FRUTA BOMBA : THE PROJECT
Fruta Bomba is a feminist multidisciplinary art project. Fruta Bomba was created to support the artistic production of women in Cuba. At the moment, Fruta Bomba has an underground recording studio, a dance company that offers classes to children in the Old Havana area, and a feminist workshop for all ages located in 10 de Octubre, a disadvantaged neighborhood in Havana. Fruta Bomba was developed by rapper Damarys Benavides as a community-based art project several years ago under the label Ibalu. Since December of 2018, the project is a collaboration between Benavides and Lizabel Mónica, a Cuban transdisciplinary writer located in the United States.
Fruta Bomba responds to the urgency of incorporating women’s voices into the new underground Cuban musical scene. In a soundscape where reggaeton is the norm, there are only a few women among the composers and singers of the emergent music wave. The lack of women’s perspectives is also latent in other circuits of the Cuban cultural sphere, including the press. Fruta Bomba aims to fill in this gap by promoting a more diverse and dynamic society where different intersecting communities can respectfully and productively interact with each other.
Since our goal is not national, we are welcoming collaborations with other women around the globe. We want to grow networks that can travel across local practices and their inherited connections with other places and traditions. That is why Fruta Bomba defines itself as a “women’s productions from Havana, Cuba’’. Fruta Bomba is not made or manufactured in or is not a product of Havana, Cuba. Instead of a country of origin, we are looking for a transnational community. Yes, our context will inform how we make our products, but the final results will be the fruit of partnerships and empathy.
Damarys Benavides is a Cuban hip hop singer, poet, producer, and activist. As a rapper, she has been performing for more than 20 years under the artistic name Hezfiba. Benavides started performing at a young age in her home neighborhood, Diez de Octubre. Her current style fusions rap with pop, jazz, bolero, Cuban folk music, and gospel. Benavides has shared the stage with artists such as Uscher, Robinson and musical bands such as Diákara, Óscar Valdés, and Obsesión. She has been invited to participate in several music festivals and events like the Havana Jazz Festival, Jojazz, Jazz Plaza, and Festival de Hip-Hop Femenino. Benavides has two albums: “Reflexiones’’ and “Un pez en el mar’’ (in collaboration with the American singer Jahazara). In 2016, she founded the Women’s Workshop Ibalu to work with women from Diez de Octubre about issues like Sexual Health Awareness, Self Defense, and Gender and Sexual Diversity. In 2018, Benavides founded a Dance Company with a group of young dancers to work with children from Centro Habana, another disadvantaged neighborhood. Benavides is the co-director of the art project Fruta Bomba.
N. ADRIANA KNOUF
N. Adriana Knouf (she/her/hers, sie/hir/hirs) is an Assistant Professor of Cinema and Media Studies at Wellesley College in Wellesley, MA. She is a media scholar and artist researching noise, interferences, boundaries, and limits in media technologies and communication.
Her recent book, How Noise Matters to Finance (University of Minnesota Press, 2016), traced how the concept of “noise’’ in the sonic and informatic domains of finance mutated throughout the late 20th century into the 21st. Her current research project, tentatively entitled The Xenology Notebooks, is a transmedia, transdisciplinary corpus expansively considering the “xeno’’. Her current artistic research explores the re-presentation of signals from the cosmos. She has presented her research and projects at national and international conferences and festivals such as transmediale (DE); Piksel (NO); ISEA (SG, CA); DIYCitizenship (CA); TEI (JP); CHI; CAA; the Society for Literature, Science and Art (SLSA); and the Society for the Social Studies of Science (4S). Additionally, her work has been discussed in print and online media, including Motherboard, The Creator’s Project, ID Magazine, the Boston Globe, CNN, Slashdot, and Afterimage. She can be contacted at email@example.com.
JENNY OLIVIA JOHNSON
Jenny Olivia Johnson (b. 1978 in Santa Monica, CA) is a composer, sound artist, and music scholar, as well as an Associate Professor of Music at Wellesley College. Her compositions and artwork range from electroacoustic chamber songs and contemplative solo works to short amplified operas and interactive sound sculptures with lighting. Her music has been performed by ensembles such as ICE, Alarm Will Sound, Boston Modern Orchestra Project, New York City Opera’s VOX Program, Wild Up, The Industry Opera Company, and the Asko Schoenberg Ensemble, and her sound art has been exhibited at the Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery, the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston (in collaboration with artist Daniela Rivera), and at the Davis Museum at Wellesley College. Her first solo album “Don’t Look Back” was released on Innova Recordings in 2015, and her second album, “Sylvia Songs,” was released on Innova in May 2018.