Paul Rooney and Catherine Bertola joined Cuban artists Michel Rives and Fidel Álvarez in September and October 2003.
Rooney produced several works and works-in-progress, one of which was titled Montecore, a video of interior and exterior shots of The National Arts School in Cubanacan, on the outskirts of Havana, emerging out of the Cubanacan Jungle. The video records images of the abandoned building, accompanied by a soundtrack of Rooney attempting to sing the Cuban national anthem from sheet music. The work aimed to build a sense of pathos around the socialist ambitions of the school’s origins, while through the music, recording Rooney’s fragmented understanding of the Cuban context through his hesitant outsider’s perspective.
This work was shown at the culminating exhibition Fragmentos at the Galería Casa Gaia.
Batiscafo is an independent artistic project that develops a programme of one-month residencies with the objective of stimulating dialogue between visiting and Cuban artists. Launched in 2002, the programme of residencies intends to provide local artists with the opportunity to meet and to work alongside its international guests.
Each residency ends with an exhibition or discussion event, where both works-in-progress and finished pieces are shown. Each year a catalogue is published in English and Spanish that collects the documentation, texts and testimonies of the programme’s participants and critical contributors.