Since 2004, Javier Castro has been training his lens on scenes that take place in marginal areas of Havana as a way to understand the modes of survival and interpersonal relationships that currently organize social life and how these are manifested in language, sexuality, informal economies, violence, improvisation, and other behaviors that defy convention. Driven by an anthropological gaze, Castro’s work lays bare social contradictions and the everyday negotiations that getting through them demands. The direct presentation of the scenes he captures is driven by an ethical imperative that demands as little authorial intervention as possible, including the mandate to use only basic equipment and natural light and sound conditions when filming (no high-end cameras or boom mics, for instance). The work follows the scenes it encounters, and is conditioned by their natural dynamics: the subjects filmed and the conflicts that they find themselves in determine where things go.
Castro is based in Havana, Cuba. He graduated from the Instituto Superior de Arte (ISA) and the Universidad Cristóbal Colón in Mexico. He participated in the Catedra Arte de Conducta between 2004 and 2006—a pedagogical project founded and led by Tania Bruguera. He has exhibited his work in Cuba, Mexico, Bolivia, Argentina, Austria, Italy, Spain, England, Belgium, and the United States, among other places. His work can be found in the collections of Daros-Latinoamerica, Mediatica Caixa Forum, and the National Museum in Havana. Castro is a recipient of a 2015 CIFO grant and is currently participating in Cannonball’s Visiting Residency Program as part of our institutional partnership with CIFO.