Interview with Roberto Jacoby

Jacoby Jabali Difunto

by Reinaldo Laddaga
translation by Jane Brodie

Ana Longoni put it so well that I will just copy a passage from her introduction to essays by Roberto Jacoby and other documents related to his work collected in an indispensable book published on the occasion of El deseo nace del derrumbe,the Roberto Jacoby retrospective held a few years ago at the Museo Reina Sofía in Madrid. It says:

It’s not easy to come up with even one “avant-garde scene” in Argentine art since the sixties that did not have him at the forefront. RJ has been at the heart (or in the brain?) of countless milestones (many of them now mythical) of Argentine culture and art from the last half century. The list is impressive: in 1966, the Arte de los Medios group, now recognized internationally as the beginning of what is called “global conceptualism”; in 1967, Be at Beat Beatles, an event that took place at the Instituto Di Tella where a number of founders of the Argentine rock music movement met; in 1968, Tucumán Arde, a collective action carried out by the Argentine avant-garde in conjunction with the largest nationwide union organization; in 1969, the anti-magazine Sobre, an experiment in agitation and propaganda in times of repression; in 1969, CICSO (Centro de Investigaciones en Ciencias Sociales), a group of Marxist sociologists researching the Cordobazo1 and growing political violence; in the early 70s, the cultural supplement to the newspaper La Opinión (where RJ worked with Juan Gelman, Enrique Raab, Paco Urondo, and other important writers) and the newspaper Nuevo Hombre, which—after its first director, Silvio Frondizi, was murdered by para-police forces—was produced largely in hiding; in the 80s, the legendary pop-rock band Virus until its leader and singer, Federico Moura, died of AIDS, and the cultural movement that began with the Body Art festival, and the Club Eros nomad parties; in the 90s, the group of artists connected to the Centro Cultural Ricardo Rojas; starting in the late 90s, a number of different micro-societies and networks of artists and non-artists, beginning with Bola de Nieve, followed by Chacra99 the following summer , gaining strength with Proyecto Venus from 2001 to 2006, continuing with 101 issues of the magazine ramona2 published over the course of ten years, and now the Centro de Investigaciones Artísticas, an artist-run platform for education and debate that is planning to open a center in the Centro Penitenciario de Devoto (the largest jail in the city of Buenos Aires); participation in the Argentine Brigade for Dilma, thirty-some artists and intellectuals who took a position on the Brazilian elections at the 2010 São Paulo Biennial …

All of that: art, music, politics, sociology. And all of it together in a perfectly original constellation always joined by the determination to interrogate, in specific conditions, a certain time and place and its workings, ways of living and experiencing together, zones of light and darkness that come into being when mutable individuals cross paths. Making connections visible and, by making them visible, giving them forms that we would not have been able to anticipate otherwise: that passion runs through the constellation of activities that Roberto Jacoby has persistently undertaken. That’s why it would make little sense to talk about his “work” as if it could be separated from the universe of connections that makes up the trajectory of his experience. This conversation in no way attempts to do that.

Roberto was recently visiting New York with Kiwi Sainz, who has been his constant collaborator for decades. The conversation took place at my house after a hilarious lunch.

Reinaldo Laddaga – Not long ago, Roberto, I was reading your book, and I noticed something that comes up time and again in your interviews and texts: the defense of what you call “the strategy of joy.” You often present that strategy as a response to a certain Argentine reality that you describe as problematic, traumatic, dark. The book made me think of a poem by Borges where, speaking of his relationship to Buenos Aires, he says, “we are not joined by love, but fear.” Your work is so deeply bound to Argentina… Is there an element of fear in that connection?

