Broken English – a Performa Project by Julieta Aranda and Carlos Motta

Broken English – a Performa Project by Julieta Aranda and Carlos Motta


Julieta Aranda and Carlos Motta, “Broken English,” 2011 (front and back covers).
48-page newsprint publication.

November 4, 2011

Julieta Aranda and Carlos Motta
Broken English
A Performa Project curated by Defne Ayas

Available on November 5 at Performa Hub and as a free PDF online at:

With contributions by:
Julieta Aranda, Joey Arias/Carlos Motta, Defne Ayas, Michael Baers, Sarnath Banerjee, Andy Bichlbaum, Julio Camba, Asli Çavuşoğlu, Carolina Caycedo, Samuel R. Delany, Jimmie Durham, Liam Gillick, Ashley Hunt, Adam Kleinman, Runo Lagomarsino, Yates McKee, Naeem Mohaiemen/Visible Collective, Shirin Neshat/RoseLee Goldberg, OWS Architecture Committee, Raqs Media Collective, Martha Rosler, Kim Turcot DiFruscia/Elizabeth Povinelli, Anton Vidokle/Andrei Monastyrski, Jeff Weintraub, and Carla Zaccagnini.

“Thank You and Good-Bye”
Discussion with: Julieta Aranda, Defne Ayas, Adam Kleinman, Naeem Mohaiemen and Carlos Motta.
Sunday, November 13, 5:00 pm
Peforma Hub (233 Mott Street at Prince Street, New York)

For Performa 11 artists Julieta Aranda and Carlos Motta produced Broken English, a 48-page newsprint publication that brings together a selection of historical critical writing, commissioned essays and visual contributions that reflect on the notion of “city” as a cross-cultural terrain and as a public space for constant cultural negotiations.

A city is in a permanent process of self-translation. City life demands that bridges be created for the co-existence of different communities within prescribed urban parameters, aspiring to an idea of “neutrality” that is tacitly agreed upon. This imperfect space of social interaction and communication is a fertile ground. It is a productive site for all sorts of tensions, and personal and collective encounters/misses/near-misses.

The publication’s title refers to the elasticity for negotiating public space in a culturally diverse urban setting, and focuses on the suspension of individual and group ideologies, cultural behaviors, moral attitudes, lifestyles, and beliefs when faced with other people and communities in a urban environment. Just like urban exchanges, “broken english” may be fragmented, incomplete, and/or marked by faulty syntax and inappropriate diction. English is a language, but “broken english” is a broken tool, in the best possible sense. It is not made-to-measure, instead it has to be constantly repurposed and made-to-function.

Broken English features contributions by 25 artists, collectives, and writers that illustrate the complexity of this malleable urban field of possibilities, of encounters and negotiations, at a pivotal moment, when there is a generalized climate of protest, and political actions in public space have taken center stage in cities throughout the world.

Julieta Aranda (b. 1975, Mexico City) lives and works between Berlin and New York. Exhibitions include: Venice Biennial (2011); Creative Time, New York (2011); Istanbul Biennial (2011); Portikus, Frankfurt (2011); Witte de With, Rotterdam (2010); MOCA, Miami; and Guggenheim Museum, New York (2009).

Carlos Motta (b. 1978 Bogotá, Colombia) lives and works in New York. Exhibitions include: New Museum, New York (2012); Guggenheim Museum, New York (2011); Museu Serralves, Porto (2010); MoMA/PS1, New York (2009); Institute of Contemporary Art, Philadelphia (2008); and “X Biennale de Lyon” (2009).

About Performa 11
Performa 11 (November 1–21, 2011) is the fourth edition of the internationally acclaimed biennial of new visual art performance presented by Performa, the leading organization dedicated to exploring the critical role of live performance in the history of twentieth-century art and to encouraging new directions in performance for the twenty-first century.

Broken English - a Performa Project by Julieta Aranda and Carlos Motta
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November 4, 2011

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