Rainbow over the Village of the Damned / Didier Semin, translation by Cole Swensen


Modernity in art is not, as is often claimed, solely a matter of the progressive emancipation of materials and colors; by the end of the 19th century, both had earned the right to fight back against the dominance of the image. The kind stork that supposedly delivered the baby of abstraction is a fiction designed to reassure sensitive young people. But let's look modern art (20th century) and contemporary art (the 21st) in the face: rarely in human history have we seen so much massacre and so much madness.

If we agree that art is not an innocent fantasy independent of its social circumstances, we need to make some corrections to its official records. For those of us who dreamed of living in that best of all possible worlds invented by Maurice Denis in 1890, when a painting was "before being a war horse, a naked woman, or some other anecdote, essentially a flat surface covered with colors put together in a certain order," we would probably be wise to think of our era as having begun a century earlier, in 1799, with the appearance of Goya's Caprices. That series was announced in a Madrid newspaper on the sixth of February of that crucial year, and the announcement ended with these admirable words: "[…] painting (like poetry) chooses from the universal whatever it considers proper to its ends; it brings together, in a single imaginary character, circumstances and characteristics that nature has scattered among many, and, if this combination is insightfully arranged, a happy imitation results, by which painting, when truly artful, earns the title of inventor as opposed to that of servile copyist. Sold in Disenchantment Street in the store that sells perfumes and liqueurs, this collection of 80 prints is priced at 320 réaults."

And no doubt, it was a sleep of reason similar to that depicted by Goya in plate 43 of his Caprices that engendered the creatures that appear in James Rielly's watercolors in the show at the École des Beaux-Arts in Paris. The veiled dwarf of Cowboy and the running phantoms of Small Ghost and We Are Owls directly evoke the naïve servants and madam-mothers, similarly well-wrapped, that people Goya's works. And the celestial battle between the Virgin and the devil that takes place over the Painted House recalls the Sabbaths of Correción and Todos caerán. Rielly incorporates additionally captivating and disquieting reveries into this image—in particular, one of a neighbor's house inspired by the Facteur Cheval's amazing creations, which the neighbor had covered entirely in ceramics. The house has since been destroyed, and perhaps the masterpieces it might have contained, as well.

And though there are clear links between Goya's visions and Rielly's, the latter's pastel tones are dramatically different from the former's lugubrious shades of black, grey, and ocher. This is not only a difference of 200 years; it also reflects the responses of two distinctly different cultures—it's been a long time since every consideration of national particularity passed for a Petainist revindication (and it's hard to see why what goes without saying for music or cooking doesn't go equally for painting). Rielly is an expert practitioner of the understatement, which Stuart Morgan once called the United Kingdom's national sport. (A British person, he claimed, always tries to say a little less than what he thought necessary.) It's no cliché to say that in London, The Sleep of Reason would be prudently called nonsense, and I don't need to state that James Rielly is a British citizen, even if he has lived in France for the past twenty years, in a region in the southwest that includes so many of his compatriots that English is the region's second language, a region that represents Europe as we dream it, but that it is, alas, far from yet being.

As a medium, watercolor is not a "weak water" as opposed to etching's "eau-forte." In fact, it's a particularly intransigent medium, one that tolerates no error, hesitation, or correction, and that requires a discipline in the execution that cedes nothing to the art of engraving. Rielly chooses Tibetan or Chinese papers with distinct, irregular textures for his watercolors, rather than the conventionally-grained papers that can make watercolors seem vulgar and as if they're trying to cheat on the drying times required by the medium. Rielly, instead, sponges up the excess, creating print-like effects more frequently associated with lithography. His colors are suave and pale—just like those of English boiled sweets—which contradicts or attenuates the crudity of the images, creating the visual understatement that Stuart Morgan aptly mentioned. But this is not the only link that Rielly has with his country's popular culture, nor the only source of the peaceful horror that emanates from his works.

For a long time I wondered what deeply buried memory his deformed children with their royal blue eyes touched in me, until chance brought me back to the astonishing Village of the Damned. Made in 1960 by Wolf Rilla, a British filmmaker—all the more so, if of one can put it that way, because he was so recently so; his parents had escaped to London from Nazi Germany in 1934. The film counts, along with Don Siegel's The Invasion of the Body Snatchers, among the most successful of a genre closely linked to the Cold War period; it tells a tale of invaders, who, diffused throughout the population of a country, go about exterminating it—or, more precisely, replacing it—from within, in another version of the "fifth column," reviving old myths and specters. The children in the Village of the Damned, engendered during a mysterious "night of the Walpurgis," while their mothers were asleep, are only different from ordinary children in their unusually high intelligence, their unnaturally disciplined hair, and their unnaturally light eyes. These are the very eyes that we see in Rielly's watercolors.

