Curatoria Forense – Latinoamérica

Ulysses or some reasons for nomadism

Jul 23rd 2012

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You will have understood what these Ithakas mean.
Ithaka by Constantine Kavafis.

This article is part of the reports
LINK&EXCHANGE tour – June to July 2012

[versión en español]

Ulysses was an idiot sailor. During his whole life, he was lost in a sea that, now and for us, is a small sea. His journey is just another anecdote of an ordinary person. A story destined to oblivion, defeated by the indistinctness of daily life. Alea jacta est.

But his life is a matter of literature. He was a sailor who organized and exceeded the lives of the sailors of his time; and that also organizes and exceeds our lives because his story -tragic in its stubbornness and ridiculous in its useless efforts- established cultural parameters even for those who forgot or never knew his name.

Because behind each name and each word is hidden the entire organization of the world. There are no simple problems, but distracted relations. Ignoring this is a way of corroborating it. Invoking it does not conjure it. By actioning it we come to know the conditions that made us subjects. That is not little.

And, as in art, names and things have the value of the question that interrogates them. Everything is hidden to those who look with contentment. The power (to do) is mechanic when exercised always on the same object. And in times of automatons, it is necessary to demonstrate that we are humans.

The Greeks invented the world, joked Rodrigo Petkovic, and left the problem to us. Their ability to hunt signs; to hypothesize the present, to distrust the obvious is what we call culture. That terrible exercise of feeling like the otherness, makes it possible. It is this vulnerability that triggers the complexity of the world before us.

Or perhaps Ulysses is Columbus who was looking for one thing and found a bigger one. Or perhaps Ulysses is the initial surprise of those ones who land at the index of the otherness, of the incomprehensible, what lurks behind the orders that we have built for our own safety and our benefit. Because halting is a way of withdrawing.

Or maybe because Ulysses is the Caribes who, more than a tribe, were a system of relationships and exchanges, travels and settlements in which they assumed as their own the codes of others, different groups contaminating each other with their languages and customs, forced to the exogamy that requires kinship and inheritance to political negotiations where the body is an object of desire and strategy.

Or simply because travelling is dealing against oneself, being put to test, knowing that we are fragile and provisional. Because travelling is -perhaps- looking for accomplices for even riskier trips, more uncertain and unpredictable; as well as facing the demons which educated us to settle down and to avoid doubts, to silence suspicions.

Because everyone has his/her own Ulysses. Because each one of them is indivisible from our decisions, because each of them is statistically probable and sometimes we just only carry them through.

Because the many banal, intrepid and rationalist Ulysses deal with the same basic problem and they solve it within an expected range, but every time with inaugural answers.

As Joyce’s Ulysses with its words drift -insignificant and signifying- that is almost motionless. A trip is to know that what we imagine can be possible in unthinkable conditions. Travelling is adjusting understanding and will, forcing them in their abilities, overextend them.

Travelling is the act of abandoning yourself in the port and allowing the desire to return a bit more you, a bit more another one.


Jorge Sepúlveda T.
Independient Curator
Ilze Petroni
Art Researcher

Traducción: Ilze Petroni. Corrigió la traducción: Azucena Lozana

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Curatoría Forense - Latinoamérica es un grupo de trabajo en arte contemporáneo que desde el año 2005 realiza investigación sobre modelos de trabajo y asociatividad, asesora instituciones y produce exposiciones, encuentros, residencias de arte y colabora con gestiones autónomas locales en Centro y Sudamérica.

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