By the wonderful Mauricio Alejo
By the wonderful Mauricio Alejo
Jorge Luis Borges Harvard Lectures is now on UBU Web.
‘These are the six Norton Lectures that Jorge Luis Borges delivered at Harvard University in the fall of 1967 and spring of 1968. The recordings, only lately discovered in the Harvard University Archives, uniquely capture the cadences, candor, wit, and remarkable erudition of one of the most extraordinary and enduring literary voices of our age. Through a twist of fate that the author of Labyrinths himself would have relished, the lost lectures return to us now in Borges’ own voice.
Born in 1899, Borges was by this time almost completely blind (only a single color– yellow, “the color of the tiger” — remained for him), and thus addressed his audience without the aid of written notes.”
“The central fact of my life has been the existence of words and the possibility of weaving those words into poetry.”
Jorge Luis Borges, This Craft of Verse
By Roger Ballen
“Con el cine uno quiere mostrar con imÃ¡genes lo que las imÃ¡genes no pueden mostrar. Y con las palabras tratamos de decir lo que las palabras no pueden decir”.
(gracias barbarie domÃ©stica)
Mexico’s Cineteca Nacional–under the direction of the amazing Paula Astorga—has become unstoppable.
And now they have a new project called “Archivo Memoria”: a new initiative looking to rescue Mexico’s ‘social memory”, plus provoke the use of the rescued material in contemporary film projects, co-ordinated by non other than our very dear Audrey Young.
“Archivo Memoria se propone emprender la bÃºsqueda de estos registros en imagen, de aquello â€œno vistoâ€ que tambiÃ©n forma parte de la historia fÃlmica de nuestra naciÃ³n: pelÃculas de eventos familiares â”€bautizos, bodas, cumpleaÃ±osâ”€, noticieros, cine turÃstico, pelÃculas industriales, material censurado, cine educacional, obra experimental, pruebas de cÃ¡mara, grabaciones bÃ©licas, material de archivo, animaciones, pietaje antropolÃ³gico y otros fragmentos efÃmeros.
Registros que dejan ver el contexto en el que fueron creados, y que en conjunto reflejan los cambios por los que ha transitado la sociedad mexicana. Material que a primera vista podrÃa parecer intrascendente pero que, de alguna manera, tiene un valor histÃ³rico que enriquece el patrimonio cultural de la naciÃ³n y que, guardado en armarios o bodegas, sin las condiciones tÃ©cnicas apropiadas para su conservaciÃ³n y preservaciÃ³n, corre el riesgo de desaparecer. PelÃculas no sÃ³lo de gran valor para la historia de nuestra cultura, sino con un gran potencial para reutilizarse y que hoy en dÃa sirve para comprender la historia reciente de MÃ©xico.
Como parte de esta iniciativa, la Cineteca Nacional, en colaboraciÃ³n con el Orphan Film Project y Walter Forsberg, llevarÃ¡ a cabo, el prÃ³ximo viernes 26 y sÃ¡bado 27 de agosto, el Primer Encuentro Archivo Memoria, el cual mostrarÃ¡ los resultados del Orphan Film Symposium, junto con hallazgos del proyecto Archivo Memoria y los primeros cortometrajes realizados por los artistas e investigadores Kyzza Terrazas e Issa GarcÃa Ascot.”
MÃ¡s info aquÃ
Movie Posters in Mexico circa 1948â€“1954, from the collection of RamÃ³n Figueroa, via 50 watts.
“The posters are a great expression of a time when Mexico made an investment in popular culture as a way to promote the values and virtues that would unify society and consolidate the power of the system. I think it is very interesting that some of the poster artists (such as Josep Renau or Ernesto GarcÃa Cabral) were also muralists. There is research to be done on the Mexican poster as an example of the aesthetic cohesiveness of government sponsored art in Mexico before the sixties.”
Why stop at 3D?
It seems 4D is back on its way…
Rethinking Eurekas, liquid networks, London’s coffee houses, Darwin and the Â long, slow hunch.
TED talk by Steven Johnson.
