Omni Zona Franca is a multi-disciplinary Cuban arts collective with members who freely shift between different forms of expression (art, music, poetry, theatre, dance) in the embrace of art as everyday life. As curator Dannys Montes de Oca writes in the 9th Havana Biennial catalogue, Omni "is a group and a life experience emerging from the very entrails of the city; from its streets, scents, cries, music, voices, from its generous and anarchical happiness and its local flavour." As such, performance in some shape or another is the binding component of their collective actions, and they have been involved in over 200 events during nearly 7 years of organization. Regardless of the form any individual project, performance or event assumes, all members are committed to the collaborative and transformative potential of art.
Omni live (mostly), meet and organize in a small space in the community centre in Alamar, an outlying neighbourhood east of Havana. Activities, either in Alamar or other urban settings, include yearly occurrences such as Poesia Sin Fin (Never-ending Poetry) and their bi-monthly Friday Performance. Despite Omni’s longstanding commitment to art and community, they have until recently received relatively little acknowledgement. 2006 is the first time they were invited to participate in the Havana Biennial.
Members include: Jorge Carlos Acevedo, Adolfo Cabrera Pérez, Yasser Castellanos, David Escalona Carrillo, Nilo Julián Gonzalez, Joel Martínez, Amaury Pacheco del Monte, Jorge Pérez González, Luis Eligio Perez Meriño, Olver Reyes Rodríguez, Natividad Soto Kessel, Damián Valdés Dilla, Gonzalo Vidal
Videos and photographs contributed by Omni to the Visible City Archive
Alamar Express music video: Terra [0:00:41]
Livio Conesa performance piece [0:01:34]
Machines [Máquinas] [0:02:50]
Slide show of Omni projects [0:04:54]
Omni at the 9th Havana Biennial
Omni Live/Work Space, Alamar