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Graffiti of the World
Premio Internacional Cuadernos del Laberinto de Pensamiento, 2020
La geografía del erizo
Ya nadie tiene fuego.—La eriza dixit.
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Prologue by Pastron#7
English translation by Nick Line
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Cuadernos del Laberinto, 2020
Some people think graffiti is art; some that it is a means to send a message, and there are also those who simply think graffiti is junk. But whatever you think, graffiti is created by its authors in a spirit of stoicism, accepting their anonymity and the fact that their work could disappear the minute it is finished. Graffiti is the Mono no aware, the feeling that expresses the fleeting nature of things; that these creations are beautiful precisely because of their impermanence.
This book is composed of fifty stories inspired by fifty graffiti from different cities around the world that tell —through their hallmark of finitude— how we are all unique and ephemeral at the same time.
La geografía del erizo
Illustrations: Miguel Panadero
Prologue: Juan Vicente Piqueras Salinas
Cuadernos del Laberinto, 2020
Just as Xu Guangqi (徐光啟), also known as Paolo Xu after converting to Christianity in 1603 under the influence of Jesuit missionary Matteo Ricci, asserted that East and West shared common principles, the sea urchins of this geography break their silence and speak to us directly, and in their way call for a terra communis, where it’s places that make love and within which one breathes deeply before saying goodbye. They seem to be clear that identity is only confirmed when other identities capture our signs of life and return them: Pink Floyd sang Is there anybody out there? This Hegelian echo is fundamental, even if one carries spines, because this is what dictates to every being the imperious need for the presence of another, even though bristly fear and hatred will inevitably, although paradoxically, arise from that need. Nothing destroys us more, wrote George Steiner, than the silence of another human being. Hence Lear’s foolish fury at Cordelia and Kafka’s profound observation that many men survived the siren’s song but none their silence.
To combat this annihilating silence, one must first have a tendency toward the other, and secondly, be able to rouse their echo, so that it accompanies us. Hence, perhaps, the last verses, somewhat ethylic, of this book:
When I take you by the hand,
I no longer imagine we’ll need
to grow spines to save ourselves;
Instead, I imagine myself marching
toward the world,
as if it were on my side.
It must be the wine!
Short story, Art
Singapore, New York, Beijing, Madrid and many other locations around the world are the inspiration for more than 50 stories, each a reply to a painterly inquiry.
The result is Dibugrafías, as clear an example as any of “writing on the move”, creating wherever, free from the shackles of “sitting down to write” and the setting for such enigmatic characters as the numbered woman, the headless man or Mister No.
José Felix Valdivieso, a graduate of Law, as well as East Asian Studies, has a passion for languages, from Yoruba to Japanese, along with Chinese. He is the Communications Director at IE Business School and the author of the 2010 book Cosas y murciélagos (Things and Bats), published by Incipit Editores.
Miguel Panadero is a multi-faceted artist, engaged in a lifelong quest through painting, illustration and sculpture. His art, a reflection of the human condition and our relationship with our environment, has featured in numerous one-man and collective exhibitions.
Cosas y murciélagos
The world is travelling at 01 speed, unable to keep up with its own narration. These Things and bats are a bridge, a way of holding onto the world, of approaching the words of these things and the bats that live in it. Things, bats, you and me, are all points and the connections between two points and the bridge we have to extend to know ourselves as “existed”.
The magic is in connecting, and for that magic not to be broken, we need to be alert to all inclemency, because when one least expects it, suddenly, along comes a shout and finishes everything off.
José Félix Valdivieso
José Félix Valdivieso was born in Brussels, later graduating in East Asian Studies (specializing in Chinese) from UAM and in Law from UCM. He also holds an Executive MBA from IE Business School. He has traveled the world in search of languages, from Ancient and Modern Greek, as well as Russian, German, Chinese Japanese…and has now set about unravelling the language of the street—perhaps the most cyphered—through its graffiti. A problem, because as Ayako says in Love, one of the stories featured in this book “all languages are imprecise, and when they are precise they are so in their own way and she says that she knows this all too well because she translates, not just words and languages, but like everybody else, life, love, into something more chewable,” and that’s where the problems start, because everybody understands in their own way, and everybody’s way is their own way, not so precise…