Roberto Jacoby – Maybe… Yes, that’s right! Though, at least consciously, it is more related to complaining than to fear, those words that you hear from the time you are a kid: “You can’t get anywhere here,”“What are you going to do that for if they’re not going to let you?,”“No one’s going to notice.” I think I’m responding more to that tango-like vision of things. Of course, there was no lack of fear, quite the contrary. And in the early eighties, in connection to Virus, the strategy of joy was directly tied to a superabundance of fear. At that time, I first understood how wonderful it was that there were people dancing and making such joyous music in a basement in the San Telmo section of the city at eleven at night—of course, I mean the San Telmo of back then, not today’s San Telmo. I realized that that’s infectious… It’s like when it’s really hot out and you go somewhere cool and stay for a while, and then when you leave that cool feeling stays with you for a bit. Joy keeps you going when you are in situations steeped in terror, which we had been in, right? The entire population was immersed in terror. I started to realize that joy was political, that making music, singing and dancing were political. At that time, I was working on a very long essay, a research project that I did not finish until 85, and I read some texts that confirmed that idea. One text by Canetti, for example, says that, to his mind, there is nothing more absurd than being in a concert hall: people sitting there, lined up in rows and columns, as if tied to their seats, listening to music even though there is nothing more alien to music than forcing the body to stay still. Music is actually a product of the body and, at the same time, the body moves to the rhythm of music. In Virus’s second album, the idea of not being seated while listening was very explicit, even though what was called “rock” in Argentina was listened to sitting down, like at a classical music concert. So we went against that tendency. What we set out to do at that time was get rid of the seats.

RL – I always have the impression that the reconstruction of the Argentine cultural scene of the late seventies and early eighties is not very precise, especially in the United States. It does not really seem to reflect just how rich what was going on then really was. In the seventies you left the art scene, to a certain extent, and when you came back in the eighties you—unlike most of the people who had come back to the visual arts—were not painting. What led to you to return to art?

RJ – When I left the visual art scene in 68 or 69, I started doing social research, working on conflict theory. My turn away from art was pretty radical. I felt that the art scene had run its course and there was nothing else to do there. It wasn’t limited to a feeling that “such and such an institution, the Di Tella, for instance, is a mess,” or “exhibitions are being censored, so…” Even if there had been no censorship, even if the Di Tella had been at its peak, it was all over as far as I was concerned.

RL – Did you believe art had lost its ability to make a greater cultural impact?

RJ – Partly yes, but it was also worn out intellectually. I had the feeling that we had reached the limits of what could be thought. In the group I was in with Masotta,3 the media group, we had reached a sort of maximum degree of abstraction. On the one hand, I felt that Pop art and Conceptualism, as well as media art, no longer had much to say. On the other, the political situation compelled me to work in that area. I didn’t feel the impulse to join the armed struggle or to be a radical working in the community, but to be a researcher. I decided to get involved in the Center for Research in the Social Sciences, which was supposedly going to help bring about a closer relationship between action and knowledge. But you’re right: there is still no research that really grasps the richness and complexity of what was going on in those years, and even during the dictatorship, right? More has been done about what happened towards the end of the dictatorship. More has been said about Teatro Abierto,4 for instance.

RL – There is, outside Argentina, a somewhat caricature-like image of what social and cultural life was like under the dictatorship, one that has little to do with the cultural reality of the country at that time, as is evidenced by everything that surfaced with the return to democracy. It was at that time that you got involved in the pop music scene, and from then on your connection to pop music has been very close. You circulate in the space between pop music and the visual arts. I don’t remember if you were a regular at Café Einstein5 in those years.

RJ – I was…

RL – Because the house band at Café Einstein was Sumo,6 right?

RJ – Yes, but Sumo was just one of the bands that played there. All kinds of things went on at Einstein. The stuff that Chabán was doing, the performances, Daniel Melero, Vivi Tellas… all that satirical stuff. It was not strictly rock.

RL – And, surprisingly, I think the underlying sensibility of that time still makes itself felt on the Argentine cultural scene. I don’t know if you have the sense as well that, in terms of strategy and sensibility, there is a very strong and unbroken connection between what was going on in the underground cultural scene of the early eighties and what’s going on now. I think there is continuity between, let’s say, Café Einstein and Belleza y Felicidad7 in the nineties.

