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mrc profile picMarlène Ramírez-Cancio
is an interdisciplinary artist from Puerto Rico who co-founded and co-directs Fulana, a Latina video collective based in New York City. Using parody and satire as a critical tool, Fulana’s mock television commercials, music videos and print pieces respond to the ways ideologies and identities are marketed through the mass media. She is currently Associate Director of Arts and Media at the Hemispheric Institute of Performance and Politics, a multilingual, collaborative network of institutions, artists, scholars, activists and cultural creators from throughout the Americas who work at the intersection of art, scholarship and social change. Focusing on embodied practice—performance—and housed at New York University, the Institute promotes vibrant collaborations at the level of expressive practice and pedagogy, builds collections of artistic and academic materials for research and teaching across borders, and aims to develop the next generation of multidisciplinary scholars and performance-based artists. To these ends, Marlène heads up projects such as the Hemi Encuentros, week-long gatherings that bring together hundreds of participants to think and create together; the Hemispheric Institute Digital Video Library, an online archive of rare video documenting political performance in the Americas; the Hemispheric New York Performance Network, a partnership with key NYC arts spaces like BAX, BAAD!, Dixon Place, HERE and La MaMa to provide creative support for politically engaged local artists; EMERGENYC, a program for emerging performers in New York City focused on “artivist” (artist/activist) work; and the HELIX Queer Performance Network, a collaboration between La MaMa, BAX, and Hemi that seeks to nurture emerging queer performers, unite diverse communities, and celebraate the legacy of queer performance in NYC. In 2014, she received the BAX Honorary Artist Advocate Award for her work in the field. Her academic background is in Comparative Literature, having earned her BA in Literature at Harvard University, and her MA and PhD coursework (ABD) in Comparative Literature at Stanford University. During her time in California, she studied with Cherríe Moraga, performed with the San Francisco Mime Troupe and the Red Rocket Theater, and was a member of the Latina Theatre Lab, a collective of writers, performers, and directors whose work dealt with Latina identities, pop culture, and the intricacies of “belonging.” In 2010, she received her MFA in Creative Writing in Spanish at New York University’s Department of Spanish and Portuguese.


Corazones | Love Is Where the Heart is

The New York Times references “If You Fear Something, You’ll See Something” parody! “But the phrase has been criticized by many for fueling paranoia and fear. It has been parodied, mocked and twisted around by artists and activists (“If You Fear Something, You’ll See Something,” reads a flier on” By Manny Fernandez. interviewed Marlène for their Cosmopolatinos series.

“Fulana, a Latina video and performance collective, injects parody and satire to investigate how Hispanic culture is marketed by America’s mass media. […] The cutup quartet’s bogus TV commercials and music videos induce howls. Latino Plastic Cover is a commercial that pokes fun at abuelitas who cover their furniture in clear plastic. […] Equally hilarious is Lupe and Juan Di from the Block, Fulana’s biting J.Lo music video rip-off riffing on the Virgin of Guadalupe and San Juan Diego, the native Mexican peasant who was canonized by the Vatican after the Holy Mother appeared to him.”

Gothamist picked up on If You Fear Something too.

Gawker picked up on If You Fear Something posters on the subway… “And besides, isn’t the MTA mock-up below really more to the point?”

Lisandra María Ramos was born and raised in New York City’s Quisqueya Heights. She is a Co-Founder and Co-Director of Fulana, a Latina video and satire collective. She holds a degree in Africana, Latin American & Caribbean studies and theater from Union College and a MA degree in Popular Theater from New York University’s Gallatin School. As of Fall 2013, she is Assistant Director of Administration at the Hemispheric Institute of Performance and Politics. Lisandra worked for many years in the educational theater scene as an actor, writer and director.  An alumna of the Lincoln Center Director’s Lab, Lisandra branched out into digital media, creating several shorts, graphic design projects and animation for the internet. Lisandra has been a youth theatre director producing and writing numerous plays for young audiences in New York and Washington DC. Her play “Mariposa” was produced at Aaron Davis Hall in NYC by the drama department at City University of New York. She has also been a contributing writer to Urban Latino magazine and a member of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators. A generative artist and teacher, Lisandra is constantly creating work, using imagination, physicality, movement, text, images, reflection, and collaboration.


Andrea Thome is a Chilean-Costa Rican, Wisconsin-born mutt who grew up navigating the multiple landscapes and languages that now inhabit her plays. Her plays, translations and video satires have been presented at theaters, galleries and universities around the U.S. and Latin America. Andrea helped develop the Lark Play Development Center’s US-México Playwright Exchange as Program Director since 2006. Her translations of Mexican plays include Richard Viqueira’s play H and Ximena Escalante’s Real Andromaca (presented at New York’s hotINK Festival 2009 and at PEN World Voices).  She is translating Chilean playwright Guillermo Calderón. Andrea’s own play Undone (originally developed by the Lark Play Development Center and INTAR Theatre’s New Works Lab) was selected for Victory Gardens Theatre’s Ignition Festival of playwrights of color 2010. Worm Girl, her absurd physical comedy, was produced by Cherry Red Productions in Washington, DC (2004). Andrea co-directs the satirical video & performance collective FULANA. From 1994-99, she co-created 22 original plays with San Francisco’s Red Rocket Theater. She has also worked extensively as a performer; past collaborators include Culture Clash, Latina Theatre Lab, Campo Santo and Guillermo Gómez-Peña. She has taught at various universities, schools and community centers including New York University, Adelphi University, El Puente Academy for Peace and Justice, and NYC public schools.  Andrea received fellowships from NYFA, New York City, the City of Oakland, Lark Play Development Center, INTAR, New York University and the Women’s Project. She is a graduate of NYU’s Dramatic Writing MFA and a member of New Dramatists.


Our response to the MTA fearmachine ads…

If you live in NYC, you’ve seen the “If You See Something, Say Something” ads plastered all over the MTA system. During the weeks leading up to the Republican National Convention in NYC (2004), this ad campaign was in full swing and in turbo mode. Ubiquitous posters, flyers and pre-recorded announcements urged commuters to report suspicious persons and activity to the police. But, what exactly were media outlets teaching us to perceive as “suspicious”?

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