One of them gives us perhaps an additional clue. It depicts, with a remarkable economy of means, a modest chapel with an open bell tower, like you might see in Brittany or Wales—where Rielly comes from. It is , in fact, the Chapel of St. Gwyfan, built on a tiny island whose cliffs are fortified to keep the ocean from washing them away. Deprived of its bell, this retreat has become silenced, and has no doubt been long deserted by the faithful; on its sides, Rielly has painted the famous blue eyes, staring at you. The image is, in its simplicity, extraordinarily efficient. War propaganda during the 1940s came up with, or resurrected from ancient tradition, the slogan "Walls Have Ears" to warn civilians of the dangers of idle chatter that might convey crucial information to enemy agents. But, as is so often the case, this expression, this "image," even if it's perfectly comprehensible, doesn't create any picture in our minds. (For that matter, there's an endless list of supposedly visual metaphors that never get beyond the barrier of words—for instance, no one ever pictures someone trying to head off a problem as poised with a pair of garden sheers "nipping it in the bud.") The rare attempts at picturing a wall of bricks fitted out with an aural organ were at best comical, even though the gaze of a house seems perfectly obvious. It's poetry, film, and painting that, in this case, grasp the point, as opposed to popular language. Nerval: "Fear from the blind wall an invasive gaze / Words hold to the very matter of the world / Don't let that matter serve a purpose impure!" clearly says that a wall is not hearing but sight. The watercolor St Gwyfan compounds this by also evoking the inquisitive eyes of the modernist house of Jacques Tatï's Mon Oncle.

A priori, and even if you don't know the Welsh village of Cribinau, there can be no doubt that the eyes are on the watercolor and not on the chapel. But the inverse is not impossible—on the four faces of the Stupa of Swayambhunath in Katmandu, the painted eyes seem to survey the entire world around it. Perhaps Rielly's contact with India, where he often travels, and which informs an integral part of his British imaginary, helped him to conceive of a syncretic cult in which chapels could have eyes and could warmly shelter creatures that, though deformed, are not diabolic—dwarves, children with two noses, four arms, three eyes. It's our bland, monotheistic images that, when, by some miracle, they're allowed, have forged our conservative depictions of the human body. For centuries, the art of the western world has only given jubilant and eccentric forms to demons, while Hinduism hasn't hesitated to people its pantheon with bodies with three heads, or an elephant's mask, or multiple pairs of arms. And this tells us, perhaps, that Rielly's Caprices, passing by the Ganges and Five O'Clock Tea, are not rooted in the same nightmare as Goya's, at the brink of a modernity whose horrors he depicts. Rielly's are definitely haunted by monsters, but they are monsters that speak both of the ill of which they're capable and of the peace that they demand; they speak of pain and of its redemption, of the absurdity of our lives and the vanity that enrages us—that of appeased monsters, wearing rainbow mascara in their hell. Paradoxically, there's something angelic in Rielly's watercolor village of the damned, if we accept G.K. Chesterton's maxim—angels can fly because they take themselves lightly—after all, it's not a matter of occasionally confusing a plate of breakfast eggs with a beauty mask.

In http://jamesrielly.com/


John Cage

Voy hacia la violencia, no hacia la ternura; hacia el infierno, no hacia el cielo; hacia lo feo, no hacia lo hermoso; hacia lo impuro, no hacia lo puro, porque al hacer estas cosas ellas se transforman, y nosotros también nos transformamos.


