VDB Asks... Coco Fusco

Emily Eddy

1. Can you tell us something about your background?
I am a Cuban American interdisciplinary artist. I grew up in New York City.
2. What inspired you to become an artist? To use video?
I studied Semiotics at Brown University in the late 1970s. At the time, the program was focused on cinema studies. I learned about independent avant garde cinemas, European New Wave movements, and American maverick directors. I also studied with artist Leandro Katz and worked as his assistant in the early '80s. I learned a lot about video and film installation through my work with him. 
3. Did you have formal art training/schooling?
I took some filmmaking courses at Brown University, and photography courses at Rhode Island School Design. I also interned with filmmakers such as Bette Gordon. I basically learned by doing. It took a while.
4. How do you balance life and art? Are you able to make a living through creating art?
I can’t make a living by creating art, the costs of production are too high. I make a living from teaching, public speaking, writing and art sales.
5. What influences or motivates you in the world?
That is a tough question. I do care about social justice, and I think that concern drives a lot of what I do.
6. Which artists or movements are you following right now?
I am very involved in collaborating with artists in Cuba. 
7. What was the last exhibition you saw?
Reza Abdoh at MoMA PS1. 
8. What has been the best screening experience of your work?
There have been many great experiences. Participating in the 2015 Venice Biennale was pretty awesome. Creating a giant video installation at the BAM Fisher was also amazing.
9. What are you working on right now?
I am finishing a video shot in Cuba in June that is an homage to Reinaldo Arenas.
10. How do you start a piece? How do you know when a work is complete?
I read a lot and sift through ideas until I hit on something that I think will work. A work is finished when I watch it and like its rhythm.
11. What are you currently reading? Watching?
Right now I am prepping for my fall courses. I will be teaching a course on women directors in Latin America, so I am watching films by Lucrecia Martel and Maria Novaro, among others. At the moment I am reading a dissertation about a Colombian landscape architect who worked in Florida.
12. Room for final thoughts:
Thank you to VDB for so many years of support for video artists!