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Curatorial Practices
Interview with Sara Hermann-Szabo, director, Museo de Arte Moderno, Santo Domingo and director of the V Biennial of the Caribbean
by Marí­a Inés Rodrí­guez

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MIR: You and I come from countries which have gone through very difficult political and social phases. We are still in the "development" process and confront a quite precarious economic reality; at times political changes imply difficulties that do not permit continuity in this process. In this context, do you believe that a cultural event such as this could have an important effect on the development of society?

SH: I believe that I would not be working on this if I did not think that we were establishing a guiding principle. An event such as this sets a precedent as a space for discussion, for confluence, permitting topics which have been forbidden to be discussed. One can create an atmosphere for discussion between neighbors which is very important, this is an instrument of change insofar as it signifies the definition of certain regional political and economic factors. The subject matter of the frontiers is the Caribbean, the problem of communication between the islands, these are important elements which must be attended to.

MIR: The frontiers are very marked despite the islands being so close to one another.

SH: To go from the Dominican Republic to Saba one has to take four different airplanes. It could influence even this biennial since we have a massive number of artists and others visiting at the same time. I believe that this biennial is a political statement emphasizing difference, in order to be able to find some place where we can meet, to defend ourselves from certain globalizing tendencies and a dialogue that thinks the Caribbean is a single place. The process of perceiving the Caribbean is very different from what one sees here. From the outside it is an amalgam.

MIR: The construction of the myth of what the Caribbean is does not come solely from outside, but also from within, and help in having this myth perpetuate. In such a way that this biennial is interesting because it destroys this myth and allows one to see other forms of expression other than the unusual cliché one expects of the Caribbean.

SH: Thatí­s what we are hoping for.

MIR: What influence could an event like this have outside the region? In North Ameica, South America, Europe ...?

SH: To the extent important exhibitions are made, it will have an international repercussion. We doní­t have to oblige anyone to listen to us but we can be quite persuasive, and in this way the last biennial in November 2003 did have greater participation. We invited curators from each of the countries, and the artists prepared specific projects for the event.

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About the Author
María Inés Rodríguez is an independent curator currently living and working in Paris, France.
Her latest projects include: Instant city, prepared for the Instituto de México in París, 2003. Seminar De lo mismo a lo de siempre, Universidad Internacional de Sevilla, La cartuja. 2003. De la représentation à l'action, ExTeresa arte actual (México), Planetario Distrital (Bogotá), Le Plateau /Mains D'Oeuvres (París), 2002; Yes, en cualquier lugar puede suceder, 8 signos - 8 días, M&M projects, San Juan, Puerto Rico, 2002; Cutting edge Caribe, en colaboración con Antonio Zaya y Victor Zamudio Taylor, Arco 02, Madrid, 2002.

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