RAM_Trip [De la “nueva historiografía” a la literatura trastornada] - Miguel Á. Hernández-Navarro


“El mundo de las últimas cosas, ahora convertidas en imagen
- José Luis Brea
“Un lugar en el que el tiempo se expande elásticamente sin dejar de ser un solo tiempo”
 Agustín Fernández Mallo

En una serie de artículos recientes, Ernst van Alphen ha acuñado el término “nueva historiografía” para referirse a la inclinación de un gran número de artistas visuales contemporáneos a trabajar sobre la historia y el pasado. Como un paso más dentro de las poéticas del archivo y la reflexión sobre la memoria –cuestiones centrales del arte en los noventa y principios del nuevo siglo–, esta actitud pretende activar el pasado a través de la actualización de lo histórico mediante un trabajo de “postproducción” de la realidad heredada. De este modo, los artistas trabajan como historiadores en el sentido benjaminiano del término: como traperos de la historia, reuniendo fragmentos y construyendo –nunca reconstruyendo– un nuevo vestido –un nuevo presente– con los “desechos de la historia”.
Sin lugar a dudas, esta actitud ante la historia constituye uno de los centros de tensión en torno al que se arremolina toda una faz del arte contemporáneo. Una tendencia que supone un paso más en las estrategias de trabajo sobre la memoria, pero también sobre la realidad dada. Es el lugar, podríamos decir, en el que se dan la mano el arte de la memoria y el arte de la apropiación. Y lo hacen para dar lugar a una construcción del tiempo que parte tanto del montaje y la postproducción de realidades previas –ready mades históricos– como de un sentido particular de la historia en tanto que tiempo abierto y activo que se proyecta en el presente con una presencia tangible y material.
Entre las varias vías de trabajo con la historia, Mark Godfrey, otro teórico de estas prácticas, ha llamado la atención sobre lo que él denomina “performances históricas”: estrategias de reactualización y reactivación del pasado a través de la reelaboración de acontecimientos singulares. Se refiere Godfrey a obras como The Green Line (2004) de Francis Alÿs, en la que, a través de una caminata por Jerusalén dejando tras de sí un rastro de pintura verde, el artista belga recrea de modo irónico y poético la línea dibujada en 1948 por Moshe Dayan para delimitar los bordes del Estado de Israel. Se trata de formas de conmemoración, de recuerdo, que ya no tienen que ver con el monumento o con la memoria osificada, sino con la activación del pasado, poniendo de nuevo la realidad en circulación, sacándola al registro de lo visible, visualizando algo que, “de hecho”, afecta al presente. Recordar, por tanto, como re-mover, re-hacer, re-elaborar, pero nunca para re-construir o para re-producir, sino para problematizar y tambalear la artificialidad del tiempo-presente, mostrando la porosidad de los diversos estratos del tiempo, poniendo en contacto –y en colisión– tiempos y lugares diferentes.
El hacedor (de Borges), Remake, el último libro de Agustín Fernández Mallo (AFM), es un ejemplo paradigmático de cómo este trabajo con la historia y con la memoria acontece también en el ámbito de la literatura. De hecho, no es descabellado entenderlo como parte de esa de “nueva historiografía” tal y como ha sido establecida por van Alphen, como una manera de construir el presente a través del pasado, una reconsideración y relectura de la historia –social, política, pero también artística y literaria–. Y, aun más, quizá haya que hablar de este libro como una forma de literatura “prepóstera” en el sentido entendido por Mieke Bal en su Quoting Caravaggio: Contemporary Art, Preposterous History. Una forma que revuelve y trastoca el tiempo, que lo pliega y lo retuerce, pero también una forma ilógica, absurda e incluso irreverente. Y es que el término inglés “preposterous” tiene precisamente esos dos sentidos: uno temporal, de inversión de la cronología; y otro, relacionado con la irracionalidad y la locura, que es el de uso común. Cuando Bal ser refiere a la “preposterous History” lo hace utilizando la polisemia del vocablo. Por eso quizá sea necesario traducir su formulación según lo ha hecho Remedios Perni, como “historia trastornada”: tiempo revuelto y desorientado. Tiempo desviado o, mejor, desquiciado.
