While, in terms of explicit thematic offerings and direct censorship, Castro maintains that Uriburu impacted three seasons of theater in Buenos Aires 44 , the combination of direct censorship, violent repression, and self-censorship had repercussions on popular theater throughout the s—particularly because the police practices of torturing political dissidents, instituted under Uriburu, remained widespread throughout the Justo regime and beyond Kalmanowiecki Perhaps it is because, as Sarlo wrote:.
Barletta y el Teatro del Pueblo [ As a mediating interpretive regime, the Teatro del Pueblo functioned both onstage and backstage as a mixture of radical cooperativism and authoritarianism. All scenery, lighting, cleaning and costuming was to be done by everybody. While the tendency to see art in the service of a greater political good is not particularly unique, as it manifested at the Teatro del Pueblo in s Buenos Aires, the case of El fabricante and, by extension, the case of its author merit special attention because of how Arlt has been narrated in Argentine national literary history as a leftist, working class, Boedo writer whose limited theatrical success was due to—alternately—upper-class snobbery or nationalist state and cultural forces coupled under the military dictatorship.
And this of course was the imaginary possibility of sketching a total man fragmented by a mutilated culture]. Its theatrical reality was mutilated precisely where the Teatro del Pueblo, as mediating interpretive regime, sought clarity: in transparent communication, in political propaganda, and in the didacticism of art.
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Newspaper critics at the time primarily concerned themselves with revealing the way the play copied its theme or plot from different European sources. Both rooms, with two large, open windows, allow views of chimneys and rooftops of the city] Arlt, El fabricante Through relentless metafiction and Socratic dialogue, the audience realizes that the main character, Pedro, himself a dramatist, is seeing the ghosts of his own imagination materialize, which correspond to characters in both El fabricante de fantasmas and different works by Arlt. Later on, the stage directions will specify the helpful addition of an invisible plane on which these characters will walk through the air so that the audience will realize they are metatheatrical ghosts Arlt, El fabricante ; Clearly, the special effects stipulated would have been inconceivable at the Teatro del Pueblo.
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While several scholarly studies have proposed that the multiple fluid realities are characteristic of an Arltian metatheater, based on the interplay of more than one level of reality Russi 65; Castagnino in Russi 65; Roster ; none of these readings addresses the question of the literal invisible planes on which the ghosts were to walk or of how such a thing was staged. The dramatic present—the reality within the play—is unreal. In this way, El fabricante de fantasmas is the point where Arlt both gets closest to the epic theater of Bertolt Brecht in the use of certain techniques and farthest from it in his resolute anti-didacticism and anti- mensajismo.
Its message turns back on itself and remits to the process of writing as a self-referential immanence without a transcendent meaning. There is thus no plot separate from the artistic process, no theater that can be distilled from the metatheatrical. There is no didacticism, but rather an anti-didacticism provoking an unlearning of referentiality. This could be seen as a mad negative dialectics whereby the audience understands that its own analytic skills can only be used to contribute to the proliferation of further planes of unreality, and not to resolve or interpret them.
As Pedro pontificates to his ghosts about the stupidity of theater audiences—the very scene that, as we have seen, has been read as satirizing popular theater, commercial theater—he then rushes to transcribe the sexually charged scene his ghosts enact before his eyes.
Furthermore, as Pedro writes onstage, rooms improbably materialize as needed, without having been specified in any stage directions, and Rube Goldberg-like coincidences unfold. As she fixes it, Pedro demands to know whether she is still stubbornly refusing him sex until he finds a job.
He spies brusquely. He pushes the woman toward the void. She falls dragging the curtain] Pedro impulsively kills his wife. He is constituted by this action at the apex of Act One, but there is no effort to explain it or to reconcile it with his character. The audience sees that as a result of the murder Pedro lives out the fiction he has been writing, thus substituting for his own character, the Substitute.
They only materialize as Pedro is acting with them. The meta-playwright, Pedro, thus seems to have a kind of paradoxical, latchkey autonomy within the main play, whereby what he writes in the meta-play comes true but he seems to will the necessary props into existence.
The Conscience with no conscience is thus another paradoxical, anti-didactic figure. Rather, he argues, he has a personified conscience divided from himself, which is less conscientious than he is.
Thus the mechanism of the divided conscience, rather than either revealing something about Pedro as a dramatic character or about society in general, loops back on itself. This throws Pedro into a crisis. Eventually, they drive him to reenact his crime, with himself in the position of his wife and he finally jumps into the void, killing himself.
