origins of Totalitarianism” by over 50 participants.
The institute will be a hub for civic literacy in Cuba.
At INSTAR, we will work with “cubanos de a pie” (everyday cubans) from housewives to professionals, from activists to students. The idea is to have a sample of Cuban society, people coming from different political spectrums and educational levels. We want to work with the people who will be building democracy in Cuba every day, by asking for their rights and fighting for social justice in their schools and their jobs; transforming audience into active citizens.
This is a unique moment when ideas are still in the process of formation for a new country. Art enables one to transform a chaotic view into an encounter with an unexpected order, or new order, to articulate a new future.
It is about creating bridges of trust where there is no fear of each other, to create a peaceful and responsible response where there is violence, to create a place where people from different political views can come together to build a better country.
Structurally, the institute will have three main areas:
1- Think Tank – a space to rethink policy and constitutional change. The work will address the Cuban context either through direct reference or by providing working samples that resonate with the ongoing social and political transformations in the country.
2- Do Tank – Workshops that will culminate in public performances. It is important to share the knowledge acquired in the workshop with as many people as possible and the public sphere is the place where we will be developing a common language towards freedom of expression and social responsibility. The participants in the workshops will learn their human rights and ways in which to ask and enact them. Participants will be exposed to other case studies and other transitional processes in former socialist countries as a way to see what the future can be and also how to create a society that responds to our own needs. We want to change the sense of fatality and powerlessness through tools to express, in the public sphere, their own idea and vision of what Cuba should be.
3- Wish Tank – Residencies for artists, activists, political scientists, economists, urban planners, etc. They will create and activate a public event, while in residency, as well as have Cuban assistants that will be working closely with their research. Subjects of research do not have to be about Cuba exclusively, but they will be selected for their proximity or reflection on Cuba’s political developments.
Because Cuba has undergone a literacy campaign in the 1960’s, which made possible for all people to read and write, now it is time for a civic rights literacy campaign, where people will learn their rights and how to defend them. The institute will include a printed section and website, where we will distribute information about human rights and work to spread this beyond our core group.