Amanda Barnes looks at a new literature concept born in Mendoza city.
Let’s be honest, when was the last time you sat down and read a book? When you were last stuck on holiday with the in-laws? But you probably saw a film last week, right? For the majority of us, reading just doesn’t cut it anymore.
An author from Mendoza has taken reading to another level – taking it beyond just words and into a multi-sensorial experience. Gabriela Nafissi, a psychoanalyst and bookworm, started writing short stories and asked some artist friends to collaborate in intensifying the experience and create stratums beyond words.
“It was clear for me that the book had to be audio-visual from the very beginning and to start inviting artists to read my tales and create and reincarnate them in other languages, materials and souls,” explains Gabriela. First came the music by Andrés Ceccarelli, then the drawings, sculptures and pictures with Guillermo Rigattieri, which in turn were made into a video by Ramiro Navarro. The book comes complete with text, music, pictures of sculptures, moving image and even a specially made wine, all forming part of the artistic collaboration extrapolated from the original tales.
Take the first tale as a perfect example of this multi-layered montage: a dark tale about the Esrians – mystical creatures with a third eye that live a life of agony deeply raveled in a multifarious love. It’s a dark, fantasy tale with lava and poetry and gets more complex as the absorbing sound track plays along and the brooding Cabernet Franc wine starts to unfold its layers.
Some of the stories are completely wild and original, whereas others appear to be a gentle nod to other great story tellers like Borges and Beckett – perhaps intentional or perhaps part of a great collective memory of literature. The Corner of the Four Winds, for example, is a witty take on someone being trapped in Borges’ Aleph.
This rebirth of stories and versions is within the nature of Reencarnaciones – continuous reinterpretations. Indeed readers are encouraged to make their own artistic interpretations, resulting in a flurry of artwork from local amateurs and professionals. “I thought why don´t we let people, especially readers, make also their experience with tales?” comments Gabriela. “Making a kind of collective tissue seems to me special because it gives the possibility to everyone to invent or express themselves in an artistic way.” The touring exhibition of Reencarnaciones has hosted interpretations of the stories through dance, theatre, live art and – for those who prefer reading with a cuppa – someone has even made a special tea blend for the book.
Mendoza has a great art scene, albeit underground. Reencarnaciones is a route into the artistic interaction in Mendoza, and soon it will surely transcend Argentina and move more global as the digital version gets translated. This concept of fetishizing the experience of reading could just be what it takes to bring books back into mainframe.
Reencarnaciones is available at: Libereria Yenny, San Martin 1087/93; Yenny Palmares, Panamericana 2650; Yenny Mendoza Plaza Shopping; Cosset Galeria de Arte, Aristides 537; Mi libreria de Rosita Zingaretti, Espana (Eusebio Blanco y Coronol Plaza); or order for home delivery firstname.lastname@example.org Or visit www.facebook.com/Reencarnaciones