nadaNuevo2 · book-catalogue resNou / nadaNuevo / nothingNew
Travelling is not what it used to be. And neither is art. That said, some dynamic species are still evolving. Travelling: making the most of displacement, chance, need, silence. Extolling determination and raising the spirit above confusion. Cleansing essences. Transforming mere personal emotions into feasible proposals for shrewd minds. Disturbing. Indeed, nothing new.
What we are dealing with took on true intensity in America though its origins can be traced back to our first trip together, to Murcia, in the early eighties.
May Fourth, One Thousand and Eighty Seven. Suitcases refusing to snap shut. The typical nerves prior to any journey. Like a satellite flying out of control, Manuel can’t stop running around the scene of the preparations. Lurching and at once fluttering about. In each hand he has one of those standard run-of-the-mill monster masks. One was loud green and the other olive-skinned. A belated carnival.
Manuel: seven years old, L.P-M.’s second child, a smart guy if ever there was one but also the take-no-prisoners type.
Without saying a word, the boy keeps raising his hands to give his father the rubber masks. A double dose of silence. The gift is met with doubts. Redoubling his waving, the child insists. Patrimonial mimicry. Manuel! It’s no time for games! With great effort, L.P-M. turns his body ninety degrees, staggering for a second until he recovers the upright, another ninety degrees in the same direction, and goes on with what he was doing. He closes suitcase no. 1, opens suitcase no. 2, checks certain reticent volumes, takes shirts out, puts shirts back in, folds a trouser, counts socks. Maybe there’s no need for a towel: less weight. The usual mess. Where are the cables for the video camera? How many films have I packed and how many have I left outside for the hand luggage? He starts separating what was just put together and counts the films again. What about the 24? Where the hell have I put the wide-angle!
May fifth, eight am. As agreed by phone last night, I call at L.P-M.’s home to give him a hand with last minute decisions. I’ve just arrived from Palma de Mallorca. I have come from the airport, and we will be going back to the airport together at one pm. Our flight to NY is scheduled for half three in the afternoon. We grab a quick breakfast. (There are always leftovers from over breakfasts on that table.) In the meantime, we consider the possibility of jotting down a few ideas for a coast-to-coast route. Pens, unconnected notes and, naturally, the official notebook that is nowhere to be seen. The lighter is more important, L. P-M. digresses. What the hell does the lighter have to do with all this?
You know? he says, changing tack again, Manuel gave me two masks as a present for the journey. It suddenly struck me that they might come in handy.
The following day.
New York can be a creative illusion for anyone travelling with a camera and certain pretensions. That was our case, but only during our flight here and in the days prior to departure. Paradoxes of creation, sometimes the myth does not match the intentions. Seeing the city and its surroundings through the viewfinder from all the possible angles produced a contradictory and previously unidentified effect on our unspoiled excitement. The strange feeling of having seen, and indeed lived, beforehand all the shots we were programming on our various walkabouts, frustrated our graphic appetite for two weeks. There is an excessive weight of the imperialist culture of the image we have been, and still are, subjected to.
Chicago. Marriot Hotel. May Fourteenth. Do you remember what I said before leaving about Manuel’s masks? Why don’t we give it a try at breakfast?
The dining room was full to overflowing. Executives of all races. A world medical congress. Luis, with his heavy limp, trying to clear a path and I, removing all sorts of obstacles in his way to prevent him from stumbling over them. Our cameras hanging from our shoulders; the masks firmly stuck to our skulls. Seeing us in this guise, unexpectedly, people started to take an interest in us. Some of them were laughing their heads off. Others invited us to join their table. They offered us cigarettes, bread rolls, whatever they had at hand. They talked to us during our walk around.
Jeez, they work!, he shouted when we got to the centre of the room.
Years later, Dr Yoshikazu Yonei and wife, from Kawasaki, Japan, still write to us to tell us about all the major events in their family.
Taking the bull by the horns, we had just began ResNou (nadaNUEVO 1) without knowing yet what it was going to be about. To begin with, overcoming apathy and a significant transmutation of initial disappointment into excitement, sounded OK to me. ResNou is the synthesis of that long journey through the United States and the north of Mexico. From Chicago to Tijuana, Rosarito, Ensenada. From Massachusetts to San Francisco. New York, Los Angeles, Milwaukee, Salt Lake City, Las Vegas, Houston. Illinois, Utah, Nevada, New Mexico. Indio, Lucia, Monterrey, Palm Springs, Palisades, Bryce Canyon, Monument Valley, La Jolla Beach. Resnou also encompasses a vast exhibition project that took place in Sa Llonja (Palma de Mallorca) on April first, one thousand nine hundred and eighty nine, all of which is recorded in a heavy printed document. Two women, Trudy Wilner Stack (Birmingham, Alabama) and Alisa Tager (New York), had to come from outside, from the States, to give resNou a second chance: “Leave the Balcony Open”, Fundació La Caixa, Barcelona, one thousand nine hundred and ninety two. Nothing new indeed.
That long voyage had been preceded by others and was followed by yet others. And we made the most of them all. Basically, a domestic product. Secret. Morocco, Tunisia, Algeria, Egypt, Mali, DR Congo, The Gambia. Mexico, Brazil, Cuba and frustrated Canada. Italy, Germany, France, Holland, Belgium, Portugal, Denmark, Switzerland. Thailand, Japan. Castile and Castile, Andalusia, Extremadura, Albacete, Galicia, Basque Country, Catalonia, Valencia, Aragon. Mallorca, Menorca, Ibiza, Formentera.
And now, so close and at the same time so far, the Canary Islands. NadaNuevo2. If truth be told, nothing new.