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(Puerto Rico Edition)


This second edition of Lest We Forget was developed by Marvin Fabien (Dominica/Martinique) and Nyugen E. Smith (USA/Trinidad/Haiti) for MECA art fair in Old San Juan, Puerto Rico one year after Hurricanes Maria and Irma devastated parts of the Caribbean and the United States. The site, Antiguo Arsenal de la Marina Española, located on the northeastern shore of the island, is a Neoclassical building constructed in 1847 by the Spanish Marines and used as quarters, warehouse and ship repair shop until 1898. The specificity of the site begged for the island-nation’s colonial past and present complicated relationship with the United States, its current state of redevelopment post 2017 hurricane season, its economic dependence on tourism, and the region’s battle with climate change, to inform the composition of the text and soundscape for this edition.


The text composed and delivered by Smith is an amalgamation of his original poetry and text sourced from travel blogs and websites advising clients and others on traveling to the Caribbean post 2017 hurricane season, online news sources and related essays. The soundscape produced and mixed live by Fabien is a polyphonic musical sound influenced by popular rhythms of the Caribbean such as Bouyon, Dancehall and Reggaeton. The emotional dynamics found in this sound is an effort to reconstruct and to “re-member” the “assemblage of pieces”- pieces of memories of body, of space, and identity, that suffers the consequences of colonialism and the effects of climate change.


 Together, the artists engaged the witnesses in a moment of contemplation and confrontation with attention to language used by the tourism industry to encourage and bolster travel to the Caribbean. In the making of this work, the duo channeled the rich history of Spiritual systems in the region through sound, text, movement and symbols to deepen the vibration of the performance and to serve as a reminder that these systems have long been used as a coping mechanism during times of crisis and as a source of empowerment for practitioners. 

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