28 06 2011

Qué vanidad imaginar
que puedo darte todo, el amor y la dicha,
itinerarios, música, juguetes.
Es cierto que es así:
todo lo mío te lo doy, es cierto,
pero todo lo mío no te basta
como a mí no me basta que me des
todo lo tuyo.

Por eso no seremos nunca
la pareja perfecta, la tarjeta postal,
si no somos capaces de aceptar
que sólo en la aritmética
el dos nace del uno más el uno.

Por ahí un papelito
que solamente dice:

Siempre fuiste mi espejo,
quiero decir que para verme tenía que mirarte.

-Julio Cortázar

What vanity it is to imagine
that I can give you all, love and hapiness
trips, music, toys.
That certainly is the case:
I give all that I have to you, it’s true,
but all that I have is not enough for you
as it is the case that you giving me everything
is not enough for me.

That’s the reason why we will never be
the perfect couple, the post card,
if we are not capable of accepting
that only in arithmetic
is two born from one plus one.

Over there somewhere is
a paper that says only:

You were always my mirror,
I want to say that in order to see myself
I had to look at you.


Pancho Sierra

10 05 2011

Short videos on the famous gaucho healer, who would heal with a glass of water and a little faith.


26 04 2011

The trailer for a promising new documentary.

On statues

4 08 2010

Their properties have been represented for us by the theurgic art in its statues of the gods, whom it clothes in the most varied figures. Some of them it portrays by means of mystic signs that express the unknowable divine potencies; others it represents through forms and shapes, making some standing, other sitting, some heart-shaped, some spherical, and some fashioned still otherwise; some simple, other composed of several shapes; some stern, others mild and expressing the benignity of the gods; and others still fearful in shape.

-Proclus, from A Commentary on the First Book of Euclid’s Elements


3 08 2010

An interview of the director of a documentary on the shrine to la Difunta Correa in Argentina.

Folklore as philosophy

16 06 2010

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La ciencia de la investigación folklórica estudia los hechos culturales que se dan en comunidades lo menos contaminadas posible con la cultura contemporánea, con el progreso, tal como ocurre en las ciudades. Hay que meterse por caminos laterales, llegar a pueblos, patear horas y horas. Son lugares donde apenas hay escuelas primarias, o ni siquiera eso, donde se guarda un hondo sentido tradicional con los ancestros. Las danzas mapuches, por ejemplo, son rogativas a los dioses, costumbres que vienen de los antepasados, relacionadas con la explicación de fenómenos. Cada paso de la danza representa algo de su mundo interior y exterior. El folklore es filosofía, es tomar una actitud seria frente a diferentes hechos de la vida.

The science of folkloric investigation studies the cultural facts present in communities that are the least contaminated by contemporary culture, or with progress, as is the case in cities. You have to go off the beaten path, find villages, walk for hours and hours. They are places that barely have an elementary school, or not even that, where they maintain the deep traditional sense of their ancestors. Mapuche dances, for example, are prayers to the gods, customs that come down to them from their predecessors, related with the explanation of natural phenomena. Every step of the dance represents something of their interior and exterior worlds. Folklore is philosophy: it is to take a serious attitude before different events in life.

-Felix Coluccio, the great Argentine folklorist, found here

Coluccio later in the interview speaks of the decline of folkloric communities. It is hard to figure out how much longer folklore will survive in the Western world. Personally, I have wanted to buy a recorder and begin recording all of the stories of my parents’ and grandparents’ generations. Growing up, my mother would tell us stories, but the natural inclination of children is to ignore these stories, since the main characteristic of youth is to have itchy ears.

Having proceeded slowly into adulthood, I no longer have much enthusiasm for official theology, official history, politics, philosophy, or anything else deemed high culture in the intellectual sense. I have my favorites, to be sure. But what is missing from these is a solid and rich ground of being: a common mythology that we can all sink our teeth into and plant our feet on. Folklore is not just philosophy, but first philosophy. It isn’t just the subject of social science, but of metaphysics. In an intellectual sense, I am fast concluding that it is the only way out.

Los amantes

19 05 2010

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¿Quién los ve andar por la ciudad
si todos están ciegos?
Ellos se toman de la mano: algo habla
entre sus dedos, lenguas dulces
lamen la húmeda palma, corren por las falanges,
y arriba está la noche llena de ojos.

Son los amantes, su isla flota a la deriva
hacia muertes de césped, hacia puertos
que se abren entre sábanas.
Todo se desordena a través de ellos,
todo encuentra su cifra escamoteada;
pero ellos ni siquiera saben
que mientras ruedan en su amarga arena
hay una pausa en la obra de la nada,
el tigre es un jardín que juega.

Amanece en los carros de basura,
empiezan a salir los ciegos,
el ministerio abre sus puertas.
Los amantes rendidos se miran y se tocan
una vez más antes de oler el día.
Ya están vestidos, ya se van por la calle.
Y es sólo entonces
cuando están muertos, cuando están vestidos,
que la ciudad los recupera hipócrita
y les impone los deberes cotidianos.

-Julio Cortazar

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Resplendent bodies

17 05 2010

Cuerpos Resplandecientes: Santos Populares Argentinos by Rosa Lojo

Over the years in Latin America, the idea of the “santo pagano”, “santo popular”, or “santo informal” has been the subject of many studies and literary pursuits. From regional folklore, the figure of the folk saint has often become a figure of class resistance, the assertion of plebian pride, and a national symbol. This is due a great deal to the general secularization of Latin America in the the last fifty years, the subsequent decline of the power of the Catholic Church over cultural affairs, and the feeling of exclusion that large parts of these societies feel towards the general cultural discourse. In the face of the modernization of religion, people feel that they need to carve out a niche for their own saints, their own intercessors, who defend them from the same institutions that the mainstream Church seeks to uphold.
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On the woman caught in adultery

29 03 2010

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About a hundred years ago, on March 21st, 1903, a man killed his wife in the place where the current bus station now stands. This episode, which barely occupied three columns of the police record, created, in some bizarre twist of fate, the supreme myth of the city of Salta [Argentina]. It concerns Juana Figueroa, an almost anonymous woman in life, who after her death achieved an almost legendary status.
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On infinity

16 03 2010

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I just wrote “infinite”. I have not interpolated this adjective out of mere rhetorical habit; I say that it is not illogical to think that the world is infinite. Those who judge it as limited, postulate that in remote places the hallways and the ladders and the hexagons can inconceivably end – which is absurd. Those who imagine them without limits, forget that they have the possible number of books. I dare to insinuate this solution to the ancient problem: The library is unlimited and periodic. If an eternal traveler were to cross it in any direction, he would prove after many centuries that the volumes repeat themselves in the same disorder (that, repeated, would be order: Order itself). My solitude rejoices in that elegant hope.

-Jorge Luis Borges, “La biblioteca de Babel”, my translation