Escritura Diagramática de Johanna Drucker

Last Friday the 10th of September, I was invited to present the Spanish translation of Johanna Drucker book Diagrammatic Writing; translation by Ana Cecilia Medina. You can download the translation for free here ( Spanish, PDF).

It was an honor for me to present Johanna book, a dream I would say. Thanks a lot to Ana Medina for this invitation.

Also thanks to Centro de Cultura Digital in Mexico city for this initiative “Hibridaciones y Remediaciones. Jornadas de edición digital, an event that gather specialists, artist and academics, to share their experience and knowledge about digital editions. Thanks Monica Nepote, Ximena Atristain, Juan Tovar, Canek Zapata and all the staff behind, that made this event possible.

This initiative presented two books translations, Diagrammatic writing by Johanna Druker and Does writing have a future? by Vilem Fusser. You can download both for free in the CCD website.

Finally, but not the least, the CCD presented, as well, Julio Torri national award for short storytelling and digital literature. This is the first time, the grant add digital literature formats. The winner of the digital literature Julio Torri grand was for El grito que no puedo escuchar by Marco Antonio Arellano Arredondo. You can check all the fantastic mentions and the winner piece in this repository.

Before the presentation Ana proposed us to answer four questions previous to the conversation. I found interesting to develop a brief presentation for the first question. Maybe I was a bit enthusiastic from my part; but I found important as well to talk about the materiality of the text in the Old-non-digital media, as it was part of my master study “The city is a text ” (2013). Some of the examples of this answer are a coming from those times; some other have been adding later by researching in fields of book history, avant gard artist and electronic literature. Thanks to Scott Retberg for his book ” Electronic Literature” where he condensed a lot examples on the field of Electronic literature.

It was no possible for me to be more precise due time. My apologize and feel free to contact me if you have any argue, concern doubt and so for.

Also, some other questions [2,3,4] were answer in such spontaneous and organic way, like any conversation. Still, I find valuable resources and information to share that were not mentioned in the record.

  1. From its first publication until today, in what ways do you consider that the conventions / possibilities of the spatiality of the text on the screen have been multiplied or modified? Where do you find examples that can be read from the hand of what this book exposes?

I don’t  think there are new forms. I think the “text” is coming back to old textual forms, like  the Ouroborus, the text is eating itself. It is a social cultural process that has been happening, pushed by the same historical process that we have been living in for the last 80 years, at least. José Luis Brea in his book Cultura Ram describes in detail about this historical process, focusing on the cultural production of knowledge.

There are a lot of examples from diverse cultures, in diverse periods of times where the text displays and performs in different ways. Computation is a way to imitate, combine and optimize the great heritage and possibilities for what reading and writing means. Sure this is modifying our production and consumption of knowledge. By this, I mean that these innovative approaches for reading and writing, conceptually, are grounded in previous human experiences. The result of these innovative forms are having a tremendous impact in our cultural and social life. 

Our notion of writing/reading has been attached to the codex book forms as a way to store and render information. And it is based on some phonetic character systems in the western cultures. But, as History has shown us,  the text goes beyond any system or materiality, because it adapts.

For example, iconographic reading such as emoticons or memes can find a tradition in hieroglyphs or in rebus.

Egyptian hieroglyphs: Bee, leaf, sea and sun
Paul Rand “IBM”, 1981

Some other image reading systems, such as Tarot cards, is an image reading system with  some sort of spontaneous – random methodology for reading and writing, such as randomization processes in programming. [Image 2]  Or  in the Mustus liber , that was some sort of treat of alchemy with  non text at all . There is only one text that works as a guide  that said “Ora, Lege, Lege, Lege, Relege, Labora et Invenies”, (pray, read, read, read, reread, work and you will find). In the book, Jacobo Siruela in his book, Libro , secretos talk about the mysterious history behind this treat. He also provides a visual analysis and interpretation of this ancient book.

Think about the authorship of the Bible and the Coran as a Participatory writing or reading experience or strategy. All the development of Christianity thanks to the copyist and enlighters monks working in the scriptorium.  Katherine Hayley in her book Electronic literature :New Horizons for the Literary develops a fantastic introduction around the meeting between those monks and the machine.  

Scriptorium or atelier

Hypertext has a huge tradition in books, for instance all the para textual apparatus that happened since the scroll book. Imagine yourself reading Cortazar’s book Hopscotch in those scrolls. It would be a tedious interaction to change between scrolls and roll on and off to get the experiences that the codex book offers in a much easier way.  So the same materiality of the object is asking you how to read and write the text. The text adapts to the materiality of the content. It is a line to follow, a discourse, a thought, a pray, etc. 

[Image 5] When we think about procedural writing, generative systems, algorithms (rules),  to provoke writing and reading experiences. We should take a look in the vast tradition of avant gard artists such as Augusto de Campos, Ulises Carrión, Douglas Huebler, Clemente Padín,  Wlademir Dias-Pino and the poema/proceso; and much more poets and writers, that  conceptually, were doing some sort of analog version of all this experimentation. 

[Image 6] Constrained writing  such as the Oulipo group; combinatory writing like the surrealist: randomization techniques such as William Buroughts techniques and so on. 

 [Image 7] So, when we ask what is “new” about the text in our fancy shining display or in our fantastic and virtuoso “virtual reality“  headset  or any other electronic device around. Please do consider that this media is ubiquitous. You can find it in wearable, objects or in displays. And so, the main concern is What are the features of this new media? The most accurate term  that I have found for what is better known as New media (that is already old); or Digital media, that by the way  it doesn’t imply only digits at all. It is the term named by John Cayley,  The networked and programmable media.

Sensorama , primer intento de intentar una virtualidad 1957

So by understanding the natural ubiquity of electronic devices and its features as media. The only thing new in the text is your life. But you are still reading from left to right, top to bottom . You have a physical sense of gravity and balance;  you organize, gather , yuxtopse elements. Sure this is not an absolute rule.  But as life, the space is a relative dimension. 

Flusser bird, the metaphor mentioned during the round table about the translation of Vilém Flusser’s book “Tiene futuro la escritura?”[ Does writing have a future?]  Anahi Re and Eugenio Tiselli presented a feathered being that has a 180 vision looking to both sides. Tiselli argued that one eye is looking to the linearity of the text —or the past— and the other eye is looking at the hope of breaking the linearity of the text — the future— . I would like to add that the bird is looking to the past and future at one glance but flying belongs to the present, otherwise Imagine!  Then the main concern is How does this bird flies? Flying is a verb that is happening right now. It is about doing and flowing.  And so, this is how I would like to place Johana’s work, as practice, researching on doing.

