Film screening: Ross Birrell & David Harding, Guantanamera, 2009

Kunsthalle Basel presents in conjunction with the exhibition “Strange Comfort (Afforded by the Profession)” at STADTKINO Basel:

Ross Birrell & David Harding
Guantanamera, 2009

Part I: Guantanamera (Kuba)


Part II: Guantanamera (Miami)

In 2008 and 2009, the artists Ross Birrell & David Harding travelled to Cuba and Miami for
Guantanamera, a project they developed to mark the 50th anniversary
of the Cuban Revolution. Composed of three parts – of a film installation, a
recording and two 45-minutes art films -, the project focuses on Cuba´s noted patriotic song of the
same title, which was popularized by Pete Seeger in a famous recording
made at Carnegie Hall in New York in 1963.
Although Guantanamera has become internationally famous
and something of a tourist cliché, it is less known that the lyrics are
derived from the Versos Sencillos by Cuban nationalist poet, revolutionary
and martyr, José Martí, who is claimed by both pro-Castro and
anti-Castro Cubans alike (Havana’s airport is called José Martí International,
and a right-wing radio station in Miami is also called Radio
Martí). For their project, Birrell and Harding selected two interpreters
of the song: Jose Andres Ramirez in Guantanamo, and Renee Barrios
in Miami.

Kunsthalle Basel presents at STADTKINO Basel the two 45-minutes art films which follow the recording of each version and the broadcast of a cappella versions of the song on radio stations in Havana and Miami. These poetic films mark the wider context of the importance of José Martí in the social and political rituals, which continue to inform contemporary Cuban identity in communities in both Cuba and Miami.

The twin-screen film installation is currently exhibited in the group exhibition “Strange Comfort
(Afforded by the Profession)” at the Istituto Svizzero di Roma in Rome, while the a cappella recordings on a double A-side vinyl record can be heard in the show with the same title at Kunsthalle Basel.

Location: STADTKINO Basel (Klostergasse 5)
Admission: 12.-/For members of the Basler Kunstverein 6.-

Afterwards Bar