Bien dicho, Dierk

Europa nece­sita un cam­bio de polí­tica. Debe dete­nerse la polí­tica de aus­te­ri­dad, eco­nó­mica y social­mente des­truc­tiva. En su lugar nece­si­ta­mos inver­sio­nes de futuro en edu­ca­ción, salud, pro­tec­ción al clima e infra­es­truc­tu­ras —un Plan Mars­hall—, así como un pro­grama inme­diato con­tra el des­em­pleo juve­nil. Para poder finan­ciar todo esto es nece­sa­rio aumen­tar la pre­sión fis­cal sobre las gran­des ren­tas y for­tu­nas en toda Europa. Solo una Europa social tiene futuro.

El artículo de opi­nión com­pleto en El País

urban.outcast.festival @ Calatayud

[ATENCIÓN: CANCELADO. UN POCO COMO EL PAÍS ENTERO.]
urban.outcast.festival es una idea ori­gi­nal desa­rro­llada y orga­ni­zada porG///bang urban.prospection.network; la acti­vi­dad está incluida en los obje­ti­vos del con­ve­nio marco de cola­bo­ra­ción fir­mado por la Uni­ver­si­dad de Zara­goza, el Excmo Ayun­ta­miento de Cala­ta­yud y urban.prospection.network.
urban.outcast.festival es un curso de verano con for­mato fes­ti­val, a cele­brar en Cala­ta­yud (Zara­goza) entre los días 15 y 19 de julio de 2013. El fes­ti­val está basado en la rea­li­za­ción colec­tiva y par­ti­ci­pa­tiva de pro­yec­tos de crea­ción: micro-urbanismo, inter­ven­ción y recu­pe­ra­ción del espa­cio público, crea­ción cine­ma­to­grá­fica alter­na­tiva y acti­vi­da­des cul­tu­ra­les y socia­les relacionadas.
La inter­ven­ción urbana, el cine y la música entran en la ciu­dad y pro­vo­can “the attack of the public space”, de forma ines­pe­rada y con con­cep­tos cla­ves com­par­ti­dos que res­pon­den a las preo­cu­pa­cio­nes actua­les de la socie­dad: la reac­ti­va­ción del espa­cio público a tra­vés de inter­ven­cio­nes de bajo coste que impli­can direc­ta­mente al ciudadano.
urban.prospection.network plan­tea la uti­li­za­ción de mate­ria­les y acto­res loca­les para gene­rar empleo e incre­men­tar los pro­ce­sos de par­ti­ci­pa­ción “loca­les” pre­sen­tes desde la con­cep­ción hasta su rea­li­za­ción. El Curso de Verano es una pla­ta­forma donde la crea­ti­vi­dad se mani­fiesta tanto en los resul­ta­dos como en los méto­dos de tra­bajo, donde la inno­va­ción afecta tanto a los pro­ce­sos como a las estra­te­gias y donde la crea­ción reivin­dica el desa­rro­llo sos­te­ni­ble de las ciudades.
Con el dis­curso y la refle­xión teó­rica, la idea ‘sos­te­ni­bi­li­dad’ se debe trans­mi­tir fun­da­men­tal­mente con la acción, demos­trando con la prác­tica qué quiere decir sos­te­ni­bi­li­dad en los ámbi­tos empre­sa­rial, urbano, acti­vismo social, acti­vismo cul­tu­ral, etc.
PROGRAMA RESUMIDO  
Durante 5 días se desa­rro­lla­rán sesio­nes teó­ri­cas, por la mañana, dedi­ca­das al desa­rro­llo de pro­pues­tas, a la pre­sen­ta­ción de expe­rien­cias y al debate (encuen­tros mul­ti­dis­ci­pli­na­res, con­fe­ren­cias, mues­tras retros­pec­ti­vas con pre­sen­cia del autor/realizador y mesas redon­das); las sesio­nes prác­ti­cas se orga­ni­za­rán por la tarde.
La pri­mera mesa redonda plan­teará los con­cep­tos cla­ves del curso y defi­nirá las estrategias.
Las tar­des se com­ple­ta­rán con la rea­li­za­ción de acti­vi­da­des crea­ti­vas para recu­pe­rar el espa­cio público, se desa­rro­lla­rán inter­ven­cio­nes urba­nas, cine­ma­to­grá­fi­cas y musi­ca­les. Los alum­nos matri­cu­la­dos se impli­ca­rán en la rea­li­za­ción de la pelí­cula del fes­ti­val, “Muchos Peda­zos de Algo”, bajo la direc­ción cine­ma­to­grá­fica de David Yáñez, cineasta y escri­tor, con la cola­bo­ra­ción del colec­tivo Cine sin Autor y la par­ti­ci­pa­ción de los ciudadanos.
El último día ten­drá lugar la segunda mesa redonda, retros­pec­tiva del curso, con el pro­pó­sito de eva­luar la expe­rien­cia y obte­ner las conclusiones.