Diagrammatic writing honors this writing knowledge tradition, first by experimenting or doing. Next, by using and combining diverse writing conventions from different periods of times. Relational visual features such as hierarchy, interlinearity, size,  juxtaposition or proximity dialog with the semantic of the text.  This creates a continuous flow of thoughts between the practice of and the theory of writing. 

Johanna Drucker “Diagramatics” Korean translation by Choi Sulki 2019

As somebody that has been drawing in a different ways, I  have always found the text similar to the act of drawing . You start by a point and follow the line. Your line has a will and purpose, even if you refuse to have one.

Guido de Boer “Image letter” 2019
Ache APC “Pichoglifo” Colombia

Please check more about literary arts practices in the Electronic Literature Organization collections

  1. From the quote “Translation is a powerful method of expanding and deepening our universe” by V. Flusser. What universes do you think are expanding with the translation of this book?

For editorial designers and book workers this book is a poem. 

It manifests beauty, it causes  and flows around the form and content. It performs what it means. It means what it says.  (An elephant’s faithful one-hundred percent!)

In the context of Mexico city, the independent art book fanzine scene, an ebullient scene that is full of projects so different such as la Duplicadora, Red de distribución Vicente Guerrero, Tlacuilos library,  Productora de Mapeos narrativos, Nicolas Pradilla, Pachiclon, Santiago Solis, Selva Hernández, Alejandro Magallanes, Marina Garone, Isabela Galindo,  Cristobal Henestrosa, Mauricio Rivera, Rodolfo Mata  and the big a long list of independent publishing houses, artist, designer, academics, poets, writers and vagabonds that love book practices. 
I am sure they will devour this book . 

As with any other book, It is difficult to predict what the translation of  any book  might cause in the curious and imaginative minds of any reader-creator. 

The question about the translation is what has changed in you Ana and Astrid Stoppen [ the designer ] ?  Because  translation  is a creative process. And this book implies a translation and a remediation, where  both, textual and design practice, need to find a solution.  For instance, in the korean translation of the book the translator commented that they have had to adapt some words  in order to fit to the complexity of the korean language  

I have not read Flusser, so far .  So  I  don’t feel  comfortable talking about it.

  1. What changed in your practice as a designer as you approached Drucker’s ouvre? How do you position this publication within the Spanish-speaking practices of literature and art in the media (if literature can be separated from the other arts)?

My practice as a designer is in general terms attached to my practice as a creator. By this I mean as a teacher, researcher , workshop leader, artist and as myself Vinicius. Johana oeuvre has an impact in all those practices by remembering my love for visual culture with her argument around her book Graphesis:  the study of visual production of knowledge. that was my first approach to her oeuvre-

The more I look into the history of  visual production of knowledge, conceptually, I have realized  there is nothing new under the blue sky. But as visual communicators we need to educate a critical perspective around what it presents or enact as an argument or visual statement for the sake of any hegemonic power; specially in the time where big corporations tend to concentrate more and flatten humanistic knowledge production.

As Johana said: Most information visualization are acts of interpretations masquerading as presentation. In other words, they are images that act as if they are just showing us what is, but in actuality, they are arguments made in graphical form.

From this perspective, as visual researcher and academic, Johana works mirror the call of the digital humanities agenda around the globe that it is demanding for nounce and relative  visual knowledge production. What a brave challenge in the time where universities  are taking the role of companies and humanistic knowledge is bypassed for business, technical and scientific knowledge.

Belgium according Belgium . A lion . I have never seen a lion in Europe still I love this imaginative map .

  1. The language of the book exposes in a very simple way (syntactically) complex and historical issues in relation to the book and writing, in this “Taoist” tension they believe that the future of theoretical / academic writing lies in integrating / flowing towards other forms of writing simpler in their apparent form?

Sure it will, it is already happening , for instance  the born-digital-essays   in The Digital Review (2020) where you can find  pieces  such as The Gate by Eugenio Tiselli.  Walking experiences  by the “Home of walking writers” ( Babak Fakhamzadeh, Geert Vermeire and Andrew Stuck.)  They have been organizing non-locative meetings  to walk, think and create or write; This a fantastic time to experiment pedagogics and writing. 

Also I remember Sophie, by Bob Stein, the Institute of the book and  the University of Southern California that in the late 2000s proposed a collective multimedia writing platform. 

Recently in Mexico city , artist  Pedro Reyes launched “Tlacuilos ” , which is a library that shares books and plastic ouvres via Instagram. You don’t even need to show your own ID.  The project uses the network as a platform for distribution of knowledge. 

The production of knowledge and our notion of culture is changing as well.  We are living an historical process,  the fourth industrial revolution and  the 6th extinction, This is  demanding  for resilience,  adaptation, imagination and innovative solution

The pandemic just pushed us forward  the  transmutation to a new era and also made more evident  how wrong we have been doing. 

As Rossi Bradotti suggested in the introduction of her book Posthuma knowledge Neoliberalism has  been placing  academics  and humanists in some sort of absurd competition  that is bypassing humanistic critical knowledge for some others interest 

It is time to take advantage of the network  and gather together as human  beings, besides our culture and language differences. Can we? Are we able to reach some sort of agreement?


Brea, Jose Lúis (2007) Cultura Ram. Barcelona : Gedisa.

Borsuk, Amarantha (2018). The book. Cambridge, Mass: MIT Press

Cayley, Jhon 1998. (2018)”Grammalepsy: Essays on Digital Language Art ” New York : Bloomsbury Academic

Hayles, Katherine .2008. “Electronic Literature: New Horizons for the Literary ” Indiana, USA: University of Notre Dame Press

Siruela, Jacobo (2015) Libro, Secretos . Ed Atalanta, Girona, España.

Rettberg, Scott. (2019). Electronic Literature.Cambridge, UK : Polity.

Drucker, Johanna (2014) Graphesis: Visual Forms of Knowledge Production, USA:Harvard press

Secrets, a pedagogic tool for e-lit practices| ELO Montreal 2018


Bonjour! First I would like to thank ELO team organizers in Montreal, The University du Quebec and ELO organization, for hosting us in this gorgeous city.  

I am privileged and honored for having the opportunity to share this paper with this delightful audience of academics, thinkers and artists.  Mercy Beaucoup

Thanks Lori Emerson for sharing her presentation “Against ‘Lab’ as Free-Floating Signifier” with me. Kathi Imman Beren and Rika Colpeart for her suport and feedback.

