8 dic. 2008

Claudia S. Torres Laitano

Claudia S. Torres Laitano


Claudia Torres es poeta, ensayista y catedrática del Departamento de Letras de la Universidad Autónoma de Honduras y Presidenta de la Asociación Nacional de Escritoras de Honduras. Doctorada en Estudios Multilinguísticos en la Universidad de Texas, Austin, ha publicado en diversas revistas y suplemento literarios en la región. Publicamos aquí un poema extraído del libro del mismo nombre que reúne su obra poética bilingüe –en colaboración con Georgia Smith Seminet– y que fuera publicado por Ediciones Navegante.

Mariposa Amarilla

Fugaz y lejana

entraste a mi casa

mariposa amarilla.

Te posaste en mi mesa,

en mis flores,

en mi cama.

Te dormiste en mi almohada,

en el agua del vaso,

en la fuente angustiada.

Revolviste memorias,



Y asustada volaste

con el brillo del alba

a tu espacio cerrado,

a tu prado de escarcha.

Yellow Butterfly

Fleeting and distant,

you entered my home,

yellow butterfly.

You alighted on my table,

on my flowers,

on my bed.

You slept on my pillow,

in the glass of water,

in the fountain of anguish.

You stirred up memories,



And frightened you flew away

with the brilliance of dawn,

to your secret space,

to your meadows of frost.

Margaret Atwood: Imbalances of obligation

Margaret Atwood:

Imbalances of obligation

Tom Gatti


Tom Gatti has written articles published in The Times and The Sunday Times. Here, he interviews Margaret Atwood (Canada, 1939), the prolific poet, novelist, literary critic, feminist and activist, winner of the Arthur C. Clarke Award and Prince of Asturias award for Literature. Her latest book, “Payback: Debt and the Shadow Side of Wealth”, offers a timely discussion of debt.

Sitting in a grand 18th-century clubhouse near St James's Park in London, Margaret Atwood exudes intelligence; her fine, birdlike features, mischievous blue eyes and barely tamed curls suggest a mind still gleaming on the eve of her 70th birthday. Even more remarkable than her presence, though, is her prescience.

In 1984 she wrote a dystopian vision of a fundamentalist society in which women are reduced to the status of child-bearers and servants, forcibly desexualised and veiled – “The Handmaid's Tale” pre-empted the Taleban's misogynist regime in Afghanistan, and the rows over Islamic women's dress and rights in Europe. Another futuristic novel, “Oryx and Crake”, charted the destruction of the Earth by global warming, pandemics and rampant genetic engineering.

Now, in her new nonfiction book, “Payback: Debt and the Shadow Side of Wealth” - a fascinating, freewheeling examination of ideas of debt, balance and revenge in history, society and literature - Atwood has again struck upon our most current anxieties. As the credit crunch grounds airlines and topples banks, nobody can escape the spectre of debt. So where does she keep her crystal ball?

“It was a coincidence,” she claims. “I chose this topic several years ago and then found myself writing the book while all this was happening - the sub-prime mortgage crisis, and these ads plastering the Underground: ‘We will help you with your debt', ‘Why pay more?', ‘Declare personal bankruptcy!'.”

The subject of debt first occurred to her when she was asked to write a public “letter to America”: “I found myself doing it as the troops were about to invade Iraq, and I wrote, ‘Why are you digging yourself into a great big hole of debt?' Typically empires expand past where they can afford to defend their perimeters, at which point something is going to break.” She gives a dry chuckle. “The barbarians will get in sooner or later.”

Payback is Atwood's contribution to the Massey Lectures - a prestigious annual event that has been hosted by Martin Luther King and J. K. Galbraith - and once the book is published she will tour her native Canada reading from it. It has been hard explaining what it is about, though, or why she, a novelist, should be tackling economics: “It was never just about money: it was about owing. Money is the form in which we have embodied this but it takes a huge number of other forms. What we're really talking about is imbalances of obligation, which is what debt is.” Payback casts its net far and wide, taking in Ancient Egyptian heart-weighing, the bizarre practice of “sin eating”, Mesopotamian debt slavery, simian trading habits, Scrooge, Faustus, Get Shorty and Jung.