A likeness of myself

In Bro­ken Images

He is quick, thin­king in clear ima­ges;
I am slow, thin­king in bro­ken ima­ges.
He beco­mes dull, trus­ting to his clear ima­ges;
I become sharp, mis­trus­ting my bro­ken images,

Trus­ting his ima­ges, he assu­mes their rele­vance;
Mis­trus­ting my ima­ges, I ques­tion their relevance.

Assu­ming their rele­vance, he assu­mes the fact,
Ques­tio­ning their rele­vance, I ques­tion the fact.

When the fact fails him, he ques­tions his sen­ses;
When the fact fails me, I approve my senses.

He con­ti­nues quick and dull in his clear ima­ges;
I con­ti­nue slow and sharp in my bro­ken images.

He in a new con­fu­sion of his unders­tan­ding;
I in a new unders­tan­ding of my confusion.

Robert Gra­ves

Mememtum: un proyecto interesante e inteligente

Decía Carlo María Cipo­lla, en “Las leyes de la estu­pi­dez humana” (está en un librito deli­cioso lla­mado Alle­gro ma non troppo) que la inte­li­gen­cia con­siste en bene­fi­ciar a otros bene­fi­cián­dote a ti mismo. Me parece que este pro­yecto es un ejem­plo de una nueva (y mejor) eco­no­mía:

mememtum_cartel_ayuda

Second assignment for Writing 2…

[… but they didn’t get it… well, I admit it was a gam­ble. We were asked to reflect on our­sel­ves as wri­ters taking into account what other stu­dents had writ­ten about them­sel­ves. And what I found all over (and I read a few) was this mix­ture of fear and pride, of being, even boas­ting of being, great readers and inse­cure wri­ters. Most of all, the ten­sion bet­ween the twin fears of revea­ling and and not mana­ging to reveal one­self, one’s self. Very well explo­red in Ralph Keyes’ The courage to write. And an addi­tio­nal layer of “I always feel inse­cure wri­ting in English” for most of us non-natives. So I took all that. Then there was a nice cul­tu­ral detail (the Folon refe­rence) that I found in one of the texts. But we were asked to be enga­ging, and use vivid details, well-placed con­cre­te­ness. OK, so I wrote away, trying to weave those the­mes into a piece of fic­tion… and got very bad assess­ment from my fellows. Ser­ves me right, I sup­pose. And that’s the final fear: will they get it? Will they like it? Well, no and no. And I don’t blame readers: it’s always one’s fault. Nobody said it would be easy.]

We spies can­not give our­sel­ves away, but neit­her can we ever avoid saying every bloody thing about us. That’s what’s scary. Lying is easy; the trick is how to really, fran­kly, hold-my-eyes not lie when lying. What if you met me at this recep­tion (awful cham­pagne, exce­llent caviar, as it’s always the case in these new Eas­tern coun­tries whose name rings no bells back home)? What if you asked me about my job or home, or my first love, and my ans­wer was hesi­tant (not out of shy­ness or pride, mind you, but the fraction-of-a-second, I-didn’t-cram-enough type)? No, we need to have lived a life, a whole, com­plete and almost real life. One you can really, sin­ce­rely regret not having had ins­tead of yours. We need to pro­vide details, and details that match. Oh, yes, dear, I went to school at St Julian’s, near Bed­ford; and if you ask me, no more evil tea­cher has roa­med the earth than Mr Mont­go­mery, who once mis­quo­ted Sha­kes­peare in class on pur­pose so that he could flunk us when exam day came. I swear to God his lips twit­ched with delight, as though fina­lly tickled by his wiry mous­ta­che, when reading out (for the first time ever) our grades.

