The short videos comprising the new work by Stainless group offer casual views of daily life in Cuba. Complicating the touristic-voyeuristic desires of many U.S. citizens to glimpse a historically restricted place, the videos displace perspective onto a marginalized agent in Cuban society: a street dog, Tin, known colloquially as “el perro chino.” Attaching a camera to the dog and editing the recorded footage down to 15 second clips, the artists limit their agency in representing the Havana streets. The images are frenzied, shaky, and shift course abruptly: toward another growling dog, hoards of tourists’ flip-flops, the stone steps of a public plaza. As the camera slips from its forward orientation, the dog’s throbbing genitals contrast with the phallic tower of the Plaza de la Revolución—a symbol of political power rendered as vulnerable as the street dog and as shaky as its documentation. Reveling in the abject, ordinary, and imperfect, these videos subvert both romanticized depictions and propagandist images of Cuba. The final video presents a stark shift in the dog’s perspective, a spiritual and geographic transformation heralding a cultural sea change.
STAINLESS is a collaboration between Alejandro Piñeiro, José Capaz, and Roberto Fabelo Hung