A pesar de su título, y de su propuesta, El hacedor de AFM no es un remake, al menos en el sentido tradicional del término, ese dado por Frederic Jameson en su célebre estudio sobre la posmodernidad. Jameson advirtió que el pastiche y el remake eran estrategias claves del cine –pero también del arte– postmoderno, que reproducía y replicaba modelos e historias establecidas. Recientemente, Jorge Carrión ha observado cómo esta tendencia también es central en el campo literario, y ha definido el remake de AFM como “reescritura artesanal y actualización histórica y tecnológica”. En este sentido, más que con un remake, nos encontramos con una reelaboración total. Lo que hace AFM con Borges no es exactamente un remake, sino una actualización. Es, ciertamente, una recontextualización de Borges. En algún caso concreto, como ocurre con “Del Rigor de la Ciencia” –el célebre cuento sobre el mapa de que ocupa todo el territorio–, AFM apenas introduce una palabra –Google Earth– para cambiar todo el sentido del cuento, que directamente replica del original, como el “Pierre Menard, autor del Quijote” –por cierto, uno de los textos fetiches del arte de la apropiación; introducido en la edición fundacional de Brian Wallis, El arte después de la modernidad–. Pero salvo este ejemplo de recontextualización y mínima postproducción, el resto de El hacedorde AFM es un texto que difiere absolutamente de El hacedor de JLB, pero en todo momento lo “trae al presente”, lo “hace suyo”, lo activa y lo dota de la fuerza necesaria para ser efectivo en el mundo contemporáneo.
La relectura que hace AFM de Borges es, de este modo, una actualización histórica. Una actualización preposterior: trastornada y absurda, en el sentido temporalmente subversivo del término. En particular, la “realización” del viaje de Robert Smithson por los Monumentos del Río Passaic, me parece una de las formas más lúcidas y certeras de traer al presente el sentido último de la obra de Smithson. Un “hacer presente” que, sin duda, pertenecería a eso que Godfrey llamó “performances históricas”. Volver a hacer el viaje, pero ahora sin la necesidad de ir al lugar físico. AFM vuelve a realizar el viaje, pero lo hace desde la imagen, a través de Google Earth, sentado frente a la pantalla del ordenador, experimentando una modalidad contemporánea del viaje, pero también apuntando el camino para un nuevo arte de la cartografía. Una cartografía afectiva y una nueva experiencia del viaje que denomina “psicoGooglegeografía”.
El viaje de Smithson era el de un renovado flâneur de la contemporaneidad. Igual que Walter Benjamin observaba los pasajes parisinos como las catacumbas de la modernidad, Smithson ve en las ruinas industriales del mundo contemporáneo un tiempo mítico, percibiendo las excavadoras como dinosaurios, observando cómo el tiempo se condensa y se retuerce. Los monumentos de Passaic aparecen así como una ruptura con el tiempo-presente y una introducción de un tiempo extraño que se ajusta mejor al tiempo de los sueños tal y como lo definió Freud. Tiempo condensado y alterado. Tiempo conflictivo en el que la cronología pierde su sentido. El pasado en el presente. O, mejor, el presente como pasado. Tiempo ruinoso.
Smithson percibió las ruinas de su presente. ¿Cómo serán las ruinas de nuestro tiempo? En Homo Sampler, Eloy Fernández Porta ha hablado con lucidez de la sensación siniestra que tendríamos al enfrentarnos a la obsolescencia de la cultura de masas contemporánea: Ur-Pop o Ikea Sumergida. AFM nos habla ahora de otro tipo de ruina, la ruina digital. ¿Cuál es la modalidad de la ruina en el universo de Google Earth? ¿Cómo se olvida en la era de la imagen del mundo?
Escribe Borges en el texto original de “Mutaciones” –el que Fernández reelabora para su reactualización del viaje de Smithson–: “Cruz, lazo y flecha, viejos utensilios del hombre, hoy rebajados o elevados a símbolos; no sé por qué me maravillan, cuando no hay en la tierra una sola cosa que el olvido no borre o que la memoria no altere y cuando nadie sabe en qué imágenes lo traducirá el porvenir”. Esta es la pregunta que intenta responder AFM con su viaje. El porvenir ha llevado las ruinas de la contemporaneidad a las grietas del código binario.
Fernández Mallo actualiza el viaje de Smithson, como también lo hace con otra serie de viajes y momentos célebres. Recorrer lo recorrido, emular el célebre viaje del escritor, del artista, revivir la experiencia del acontecimiento… es parte de la experiencia nostálgica moderna. En este caso, sin embargo, la experiencia no es puro remake nostálgico y fetichista, sino actualización. Y eso es lo realmente relevante. Porque lo que hace AFM es darle sentido al viaje de Smithson y reactivarlo. No repetirlo paródicamente, sino, en cierto modo, darle su sentido último –un sentido en sí mismo contradictorio y paradójico–, casi como si estuviese trabajando en “acción diferida”.
El remake, por tanto, no como farsa o parodia –como decía Hegel que se repetía la historia–, sino como cumplimiento, como revitalización, como verdadera puesta en juego de la memoria. Memoria que, por supuesto, acontece ahora como Memoria RAM, memoria de proceso, de flujo constante, que moviliza y ofrece energía a la memoria muda y desconectada del archivo ROM. Ésa es la memoria que hace presente El hacedor de AFM, procesando –en todos los sentidos del término– El hacedor de JLB.
Viaje en el tiempo. Viaje tiempo a través. Viaje de la imagen. Viaje en la memoria. Ram_Trip, habría que escribir. Y volver a recordar entonces, también en modo ram, a otro JLB.

