The Refrain / El estribillo

The Refrain / El estribillo
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The Refrain                 

 

We are destined to endlessly repeat the same text, the same words, the same gestures.

Along with memory, language, passions and such, invariant repetitions characterise the human animal: we learn by repeating, imitating, copying. This is exactly what we are doing now at this conference, repeating concepts and actions that others have already said and done, arguing using notions that others have used over other notions around an original that no longer exists.

And yet this is how it is done, and there is no other way than looking for difference where it can be found, in the repetition of the same.

Somebody said that we should love, even indulge in, the repetition of the same if we want to discover the outlandish, free, creative gesture: repeat and repeat to the point of exhaustion with the hope that something unseen or badly expressed can be grasped like the epiphany of a new narration.

The text of the universe is already written and there is nothing we can do beyond retelling it in a different way. Countering the surrealists’ notion of psychic automatism, Raymond Queneau claimed that innovative language – which incidentally means new forms of life – can  arise only in the regularity of language itself with its seemingly infinite combinations.

As an invariant of human nature, repetition is a device we use in moments of crisis, those cases when we are not sure how we should behave when faced with a rule – and I would say that these aporia dominate all discourse and practices in the present state of permanent exception – or faced with an existential crisis such as the one I am avowedly experiencing now, in which repetition becomes an apotropaic resource which, intertwined with one’s biography, tentatively seeks an approach, an anchor or a pact of exemption from liability with the world.

I will try, make an attempt both for myself and all of you…I will repeat

 

Mauro Folci – Arquitecturas Colectivas – Barcellona 2014

 

NB

The lyrics of Guantanamera are from a poem by José Martí included in the collection Versos Sencillos.

Martí was an intellectual, a poet, a writer and a Cuban revolutionary who sacrificed his life to the struggle for liberation from Spanish rule and against the hegemonic designs of US imperialism. He died in battle in 1895 when he was only 42 years old.

 

( I listen to the song Guantanamera playing in my headphones and repeat the lyrics )

(…) We are destined to endlessly repeat the same text, the same words, the same gestures.
Along with memory, language, passions and such, invariant repetitions characterise the human animal: we learn by repeating, imitating, copying. (…)

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