Film Image
The Couple in the Cage
1993
Color
30 minutes
US
Trailer and More
The Couple in the Cage
Over the last five hundred years, non-western human beings have been exhibited in the taverns, theaters, gardens, museums, zoos, circuses and world's fairs of Europe, and the circuses and freak shows of the United States. In commemoration of this practice, video maker Coco Fusco and performance artist Guillermo Gomez-Pena lived in a gilded cage in Columbus Plaza in Madrid for three days in May 1992. Presenting themselves as aboriginal inhabitants of an island in the Gulf of Mexico that was overlooked by Columbus, the video documents "authentic" and "traditional" tasks, including writing on a laptop computer, television, sewing voodoo dolls and working out.
Reviews
"This documentary effectively captures the reactions of viewers to Fusco and Gómez-Peña’s performances. The Couple in the Cage persuasively argues that racism remains pervasive and that colonial ideas continue to influence our approach to non-Western cultures." - Susan Sleeper-Smith, Films for the Feminist Classroom
"...a deliciously witty satire about cultural stereotyping ." - Caryn James, The New York Times
“One of the smartest commentaries yet on still-rampant cultural and historical myopia.” - The Los Angeles Times
“A deliciously witty satire about cultural stereotyping. THE COUPLE IN THE CAGE deftly weaves in the history of such exhibits and creates a playful tone that makes the viewer a conspirator, either with the viewers or the caged couple.” - The New York Times
“This provocative tape documents a satire on colonial stereotypes by performance artist Coco Fusco and Guillermo Gomez-Pena during the 500th anniversary of Columbus' voyage.” - Chicago Sun Times
Screenings
• Atlanta Film and Video Festival, Best Performance Documentary 1993
• New York Film Festival
• XIth Black International Cinema, Berlin
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