through cities, towns and rural communities of America,
I run into some people.
I invite them to write.
We sit down, they speak to me and I write down by hand everything they say.
Each time they pause to breath, I go to the next line:
nothing is recorded
no questions are made.
The next day, the poems are printed in chapbooks.
The writer reads them aloud in a presentation in a round of nine chairs in a public space.
He gives away the books to everyone that came to listen.
The project continues its path
and the books are distributed in other places.
The writers get spokespersons, chosen by affinity.
The spokepersons read the poems aloud in new rounds of nine chairs
set in other towns and villages.
At the beginning, in an encounter,
spoken word becomes written word.
At the end, poems make possible an encounter
where the written word becomes oral.
Poems are at last between two persons instead of two pages.
Reunión is composed of various acts that involve conversation, reading and writing: daily actions –though at the same time out of the ordinary- that always involve being face to face. Dani Zelko writes down poems that others dictate to him. They dictate to him as the conversation develops and then finally ceases. After fulfilling his task as a listener and copyist, he edits the books the following day and prints them with his backpack-printer. The books are presented to neighbors, family and friends of the writer in a circle of nine people. The writer reads his poems out loud, he listens to himself and the others hear him for the first time.
The second part of the project consists of an extension of the first acts in other places. Writers' poems are read out loud by spokespersons, emissaries and people who lend their body, eyes and voice to read in a round of nine chairs the poems of people who are absent. A chain of actions, subjects dictating and reading, a scribe and a listener, spokesmen and listeners, books and poems. Actions and procedures for being with others.
(Amanda de la Garza. 2018)
The path of this procedure is indicative of its bet and its scope. It begins with the “Seasons” (2015-2018), which combine encounters with different people in that “aimless walk” that goes from Entre Ríos in Argentina to the Lacandon Jungle in Mexico. In the following actions of this procedure the drift begins to focus on socially and politically critical situations, that are gathered in the "Urgent Issues", which start in 2017 and focus on situations of political urgency arising in different contexts. Migrants on the US borders (North Border), police brutality in Argentina (Juan Pablo by Ivonne), violence against indigenous autonomy processes in Argentina and Chile (Mapuche terrorist?), Abandonment of migrants and struggles for language in Madrid (Language or Death): The procedure increasingly discovers its political potential, its ability to articulate urgencies of bodies and communities in contexts of the deepening compulsory inequality that seems to inhabit the heart of neoliberal societies.
The question of the public, its nature and its very possibility, acquires new urgency in the neo-fascist inflection of neoliberalism, when that attacks on public life intensify their violence and multiplicity. This urgency sets the conditions to interrogate once again how public life is created, what is its nature, what forces of the public life are activated in the context of diverse and differential vulnerabilities. At the same time, public mediations are rearticulated by new technologies, shaping new public interpellations, and new affective modulations reinventing public life.
In that context, the public affects cultivated by the aesthetic procedure called Reunion, mobilizes conections between writing, affect and public life. Such procedure revolves around breathing, around the breathing of the others, and around a body relationality that subtends new configurations of the public. From there, it sheds light on new potentialities of public life, against the grain of its hegemonic configurations, and where a whole laboratory of new aesthetic and political forms take place.
(Gabriel Giorgi. Extract of “The Breathing of the Others”, 2021)