RJ – I would say it’s more a question of affinity than of continuity: people working today see themselves in Belleza, and Belleza saw itself in Rojas,8 and Rojas saw itself in Einstein, and so on. A sort of relay race, where the legacy is passed from one runner to the next.

RL – What, in your view, have been the most powerful moments, the turning points, the moments of greatest cultural upheaval, in Argentina in recent decades? Because your interventions, the way you come in and out of the public scene, always seem tied to a strategic vision: it’s as if when you sense that something special is going on you get involved.

RJ – From the outside, it seems a bit more rational than it really is. It’s always a question of groups of friends, actually. We mentioned the return to democracy. And later—from 89 to 1993 or 94, more or less—it was Rojas, with Pablo Suárez, Gordín, Harte, people that I knew from elsewhere (not from Rojas). (I met Pablo, of course, in the sixties, and he was the person most important to getting me involved in the visual arts). But it’s really a question of affinity, friendships that pull people together. I wasn’t a big part of Rojas, for instance. I may have participated in two shows there, that’s it.

Anyway, I think that whole scene came to an end in 94, more or less. That goes for the nightclubs as well.

KS - Maybe the end was the show “Algunos artistas”9… which was in 94, right? No, in 1992. The enshrinement of Rojas at Recoleta…

RJ – The Age of Communication closed in 1993 or 94 as well. That was the nightclub that hung on after all the others (Morocco, for example) had become really commercial. It was run by Juan Calcarami, and his group had a more mystical vibe. It was a place for artists. Whether or not an institution or organization is run by artists has a huge impact on what it’s like. That’s been proven time and again, right? A bar run by Sergio De Loof is not the same as a bar run by some bartender. Anything and everything happened at Juan Calcarami’s club: there were even places to sleep, hanging gardens, a library area, and an area where designer clothing was sold…

It closed and there was a hiatus… The cultural scene moved elsewhere. Or it lost steam, in a way, or survived but ceased to be very interesting. Nothing new was happening. Rojas closed and many of the artists who had shown there went on to show at private galleries.

RJ – What did emerge at that time, in around 96, was HIJOS,10 and I think that was one of the milestones in the cultural scene. Because of their age at the time (they were around twenty), HIJOS began to effect an enormous change in the politics of daily life compared to Madres and Abuelas.11 One of the most obvious things is their relationship with homosexuality and transvestites. If you introduced Hebe de Bonafini12 or Carlotto13 to a transvestite in the eighties, they would have been horrified. HIJOS started to make things happen; they would get together at someone’s house and smoke pot, do everything that young people do. And that led human rights organizations and the most progressive political parties to accept a cultural change or revolution and that, I think, was very important. New groups of radical or activist artists began to emerge between 96 and 2000, until 2004, 2005, when they faced a crisis of institutionalization as well. Those groups started getting invited all over the place, to the Venice Biennale and so forth, and they ended up confused and began fighting amongst themselves, which is nothing new (that’s what always happens). Meanwhile, in the late nineties, another movement began which revolved around Fernanda Laguna and Cecilia Pavón, and their venue Belleza y Felicidad.

RL – Did you work with Fernanda Laguna and Cecilia Pavón when they were starting Belleza y Felicidad?

RJ – No, when they were putting Belleza y Felicidad together (November or December of 99, I mean, of 98) I was working on Bola de Nieve14 and Chacra 99, an artists’ residency. I was not a friend of Fernanda’s, I didn’t invite her to the residency because I didn’t know her. I did know Pablo Peréz, though, who was friends with Fernanda, and he was at Chacra 99. Another cluster of intercrossing artistic energies formed there. Some people had been around for a while, but there were a great many new people as well.

RL – There was no single nightclub or bar associated with the underground scene at that time, the way Bolivia had been, was there? Am I right that the scene that took shape in 99 was not associated with nightlife the way earlier scenes had been?

