Virginia Veracruz / Veracruz Virginia, 1992
(collaboration with Jimmie Durham and Alan Michaelson)
In 1992, in the context of a group exhibition in Madrid held during the 500 commemoration of the 1492 invasion of the Americas by Europe, Maria Thereza Alves, Jimmie Durham, and Alan Michaelson realized a performance and installation titled Veracruz / Virginia. Wearing a pvc mask which covered their mouths, as a muzzle, they strolled the streets looking for a reaction to their silence: they passed through popular places –bars, squares, hostels…–, as well as institutional buildings or statues, and monuments. In Madrid (and later London) the artists did a performance with postcards, bought in a local fleamarket, with representations of Spaniards (or the English for the London performance) as they saw themselves at the time. Towards the end of the performance, they set the postcards around the mask, as it would be for a crown, and walked through the audience, which wondered about their origin and the reasons they were using those masks which concealed their speech. Shortly after, they bent their heads down in front of one or another of the viewers, offering one of the cards.