“In Bruguera’s world, concepts like freedom, liberty and self-determination are not abstract ideals, but achievements that write their effects on our physical forms.” (Eleanor Heartney, Art in America)
Meet 2014 Creative Time Summit: Stockholm presenter Tania Bruguera! Frequently using performance, installation, and tactics of community organizing, Bruguera’s long-term projects often expose the social effects of the power of political force. Initiated a few years ago in partnership with Creative Time and Queens Museum, Bruguera’s ongoing project Immigrant Movement International has developed into an art based socio-political movement, engaging and uniting local and international communities around the central issue of immigration reform.
Image: A rubber stamp made by Immigrant Movement International. COURTESY THE ARTIST AND IMMIGRANT MOVEMENT INTERNATIONAL
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More recently Immigrant Movement produced a rubber stamp to stamp currency with the notice that immigrants pay taxes, too. The image, and the idea behind it, are partly behind a performative event that the group will stage at “How Much Do I Owe You?”, an exhibition organized by No Longer Empty at the Clock Tower in Long Island City on Saturday, February 16, at 2 p.m….
At first locals didn’t know what to make of the fiercely energetic newcomer, but eventually the center’s wide array of services—from legal help to language and art classes—transformed her headquarters, right near the 111th Street stop on the 7 train, into a busy hub. On Monday, April 9, for example, Immigrant Movement International will host a free immigration clinic sponsored by the City Bar Justice Center. Visitors can speak privately with an immigration attorney about matters including visas, Cuban immigration and family reunification—in Spanish, English, or Mandarin.
Along the way her team created a ribbon logo to advocate for their mission, coining the slogan “Immigrant Respect” to avoid the political aspects of the immigration issue and highlight its human side. They chose brown and blue to represent the entry points of immigrants who travel to a new country, over land or sea.
Immigrant Movement—which has been so successful that Bruguera’s sponsors recently pledged to help keep it going for four more years— is part of a larger global trend, as creators like Ai Weiwei and Vik Muniz develop new strategies to connect art-making with activism. Can artists change the world? Maybe that’s not the question—yet. Can they help? Stop over in Corona and find out.