The Iraq war may have been the kick-off point, but debt had preoccupied Atwood for as long as she can remember. Her parents lived through the Great Depression, during which their income went into four envelopes: “Rent”, “Groceries”, “Other Necessities” and “Recreation”. “The first three envelopes had priority,” Atwood writes, “and if there was nothing left for the fourth envelope, there were no movies, and my parents went for a walk instead.” This, she concludes, is the “lost art” of “living within your means”.

Born in 1939 in Toronto, Atwood recalls that “We weren't supposed to talk at the dinner table about religion or money or sex. Money interested me because it was forbidden - but you knew it was there.” As an adult, Atwood retained her parents' frugality, while immersing herself in another deeply financial environment: “I became a Victorian. That was my field of study at university - and that's the age par excellence in which plots are driven by money and people are embroiled in an outbreak of capitalism. Wuthering Heights is driven by money: Heathcliff earns a fortune and then comes back to extract the house from its previous owner. Madame Bovary would have been quite all right had she kept within her budget. It's not the adultery - it's the debt that sank her.”

It is the most famous 19th-century character of all, though, who is the presiding spirit of Payback: Ebenezer Scrooge, the progenitor of Disney's Scottish miser duck. “He's an extreme version of ‘living within your means',” Atwood says. “He does nothing with them except make more means.” In a capitalist society, Scrooge's major sin is that his currency is not “current” - it does not flow. Until, that is, he undergoes his transformation, when he becomes a dual, before-and-after figure. “He fulfils both our wishes: our wish to keep it all to ourselves and our other wish to be kind and generous and for people to like us”. The central chapter of Payback shows how Scrooge is the mirror image of the 16th-century Dr Faustus. Between Marlowe and Dickens, society's view of riches had reversed: for Faustus free-spending is damnation, for Scrooge it's salvation.

For us it's the norm. In the past 50 years we have gone so far down the free-spending route that debt is no longer feared but shruggingly accepted: from student loan to mortgage, everyone's in the red. And while the Victorians had the threat of debtors' prisons, we have the escape route of personal bankruptcy. But as credit becomes scarcer, Atwood thinks that the tide is turning: “Once you get TV shows where people are repenting not that they've cheated on their wife but how in debt they are, then you're returning to a mode in which debt is considered sinful, and thrift is valued. Nobody in the Eighties would have been caught dead in recycled clothing, but now vintage is chic.”

If citizens are relearning the arts of thrift, their governments are lagging behind. The Times Square debt clock in New York was switched off in 2000 because the Clinton Government had built up a budget surplus. But when George W. Bush's spending spree began, it was rebooted, and now stands at almost $10 trillion (£5.6 trillion). “Who's going to pay for it?” Atwood asks. “The US taxpayer. They already have - their social services have suffered horribly. But people didn't understand that it was happening. [The invasion of Iraq] was like one of those magician's tricks where somebody is waving a red handkerchief and while everybody's looking at it somebody else is stealing your wallet.” In the fortnight since we met, the pickpocketing has become even more audacious: the multibillion-dollar bailouts of the mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac and the proposed rescue of the insurance group AIG will come straight out of the taxpayer's purse.

But financial debt is not our biggest burden. In writing Payback Atwood became fascinated with a phrase spoken of the dead: “He has paid his debt to nature.” “It means you've borrowed something - the physical part of yourself made up of natural elements - and you're paying it back by dissolving into nature. What else are we borrowing from nature and how do we repay it?” The book's final chapter proposes an answer in strong terms.

It's surprising, I say, to see a novelist - whose usual tools are ambiguity and indirection - produce something so close to polemic. Atwood is convinced that the form demands it: “Lecture series like this are secular sermons. You can't just throw a topic like this on to the table without deciding which part of it you think is good and which is bad.”

The bad part is the way we have treated the planet, and at the moment, there isn't much of a good part in sight. “Early cultures would make sacrifices to ensure a good harvest or whatever. If we don't change our ways the sacrifices will be made for us - and that is already going on, what with droughts, famines and floods. Talk to any epidemiologist and what they're really worried about is a mega-plague coming our way. We're overcrowded and malnourished - the same conditions preceded the Black Death.” It's a distressing vision - even more so when you remember Atwood's impressive track record in prognostication.