My name is Vinicius Marquet, I am independent designer, researcher, author and so on. All previous features and my name, both can be attached to my cv and to my passport, respectively. Today I prefer being called just as Nosotros (we) or as Nadie (nobody):

Nosotros make this project possible.

Nadie is the owner of this project and the secret collection.

This presentation is called “Secrets, a pedagogic tool for e-lit practices”  this paper aims to contribute a theoretical framework model for workshops and accessible pedagogic tools regarding electronic literature theories and art practices. This proposal is based on memories of “Cuéntanos un Secreto ” project – Tell me a secret project– . It focus in two different objets: the workshop, that is probably the most valuable element of the project since this activates the social cultural exchange of experiences. And two samples of pedagogic material used during the workshop while we explore e-lit practices and digital culture.

Those theories and art samples are coming from Ulises Carrión and Augusto de Campos. Both of them, fundamental artists and thinkers that question written language and its dissemination.  

Finally, I’ll present Los discretos collection, a self contained secrets collection as a way of conclusion. 


1.I ll be your mirror
Nico and the Velvet Underground

Arcano, latin arcanus Secret or mystery

Tell us a secret project (TuSp) is a secret sharing project between communities during a visual communication workshop. The workshop explores visual depiction in form of illustrations, animations, videos and electronic objets that enlighten text stories in form of secrets.

Secret constitution 

As result, the project holds an extensive archive of popular storytelling, composed by text and graphic elements. Both of them, the original text and its depiction are considered a secret. 

Fabrica de artes y oficios Oriente (FARO )  Art and craft factory, West . It is well known as Faro wich means lighthouse . There are around 6 Faros around Mexico city.  None of those belong to the mainstream-confort cultural zone of the city.  

The project, itself, is a tool for self explorations and expression

The project was born in 2012 when I was the leader of the design workshop at Faro de Oriente in Mexico city. Since then, the main objective of the project was to link communities by sharing their secrets during the workshop.

TuSp rather of being an objective or a destination. It has been always a process and playful place  to experiment visuality. As the project advanced, our archive grew up.  Then it became necessary to preserve and distribute the secrets by using diverse methods and techniques: printing small publications — as posters, flyers invitations and digital zines —  A website, that I haven’t updated yet  And doing small exhibitions and presentations about the secret project.

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Until this moment,  we have done communities as, internet user, military young scholars, nurses schools , art schools, women in jail, retired old people, galleries and so on.

The project holds, mostly, secrets in Spanish from Mexico city, but the collection owns, few samples in english, italian, dutch, turkish, portuguese and korean as well. This international collection  or “Encryptor (prototype)” are even a secret for myself, a Spanish native speaker

The project has three main objectives:

  • Explore visual communication through narratives applied in diverse visual manifestations 
  • Build communities by exchanging anonymous hidden experiences
  • Preserve and distribute popular story telling  in form of secrets.

Generally, as introduction to the visual communication workshop, we explore visuality by drawing. Those visual exercises are most of them based on Betty Edwards theories “Drawing on the right side of the brain”  while, as principle, they explore visuality to understand reality rather than looking to draw a good copy of reality. Her theories far to understand drawing as a virtuoso gift, find in drawing a way to explore, communicate and validate your visual world

Some other exercises comes by  reviewing elemental concepts of design and visual communication as: format, size, direction,  texture, color, readability and so on  coming from Bruno Munari or Wucious Wong .

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Nevertheless, as you previously have seen, we have used secrets depiction to explore a big array of objets and activities in diverse communities: from 5 years old kids to women in prison . Each community is contextualized by its own needs and characteristic. Thereby the workshop looks to adapt and develop content for the community needs and characteristics. 

Tell us a secret project framework

For the project framework,  I call this flexible feature of the study content ESO or Exchangeable Study Objet. This allow the secret project being always open to the visual needs of the community.

Besides the community rules, throughout the workshop there is only two guideline that rules :

” you don’t choose the secret . The secret has chosen you”

We randomly distribute the secrets, enclosed by a white envelop. Each secret is unique  as the experience of open it. 

By this guide line, we also mean that the secret is trying to tell you something, that you need to enlighten. Observe what does the blank space of the letters saids.  Perceive the manners of how the author is telling you the story?  Who do you think is this anonymous author ? Where does the author lives ? What is the authors gender?  How old is the author?  Do you have similar experience in your experience repertoire?  Etc.

The secret has chosen you to be depicted, listen the secret story. 

As the secret has chosen you, you need to respect  the story and finish its depiction before you open a new secret.

The other guideline is that all secrets and their depictions are anonymous.  At the end of workshop we ask volunteers to donate an anonymous secrets in order to continue with the workflow. This is done by Nosotros. 

This anonymous feature looks to preserves the originality of the secret and the ownership of the collection. This belongs to Nadie. 

Sharing a secret creates an intimate experience that easily last in the memory of participants And therefore it can bound this experience with any knowledge that workshop offers . By this I mean the pedagogue works comes by creating unique experiences that links knowledge with participants



“Ya lo dijo Freud no me acuerdo en que lado
Solo la experiencia que he experimentado”

“It is said by Freud, I don’t remember exactly where,
It is just about the experience that I experienced”

Rockdrigo Gónzales
El profeta del nopal

In the book the Great didactic, Comenio, the philosopher and pedagogue appeals to our sense as the bastion for modern teaching. He saids ” Everything should, as far as posible, be placed before the sense. Everything visible should be brought before the organ of sight, everything audible before of the organ of hearing . Odours should be placed before the sense of smell, and things that are tastable and tangible before de sense of taste and touch respectively ” (Comenio, 1638)  This is not only a sensual approach to reality,  In fact, and from a materialistic perspective, this is the only way for us to communicate with reality, by our sense.  So, How can we learn if we are not connected with our environment or the other?  How can we teach if we don’t experience the materiality of our study objets ?

So practice has been the most primitive and effective way for learning and teaching. As an example , Looking at my nephew Mateo… – a 6 month old beauty – I would say if tasting, making and imitating is not the oldest pedagogue method, it might be the most natural and primitive way to experiment with the vast outside world. In this moment of his short life, everything is eatable, his mouth is constantly looking for a new experience. Maybe, in his short memory, everything still being just a big breast for him.

Here, under the umbrella of experimenting and doing sensorial the learning process, I would like to talk about the workshop.