KS – That change took place around the world. There were more parties at people’s houses. Belleza was a place where DJs would get together, Panasonic played there. During the day or early in the evening, the dance club would be in the gallery then, later, you would go to clubs. Or sometimes take over places.

You didn’t have to wait until night fell for the party to begin.

RL – And in what exact year did Proyecto Venus15 begin?

RJ In 2001, we began something called Plácidos Domingos. There were twelve Plácidos Domingos, which were supposed to be a sort of intellectual and theoretical preparation for what would become Proyecto Venus. I think it was in August 2001 that we started with the computer part, which was a real mess. At that time, computer technology was a lot of trouble… But we found great people who could handle it… We set up at my house. After a while, I had to move.

RL – And your apartment became Fundación START (Sociedad, Tecnología y Arte).16

RJ – It became Fundación START and housed the office, people, programmers. The Proyecto Venus website (initially and later was more or less ready to go in March. The bills had been printed, and so the currency was launched in March as well. Everything that had happened on December 19 and 20, 200117 was still very fresh. I had an idea about how to generate more interest in joining the project: I found a place where I could buy pretty good wine really cheap, and so I bought two hundred bottles (we kept them under the stage at START); I also got 750 grams of pot that we sold in the Venus currency. That was like the gold standard [laughter]; they say there always has to be something to back up a currency. What backs up money? In our case, it was wine and pot, convertible currency [laughter]… If at a certain point you wanted to change in your bills, you could go and buy some pot.

RJ – The myth was so powerful that years later people would ask me if I could get them some pot [laughter]. “No, that was just for the first two months.” A fairly bizarre economy materialized around a currency with backing, which is unheard of: no currency is backed by anything at all.

RL – So the late nineties, early 2000s, was another powerful moment, another juncture where energies converged.

RJ - Argentina had never been so good.

RJ –The year 2001, when the country seemed to be falling apart, was one of the most interesting moments.

The strange thing is it began in the art world, right? I mean, the things we were doing did not begin in 2001. We didn’t say, “OK, the country is coming apart at the seams, it’s the end of the world, so let’s do something.” I don’t want to repeat that old idea that artists can see what’s going to happen, that they are prophetic, but for some reason, we’re not sure why…

RL – Has there been a moment like that since?

RJ – I don’t know… I don’t think so…

KS – Well, what about what Néstor and Cristina (Kirchner) were able to generate, a different sort of connection with and between young people.

RL – And what’s that?

RJ – It really took off when Néstor died.

It started with people crying desperately in the street. But that turned into joy at a certain point, and then slogans appeared spontaneously in a way I’d never seen before.

RL – And has that had a palpable impact on the more restricted space of the art world?

RJ – Not directly or immediately. There were a number of distinct moments… One was when, in response to the resistance of the large agro-exporters to Resolution 125,18 an organization called Agrupación de Artistas Visuales con Cristina was started, and that is odd: I can’t remember any time when there was a group of visual artists in support of anyone, not even the Montoneros.19 And then there were initiatives geared to political action. Not long ago, a group called Artistas Organizados was formed in opposition to certain policies of the Museo de Arte Moderno de Buenos Aires. For a long time, they held meetings and assemblies, made statements, studied issues. Everyone was involved. That had never happened before either. But I know you aren’t asking about this sort of thing, but about repercussions in the art world itself. The question of who makes decisions in the art world was formulated more explicitly; it is never artists. This has implications in other areas, like the number of galleries directed by artists, the number of artist-run projects around (dozens). All of this is, to some extent, an outgrowth of things that happened in the early 2000s. Artists opening their own gallery, their own museum, their own academy. There are artists who “copy” the Centro de Investigaciones Artisticas, who come up with their own educational or teaching structure, their own places of reflection.