There is a St Julian’s in Bed­ford; I have seen pic­tu­res of a drab buil­ding with stran­gely small win­dows for its Geor­gian style, and I can almost remem­ber myself pan­ting along the steep path from the dor­mi­tory to the lec­ture buil­ding in Decem­ber. I have also never been to Bed­ford, and I am gam­bling that they will not check tea­chers’ names from thirty years ago. They might, though. That’s the edge, and it’s you that will bleed: just don’t give them a reason to check too tho­roughly. They call it “sus­pen­sion of dis­be­lief” in drama, and in inte­lli­gence you rely on it for your life about ten times a minute.

You can­not think of all that on the spot, of course. So we are told to write down a full bio­graphy in advance, to ima­gine vividly things that never hap­pe­ned, and have them at the ready in our minds. “You can­not stum­ble upon your cousin’s first name, Rogers!” Leh­man, the ins­truc­tor, never relen­ted on this. “Rogers, if you your­self can tell the dif­fe­rence bet­ween your lie and the truth, you’re not being good enough, and you’re put­ting the coun­try in harm’s way”. Well, I didn’t believe him, and I should have.

So we are cons­tantly in fear of saying too much, or too little. We may blame it on lan­guage, or ski­lls, but it’s really about how you deal with your false self until it feels truer than the one you used to be. And then add a layer of lin­guis­tic apprehen­sion: are we really bilin­gual? I mean, what do you mean by that? Lan­guage is not a means of expres­sing somet­hing else, a canal that lets water through, it is the reser­voir itself. “When you’re that beau­ti­ful men surround you like Folon’s men!”, she had quip­ped when the recep­tion was almost through, and it was my tes­ting time. Pas­sing or flun­king for this self-professed jour­na­list, whose job cre­den­tials che­cked out a shade too qui­ckly, too fla­wlessly. She was inte­lli­gence, I was pretty sure of that, and a good one. And those cre­den­tials had me French through and through, so if that Folon thing was a refe­rence that any French per­son my age was sure to get, and I didn’t, it was I that was sure to be got. Per­haps someone coming behind me when you open your car, sin­king his fin­gers in the back of your arm just pain­fu­lly enough to show he means busi­ness. “Please, Mon­sieur Lafo­rêt, come with me back inside”.

Folon’s men. Christ. She was loo­king at me like foxes must do when they see the rab­bit they pur­sue limp: even with a hint of disap­point­ment for too easy a meal. Was that a high-brow thing I could hum­bly cop out? “Oh, is that a new aut­hor?”, with a fake anxiety hope­fu­lly cove­ring my true anxious­ness. Folon’s men. “Yes, exce­llent French, Rogers, but is your life French? Or rat­her, has it been?” Were Lehman’s lips also twit­ching that day at the Rio Verde faci­lity in Texas? But he was right, my life had not been French enough, alt­hough my mot­her had cer­tainly been too French for my native Iowa’s taste. You fear what you say as much as what you can’t say. Being rai­sed in a coun­try means a lot of tell­tale signs for the trai­ned ear: cer­tain types of bad food every­body loves for some reason, and things you’d never do in sex and things you always do, and super­mar­kets that used to have a kind of ring in their cas­hing machi­nes that all recog­nize, TV series whose main characters…

TV. Sum­mer time in Reims, with Nana. Sum­mer nights…

Ha, yes, that little ani­ma­tion at the end of day in Antenne 2. They loo­ked like angels as pain­ted by Magritte, right? Both Bel­gian and melan­choly… the music, too”.

In her lips, a fake smile. But no twitching.

Live to see anot­her day, wri­ter. I mean, spy.

 

 