Last month I attended a delightful talk called “Against ‘Lab’ as Free-Floating Signifier … “by Lori Emerson at DH18.  The talk inspired to me a couple of thoughts regarding this tendency to call everything a Lab.  –Just here in front of this facilities of UAQM there is a bar named Lab.– 

My first thought, it was about the next image.

ACTLab  |  Codeswitch Paraplu

 This image is coming from the Act Lab in Austin Tx.  The lab was directed by Sandy Stone,  The image illustrates the term “codeswitching “, meaning in words of Stone ,”the umbrella translates experimental, Trans-ish language into case words, institutional language”

Somehow, this describes perfectly the main idea about Cuéntanos un secreto workshop. – and perhaps of education – So I did this new image trying to illustrate some socio cultural differences.


In essence it still being the same: the work of the umbrella/ lab/workshop is to create a neutral and open space for experimentation by  translating  this “experimentation” into administrative and institutional words. Also this means to neutralize the outside world, allowing the fellows participants to study.   

Safe the students from crime, cartels, weapons, drugs but also from money loans and a huge list outside reality objets and stories .  By this,   I mean far of being a protective space, this is a space where imagination needs to happen: as white sheet of paper. 


Tell me a secret workshop is the golden bastion of the project : It is during the workshop when we do community and we build trust based in daily experiences. As a docent I  wonder to my self  How can I provide with meaningful experiences with lack of trust?  How dare I ask for confidence if I don’t create a human experience ? How can we forget that the learning process is based on the experience with the otherness ? Without otherness We just don’t exist.  Our learning process is based on sharing experiences with the other and , therefore, building community. We are Nosotros.

The workshop and the lab, both are places to do community by creating knowledge. It is an umbrella that provides a free and neutral space to experiment with knowledge.

My second thought, it was about looking for difference between labs and workshops, or atelier.  This predominant scientific validation of Reality provokes a fashionable idea of calling everything a lab, while not everything is Science and science is not Everything. Nevertheless, when we look at the history of the Atelliers  We find a substancial element of the society from the medieval times until the beginning  of the industrial revolution, previous to the mass production of students at the schools.  The workshop was not only a place where knowledge and work was happening and distributed, it was the community ensemble for society.  Surely, this deserves deeper thoughts and discussion. 

Looking forward for the next years, in this transitional historical context, I wonder How different could be a workshop and labs ? 


  • As my sister said: What it is not practices and experienced, does not exist.
  • A workshop is a free and neutral space to experiment with knowledge


Love is  New
Love is Old

or nothing is old , nothing is new 


The Beatles

There are diverse samples coming from book history and written language that can provide with phenomenological context  to understand the mutation of the book and  written language into the Networking and programable media.[3]

Johana Drucker in her book “Grammatology”  provides diverse samples coming from graphic design, book history and cinema theory . Also in “Uncreative Writing”  Kenneth Goldsmith brought an extensive framework of samples mostly coming the visual arts. 

Those samples rather than exemplify e-lit practices or digital culture into the futuristic new land of never ending tech. It contextualizes digital culture into the critical eyes of history. And place the computation practices into the ground of culture, where technology is a result of the human being.

Those examples are simple but in deep they condensed complex linguistic and media theories as the concept of the eventualize text by Katherine Hayles or Marshal Mcluhan ideas about  ” The medium is  the message.” Among some others structuralist theorist. 

By instance,  The New Art of Making books by Ulises Carrión and the Concrete Poetry manifesto by Augusto de Campos. Both examples coming from the Art field – as manifestos. 

Here, I want to clarify  that both of them don’t use scientific method, in fact they don’t look to demonstrate nothing at all. They manifest; that is the beauty. – Also  Both “theories” are far of being just theoretical frameworks for reading. They are visible, tangible, usable and playful in diverse art pieces. So they ensemble theory and practice  Thereby, they can easily be  tracked, analyzed, compared, used  and played as pedagogue material.

 Original Picture by Jhon Liggins (1979)

Élika Ortega, in her essay “Not a case of words: Textual Environments and Multimateriality” (Ortega, 2017) , provides diverse examples about the impact of Carrion’s work for the textualities in the programable and networked media.

The new art of making books framed a fantastic cultural phenomena during the 60s, the Avant-gard practices for artist books or book-works, term named by Carrión to call those practices.The innovation of Carrion essay is by conceptualizing the ontology of the book , language and artist book practices.  The new art of making books in an essential theoretical framework for all those who wants to question the book as an objet and as cultural institution.

Download  “The New art of making books” (1975)

What makes a book book? What is a book ?  What is language? Does a rose means a rose or it is just the typical rose ? 

Just by opening the door to these questions, it is a tremendous advance for understanding the book and language beyond print media.

As Ortega also pointed in her essay,  the contribution of Ulises Carrion for understanding  the textualities in the network and programable media is by conceptualizing “the book as  an autonomous space-time sequences ” This definition brings an alternative for diverse cultural expressions: some of them literally genders but some others expressions thats appeals to its own symbolic language, as an ordenadour of symbols.


By instance, on 23 May 1983, Ulises perform an organized sight seeing tour around the dutch city of Arnhem and its surroundings countryside. The tour was based on the “real” love story from artist and his wife:  Ton and Ina.  The people who signed for  the tour were visiting the most important places of Ton and Ina’s love story : ” the first time where they met “  “when Ina’s father banned their love “  ” the first kiss” etc .  During the tour you were going from point A to point B and so on .

Love Story (1983) Ulise Carrión.


Acording to Harry Ruhè  in “Love Story” ( Ruhè, 1992) Ulises Carrion said: ” the city as organized chaos imbues the story with a clear  and perceptible structure . A tour around the city , along the story’s most important point s, as an aesthetic experience. ” 

Based on Carrion’s definition of a book “an autonomous space-time sequence,”(Carrión , 1975) then, Love story is an organized  sequence of moments contained in the city of Arnhem, fixed in time. The book as an autonomous reality close in time: May the 23, 1983

As a parallelism, this can easy be translated as sketch for user experience journey into the city.  A geo locative narrative app using augmented reality technology for tourism would do a similar approach to Carrion art piece: go from point a  to point b  and Tell a story . 