If mankind could declare bankruptcy and wipe the slate clean, we would. But we can't: instead, Atwood argues, we need to learn to manage our debt, and to pull ourselves back into the black: “We should start thinking of ourselves as elements in the balance, and how we are throwing out the balance. It's not a moral obligation - it's a physical obligation.”

Museo de Arte Popular

“La grandeza de lo pequeño” dice el lema del sitio web, y con justa razón. El Museo de Arte Popular de El Salvador, abre sus puertas a nuevos públicos a través de esta página, con el propósito de compartir la riqueza y singularidad del arte popular y las tradiciones de esta nación centroamericana.
Diversas expresiones del arte popular salvadoreño, producto de prácticas tradicionales o de expresiones emergentes, son las que el Museo de Arte Popular exhibe en sus instalaciones y en exposiciones itinerantes.
Como resultado de las actividades de investigación y conservación, ha organizado más de 25 exhibiciones, algunas fuera del país, y ha logrado acumular una colección de más de 1 100 objetos y documentos.
En el 2001 inauguró su sede en San Salvador, donde mantiene la exposición permanente dedicada al reconocido arte de la miniatura en barro de Ilobasco, denominada Sala de la Miniatura Dominga Herrera, en honor a la insigne creadora de este arte; en otras tres salas organiza exposiciones temporales.
El Museo de Arte Popular fue fundado por la asociación INICIATIVA PRO ARTE POPULAR (INAR) cuya misión es encauzar a través del Museo la investigación, conservación y difusión del Arte Popular Salvadoreño; fortalecer la promoción de artesano, artistas y de creadores de nuevas expresiones artísticas.
La sala del Museo de Arte Popular dedicada a las miniaturas en barro de Ilobasco, población que se ha distinguido por una larga tradición cerámica, lleva el nombre de la destacada precursora María Dominga Herrera, ceramista ejemplar por su sensibilidad, creatividad y destreza en el modelado del barro.
La exhibición cuenta con más de 4,000 miniaturas organizadas en profusas escenas o en las famosas “sorpresas”, que al destaparse contienen otras escenas. Por su valor documental y expresivo, éstas permiten al visitante conocer tradiciones, costumbres y acontecimientos del país, convirtiendo a los artesanos de Ilobasco en verdaderos “cronistas del pueblo”.

IX Premio Arte Joven 08

Convocatoria anual del Centro Cultural de España en El Salvador
Jurado: Simón Vega, Walter Iraheta, Rosina Cazali.
Artistas seleccionados: Amber Rose, Jaime Izaguirre, Dalia Chévez, Víctor Hugo Rivas, Ana Urquilla, Claudia Olmedo, Danny Zavaleta, Antonio Romero, Alexia Miranda, Jesús Morales, Francisco Márquez, Jaime Ayala, German Hernández, Luis Herrera.
Octubre 2008

Respondiendo a las necesidades de los jóvenes artistas” (en palabras del comunicado de prensa del CCESV), la novena edición de esta convocatoria incluyó un proceso formativo en el que los jóvenes artistas trabajaron de cerca con tres curadores con el fin de proveerles elementos de carácter técnico y teórico en la realización de sus trabajos finales. Claramente no faltaron las polémicas respecto al límite de la incidencia del jurado en la determinación de las piezas características de estos “procesos formativos”. Catorce proyectos fueron seleccionados y formaron parte de la muestra. Los temas del hacinamiento, las pandillas, la migración, la crisis alimenticia, los patrones de comportamiento social, entre otros, son presentados por estos artistas a través de diversos lenguajes como instalaciones, intervenciones, performance, fotografía y pintura. Fotos cortesía CCESV.

Jaime Ayala - Full service

Dalia Chevez - Un cuento de miedo para una sociedad

Amber Rose - Cortado por la misma tijera

Espacios de Libertad - Mayra Barraza

Premio Príncipe Claus a Carlos Henríquez Consalvi Fundador y Director del Museo de la Palabra y la Imagen.

La holandesa Fundación Príncipe Claus galardona cada año a un selecto grupo de personas que han logrado a través de una destacada labor en alguna de las cuatro áreas que rigen sus políticas: Zonas de silencio (la ubicación y apertura de áreas de silencio cultural), Creación de Espacios de Libertad (la creación de santuarios culturales), Belleza en Contexto (el análisis de la belleza en diferentes entornos culturales) y Viviendo Juntos (el arte de la co-existencia).