My first assignment for my Coursera Writing Rhetorically course

I don’t like being wrong. I am also not used to being wrong: I usua­lly get things qui­ckly and (you may smile wryly at this, but you can take my word for it… it’s all you’ll have) almost always correctly. It is part of my stance, of my bea­rings in the world: kno­wing things, being right about things, makes up a lot of the value I assign to myself. I can do a lot of things, wis­dom­wise. I almost wrote that I can do a lot of tri­cks: here, toss me a ques­tion and I’ll jump higher than the rest to ans­wer it. Yes, I have read it, or remem­ber it; I can quote the aut­hor, and pro­nounce her name close to the real thing; I can speak the lan­guage, or (if it’s English) fake it very well. Even in every­day mat­ters I can decode how applian­ces, soft­ware and tax returns work. Just give me time and the boo­klet with the ins­truc­tions.
That’s why wri­ting is so hard for me.
You pro­ba­bly guess where I am going with this. Wri­ting is a blind jour­ney, you see. Per­haps not com­ple­tely blind, but cer­tainly seriously astig­ma­tic and myo­pic. For one thing (and this is emp­ha­si­zed in this course, for good­ness’ sake), you don’t really ever know if it’s going to work. There is, we’re told, such a thing as an audience. Yes, the thea­tri­cal metap­hor works too well; but let’s walk through its bone-chilling dimen­sions. We write, we sub­mit (what an omi­nous word) the text. We walk slo­wly, with fear-frozen lungs and cram­ped legs, onto the bare stage. And there they are: the audience, the mas­ters, the reason you’re here… but they are bla­ck­ness. There is a kind of silence that speaks of cruel smi­les and dis­dain­fu­lly cur­ling lips begin­ning to form. You are hope­lessly blin­ded by the lights, you’re high­ligh­ted, like a gram­mar mis­take in sha­me­ful fluo­res­cent mar­ker; you’re expo­sed, and may I remind you that you may die of expo­sure. You are wat­ched, and now, by all means, go ahead and try to please them, try to show them you know your text, the one that you your­self wrote expres­sing clum­sily what you feel, think, believe or hope. Just give us your soul, qui­ckly, and we’ll see if it works for us. The words you lear­ned by heart (but already fear you for­got), and that are, in fact, you, an exten­sion of you, con­nec­ted to you by ves­sels and raw ner­ves. Just give them the words, and they will give you theirs, like whips: clo­ying, pre­ten­tious, mis­gui­ded, boo­kish, plod­ding… if they are kind. If they are not, if you fai­led before you star­ted, they won’t ever notice you came onto the stage in the first place. But you won’t have a clue. To take some pres­sure of you, dear, just keep in mind you won’t have anot­her chance.
My whole being writ­hes in fear at this image. And yet this is who I am. I am a wri­ter. Just a cowardly one, one who won’t write. So I am not a wri­ter.
What’s kee­ping me? You see, I think I know the trick (ma’am, I do, I know, ask me!), I’ve read about it more than is healthy. All you have to do is play the belie­ving game for a while, they say. Write a first draft, no mat­ter how clumsy, no mat­ter how pat­he­tic. Hide it while it grows from the inner cri­tic long enough, and then it will be too late for him to stomp it out of exis­tence before it exists. It will then be his chance to prove he can really find the flaws, and move the para­graphs around, and dis­card the sen­ten­ces, and yes, omit need­less words (ha! but which are they?). So?
So here is my secret hope: that this time I’ll be wit­ness to the magic, and won’t for­get it. I’ll write in fear, and edit ear­nestly, with an honest frown, and then begin to feel the absurd hope that I can do this again, that those wai­ting and wat­ching in the dark will not des­pise me, that they will be, in spite of them­sel­ves, enth­ra­lled or intri­gued or in any other way com­pe­lled by my arran­ge­ment of word and phra­ses to read on and at the end, per­haps, smile.
That was a per­fect ending, and I should have grab­bed it. But there is one more thing I need to say, and wit­hout it the story, the roots of the fear of wri­ting, will not be drawn, and this exor­cism may not work.

I am a reader. In fact, if this were truly a story, it would start when I was four and I read the Odis­sey. Seriously. Why would I lie to you? To make my false life mesh with the jour­ney theme of the assig­ment? No, I won’t lie to you if it’s about reading. You don’t lie about the sacred. Yes, I read the Odis­sey when I was four, and ten years later I was still in the library, reading everyt­hing and spea­king to no one if I could help it. There were enough words in my books, and they were bet­ter words.
So, if I came to define myself, this I would say: I read. When I am angry at ever­yone, I pic­ture myself in some kind of mon­kish dor­mi­tory, and I am in bed, surroun­ded (defen­ded?) by towers of books (my Kindle hasn’t achie­ved sym­bo­lic sta­ture), and I read and my heart is con­tent. And there, in reading peace, I don’t even hate myself. So when I say I am a reader, think more of a spe­cies being clas­si­fied than an acti­vity being des­cri­bed.
And that is also why I can’t write.
Because I know how the song should sound when the song is beau­ti­ful, I can­not (I will not) sing with this poor voice. Because I know what the words can do when the words are worthy, when they make you trem­ble in both pain and awe, when they keep you awake because a new world was made to exist out of not­hing, and given as a gift to you if only you keep reading, I look at these words and I have to sti­fle over and over the desire to crum­ble the page (again, our sym­bols and lite­rary ima­ges haven’t kept up with the times: will you accept “select all-delete” ins­tead?).
So what?
So show me. Show me how I can write somet­hing resem­bling what I read and admire and breath. Tell me how to choose among the mad­de­nin­gly end­less pos­si­bi­li­ties at the start of the blank page and the blin­king cur­sor. Will you take my hand and guide me in this jour­ney?
You see, I’m blind.