Next, in the concrete poetry manifesto the Brazilian Augusto de Campos described concrete poetry as “Tension of things-words in space-time”(Concrete poetry Manifesto, 1956)

One of my favorite example to illustrate this statement comes by experimenting the collection of Poémobiles (1968-1974) . In particular, a poem calls In/comunicable

Incomuni/cable (1968).Poémobiles collection

Base on paper pop-up technology,  In-comuni-cable (1968) is a folded paper card within it holds 3 paper-cuts layers .  Each layer, has it own text-content that shows itself in a consecutive order during the performance of opening the paper card. Inside the card, in the background layer is printed with red typography the word “in”.  The next layer saids “Comuni” And in the last layer is written the word “cable”. This last layer, cut by the horizontal axis, allows the layer to show the content of second layer ” Comuni” . This will only happen when the paper card is entirely open. By that moment, it is already too late,  the content of “cable “will not be readable any more.

In fact, the piece,  it’s only “communicated” when the paper card is close .  By that moment,  the reader can’t know the cards content. Once again the card cannot communicate.

In contrast , the art piece will not have any meaning without the active interaction of the reader. Only when the reader plays the poem, it finds its own meaning . Yet it is the “tension” linked between the consecutive 3 layers and the interaction that shows in- communicable as meaning, a metaphor. 

In 2006, in Time of digital poetry Katherine Hayles (Hayles, 2006) named the cyber text being “eventualized” being less discrete and self contained.  This eventualized text is procedural: it is the result of processes and it can trigger processes, as well by  human or non humans actors.  It is self contained text in space time.

From this perspective  De campos Poémobiles seems to be a UX paper prototype of  Katherine Hayle’s eventualized text.  In-comuni-cable is a self contained system and poem that signifies while it triggers its own process . 

3. Los discretos (The discretes) 

Screen Shot 2018-08-20 at 3.40.50 PM.png

This is an old digital collection named  Los discretos.  It was produced in Faro de Oriente  end 2012.  Back in those days, I was trying to replicated Anacrón structure to explain participants, and my self, the constitution of a digital buttom with 3 diverses states: normal, over and trigger. The main idea was to regard the semiotics relations  between those states used for narratives

At  the end , We, Nosotros, were so happy to regard the trans-button result of the experimentation. The same year it was exhibited in Faro de Orinete two times in Exponencial12 and Hoy mañana no se ha ido.

A year later in the Netherlands, reading for the first time Dr Katherine Hayles in Time for digital poetry,(Hayles, 2006) she was constantly mention the discretes refering  to those characters in print text media. Some how the idea facinated to me and I find an accurate name to contrast with that other “eventualized” text wich indedd means proceess. 

The same year – a bit later –  I was reading Roberto Simanowsky idea’s about the contradiction of Electronic literature in his essay “What is and to What End Do We Read Digital Literature?” (2009). He provided a great example using  a buttom , Bomb, in the hiperficcion Zeit für die Bombe by Susanne Berkenheger wich I found a funny gestesture because it is the name of the famous and constant poem of Augusto de Campos. Bomba

This performative idea of using digital buttoms states as a semiotical space regards the principles of concrete poetry manifesto : Tension of things-words in space-time.  Those states  works  in a systematic underastanding of the whole poem with the interaction – or action – as part of the poetic language 

Between both, I understood the relation that I was facing in the electronic secret collection of Faro de oriente . Since then I prefer to call this collection Los discretos ( the  discretes)  . Those self contained objet wich in performance aims to find or understand “the text”.  –or what ever does that means. –



“there will not be literature any more. There will be , perhaps , new ways to communicate  that will include language or will use language as basis. As a medium of communication , literature will always be old literature” Ulises Carrión 






  • Ortega Elika (2017) “Not a case of words: Textual Environments and Multimateriality in Between Page and Screen” in Electronic Book Review Journal  [Online] Available in :   [Acceded:19th August 2018]
  • Hayleys NK  (2006) The time of digital poetry : from objet to event  In Morris A & Swiss T (eds) New Media Poetics: Contexts, Technotexts, and Theories  Cambridge,  MIT Press .
  • Comenio, JA (1638) The Great Didactic Translated into English by by M. W. Keatinge, M.A. New York: Russell & Russell. (1967) [Online]Available from:  [Acceded:19th August 2018]
  • Simanowski, R (2009) What is and to What End Do We Read Digital Literature? [Online] Available from:  [Acceded: 25th February 2014]
  • Campos, A ( ca.1968)  Incomuni/cable [Online] in Poemamobiles Concreate poetry poem   Brazil  Available from: [Acceded 19th August 2018]
  • Carrion, U (1975) The New Art of Making Books in Kontext  6-7. New York: Center for books  arts  [Online] Available from,%20The%20New%20Art%20of%20Making%20Books.pdf [Acceded: 19th August 2018]
  • Carrión, U (1983) “Love Story.”  Video – Performance [Online] Available from  [Acceded: 19th August 2018]
  • Concrete Poetry Manifesto (1956) [Online] Translated  from the portuguese by Jhon Tolman . Brazil, São Paolo Available from [Acceded:19th August 2018]
  • Ruhé Harry, (1992) “Love Story” in We have won ! Haven’t we ?    Ed.  Guy Schraenen.  Museum Fordor,  The Netherlands,  Amsterdam.
  • Emerson, Lori (2018) “Against ‘Lab’ as Free-Floating Signifier: From Appropriation to Counter-Cooptation and Codeswitching” presented in Digital Humanities 18 “Puentes/Bridges” ADHO,  Mexico city .




in Native Foreigners
by  Sara Giannini
De Appel, Amsterdam
Saturday, April 22, 2017

Audio edition by
Arif Kornweitz | Jajaja Nee Nee Nee Radio

Listen to all the program



1. Transition-in

  • Son Jarocho La bruja (extract) Nuevo Son Trio.
    Mix . Ulises Carrión’s phone call 

2. Intro

  • Saludos México. Good evening Athens- Goed Nacht Netherlands
  • Reason of my invitation 
  • What  are we gonna do?
    My personal story with the story with the text?


During my research of Ofrenda voor Ulises in 2015. I asked my friend Memo Morales in Mexico city to look for information about Ulises published work in the library of the National University of Mexico. This effort brought, his thesis in and two other books: La muerte de Miss O, and De Alemania. My other dear friend Susana Santoyo who was studying her master at the faculty of philosophy scanned some stories for me. She couldn’t borrow the thesis and the books. And at the end she sent me 3 diverse stories, one was “De regreso a Amsterdam” Back in those days she advice me, you ll love the story. She was right I love the story,  furthermore, I think it is a great lecture for all travelers.

I will give a small summary of the story and read a 3 passage from the book.

