In Black and White

Saturday, July 16th, 2011

Marta Traba in Black and White – the third publication from Murmur, released today – is a translation from the Spanish to the English of selected passages from an essay by Nicolás Gómez Echeverri. His text examines the 1950s-era Colombian television programs produced by the influential South American art critic and historian Marta Traba. The selected and translated passages are depictions of the encounters with the images that inspired Gómez Echeverri’s investigation into Marta Traba, reorganized and interspersed here with factual research he collected on her television programs. The essay’s accompanying illustrations, one pictured above, are by Gómez Echeverri himself. You may download at no cost a PDF of Marta Traba in Black and White:

I first came across Gómez Echeverri’s research project on Traba at the exhibition 41 Salón Nacional de Artistas in Colombia, where it was presented as an art installation. The edition of that national, biennial-like exhibition had taken place in 2008–2009 in the city of Cali. Curated by Victoria Noorthoorn and a team of local artists – Wilson Díaz, Jose Horacio Martínez, Oscar Muñoz and Bernando Ortíz – the exhibition introduced me not only to Gómez Echeverri, but to a number of artists, artworks and curatorial issues that I still think about today. Not surprisingly, the exhibition had a huge impact in the local art scene in general, raising controversy about the exclusiveness of a curatorial voice, and provincial anxieties by the international participation in a traditionally regional exhibition. Such tensions are not particular to one single art scene, but to every cultural context in the face of globalization.

Murmur is an independent curatorial initiative that I am developing intuitively and quite apart from my institutional work.

In a valley of sugar cane

Monday, February 2nd, 2009

The windows quaked. Car alarms triggered. My heartbeat rises, and body shivers. The image on TV has suddenly changed to snow. I’m in the equatorial zone, and assume the roar is thunder announcing the start of a tropical storm. But now the sound is not of wind but of helicopter wings. I peek out and see. The clouds are made of smoke.

That thing I heard was a rumble from a bomb. There’s a building crumbled to the ground.

I am only in the fourth floor. I think. Blink. I chose to take the stairs. And there we are, the only handful of its guests of this almost empty hundreds-room hotel. Just there, standing in a high-ceiling lobby furnished in the fifties clinging to its forgotten grandeur with nostalgia. Us, in a rundown-downtown, now with chaos all around.

Earlier at the airport, I thought I’d missed the flight. Far from sweet is this evening in the valley of sugar cane.

Image: Pasado mañana (2008) by Judi Werthein, installation view at “Urgente! 41 Salon Nacional de Artistas” in Cali, Colombia.