De métodos pedagógicos y arquitecturas sin criterios

Qui­siera poner pala­bras a una intui­ción que me ha acom­pa­ñado desde que empecé a asis­tir a cla­ses, talle­res y sesio­nes en escue­las de arqui­tec­tura. La idea es bas­tante sim­ple: sin haber tomado nece­sa­ria­mente nin­guna deci­sión peda­gó­gica cons­ciente, los pro­fe­so­res de las asig­na­tu­ras de pro­yec­tos arqui­tec­tó­ni­cos están poniendo en prác­tica gran parte de las pro­pues­tas peda­gó­gi­cas más intere­san­tes del último siglo. Pre­ci­sa­mente por ello, resulta más des­co­ra­zo­na­dor que su falta de refle­xión peda­gó­gica, entre otros fac­to­res, con­duzca a resul­ta­dos muy pobres, e incluso nega­ti­vos (luego diré qué quiero decir con este “des­apren­di­zaje”), entre los estu­dian­tes de arqui­tec­tura. Con­ti­nue reading

Me preocupa tanto X”, dijo la ambientóloga, “pero no se me ocurre qué hacer”

Donde X forma parte del siguiente con­junto: cam­bio cli­má­tico, defo­res­ta­ción, desa­pa­ri­ción de espe­cies, peak oilpeak everyt­hing, espe­cies inva­si­vas, cri­sis ali­men­ta­ria, aci­di­fi­ca­ción oceá­nica, zonas muer­tas en la desem­bo­ca­dura de los ríos, agu­jero de ozono, llu­via ácida, ries­gos a escala glo­bal (pan­de­mias, geo­in­ge­nie­ría), aumento bru­tal de la desigual­dad, des­man­te­la­miento del Estado del Bie­nes­tar, des­es­ta­bi­li­za­ción de los ciclos del nitró­geno y el fós­foro, cri­sis del agua, con­ta­mi­na­ción por com­pues­tos quí­mi­cos como los dis­rup­to­res endo­cri­nos, pér­dida de la diver­si­dad cul­tu­ral y lin­güís­tica, some­ti­miento de la vida a las cor­po­ra­cio­nes (inclui­das las paten­tes), etcétera.

Ya, pero ¿qué se puede hacer? Pues mire lo que ha reco­pi­lado Gene Sharp (“La lucha polí­tica no-violenta: cri­te­rio y méto­dos”, vía este artículo del impres­cin­di­ble Café Stei­ner):

For­mas de acción no violenta.

Decla­ra­cio­nes formales

1. Alo­cu­cio­nes públi­cas
2. Car­tas de rechazo o de apoyo
3. Decla­ra­cio­nes por parte de orga­ni­za­cio­nes e ins­ti­tu­cio­nes (decla­ra­ción de los sacer­do­tes en la Fran­cia de Vichy con­tra la depor­ta­ción de judíos)
4. Decla­ra­cio­nes públi­cas fir­ma­das
5. Decla­ra­cio­nes de acu­sa­ción y de reve­la­ción de inten­cio­nes
6. Peti­cio­nes en grupo o en masa

Comu­ni­ca­ción diri­gida a públi­cos más amplios
7. Esló­ga­nes, cari­ca­tu­ras y sím­bo­los (grupo judío Baum en Ber­lín, 1941–42)
8. Ban­de­ras, car­te­les y otros medios de comu­ni­ca­ción visual
9. Octa­vi­llas, folle­tos y libros
10. Perió­di­cos y revis­tas
11. Gra­ba­cio­nes, radio y tele­vi­sión
12. Escri­tura aérea y terres­tre Con­ti­nue reading