Thanks to Sara for the invitation to this initiative. Thanks to Nell and De Appel for coming with this great idea about reading this here with you

Special Thanks, Susana Santoyo  for bringing this story to this table and her support  

3. Summary:

De regreso a Amsterdam is a short story telling published at De alemania in 1970. It is Ulises Carrion’s second book.

The story is a friend’s journey, Tomas and Ulises, who went on vacation to Europe where they met with Julia, Toma’s ex girlfriend, in Amsterdam.

Julia came with the new that she was pregnant and wanted to practice abortion. Subject that triggers a moral struggle between all friends and eventually put forward the mysterious disappear of one of them

4. Abstracts 

Todavía hoy, a los veinticuatros años, soy el niño consentido de mi mismo: me lo perdono todo, todo me lo celebro. Pero ahora no me avergüenza confesarlo porque también es verdad que mi cariño se ha vuelto más severo, y cuando me perdono es con una mirada dura y resignada, y me celebro sólo con una sonrisa íntima,cada vez más cerrada, a punto de desaparecer; no tengo ya estallidos de alegría de hace algunos años, años cuando admiraba mi amor por mis amigos, y quería mi inteligencia, y me veía una luz en la frente, en cada naciente arruga, en el espejo.

Today, at my 24 years old, I still find myself being the spoilt child: I forgive myself for everything Every thing is a celebration for my self. Yet now I am not ashamed to confess this because it is also the truth of my own affection that has become severest: when I forgive my self, it is with a hard and resigned vision . When I celebrate my self it is just with a discreet smile, every each time smaller, at the point of disappearing.I don’t have that blast of joy from some years ago,

When I admired my love for my friends and I loved my intelligence. And I saw a light in each wrinkle reflected in the mirror

2. Porqué, ¿cómo puede alguien desaparecer en Amsterdam, o cualquier sitió?¿Cómo es posible no dejar detrás su sombra, un zapato o un brazo, involuntariamente? Si uno encuentra la muerte en un callejón, ¿Cómo no hay una vieja insomne asomada en la ventana, un vagabundo vigilante, que nos haya visto doblar la esquina y recuerde que, en ese preciso momento, sonaban las once de la noche? Si uno decide suicidarse en un hotelucho de mala reputación y figura , ¿ puede demorar más de un año, más de tres dias, el velador que abra la puerta , nos descubra colgados del techo y diga “Me los sospechaba”? Si uno se hecha de cabeza en un canal ¿es posible que el cuerpo no salga a flote un día, que no haya niños que encuentren jugando una mano y pegado a ella un hombre entero ?¿O qué uno puede deshacerse en el aire como una palabra? ¿Cuál es la fuerza capaz de hacernos invisibles? ¿Qué cosa llena el espacio que dejamos vacío, de que esta hecho? ¿Y a donde van adar los ojos, el pelo, las orejas? ¿Es un castigo?¿O es un premio esa capacidad escasa para no dejar huella sino la pregunta que todo mundo de hace acerca de nuestro paradero y que nadie responde ?¿No es cierto que en estas suposiciones negativas hay gato encerrado? ¿Que hay siempre una vieja, un vagabundo, unos niños, un pedazo de carne?¿Que siempre termina por descubrir el cuerpo, y la fecha, el lugar exacto , las causas, los fines, los medios , de la desaparición que creyó durante muchos días inexplicable ? Si no nadie saldría a la calle. Si no viviéramos siempre frente a la cámara fotográfica que registrará el momento en que nos convertimos en nada. Si no ni para que empezar a contar historias.

Why, How does somebody disappear in Amsterdam or any other place? How is it possible to not leave behind your shadow, your shoes or an arm, involuntarily? If one finds death in an alley  How is there not an old woman with insomnia perched at the window, a vigilant vagabond who had seen us turn the corner and remember, that, at that precise time it ran 11 at night? If one decides to commit suicide in a hotel with poor reputation and standing Can it delay more than one year, more than three days, until the night watchman opens the door, discover us hanged from the roof and says : “I suspected it”. If one throw himself to the canal, it is possible that the body doesn’t float a day, that there are not children playing that finds a hand with a sticked body on it  Or can someone dissolves in the air as words? Which is the force capable to make us invisible? What thing fills the space that we left empty, what is it made of? And where does the eyes are going, the hair, the ears? Is it a punishment? Or it is a prize, that scant capacity to don’t leave a trace yet the question that everybody is asking about our location and nobodies answer? Isn’t it true that in all those negative suppositions there is something fishy? That is there always an old women, a vagabond, some kids, or a piece of meat? That does it end up by discovering the body and the date, the precise place, the causes, the aims, the ways about the disappearing that we believed all those days with any explanations?  Otherwise, nobody would be outside on the streets. If not, we would be living in front of the camera that will register the moment when we become nothing? If not, why not to start storytelling?

3. Hay una luz opaca, increíblemente plana y sin reflejos, en Amsterdam: ciudad a la que no volveré nunca.

There is opaque light, incredibly plain and without reflection, in Amsterdam: a city where I ll never return.


First, what captured my interest about De regreso Amsterdam was the last paragraph, where Ulises affirmed: “Amsterdam, a city where I ll never come back”. Later, He just spent the rest of his life in this cloudy city. It might me a coincidence or another Ulises’s prophecies. The writer who writes his own will. The writer who whites his own destiny. A writer who plays with the structures. 

Next, the story is full of the symbolic idea of disappearing: The mysterious absence of a friend – Tomas–  the original friend who one day just disappear with any clue or trace to find him.   Then, the rupture of a promise life, a baby who never gets birth, an abortion. Finally, a friend who vanished in what we perceive as reality, Juliette fades out from Ulises’s memory. They were friends just during the story because they never met again.

As a parallelism, immigration could be seen as a constant absence from the original hometown yet also from the host society where the individual lives,  what is better known as the “in-betweens”. I am not here I am not there.

Every day could be seen as a constant rupture from what it seems to be“a promise life“ . An abortion from reality. I am not where

The constant changing reality is a constant goodbye from the new and old friend. I am a cloud.

I find De regreso Amsterdam Ulises’s self-reflexion, as the adult who admits to saying goodbye to old and new friends and accept reality as a journey.   

Ulises the disappeared, He is alive every time our thoughts bring him alive.

“–¿Que pasaria si nunca muero ?

Y no tuviese la oportunidad de nacer de nuvo –
te vas te vuelves  ..”


