In one of those nice coincidences walking by the Rambla Vella in Tarragona, last 6th September during the Open Workshops weekend in the Old Town, we met Ariadna Goñi (whom we already knew from life in Barcelona) and Clara Cortés, who both came to show their fanzine in the presentation of the Workshops that night placed in Sala El Cau. Not only we talked with them but we contributed to their fanzine!
They are two Barcelona girls who have studied Fine Arts and who are specially lovers of the work and the material art piece as if they were relic. That is why the world of desktop publishing and the derivated “residue”, palpable, collectable and storable, have attracted them so as to start this creative adventure.
Arthur Rimbaud, poet of the late XIXth century Parisian bohemian life, FROM symbolist and decadent style, attracted them in a mocking way due TO his pomposity and lyrical “cloyingism”. This is why they decided to create a fanzine dedicated to free reinterpretation of his poems: With drawings, text, collage… Where satire became the main item. Thus, the fanzine is built through different collaborators to reinterpret the same poem but different in each issue, which nowadays are already six! As a microresidence, the latter action took place in Major 28 (La Floresta de Lleida) for a weekend and reinterpreted the Faun’s head poem. Here you can see the happening resulting from this experience.
The poem and contribution
While the red-stained mouths of machine guns ring
Across the infinite expanse of day;
While red or green, before their posturing King,
The massed battalions break and melt away;
And while a monstrous frenzy runs a course
That makes of a thousand men a smoking pile-
Poor fools! – dead, in summer, in the grass,
On Nature’s breast, who meant these men to smile;
There is a God, who smiles upon us through
The gleam of gold, the incense-laden air,
Who drowses in a cloud of murmured prayer,
And only wakes when weeping mothers bow
Themselves in anguish, wrapped in old black shawls-
And their last small coin into his coffer falls.
We, as a historian and art historian, see the poem from an aesthetic perspective, but above all from a historical one, where social and specially war context have place.
Our reinterpretation had several elements. First, we tought how to place the poem in a particular space and time. To locate it in an undetermined point in France we used an iconic Eiffel Tower, tough we were aware that this was a chronological loan and it had to be justified by adding text to the collage. On the other hand, because one of the most repetitive and representative items of the historiography during the second half of the XIXth century were Franco-Prussian wars, we took Otto von Bismarck as a feature. We can see him represented by the same face and by another more common feature in the peninsular gastronomic culture: Biscmarck pizza. Depicting it as projectiles, we trivialized the anti-humanistic idea of war. In this line, we added Chuck Norris. As indicated by the verses of the poet, the war is blackness, and characters of the XXth century such is this actor exemplify the “culture” of glorifying war. In closing, that century brought industrialisation and technification, so we exemplified them by an aircraft, still without any general nor war use, which then was far from being the case.
In short, it was an artistic pleasure to be part of the history of Rimbaud’s Fanzine, browse its works, travel beyond a poem, and specially share these experiences with its creators. We look forward to their new creations and future proposals.