Very happy that “The Man Who Lived in a Shoe”, our first feature-length documentary, is part of the official competition selection at the Morelia Film Festival–one of the nicest film fests in Latin America.
And we are in amazing company–check out the completeÂ list here.
(Mmm. Mexican premiere)
Or notes from all too near…
Luis Blackaller and I went strolling into a weird “fun for all the family” week-end fair, hosted by non other than the Mexican Army, in the state of Puebla.
Black just sent me this pic from our Saturday jaunt.
“La gran armada de MÃ©xico”.
(More on this soon, from us both)
Everyoneâ€™s got a preconceived idea about what a country is like before actually going there. It is an imaginative structure conditioned by anything we have seen and or heard about the place we are about to visit for the first time. Such impressions acquire a different character when they come face to face with reality; sometimes they differ greatly from our preconceived notions and sometimes not.
Before heading to China I indulged in some spontaneous brainstorming and I came up with a number of concepts which juxtapose opposing ideologies, concepts and social constructs such as tradition/modernity, communism/capitalism, East/West, authentic/fake, poverty/wealth, repression/freedom, and so on. Surprisingly, I came across all of the concepts that I had imagined before getting to China, although the actual ones had the genuine taste of reality. What might strike westerners at first sight in Chinese cities are the ideas of development and expansion according to Chinese parameters. The basis for its rapid development is the enormous pool of labour that, when well organized, can reach such a speed that it seems sometimes impossible to sustain. There are many contrasts within the futuristic urban landscape of Shanghai. My first impressions found incongruity by looking up to the sky and down to the earth. By looking up I would see impersonality, a skyline overloaded with concrete and glass and an exaggerated downtown that I associated more with the American urban model. However when I would look down at street level, at the ins and outs of those towers, I would see, smell and feel the stereotypical China I was expecting to encounter.
Within this context of contrasts of Chinese identity and global trends I discovered an urban project called â€œOne City, nine townsâ€. The goal of this project, launched in 2004, is to create nine suburbs around Shanghai imitating the architectural style of different countries of the world. The idea is to relieve the city’s problem of overpopulation by building these western-themed new towns with an estimated capacity of one million people by 2020 all together. Most of them are still under construction, but so far people can already live in a Shanghai suburb that looks like England, Sweden, Holland, Spain, Italy or Germany.
However the trend nowadays goes further than just spending a day off in an amusement park. It is about making a life in an artificial town. Wandering around â€œParisâ€ recently I met three eleven or twelve-year-olds skating in their neighbourhood. I asked them if they knew what Paris was. They said, “Paris? I don’t know.”
More of his photographs here
(Click on images to enlarge)
“Some weeks ago, when I entered the room of the Mona Lisa, I recalled Susan Sontagâ€™s On Photography: â€œMost tourists feel compelled to put the camera between themselves and whatever is remarkable that they encounter. Unsure of other responses, they take a picture. This gives shape to experience: stop, take a photograph, and move onâ€. (#1) Three decades later, it seems people still relate to the painting through their cameras. The tall, bald man on the far back on the right, for instance, is focusing his attention on the camera hold by another tourist. He recalls his iPhone. (#2) This imitational behavior expands all over the room like an epidemical disease, and triggers on everybody else an instinctive and apparently irresistible urge to start clicking their cameras. One click, two clicks, a sudden jazz of clicks. (#3) That afternoon, only one tourist went for the self-portrait with the Mona Lisa on the background. (#4) He gave it a few tries, until somebody offered him some help. (#5) According to the languages in which the camera settings are on, the blond girl is francophone (ParamÃ©tres, LuminositÃ©) (#6), and her companions are Japanese (#7) and Polish (Åšledzenie) (#8). Pictures may even substitute memories and experiences of tourists. Itâ€™s about possessing Mona Lisa with their own camera: â€œTo photograph is to appropriate the thing photographedâ€, wrote Susan Sontag. (#9 â€“ #13)”
Enrique G de la G
Hamburg. January, 2011
(Update: Enrique is now, suddenly, back in Mexico City, and is the newly appointed co-editor of Letras Libres. Bienvenido seÃ±or de retache)