En http://salonkritik.net/ 


Art and Pedgogy: Interview with Pablo Helguera by IDIOM Magazine. AUGUST 24, 2010

Through his two-decade artistic career, Pablo Helguera has worked in a number of media; collages, drawings, videos, and installations, as well as performing as a variety of characters based on personal stories or historical accounts. Throughout his work, Helguera does not ask us to decipher meaning, offering instead straightforward explanatory prose that illuminates his sources and ideas.
Helguera easily cites literature – from the Greek poets through to contemporary writers – and conducts extensive research for his projects. Helguera’s concern with pedagogy has turned him into an interpreter who describes, provides facts and narrates stories, provoking curiosity in his audience.
When Helguera performs he combines both interactive and educational tools into a hybrid genre called performative lectures. He has organized or presented over a thousand lectures, panels and events concerning interpretive art methodologies, providing information, interpretation, and education along the way.
Helguera recently published his twelfth book Urÿonstelaiiwhich presents an imaginary community with strange resonances to our current moment.
Curator Yulia Tikhonova talked to Helguera about his practice.
Yulia Tikhonova: Your interests are very broad and you’ve been very prolific. Is there an overall theme that unites your practice? I am trying to gather what you are about.
Pablo Helguera: I sincerely hope that I never find out “what I am about”. That is the battle that most artists lose. To me, once you are told what you “are about” you have effectively been taxidermied by history. So I will try to hold out for as long as I can.
YT: Are there specific things you find yourself reacting against?
PH: Growing up in Mexico, I saw my father struggle with money and be humiliated by arrogant rich people. I remember once feeling identified with the boy in Vittorio de Sica’s The Bicycle Thief. I am particularly intolerant toward hypocrisy, pretentiousness, injustice, and class-ism.
Pablo Helguera, The reason was simple, 2008, via the artist
YT: You create programming at an art museum’s education department. Has this figured into your works that deal with education and pedagogy?
PH: I have done museum education for 20 years and been an artist for just as long. They are two sides of the same coin. I find communication, cognition, and collective experience to be inextricable from art. I think one side helps understand the other.
YT: How do you see yourself navigating the different roles of artist, educator and museum employee?
PH: I see myself as a vague, nebulous formation that someone sees in a telescope but is actually the ghost light from some long-extinct, faraway galaxy.
YT: Is there something specific you are trying to teach?
PH: I don’t “try” to “teach” anything. I don’t see education as a medicine that people forcibly need to take and swallow like in Catechism. Instead, I see it as a liberating force that equalizes situations and creates unique individuals.
YT: How do you see your role fitting into the larger community?
PH: I keep second-guessing myself on that one. I sometimes feel like I live in a giant stadium looking for my seat. I keep trying each and every one of them but I am always sitting in the wrong place. Nowadays I think that my role is to jump from one role to the next.
YT: Could you think of other artists whose interest in education prefigured your own project?
PH: I don’t know what this says about me, but I can’t think of a single artist-educator at this moment. Especially not Joseph Beuys, who really was more of a Messiah-artist. I just can’t deal with the artist list game. But I will name a few educators whom I consider important: Augusto Boal, Paulo Freire, Jerome Brunner, Mihaly Csikszentmihaly, Howard Gardner, Friedrich Fröebel, and Loris Malaguzzi.
YT: Who have you learned the most from?
PH: My brother, the writer Luis Ignacio Helguera, who died at the age that I am now.
YT: History, language, teaching – these are sometimes seen as flirting with a certain didacticism. How do you navigate these issues? Is there a moral component to your work?