RL – I want to know what you think about something. In the eighties, a great deal of the new aesthetic was defined in opposition to the cult of the national and a certain notion of the people, which we associated with the old left, the universe of tango bars, etc. But that contrast no longer seems particularly relevant. Or is it?

RJ – I think it’s gotten more complicated. On a cultural level, the policy of a broad Latin American alliance, for instance, has changed everything, all the different perspectives, a great deal. The national and the idea of the people and its culture have become regional, not confined to one country: Caetano Veloso sings Mercedes Sosa; contemporary music is composed on the basis of native chants. At the same time, reclaiming native cultures has great ideological weight not just amongst supporters of the government, but with the opposition as well. Internationally, the role of New York is not what it once was, let alone Paris (I haven’t heard anyone talk about Paris for twenty years)… Everyone goes to biennials in Indonesia, residencies in Thailand… In this context, I think that the national and the idea of the people and its culture mean something else, because Argentina’s position in the world is different, the world itself is different: it’s more polycentric. Artists are no longer combing over Art Forum or Art International. Everyone is concentrated on their own thing and on connections made on the Internet. I think the contrast you mentioned has been done away with; it is no longer relevant.

RL – You were saying that artists study… and that’s true: artists study more these days. There are more studio classes, schools, institutions. Does that mean that in Argentina being an artist is seen as a viable career?

RJ – Yes. I mean, they are kidding themselves [laughter], but that’s what they think. Another strange thing is that the social background of artists has changed. There are more young artists from families that can support them financially as they pursue the idea of being an artist, which was not the case when we were young. You had to make a living anyway you could. There was no way you could make a living as an artist, but that didn’t mean you stopped being an artist.

RL – Exactly, and that is a major change in the identity of the artist: suddenly, being an artist is a viable career option. I want to get back to something, though: it seems like you have never felt a pressing need to identify as an artist, in fact the lack of that identification is one of the things that seems to make your work possible. Is that right?

RJ – That’s right. I have never felt the need to identify as an artist. In the sixties we used that term, but sort of jokingly (I mean amongst the smaller group, with Masotta). And then I would say it was more like… let’s put it this way, when at immigrations they ask you your profession, you don’t say “novelist, writer.” It’s somehow embarrassing, inappropriate. That’s how I feel about saying “I’m an artist.” I say it but just as a formality, even though I don’t really know what it means. If I have to tell you what, deep down, I think an artist is, it is someone who lives like an artist, who is always open, always inventing new things, everything you can imagine that I might say about all that, which is just what you would say. Capturing and responding to what is happening around us, intervening in it… No one is like that all the time, it would be impossible to live that way all the time. But there are people who do it more than others… In any case, one of the things that makes me most suspicious about Argentina today is the number of institutions, of people with influence on groups of young people, who further the idea of the “professional artist,” with emphasis on professional, not on artist. That gives rise to a gap in language that complicates communication.

KS – There are a great many “cultural managers,” that’s for sure. It’s truly alarming.

RL – Your most recent organization-project is CIA. What does CIA set out to add or remedy or change in terms of the things you have done before?

RJ – Let’s take a look at how it began. Gachi Hasper, Diana Aisenberg and Melina Berkenwald wanted to organize a residency, a place for artists to come together… They wanted to get me involved, and I said, “I’ve had my fill of social projects, you guys do it. I’m through. What do you want me for?” And they said, “We promise you won’t have to do a thing, just let us use your name.” So far so good. We didn’t have a place for the residency, so we put an ad in ramona and the owner of the Hotel Ostende, a hotel on the beach, answered. That was perfect. “Great, I’ll do it. Two weeks vacation on the beach.” This was the first time I had been involved in a project that didn’t depend on me. It was a self-run project with others doing the running [laughter]. And it went on like that until 2009, when the material conditions that Judi [Werthein], Gachi [Hasper] and I needed to have a physical space appeared, along with a little money to get started. And at that point we designed a more detailed program of what we wanted to do. The premise was very simple: a space in Argentina for artists regardless of discipline to connect since the visual artist as such has become an abstraction. What difference is there between a visual artist and a filmmaker? Or a dancer or a performer? Or a musician and someone who makes sound works? Those differences are unsustainable, but still visual artists hang out with other visual artists, and dancers with other dancers. We wanted to build and facilitate connections, also between Argentine artists and artists from other places. Especially artists from other countries in Latin America because, unbelievable and absurd though it may be, Latin American countries have always had more contact with a central country than with a neighboring country that might be just an hour away by plane or boat, or just across a bridge.

