Ana Valdés | 12 Mar 21:57 2012


Dear Nettimers: I am moderating this month in -empyre and I know many of
you are subscribed also to both lists. Since we are often discussing
tangent topics I wonder if I can encourage you to participate in this
month's discussion.

These two posts were written by two very dear friends to me, two Uruguayan
writers. I should love to see some of you contributing to this discussion


 Dear all, I am Alicia Migdal, Uruguayan writer, film and literary critic.
I work as academic dean of the Theater School Margarita Xirgu, managed by
the Montevideo?s municipality. I am a friend to Ana since many years and
thank to what I call her tireless ?mental activism?, which act upon all us
in a viral way J, I am here and allow myself a literary sidepath.Estimados

Loneliness is always a urbane situation. For us being congenital urbane is
not thinkable as a subjective situation the loneliness of peopoe living in
not urban places.
I am remembering the short story ?Wakefield?, written by Nathaniel
Hawthorne. I associate it always with the short story ?Bartleby?, written
by Herman Melville, quoted here by Ricardso Dominguez here the other day.
And Kafka?s Gregor Samsa, the clerk becoming an insect looking at the
lights of the city from his room. All of them represent urban situations
impossible to think upon outside the polis.

All of those has always being associated for me with ?The Man of the
Crowd?, a short story written by Edgar Allan Poe quoted by Walter Benjamin
connecting him with Charles Baudelaire and his condition of ?flaneur?.

In this literary triangle the common denominator is the city and it?s
anonymity. The famous poem of Baudelaire ?A une passante? put in scene the
shock of the ephemerous image:  a man was struck at the fugitive image of a
woman passing in front his eyes and losing herself in the crowd. She was
impossible to find and all possible relation between the poet and the
woman, bound to be mysterious and furtive.

Benjamin analyzed in detail in his essays on Baudelaie the new role of the
urban grid represented by Paris as capital of the 19th century. He
dedicated his book ?The Arcades Project? to Paris and it?s life. He studied
the passages, galleries, the inside and the outside implicated by the new
architectonic conceptions of social life.

There is a short story by Julio Cort?zar, ?The Other Sky?, describing it
around the Gallery Vivienne in Paris. Galerie Vivienne de Par?s y and
Pasaje G?emes in Buenos Aires, where the times and the characters merge and
the count of Lautreamond and a serial killer live simultaneusly.
By the way the serial killers go from city to city, at least the most
famous, or make it?s own map in the urban wave where they live, as showed
in the film ?Zodiac?.

And in other analyze Fredric Jameson has investigated the disjunction
between the self and the constructed space starting on Hotel Bonaventure in
his essay on capitalism?s late postcultural logic.

But I continue on other day.

 Dear all,
I am Sabela de Tezanos. Is a pleasure to greet you and intervene in this
forum at the invitation of Ana Luisa, whom I thank again taking into
account my perspective, in which intersect, in unstable doses, my training
in philosophy (licensed by the Faculty of Humanities and Sciences of
education, UdelaR), my work as a teacher (Department of Psychology,
Montevideo) and cultural production (I am a member of the staff of the MAPI
- Museum of pre-Columbian art and indigenous) in  Montevideo and my writing.
Every city has a skin. Its appearance is multiple and mobile, and it's
mobility relates to the socio-cultural context in space and time.
The factors affecting this skin are innumerable, and referred both to the
architectural physiognomy and recent history; to the fast changes that this
"skin" is exposed (technology, communication, globalization, etc.) and
currently to trends imposed by social movements in the world.
Montevideo is the capital of a small country, with a population of
approximately 3,500,000 inhabitants. It's status of peripheric cit is
intermittently reflected in successive urban images.
As Montevideo born and resident, I have lived in different neighborhoods of
the city. My perception, as their climates and peculiarities, have changed
over time.
I can recognize signs of response to these changes, the resistance and
ability of the community to deal with "progress", with political movements,
to fashions.
There are metaphors, reading between lines,  manifestos or
absent-mindedness, giving rhythm to what, in the words of the Paraguayan
critic and current Minister of culture of his country, Ticio Escobar,
called "social skin". He refers to body painting and ornaments of different
indigenous Latin American tribes, they reflect hierarchies, status,
membership, practices, beliefs, traditions.
I must also quote the Mexican muralist Felipe Ehrenberg: visiting
Montevideo (2009) on the occasion of the completion of a work on the walls
of the city, his lecture was titled "The skin of the cities."

At the beginning of this exchange we can transfer the concepts of "the skin
of the city" to the "social skin". We see the urban appereance, the walls
and their graphic tags, how the walls are, how much is recycled, the
simultaneous convivence of large gentrified buildings with squatted places
and forgotten areas. I am going to enlarge these concepts as to individuals
needing express belonging, of being identified and classified, to being
looked at or to  be invisible in a context where everyone is seen as
I am in a next post to write about the tatoo as extended practice and goes
through all social layers and challenge all those age groups and becames a
"tag" of this time.



mobil/cell +4670-3213370

"When once you have tasted flight, you will forever walk the earth with
your eyes turned skyward, for there you have been and there you will always
long to return.
? Leonardo da Vinci