PH: History and language are not didactic subjects and as I mentioned, I don’t teach. It’s true that you could take a didactic approach toward anything, but that just creates a social hierarchy that has nothing to do with knowledge. I am for facilitating critical exchanges and creating an environment where people gain insights about things, without the pretension that we all share the same kinds of knowledge. And if you have to bring up morality, I think I rather see myself as a closeted ‘immoralist’ (in the sense of Andre Gide’s novel The Immoralist).
YT: Considering your Artoons, as well as the recent play about the art world, The Juvenal Players, I am curious about your relationship to satire.
PH: I think satire is a very misunderstood genre, and that’s why I like it. People think they can dismiss it, but they can’t. Look at the way public opinion is influenced in politics; satire here can play a very important role. Good satire has also the very strange ability to remain contemporary forever, which humor and solemnity (which is most of the art made anytime) don’t have.
YT: What do you see in the future for you and your work?
PH: I think I will go nowhere and die broke, forgotten and abandoned and that the totality of my studio will end up somewhere in a storage container in the Chicago suburbs for 20 years after I die, after which my daughter will come to pick it up and just donate everything to a charity thrift shop. That would be wonderful.
YT: Can you speak a little about the role of melodrama and sentimentality in your work?
PH: When I was a teenager I wanted to be a baritone, so I guess I do have a natural inclination toward histrionics that sometimes puzzles. But by the same token I have always been fascinated about how the art world is so afraid of sharing their feelings, as if we all were abuse victims. Maybe we were abused by Modernism.
YT: Could you tell more about your recent online project “The Estheticist”, a series of your responses to letters concerning art circuit politics?
PH: I started “The Estheticist” because I think that the over-professionalization of art has created all sorts of personal and ethical quandaries that are almost never discussed publicly, and I wanted to make that manifest. I would like this free service to contribute in fostering a dialogue around these issues and shed light on the art practice in general. Personally, I am just very interested in the sociology of art, or what I have proposed over the last two years or so as the new academic field of “art world studies”. The questions that I have received so far are fascinating and indeed very revealing of the kind of anxieties, taboos and inner conflicts that people in the art world experience. Not a pretty picture.
YT: Do you think that it is possible for an artist to work in an art institution and at the same time be critical about institutional practices at large? How do you reconcile an institutional affiliation with its critique?
PH: I believe that institutions are nothing but collections of individuals. If you would agree with that, then you would need to agree that because one can be critical with oneself, of course there could be criticality within institutions too. It’s true that one lacks perspective, but at the same time internal debate is key to informing our decisions–which also applies to individuals and institutions. Otherwise we would just behave erratically being told what to do by a wide random group of opinions.
Furthermore, I would argue that inasmuch as we are implicated in a system–in this case the art system–we all belong to the larger institution of art. To behave like an absolute outsider is an illusion. Just think about what we say to people who hate contemporary art who have absolute no background or knowledge: we simply dismiss them as ignorant. I believe that complete outsider-ness in the field of art is an illusion. Finally, the notion of institution is relative: some major artists are institutions, and in fact their staff in their studios is larger than the staff of a small museum. Yet we maintain the myth that artists are lone rangers and museums are monolithic, faceless and powerful forces.