KS – Connections with artists from other parts of Argentina as well. The first fellowship recipients at CIA, in 2009, were invited, but then there was a call for applications. There are more or less four hundred applications for twenty spots, and the juries have been great. Judi put it well: the category went from “fellowship recipient,” which is passive, to “agent.”

RL – In closing, what is your latest next project? Something we still don’t know a thing about.

RJ – I’m working on another album called Golosina Caníbal, after the experience of Tocame el Rok.20

RL – Give me some background. Tocame el Rok

RJ Tocame el Rok began with the exhibition at Reina Sofía. Ana Longoni thought there should be something about my work in pop music. So she proposed a software containing all the songs I had written as well as pertinent information about them (date, where they were written, what was happening in Argentina at the time). At the museum, visitors could see the album covers, photos, and so forth. And then Ana thought there should be a part that was not confined to the past, not already closed off and recorded in an album, but happening in the present. She appointed singer and composer Nacho Marciano musical curator. They studied my files and came upon a ton of songs with no music. Ana’s project entailed producing something new for the show. And we developed the idea of Tocame el Rock, which consisted of working on some of the never-before-released songs from different periods with musician friends or musicians whom I had worked with in the past. We finished thirteen songs, but weren’t sure how to present them. It seemed strange and sort of dated to make a DVD or CD. And that’s how we came up with Tocame el Rok. We made rocks with the words Tocame el Rok printed on them, and you can hear the music through a USB port and cable connected to the rock. We presented the works as music and as art objects. We were trying to find a viable way for music to circulate today, so that we didn’t have to finance it ourselves. And it has worked out great! We were able to cover all the expenses and are paying the artists. Of course, since the rocks are sold as art objects, there is a serial edition of thirteen, each one unique because it is a rock, so no two are alike.

RL - The next project is seven never-before-released songs…

RJ – Sevensongs that have never been released. The title is Golosina Caníbal. They were on hold because, among other things, they were written at Chacra in 99. Leo García wrote the music to all the songs except one, which is by Nacho. Pajarito Ferrari—a twenty-year-old kid with an amazing voice—is the singer… Then, in October, Sebastián Gordín and I are going to have a show at the Nora Fisch Gallery of comics we made in 89 and 90. As you can see, I’m recycling everything I’ve got. As—who was it?—maybe Jayne County in Wayne County and the Electric Chairs said, “There is no junk… Junk doesn’t exist, just things waiting to be recycled.” [Laughter]

KS - The songs are beautiful. Here are four from Golosina… I’m always ready, if the situation arises…

RL – You’ve got the songs there?

KS – Yeah, I do.

RL - Let’s give them a listen and stop here.


Photo: Rosana Schoijett.

* *


Roberto Jacoby lives and works in Buenos Aires, where he was born in 1944. He is considered one of the pioneers of conceptual art. Nearly his entire life’s work has been produced collaboratively. In the 60s, he participated in the Di Tella and in Tucumán Arde. He was the song-writer for the pop band Virus and founder of Club Eros, ramona magazine and Proyecto V. In 2011, the Museo Reina Sofía hosted a large retrospective titled Desire Rises from Collapse and published a volume that collected his works, actions and concepts from 1966 to the present. He received a Guggenheim Fellowship and currently directs the Centro de Investigaciones Artisticas.



