The Couple in the Cage

Single Channel Video By Coco Fusco and Paula Heredia | Color | 30 min | 1993

The Couple in the Cage documents the travelling performance of Guillermo Gómez -Peña and Coco Fusco, in which they exhibited themselves as caged Amerindians from an imaginary island. While the artists’ intent was to create a satirical commentary on the notion of discovery, they soon realized that many of their viewers believed the fiction, and thought the artists were real “savages”. The record of their interactions with audiences in four coun tries dramatizes the dilemma of cross-cultural misunderstanding we continue to live with today. Their experiences are interwoven with archival footage of ethnographic displays from the past, giving an historical dimension to the artists’ social experiment. The Couple in the Cage is a powerful blend of comic fiction and poignant reflection on the morality of treating human beings as exotic curiousities.