translated by Cayley Taylor
It starts, always, in the temples, an almost imperceptible throbbing at first, and in the precise moment he acknowledges it, that pulsing starts to grow until he feels as if his head is going to explode and his vision gets cloudy and the distance between him and the objects surrounding him wavers and the arm that he stretches out for the phone is slow in reaching it and the emergency medical service number doesn’t show up in the list though he knows that he’s added it to the phone’s memory. But it’s not just the head. The chest replicates the throbbing of the temples, the thorax narrows and the ribs press down on something that he can only think to call heart, he can’t breathe and the air doesn’t enter his open mouth. He … Read More »
translated by Jennifer Croft
The history of the Americas has always been inseparable from the notion of travel, and Argentina is no exception to this rule. In fact, the history of Argentina’s literature can only be understood in connection with the men and women who arrived at its shores from far-off lands and wrote about that very experience.
No sooner had Argentina declared its independence than it began to see travelers—many of them from Great Britain—looking to try their luck and explore the commercial prospects of the new nation. The country’s vast plans captivated this multitude of newcomers who, with their aesthetic sensibilities that tended to fall somewhere in between the naturalism and the romanticism of the era, documented this astonishment in numerous books.
Adolfo Prieto has suggested that it was those books that led the first writers … Read More »
John Foster Fraser
translated by Jennifer Croft
In 1899, Scottish writer John Foster Fraser (1868-1936) made a name for himself in Great Britain with his book Round the World on a Wheel, the result of a bicycle trip made with two friends across over ten thousand miles of Europe, Asia and the United States. Unlike other books dedicated to travel, Foster Fraser’s book was not “about anthropology or biology or archaeology.” He made no claims to studying the places he went—only claims to fame: “We took this trip round the world on bicycles because we are more or less conceited, like to be talked about, and see our names in the newspapers,” he states in the preface.
And it worked: over the course of the next few decades, Foster Fraser traveled to and wrote about young … Read More »
Even if the meaning of ancient totems disappeared, their meaningfulness has not. A human hand altering nature with purpose, these ancient stacks of stones mark a path or honor a god, measure the stars or memorialize war. We can’t really know for sure. Stand in the shadow of a megalith and you feel its force, an ancient energy still at work, blunted by our ignorance but no less powerful in its shifted mass. We know it means something important, even if we’ll never know precisely what. In stone cairns scattered across a planet, we find evidence of our ancestors, a simple shape we still make in the few wildernesses we have left. It is a basis of communication and expression with material, the beginning of sculpture.
Here these sculptures stacked by Luna Paiva angle with their own obscure … Read More »
Translated by Victoria Lampard and Heather Cleary
From “Ultramarina,” a contemporary opera by Marcelo Lombardero, with music by Pablo Mainetti and a libretto by Edgardo Cozarinsky, based on his novel “El rufián moldavo” (Emecé 2004). “Ultramarina” premiered in “Hasta Trilce” in April 2014. The excerpt that follows is a play on tango kitsch sung by a prostitute named Perla.
A CLEAN SLATE
If I could spit out all the kisses
That tainted my young lips…
If I could wash away the scratch of
of all those god-forsaken sheets…
If I could wipe away the caresses
that consumed my skin, then I could love you.
Oh how I wish you were my first,
the one who lied to me a thousand times.
(Does it matter? It is a man’s way to lie
to a woman, and love her all the same),
How I wish you could see me as I once was,
and … Read More »
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 … Read More »
translated by Alex Niemi
Guard of the Brotherhood
Brothers of the Circle
The characters meet at the entrance of a large urinal. The Pope is waiting for them.
Before entering, the brothers greet the Pope by turning in circles and waving their hands as if dancing the tarantella.
Everyone wears paint-stained aprons.
After the greeting, the Pope bestows a brush and palette on each of them. The brothers introduce themselves and crawl one by one into the hole of the urinal.
Once inside, the ceremony begins.
The Pope asks the Guard of the Brotherhood if all present belong to the circle. The Guard of the Brotherhood makes his rounds and confirms that they do.
Pope: Dada. Dada. Let the meeting begin!
All (in a church whisper): Dada. Dada.
Pope: In this, the 92nd year of our era, we will initiate a layman to our … Read More »
Paola Cortés Rocca on Bruno Dubner’s Las Muertas (The Dead)
translated by Jennifer Croft
1. Images are wily: they don’t lay out facts, don’t make any cases. They’re indolent and superficial: they would have us believe that the world is what we see, and that it’s just fine as it is already. They reside as far away as possible from Comprehension, which begins where we resist appearances and first glances.
2. “When we are afraid, we shoot. But when we are nostalgic, we take pictures,” said Susan Sontag. Photographic discourse is elegiac and crepuscular: it not only cherishes the past, but also converts into past everything it touches. Salvaging it, damning it, protecting it, asphyxiating it. Photography is an overprotective mother, sweet and terrifying. A melancholy lady in eternal agony.
3. In the new regime of technology dominated by the digital, certain characteristics … Read More »
translated by Maxine Swann
The living and the dead at his command,
Were coupled, face to face, and hand in hand
Virgil, The Aeneid, VIII 483-88
In rock caves like these, Cicero reports (Aristotle confirms) the obscure metaphysics of the Etruscan pirates. Their domination spanned the Tyrrhenian Sea up to the Cisalpine Gaul as far as Alalia and the Latium, before the coalition of Carthage; Herodotus mentions that “their ships brandished enormous golden spiders or gigantic octopuses.” They secured the ships to rocky formations of alum, remnants of the marine floor elevated to the surface that was man’s; then they descended with ropes into the caves turned tombs.
(These grottos have been known to attract human beings. They are not indifferent to the organic. It’s the voice of the tundra that coats beings with its excretions, without distinguishing … Read More »
Mariano López Seoane
translated by Pola Oloixarac
In fairy tales, curiosity, one of the forces that sets the story in motion, is always punished. This ancestral warning has stopped few, even though punishment has rained down upon us from Eve’s appetite for apples to the present day. It was the desire to see things up close, to be where the action was, that drove me to visit the Venice Biennale and Art Basel in the space of two weeks. The punishment was not long in coming. Like a hero in disgrace, I was condemned to repetition: in both places, the same artists, the same names, the same questions and, what’s worse, the same experience.
There’s little to say, in critical terms, about Art Basel. It’s a fair: it aims to sell works and make names circulate, ignite careers, turn artists into … Read More »