Paradoxes of Utopia: Anarchist Culture and Politics in Buenos Aires, 1890-1910
El fabricante applies some of the tactics of didactic theater so zealously that it rather quickly arrives at their reductio ad absurdum : it reveals that without a hidden didactic mechanism, didactic theater not only cannot transmit a political message but cannot even sustain the illusion of a theatrical reality. Clearly, the desire to teach a unified truth—whether of the PCA or the tacit capitalist programmatic by which the audience is always right—does not easily coexist with recursion, chiasmus, and breaking the fourth wall. From double object to double consciousness, the transformation of minoritarian art into a vehicle by which a minority represents its truth favors a didacticism that must hide itself; its success is predicated on the invisible mechanism by which it asserts interpretation as truth.
In this way, El fabricante de fantasmas lets the audience in on its skepticism about both representation and interpretation, giving up its right to assert even its own theatrical reality, and doing so in a commercial venue where not only its meaning but its very existence—the duration of its run—would be determined exclusively by its ability to sell tickets.
In this way, I see the gestus of El fabricante de fantasmas —its political intervention as a whole—as deconstructing the relationship of so-called popular independent theater to the people, to money, and to realism. As an anti-didactic avatar of Arlt, Pedro in his play within the play portrayed the real Judge who had freed him as a bureaucratic idiot; the Judge saw the play and chuckled in self-recognition, yet did not believe that Pedro was guilty of the crime he had confessed in the fiction.
While up until then Pedro had lived fearlessly with his crime, it was precisely when the Judge declared that his work was demonstrably unrealistic that Pedro broke down, and was driven to suicide by the torments of his own imagination.
While other playwrights at Teatro del Pueblo interpolated avant-garde elements through code switching and allegory, for Arlt there was only his theatrical reality. While he made compromises in order to adapt to the demands of Teatro del Pueblo in the wake of his commercial failure, his realidad teatral did not correspond affirmatively or negatively to contemporary political tropes and was therefore indecipherable as a message about them. Yet, far from the exclusive province of European modernism and avant-gardes, this type of metatheater should be understood as also part of both a local and an international anarchist and Yiddish theater history in which the fourth wall was routinely broken in a context in which such interactivity was not primarily high-concept but rather a necessity in order to mediate the relationship between performers and primarily first-generation, often multi-lingual, theater audiences.
Karl Rossman, a seventeen-year-old youth who had been sent to America by his poor parents because a servant girl had seduced him and borne a child by him, saw the Statue of Liberty, which he had been observing for some time, as if in a sudden burst of sunlight. The arm with the sword now reached aloft, and about her figure blew the free winds. Kafka, Amerika 3. From this point of view, its critical and commercial failure, its very insolubility, leaves El fabricante de fantasmas paradoxically intact, ready to be taken up by anyone in any other time. In this sense, minoritarian literature goes still further into this contradiction: an accounting of and by the uncountable.
Minoritarian Literature and Minoritarian Readings
To take the minoritarian out of demographically complex Buenos Aires and New York of the early 20th century to connect it with present-day categories of literary history and identity requires a messy triage, particularly considering the continued resistance within Latin American Studies to adequately problematize categories of identity such that works in languages other than Spanish or Portuguese can be included.
Suriano, Juan Overview. Publication Timeline. Most widely held works by Juan Suriano. Paradoxes of utopia : anarchist culture and politics in Buenos Aires, by Juan Suriano 21 editions published between and in Spanish and English and held by WorldCat member libraries worldwide When the Argentine economy collapsed in , many were surprised by the factory takeovers and neighborhood assemblies that resulted.
But workers' control and direct democracy have long histories in Argentina, where from the late nineteenth century and well into the twentieth, anarchism was the main revolutionary ideology of the labor movement and other social struggles. Most histories of anarchism in Argentina tend toward dry analyses of labor politics, lists of union acronyms, and the like. For Juan Suriano, that's just one part of the story. Cultural history in the best sense, Paradoxes of Utopia explores how a revolutionary ideology was woven into the ordinary lives of tens of thousands of people, creating a complex tapestry of symbols, rituals, and daily practices that supported-and indeed created the possibility of-the Argentine labor movement.
Most present day social evils are manifestations of power relationships consistent with the acqusition of wealth and privilige by the few at the expense of the many.
Alec, Darwin's theory of natural selection was turned into social Darwinism by free marketing ideologues. It also ignores the crucial role of culture in human evolution. By AM Thursday, September 13, Share Tweet Share Share Email. Book Reviews Feature from Elsewhere. AM PM, September 14, AM AM, October 14, Alec PM, October 16,