La historia del Tabaco: The Never Ending Cigar Stories

Inspirazione Italiana performance photograph by Mario Porchetta photograph by Mario Porchetta

Performance/video/installation by Leandro Soto

There is a very popular Cuban expression that is used when a narrative is too long and without end: “OH! That is La historia del Tabaco."

In this performance/video/installation the artist recreates the narratives of a large family whose members decided to emigrate from Spain to Cuba, from Cuba to Mexico, from there to United States, Panama, Puerto Rico, Barbados, Dominican Republic, Italy and later back to Spain, planning to go to Cuba next. The narratives are told with props, photos, documents, texts, and small objects that have been kept for years inside empty, used cigar boxes.

During the performance the artist picks up pictures and objects at random to recreate and reorganize memories, situations, and tales of past events. The installation is constructed live in front of the audience, however the "perfect" arrangement of objects is never reached; so he starts again in an effort to achieve the perfect story, trying to observe the accuracy of the events as an analogy of a fragmented mind interspersed by memories and emotions. The cigar smoke opens a space in consciousness, recalling the part it played in a pre-Conquest, native Cuban ritual named Areito.