1 A civil uprising in the city of Córdoba, Argentina in May 1969 in which students and workers joined together to protest the military dictatorship of General Juan Carlos Onganía.

2A monthly magazine about the visual arts with no images that printed 101 paper issues in Buenos Aires between 2000 and 2010. From the start, ramona participated in emerging aesthetics and offered an alternative to traditional formats.

3 Argentine philosopher and literary critic who led the Grupo Arte de los Medios [Media Art Group], a collective of young artists started in the ‘60s.

4A cultural movement organized in 1981 by theater artists protesting against the military dictatorship.

5A bar and performance and exhibition space that was one of the important underground centers of Buenos Aires from the beginning of the 80s.

6An Argentine rock group fronted by Italian lead singer Luca Prodan in the 80s.

7A bookstore, art gallery and performance space directed by Fernanda Laguna and Cecilia Pavón that existed between 1999 and 2007.

8A cultural center of the University of Buenos Aires. The space’s art gallery was one of the focal points of activity for the artistic scene in Buenos Aires during the 90s.

9A show curated by Jorge Gumier Maier at the Recoleta Cultural Center in 1992.

10 The principal association of children whose parents disappeared during the last Argentine military dictatorship. It has been very active on the Argentine political scene since the middle of the 90s.

11 An association of mothers and grandmothers whose children and grandchildren were “disappeared” during the Dirty War between 1976 and 1983.

12 President of the Mothers of the Plaza de Mayo

13 Leader of the Grandmothers of the Plaza de Mayo

14 An online database of contemporary Argentine artists featuring a short bio and questionnaire, photos of the artist’s work and/or video or sound samples, curated by the artists themselves.

15 A micro-society of artists and non-artists, with both on and offline life, that operated between 2002 and 2006. The project printed its own currency, the “venus,” in order to mediate exchanges of services, skills, knowledge and goods among “Venusians.”

16 Society, Technology and Art, an artist-run non-profit founded in 1999, fosters the development of new forms of interaction through the use of digital technology. START hosted all of the projects mentioned, including the magazine ramona, Proyecto V and Bola de Nieve.

17 Riots in the Plaza de Mayo precipitated by the Argentine government’s freezing of citizens’ bank accounts during the economic crisis left 39 people dead and brought about the fall of the government.

18 A controversial measure to raise export taxes on national agricultural products imposed by Cristina Kirchner’s government in 2008, leading to what has been called the Argentine Farm Crisis.

19A Peronist left-wing guerilla group known for its use of violent political tactics throughout the 60s and 70s and its opposition to the Argentine military dictatorship of Jorge Videla.

20 The title is a play on words; “tocame” in Spanish means both “touch me” and “play (as in play music) for me.”

Ladagga photo (2)Reinaldo Laddaga was born in Rosario, Argentina, and studied in Rosario and New York, where he lives. He is the author of nine books, many essays and two music theater pieces. His latest books include a collaboration with eighteen composers titled Things that a mutant needs to know, and (in Spanish) A Prologue to my Father's Books, Aesthetics of Laboratory, and Three Secret Lives: John D. Rockefeller, Walt Disney, Osama bin Laden. His website is here. The North American books that he has found most impressive in recent years are Lydia Davis' Collected Stories and William T. Vollmann's Rising Up and Rising Down.
BrodieJane Brodie is a visual artist and translator specialized in the visual arts. She moved to Buenos Aires after graduating from college in 1990. It was not until she had lived in that city for almost fifteen years that she understood what kept her there (other than the entanglements that accompany life anywhere, that is): the combination of elegance and decay so particular to that city. That combination is also, to a large extent, what her art investigates. Sometimes she thinks that, just as you don’t really know a song until you have tried to sing it, you have never really read a text until you have translated it. Her translation clients include Art Forum, Malba, the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, Parkett Magazine, and other institutions, publications and individuals (mostly artists and critics) based in the Americas and Europe.

Published on November 20th of 2013 in Interviews, Tongue Ties.

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