Covert Planning. 2018
Framed documents and pictures
Covert Planning is a visual guide of how the artist’s family in Cuba survived the years of aftershock following the collapse of the Soviet Union, known as ‘periodo special’. Everyone had to become resourceful overnight and more than offering insight to a single family’s operations, Covert Planning is a depiction of a system of logic that all Cubans had to develop in order to survive.
Several years later, over countless phone conversations with Melis’s grandmother, Ms. Marta Teste, the mastermind of all ‘operations’ and now a dissident living in Miami, he draws out strategies from the past until the present. Some examples include breeding Siamese cats in Havana and trafficking them to Miami, earning money for home renovations by renting out rooms to prostitutes and meanwhile hosting Afghan refugees to help with the construction, and even using young pioneers as a diversion to deliver beef hidden inside their school back-packs. Albeit surreal and bordering on illegal, these mini enterprises perfectly translated to reality and managed to sustain the family through the most difficult times in Cuba’s history. These silent and secret acts of protest are noted and mapped out in five categories: Trafficking, Distribution, Workforce, Importation and Ideology. All together, they outline the various stages of a covert economic and distribution system in the 90’s and furthermore its effects on the ideology of the family today.