Dos poemas anónimos en náhuatl

Hual choca in 
ni hual icnotlamati 
zan Ni ca anicnihuana 
zo toxochiuh on 
¿ma ye ic ninapantiuh 
can on Ximohuayan? 

Aquí me pongo a llorar 
me pongo triste. 
Soy sólo un cantor 
Vean, amigos míos 
acaso con nuestras flores 
¿he de vestirme allá donde 
están los que no tienen cuerpo? 
Me pongo triste. 


Utliaca pubiatl itsertl 
chichut palabatl chiniscle 
patlpetirl cumasutl pentipt 
imaxcatl tetlet pisogutl 

Las aves del Bosque 
se reúnen a cantar 
a los muertos que regresan 
felices a andar.


Sandino Bucio Dovalí

De niño me quedé dormido en la cabeza de la Gran serpiente, usé como almohada su sinestésico órgano vomeronasal, con el que saborea, respira y tiene visiones térmicas, yo soñaba con castillos blancos como el cielo de esa noche cuando con su bífida lengua sssussssurró en mis oídos: 
--Hassssss venido otra vez 
a essssste mundo a revolver la materia
a cantar con las piedrassssssss
a dessssssssssear la fricción de losssss cuerpossssssss
a sssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssentir...
Tendrássss que apagar las lucessss y encender las sombrasssss
para sssssaciar la dualidad de tu hambre
arderássss y volarásss como el humo
llevarássss tu essssspíritu negro a lasss nubesss
y caerássss como granizo en el carbón
assssí en círculosssss pasarássss del blanco al frío
de la brasssssa a la osssscuridad
y con el tiempo, de coloressss tu alma sssssserá


Poemas de Richard Brautigan, traducción de Óscar Muciño


Richard Brautigan (1935-1984). Escritor originario de Tacoma, Washington. Hijo de una camarera y un empleado de fábrica –que se separaron cuando era un niño–, vivió una infancia llena de privaciones. Arribó al San Francisco beat en 1958, ahí escribió y leyó su obra en los cafés y las esquinas. Su escritura, sin pertenecer al movimiento, comparte la crítica a los valores de la clase media y la conformidad. También abrazó el pacifismo y la vestimenta hippie, y, en general, las diversas tendencias contraculturales de la época.
A pesar de que mucha de su obra se escribió en la ebullición de los años sesenta, logró forjar un estilo propio. La poesía de Brautigan es directa, sin artificios, describe en muchas ocasiones momentos en la vida del autor. Las situaciones cotidianas transcurren en sus versos; creyente del valor estético de cualquier existencia y promotor de la capacidad creativa del individuo, soñó con construir una biblioteca que recibiera los libros de cualquier persona, esta idea es desarrollada en su novela El aborto: un romance histórico.
La mayoría de los poemas que ahora presentamos pertenecen a la antología The pill versus The Springhill Mine Disaster (1968), este poemario contó con dos primeras ediciones; la primera rústica y con un tiraje de 50 ejemplares, la segunda de tiraje regular llevaba en la portada una fotografía de Edmund Shea, en ella aparece Marcia Pacaud, mujer a quien está dedicado el libro.
Brautigan publicó, entre otros, los poemarios: The return of de Rivers (1958),  Please plant this book (ocho poemas impresos en paquetes de semillas) (1968),June 30th, June 30th  (1978).La obra poética de Brautigan puede consultarse en el portal:

La píldora vs El derrumbe en la mina Springhill
Cuando tomas tu píldora
es como un derrumbe en la mina.
Imagino a todas las personas
perdidas dentro de ti.

The Pill versus the Springhill Mine Disaster
When you take your pill
It’s like a mine disaster.
I think of all the people
lost inside you

Lamento de la viuda
No hace aún suficiente frío
para ir a pedir un leño
de mis vecinos.

Widow’s Lament
It’s not quite cold enough
to go borrow some firewood
from the neighbors.

El poema hermoso
Voy a dormir en Los Ángeles
pensando en ti.
Meando hace un momento
miré hacia abajo, cariñosamente,
a mi pene

Saber que ha estado dentro de ti
hoy, un par de veces, me hace
sentir hermoso.
3 A.M
Enero 15, 1967

The Beautiful Poem
I go to bed in Los Angeles thinking
about you.
Pissing a few moments ago
I looked down at my penis
Knowing it has been inside
you twice today makes me
feel beautiful.
3 A.M
January 15, 1967

Botiquín de reparación del karma: Artículos 1-4
1. Ten suficiente comida,
2. Encuentra un lugar tranquilo para dormir,
3. Reduce los ruidos intelectuales y emocionales
hasta alcanzar el silencio de ti mismo,

Karma Repair Kit: Items 1-4
1.Get enough food to eat,
and eat it.
2. Find a place to sleep where it is quiet,
and sleep there.
3. Reduce intellectual and emotional noise
until you arrive at the silence of yourself,
and listen to it.

Oh, cuán perfecta muerte
calcula un viento de naranja
que rebosa de sus pasos,
y tú te detienes a morir
en un huerto donde la cosecha
llena las estrellas.

Oh, how perfect death
computes an orange wind
that glows from your footsteps,
and you stop to die in
an orchard where the harvest
fills the stars.

*Leer completo en

Óscar Muciño (1984). Escritor y traductor. Estudió letras en la FES-Acatlán, UNAM. Ha publicado cuentos, poemas y ensayos en distintos medios impresos y electrónicos del país. Fue incluido en la antología poética 40 Barcos de guerra (2009). Puede leerse en: http://thesolipsta.wordpress.com/.