Music ( C_Machete) Mix Amores Perros  , “Aparece “ (?)   ||  Mix “Perhaps  Cake 





Post-Post-Ofrenda Carrión

En memoria de Ray y Paco,

Mis disculpa a todos, poco han sabido de la ofrenda de dia de muertos en memoria de Ulises Carrión en la embajada de México en Holanda y asumo toda responsabilidad.  Sin más que decir al respecto, mis más sinceras disculpas.


Yo llegué a Holanda motivado por entender las mutaciones del lenguaje escrito en los ambientes electrónicos, razón por la cual me inscribí a un Master en cultura digital orientado a diseño de interacción y videojuegos en el HKU.  Honestamente, la maestría no me asombró tanto como lo hallado a su alrededor.

Me encontré a Ulises de manera accidental. No recuerdo precisamente el momento. Simplemente, un día llegué muy entusiasmado con mi tutor de mi tesis a comentarle sobre el ensayo “El nuevo arte de hacer libros”, el cual me permitió clarificar muchas preguntas de mi estudio.  Le dije: “Max tienes que conocer a este tipo… Era escritor, artista visual… Vivió aquí en Amsterdam en la década de los setenta. Su nombre es Ulises Carrión”. Max sonrió. Al final, resultó que Max Bruinsma había sido su amigo y colaborador en distintos proyectos (por ejemplo, Trio y boleros, Lidia Prado superestrella, entre otros ).  

A partir de ese momento, Ulises adquirió gran relevancia durante todo mi estudio –ya lo llamaba yo, San Ulises, Mutante: ¿ Qué vamos a encontrar el día de hoy ? –. Poco a poco me sumergí más en su figura, incluso conocí a otro mexicano que tiene por nombre Ulises Carreón,  ,con “e”, estudiaba Economía en la Universidad de Utrecht.  Después de un abrupto día – renuncié a mi empleo – fui a la mítica tienda Bokie wokie, donde algunos amigos de Ulises aún se siguen reuniendo.  Una semana después, ya estaba haciendo una cita para entrevistarme con el artista colombiano Raúl Marroquín. Así comenzó todo.

Mi interés no era el personaje de Ulises Carrión, sino el lenguaje. Sin embargo, gracias a Ulises, he podido  entender más sobre las mutaciones del lenguaje escrito y por supuesto se agradece profundamente.

Siendo así,  el 29 de octubre del 2015, organicé una ofrenda con motivo día de muertos en la  embajada de México en Los Países Bajos en honor al artista mexicano – neerlandés Ulises Carrión: “Que viva el presente: Ofrenda voor Ulises Carrión”  El evento cultural tenía como  objetivo primordial difundir la figura Ulises en la comunidad mexico-neerlandesa y lograr una vinculación con la prácticas de “escritura”  en los  ambientes electrónicos, donde evidentemente las teorías  y prácticas de Ulises Carrión son precursoras.  Esta idea es mejor desarrollada por  Elika Ortega en  ¿Qué tiene que ver Ulises Carrión con las Humanidades Digitales? .  Otros teóricos como Kenneth Goldsmith en su libro “Creative Writing”  también da ejemplos parecidos con otros artistas contemporáneos de Carrión.


¿Porque no hacer una ofrenda a Ulises Carrión ?

¡Que viva el presente! Ofrenda a Ulises Carrión, fue un evento cultural que celebraba la tradición mexicana de Día de Muertos; posiblemente la costumbre más popular dentro y fuera de México. Esta tradición prehispánica conmemora la vida del fallecido con comida, bebida y actividades que el difunto gozaba en vida. Durante esta celebración, se reconoce la muerte como parte natural de la experiencia humana, una continuación del nacimiento, infancia y madurez. En Día de Muertos, la muerte es parte de la comunidad, los difuntos despiertan de su sueño eterno para celebrar con sus seres queridos. Nosotros.

Ahora bien, sobre la ofrenda,  me gustaría que se entienda en su debido contexto. A pesar de que Ulises Carrión es uno de los artista conceptuales más importantes de México y de haber poseído ambas nacionalidades (la holandesa y la mexicana); nunca había existido un reconocimiento oficial por parte de la comunidad mexico-neerlandesa al artista. Me sorprende que hayan pasado los años y que ningún attache cultural de nuestra embajada haya utilizado el recinto para realizarle un homenaje. No sólo por la importancia de Ulises, aunque se podría argumentar el corto alcance de su fama, siempre en círculos muy selectos de ambas sociedades; sin embargo, Ulises fue uno de los primeros artistas inmigrantes a tierras neerlandesas, quien además no fue ajeno a la embajada cuando estaba conformada por tan solo tres personas, según relata Elena López, la ex secretaria del embajador.

La actual attache cultural nunca había escuchado su nombre: ¿ Que cultura existe sin vinculación con su comunidad ?  

En mi historia personal,  la coincidencias, lo encuentros y los errores tienen tienen significado. Encontrar la vida de Ulises , conocer a su amigos, relacionar sus teorías con la razón primordial  de mi viaje, el estudio, fue motivo automatico seguir su figura. Carrión, durante mi viaje, fue el detalle, la ficción  y la historia que me empujaba a continuar y hacerlo mejor.  No sé qué tan bien lo hice, pero Ulises fue un motor de lo aprendido.  

Más allá de mis razones personales, hay razones sustanciales, de interés público que me parecen importantes compartir, pues refieren al legado del artista y el reconocimiento social que él merece. Estas razones son las siguientes:

Ulises es un icono binacional entre México y Holanda. También es la encarnación del fenómeno migratorio global. Si bien Ulises no salió a pizcar manzanas en los campos de California; tampoco se quedó en la ciudad de México como promesa literaria de la institución mexicana.  El México de la década de los setenta no ofrecía las circunstancias que Ulises buscaba social y culturalmente: Felipe Ehrenberg dice que Ulises no encontró el nicho que otros pensadores gays  contemporáneos  ya había alcanzado en las clases medias de la capital. –Aclara, una capital  ya pervertida –

Pudo haber sido París, Londres, Berlín pero Ulises eligió Amsterdam. Una ciudad que en aquellos entonces gozaba de gran fama entre artistas internacionales. Por un lado, el Estado holandés gozaba de un bienestar social único en el mundo, prueba de ello era el constante apoyo económico brindado a los artistas. Y por otro lado, la ciudad tenía una apertura a la diversidad sexual, única en Europa. Amsterdam era la capital gay por excelencia.

Seguro habría otras razones que motivaron al artista, lo cierto es que él adquirió la nacionalidad holandesa y a México sólo regresó de visita. Ulises era inmigrante, él representa la búsqueda de muchos humanos por nuevos espacios y la conquista de lo desconocido. O ¿Cuántos mexicanos fundan proyectos en el extranjero? Por excelencia, los inmigrantes.