Este año, entre los 11 galardonados ha sido premiado en el área de periodismo y memoria histórica Carlos Henríquez Consalvi, venezolano radicado en El Salvador desde 1980, fundador y director del Museo de la Palabra y la Imagen. Aquí el texto completo de la Fundación Príncipe Claus en reconocimiento de la inagotable labor de Consalvi a favor de la memoria y la justicia:

Carlos Henríquez Consalvi is the founder and director of the Museo de la Palabra y la Imagen (Museum of the Word and the Image), which is committed to the investigation, preservation and public exhibition of elements of El Salvador’s culture and history. A journalist and broadcaster, Henríquez Consalvi was born in Venezuela and spent part of his youth in exile in Mexico and Costa Rica. During the 1970s he worked in Nicaragua, doing historical research and writing editorials promoting human rights. He moved to El Salvador in 1980 to set up Radio Venceremos, an underground broadcasting network to counterbalance decades of dictatorship. Despite extremely difficult war conditions, Henríquez Consalvi’s work preserved an area of freedom of speech. Following peace agreements in 1992, Henríquez Consalvi motivated people to document their experiences, establishing the Museum of the Word and the Image in 1996 as a public platform for this unique collection of testimonies, historical film & photos, and civil war items. Through its activities, the museum calls attention to the role of memory and non-official histories in promoting human rights, social justice and peace.
Carlos Henríquez Consalvi is awarded for his outstanding work as a journalist, for creating spaces of freedom, and for his commitment to the promotion of memory and its active role in the reconstruction of Salvadoran society.

Desde este modesto espacio celebramos con Carlos y todos aquellos muchos que admiramos y agradecemos su entrega, ¡por la memoria, la justicia y la libertad!

El espíritu de los tiempos - Rodrigo Peñalba

Review de Zeitgeist –el documental sobre tres monumentales mitos contemporáneos- aquí en fast forward.


La utopía, sea bajo el "ismo" que se fundamente, suele provocar teorías o visiones de nuestro mundo de pavor, miedo, pasión, esperanzas, o todo tipo de sentimientos fuertes. Una vez superado el trauma de reconocer que una utopía ha fenecido, que ha perdido validez o valor para creer en ella, se convierte en mitología.

De ese modo es que ahora decimos "mitología maya", y nadie más cree en la utopía del Quinto Sol como auténtico fin de ciclo o de manera de pensar de la humanidad - 2012 supuestamente. Sin embargo, no nos damos cuenta que estamos rodeados de mitos que son tratados como si fuesen utopías en pie. Zeitgeist, la película, trata precisamente de eso: de las utopías, en realidad mitos, que nos apresan y nos hacen creer en visiones limitadas de la realidad.

SPOILER ALERT! Publicada originalmente en Google Vídeo, con versiones subtituladas disponibles online en 20 idiomas, o disponible para descarga via Torrent, Zeitgeist es un documental que argumenta despacio pero sin timidez alrededor de 3 falsas utopías que nos rodean y contextualizan (aunque no querramos): Cristo como mito judeocristiano, el mito de Septiembre 11 del 2001, y el mito de la economía mundial como un ciclo de movimientos de capital para generar riqueza y bienestar a la sociedad en general, o la bondad de la Federal Reserve gringa.

La película toma posiciones osadas, como la teoría del "Inside Job" sobre los ataques del 9/11, o el plan de One World Goverment en curso en estos mismos momentos de mano de los grandes estados, corporaciones capitalistas y grandes medios de comunicación. Pero independiente de las propuestas o soluciones que presenta Zeitgeist en esta entrega (en Octubre se presentó la segunda parte, subtitulada Addendum), la película demuestra con simpleza argumentativa la falsedad de las 3 utopías mencionadas. La sensación que la película logra al final de sus argumentos es de revelación y miedo, pero el epílogo de la misma abre espacio para la esperanza, o alguna forma de la misma porque en ese momento la película se pone algo mística.

FIN DEL SPOILER! La verdad veracidad de los datos expuestos queda a juicio del público, y creer al pie de la letra lo narrado es a riesgo de cada uno. Pero de manera inevitable la duda queda como semilla.

Pueden visitar ZeitgeistTheMovie.com para verla online o conocer como bajarla. Cristo, el egipcio, se los agradecerá