Guillermo Kuitca

Enric Casasses

Image © Guillermo Kuitca, Dos teatros en forma de herradura, 2017

Enric Casasses

the dead don’t speak, they write


gentle and giving — the rest is nonsense and treason.
kenneth patchen


 

you have to pretend you hold opinions in the same way you pretend you’re walking on the pavement—or else you get trampled on.

it’s when you cross over that you risk being trampled on.

if your brain gets trampled on, you’ll be turned into matter, but at least you’ll be 100% recyclable.

and before you were recyclable matter, what were you?

how can i put it…? a poppy with legs… a question creeping up the gnarled old family ivy…

i try to think really, really, really slowly so that i can formulate the most… most… wait for it… most obvious questions.

clueless yet to the point.

as dylan—translated, among others, by verdú—said, “i can’t even remember what it was i came here to get away from.”

i came out of a cunt. i don’t know what i was getting away from or where i was going to, but i saw right away that there were lots of us, at least three or four.

mental activity—critical or uncritical—is matter’s form of self-criticism.

and, like birds, it can scream out criticisms as easily as it can cry with joy.

to get into the launch tower at the space centre you have to go down three little steps.

saying we’re lost means or presupposes that there’s a state of not-being-lost, which is asking a lot. but it rings a bell.

when the alarm bell rings, sit down and take a deep breath.

we climb up discrete parts (steps) underpinned by a continuous base (an arch). the continuous bit offers support, but the discrete bit makes progress possible. and the whole business of breaking things up into discrete bits, quantum by quantum, what’s it all about? how far does it go on? infinitely? endlessly? can we walk on it? will it take our weight?

wise mother nature offers us wood, stone and plenty more to build a house so that we don’t have to sleep out in the windswept wilds of nature.

the vast majority of fables, tales and novels about animals are usually about people, and vice versa.

art is borderline intelligence—not the upper or lower line, but the left-hand one (or the one inside).

oxen don’t play dice.

the light of reason? from the shadows, those of us in the light can be seen; from the light, we can’t see those in the shadows. so, being reasonable means revealing yourself.

donkeys: the only ones that relish absolute power (and power is nothing if not absolute) are donkeys. not donkeys of the asinus species, but donkeys of the sapiens species or whatever else you want to call them. they think it’ll do them the world of good!

political power doesn’t have (and never has had) any authority, but it pushes—it squats down and pushes good and hard.

the little principles of uncertainty: you either cut without knowing what you’re cutting or you know what you’re cutting, but the knife won’t cut.

some thinkers are musicians; others are piano tuners.

medieval philosophy was an age of good musicians whose instruments were all out of tune—very bad-tempered claviers.

in those times of feudal councils, the great lords of europe quarrelled long and hard over the thousand-year-old question of whether that girl who found herself pregnant at her first period (which is what in aramaic slang they call a virgin birth) had been different from other girls since birth or only became special afterwards… now they discuss monetary flows with the look of deadly serious serial killers.

shitsky stuff never vanishes for good: it’s been mathematically proven that even in the “purest” spheres of mathematics there are lumps of insoluble shitsky crap you can’t get rid of (sometimes you think you’ve cleaned it off, but the next morning it’s back again), and steady trickles of shitsky gunk coming from god knows where.

i wanted to write poems, but the ideas keep blowing in.

how shall i write today, vertically or horizontally?

where shall i write today, on the page or in the air?

what notes shall i write today, wistful ones or musical ones?

what shall i write today, words or notes?

today i don’t know where to put my pen: in my hand or in my mouth.

an idea, please, i said, so as not to think about it anymore.


the neighbours’ radio
the rhythm of words
doesn’t kill what’s being said
but whips them into a frenzy
at the presenter’s whim.
for who’s foaming at the mouth,
the talk show host
or their rabid topic of the day?
their freshly whipped-up
servings of hysteria
belch out foul air
that attacks your body’s tissues
and does damage you won’t cure
with a few days in bed
yet gives you a strength
you think is power
and everything you touch
all turns to shit.


artists used to count for (and paint) far more than they do now.

they’d give you advance warning of the wreckage long before the event, but it happened all the same.

publicists, following orders, worked to produce a universal language, but it came out untranslatable and worthless. the more universal the prototype or template, the more untranslatable the individual pieces it produced.

all that suffering from poverty and war and human brutality was perfectly avoidable, but hey.

all we had to do was abolish world order and free ourselves.

in 1941, kenneth patchen defined war as follows: “it has been said that property is theft; i say that property is murder. […] your dollars become rifles: you will protect with the last drop of somebody else’s blood what was never yours.”

in the past, everyone had their own hearth, and when we got together there was nothing we couldn’t do. then we found ourselves at the mercy of the heart(h)less electricity company.

the only thing passed down to us from ancient civilisation was injustice and the squalid notion of power, which became filthier and filthier the higher up the ecumenical ladder it climbed.

thinking aloud was strictly forbidden and thinking quietly was impossible, what with all the loudspeakers thinking aloud.

