No more than four people are allowed in at a time, but the long wait is worth the experience of Tania Bruguera’s Untitled (Havana, 2000). Entering the exhibit, one’s eyes will take some time to adjust to the near pitch-black room, providing an opening for other senses to kick in and take notice of the heavy aroma of sugar cane crackling beneath one’s feet. The room is warm and the air feels heavy as the spectators trek forward blindly until the single light source above dimly reveals the silhouettes of four nude men slowly - and repetitively – motioning as if they are washing their hands. Eventually viewers will discover the single light source in a small television screen playing footage of Fidel Castro.
The entire experience is haunting – from the nude apparitions restricted to the footage of Fidel Castro shedding the only visible light. The single light serves as a representation of Castro’s absolute control of the media and of the state. It feels oppressive, as if the viewer being watched. The work is unnerving and somber, and through its complete sensory command can touch one’s core. While the wait to get in is long and time spent with the work may be brief, the effects of this installation will stay with the viewer long after leaving the museum.