Performance view at Wilfredo Lam center L'Avana, Cuba, L'Avana biennial 2015
Informal table 01 performance at Wilfredo Lam center l'Avana, Cuba, L'Avana biennial 2015, photo Annamaria La Masta
Informal table 02 performance at Wilfredo Lam center, l'Avana, Cuba, L'Avana biennial 2015, photo Annamaria La Masta
informal table 03 performance at Wilfredo Lam center l'Avana, Cuba, L'Avana biennial 2015, photo Annamaria La Masta
Informal table 04 performance at Wilfredo Lam center, l'Avana, Cuba,Ll'Avana biennial 2015, photo Annamaria La Masta
Full deck of cards realized for the Wilfredo Lam's performance, L'Avana, Cuba L'Avana biennial 2015

Informal Poker Room


With the Informal poker room project in Cuba I decided to treat two important themes  of my artistic research, the importance of the informal dynamics in the contemporary world and the offset between ideology and reality  present in the modern society and in a unique way in the contemporary Cuban society.

The Cuban revolution that brought independence to the island has been one of the most ideological events of the last century, transformed immediately into "mith" more for external populations than for  the society that caused the change. The pursued utopia collided with reality and with rapid historical changes that have marked the 900 leading Cuba to a progressive isolation and abandonment, both ideologically and economically.

On the threshold of a historic change of policies between Cuba and the United States, this project stands as a witness of an era going to close, and as a warning to a future full of pitfalls to the Caribbean island.

The construction of a poker room made entirely with donated or found objects in the surrounding area, in an Havana public space focuses on how there are alternative ways to official systems for the realization of projects and leverages the capabilities of the Cuban people to social self-organization. Playing poker on the island is performing an act related to the capitalist culture, perhaps the most significant since the rules provide  the prevalence of a single player on the entire game board with no possibility of a tie.

"The rules eliminate the great majority of possible cases of parity"

I found this phrase on the web looking for the official rules of poker, it is the definition that gave me wikipedia, the thing that struck me is that the same phrase sounds in a very particular way if it is combined with the failure of communist ideology, almost a quote warning, a clash between the most liberal of the game and the rigid utopia of the regime. The rules at the base of opposites.

So I decided to make a deck of French cards for the game of poker that instead of a normal one mix some myth  signs and other symbols of the Cuban reality. To win the hand must mix with wisdom reality and myth knowing that with pure ideology or by pure realism is technically impossible to make poker.

The art in general and mine in particular does not have as objective to give solutions or judgments but simply to put a look that tries to photograph a situation which today hangs in the balance between past and future and the creation of a symbolic casual  house game allows reflection on the infinite possibility of shuffling the cards and of the values ​​involved.