what i used to enjoy, what i used to get a kick out of, what i wanted to do—damn it!—and what i liked doing, i don’t know why i’m writing this in the past, perhaps because it sounds like a story from the past or a tale, but what i was saying was what i enjoy, what i get a kick out of, what i want to do—damn it!—and what i like doing…

the manifest sheer ignorance of everything we display, is it ours or the things’?


humans and no
life has no
visible basis
yet doesn’t worry about it,
only we do.


dear diary: the water still gushes from the fountain, but there are storm clouds gathering over the big mountain and they’re getting closer, they’ll soon be here, and the gushing fountain won’t be heard when it hits.


pre-lesson of history
of all the things
made with art in this world
such as tables brushes mills
pans waltzes sheets sermons
riddles brace-and-bits
dice bicycles kettledrums buttons
the oldest—older than the oldest
paths—are songs.


when we were young, our father (who wasn’t so young) would sometimes tell us jokes in the style of the theatre of the absurd, such as the one about the hapless gang of burglars who had no sooner broken into a house than they heard the owners coming home, and just as they were getting out as fast as they could through the back door, one of the burglars quickly grabbed something on his way out: it was a hole. they dragged it over to the car, tied it to the roof rack and sped off. but as they were coming up to the first turning, a car suddenly cut in front of them and they had to brake so sharply that they came to a shuddering halt and the hole shot off the roof and onto the road. and when they started up again, before they knew it they’d fallen right into it.

thinking about it now, i can see that this joke is, in fact, a parable about the relationship between philos’phy and real’ty (the car that cuts in front of them), or rather about the relationship between thought and the car that cuts in front of them, which cuts in front of them and makes the poor, hapless burglars brake sharply. there are three things going on here: thought, shout and cock-a-doodle-doo. the thought is the poorly planned burglary. the shout comes when they slam on the brakes as they hit real’ty. and the rest… cock-a-doodle-doo… the rest goes down the hole. perhaps i should clarify that i’m using the word ‘shout’ in this series of three in the sense of a sudden loud cry expressed in words, or mostly in words. because when they see the car cutting in front of them, maybe the front-seat passenger shouts “watch ooouuut!” to the driver, and one of the back-seat passengers wails “oh nooo!” these aren’t animal noises, they’re cries shaped with the intonation, intention and intensity, for example, of the driver sharply yelling “lunatic!” as he slams his foot on the brakes. the really animal thing, or the really animal attempt at speech, takes place more in the background and doesn’t happen until they start up again and tumble into the hole, cock-a-doodle-doo, and after that nothing more is ever heard of the burglars again. when man looks to animals and takes on their nature, though, he doesn’t crow like a cockerel, he mimics it in words: doo and cock-a-doodle-doo.

and a flower thinks it’s for itself.

(the entry for the word ’shout’ in joan coromines’ etymological catalan dictionary says that joanot martorell’s chivalric romance tirant lo blanc contains “examples of its three main meanings: ‘a cry of alarm’, ‘a fearful wail’, and ‘an angry yell’”, which are exactly the three we’ve just seen.)

we were looking for water and we struck oil.

Guillermo Kuitca


Guillermo Kuitca (Buenos Aires, 1961) is a widely-recognized Argentine artist. His paintings, featuring maps and architectural plans as a recurring theme, have been shown since the 1980s in the world’s most prestigious museums: MALBA (Buenos Aires), MoMA (New York), IVAM (Valencia), the Museo Rufino Tamayo (Mexico City), the Whitechapel Art Gallery (London), the Hirshhorn Museum (Washington), the Walker Art Center (Minneapolis), the Miami Art Museum (Miami), Fondation Cartier (Paris) and MNCARS (Madrid), amongst many others. His work has also been exhibited at the 18th Bienal de São Paulo, documenta IX in Kassel and the 52nd Venice Biennale. Further to this, Kuitca has designed a number of sets for theatrical productions.

Enric Casasses


Enric Casasses i Figueres (Barcelona, 1951) is a poet, essay writer, narrator, playwright and translator. He is one of contemporary Catalan poetry’s most unique voices. He began to publish in the 1970s, beginning with La bragueta encallada (1972), which was followed by La cosa aquella (1982). It was not until the new edition of La cosa aquella in 1992, that his broadly conceived poetic practice began to be translated into various languages, with frequent new publications: Tots a casa al carrer (1992), No hi érem (1993), Començament dels començaments i ocasió de les ocasions (1994), Desfà els grumolls (1994), Calç (1996), Uh (1997), D'equivocar-se així (1997), De la nota del preu del sopar del mosso (1998), Coltells (1998), Plaça Raspall (1998), Canaris fosforescents (2001), Que dormim? (2002), Bes nagana (2011), Diari d'Escània i Univers endins (2013) and T’hi sé (2013). Mention should also be made of the short stories in El poble del costat (1993) and the theatrical plays Do’m (2003) and Monòleg del perdó (2004). A tireless reciter of his own work and a recognized poet, he has also done concerts and recordings of his own literary production, both with music and without.