Es la valentía, el esfuerzo y la tenacidad por proponer fuera del país de origen, valores que alimentan el alma de cualquier viajero. Ulises es un símbolo transcultural sobre el encuentro y la mutación entre dos culturas.  Hoy en día ya existe una creciente población mexicano-holandesa, son jóvenes y niños con ambas nacionalidades e identidades. Estos, a quienes yo llamo, los mutantes, son los hermanos de Ulises.

A manera de hipótesis cabe decir que si bien Ulises no era chicano, da la sensación que culturalmente su carrera se chicanizó; es decir, al no ser de aquí ni tampoco de allá, ninguna de las dos sociedades tuvo la decencia institucional de promoverlo y salvaguardarlo. En la escuela de nuevos medios en Holanda –que ya no tienen nada de “nuevos”– . Nadie conoce al artista. Los chicos de Fine Arts, un poco más. Las nuevas generaciones de neerlandeses poco están interesados en una bola de internacionales radicales-avant-gard-casi-underground. La constante tecnocracia y el destello de “lo nuevo” hace desconfiar de un pasado donde un mexicanito haya propuesto el primer recinto de libros objetos en los Países Bajos, también uno de los primeros en el mundo

En México, si no fuera por los últimos diez años de gran empuje a la figura de Carrión por parte de Martha Hellión –primero con la exhibición en el Carrillo Gil – y  por la publicaciones de Tumbona ediciones vinculadas a la figura de Juan Agius. ¿Quien conocería a Carrión? ¿ Cuales nuevas  generaciones hablarían de él?  Profesores de arte filosofía y letras en la UNAM y la Esmeralda. Algún taxista, vagabundo  clavado en la materialidad de la palabra escrita y las estructuras del lenguaje .   

La figura de Ulises  siempre ha sido empujada por sus amigos, sobre todo por aquellos que mayoritariamente resguardan su obra.  Hizo bien el estratega de Ulises, dejó su obra sino en su más queridos amigos, en aquellos quienes tenían un mayor potencial para proyectarlo. Me refiero a los coleccionistas y editores como Juan J. Agius, Guy Schraenen y  Martha Hellión .  Gracias a ellos  nuevas generaciones  podemos  conocer el trabajo de Ulises, han hecho un gran trabajo de difusión cultural.   

Siguiente, Ulises Carrión es sin duda un bastión para la comprensión del cambio cultural más importante después de la imprenta de Gutenberg, la transformación del objeto libro y la diseminación del lenguaje escrito. Otros artistas, filósofos o teóricos también han visualizado el escenario donde las palabras se difuminan en un lenguaje visual, sonoro e interactivo. Stephane Mallarme, Filippo Marinetti, Augusto de Campos, Jaques Derrida, Marshall Macluhan son algunos de los nombres notables de quienes teorías y obra siguen abonando a la discusión académica. La singularidad de Ulises proviene de su capacidad mutante: escritor, artista visual, filósofo y maestro. Constante migrante de espacios, aunque toda su teoría y praxis son reflejos uno del otro que conducen al constante cuestionamiento ontológico: ¿Qué es es el lenguaje?  ¿Qué es leer? ¿Qué es escribir?  ¿Qué es el libro?

Dichos cuestionamientos siguen estando presentes en discusiones académicas sobre literatura,  pedagogía, antropología, medios de comunicación, artes y ciencias. Más aún, quedan acentuados por el actual contexto tecnológico en el cual vivimos, donde las noticias son escritas por algoritmos y pasan desapercibidas ante la ausencia o presencia del agente humano –¿Dónde está el humano que escribe? ¿Quién es el escritor? –. Donde la distribución de un texto es diseminado y re-sampleado en el eco de un medio basado en la conectividad y la programación (Network Programmable Media, 1998 ); o donde la palabra escrita es eventualizada (2006 ) otro posible contenido sonoro o gráfico, distinto al significado semiótico de la palabra. Los cuestionamientos de Carrión siguen presentes hoy, así como sus distintas propuestas. Ulises es sin duda el prefacio extraordinario para el entendimiento de las humanidades digitales.

Finalmente, la vida misma de Ulises muestra una tremenda tenacidad y determinación sobre ¿Quién quería ser?  ¿Dónde quería estar ? ¿Qué quería hacer? Fue un hombre capaz de determinar su propio presente y futuro… ¿incluso su muerte? O ¿Es el hombre un simple jugador de sus circunstancias?

Haciendo un breve párrafo de su biografía, se puede detectar rápidamente su determinación  :

Ulises Carrión nació en San Andrés Tuxtla, Veracruz en 1941. Se gradúa como maestro de la Escuela Normal Rural Veracruzana y continúa sus estudios en filosofía y literatura en la Ciudad de México, donde después se convierte en una promesa literaria tras publicar La muerte de miss O (1966) y De Alemania (1970). Después de recibir un premio del Centro Mexicano de Escritores, se va a estudiar a Europa lenguas y literatura a La Sorbona en Francia (1964), el Goethe Institute en Alemania (1965) y la Universidad de Leeds en Inglaterra (1970).

En México de los 60’s eran contadas las personas que hacían un viaje transatlántico para  continuar con sus estudios. En qué momento un chico chilango oriundo de los Tuxtlas se va  estudiar a La Sorbona: ¿Cómo eso es eso posible? ¿Sería uno de esos chicos rancheros millonarios?– preguntaría la tiá Cuca, de abolengo capitalino, amiga del primo-primer-ministro-magistrado-de-la nación. – ¡Es carisimo! ¿Será aristócrata o cacique?  

Ulises no nació en cuna de oro, –¿ Cuantos centavos puede tener el hijo del costurero ? – Si bien la familia de Carrión no era millonaria, dio lo suficiente como para darle estudios de maestro a su hijo Ulises en la Escuela Normal Superior de Maestros. Una profesión noble y popular. Presumiblemente, Ulises no intento ser artista de primera instancia, tal vez ni escritor.  En todo caso, eso de hilar las ideas y tejer era posiblemente herencia genética. O resultado de una educación distinta de la mayoría. Así lo comenta Martha Hawley: en 1998 durante la realización del libro Estrategias culturales, ella  visita  por primera vez  la casa de  Ulises, donde entre tantas  notas sale en relevancia la educación que tuvo Ulises por Patricio Redondo Moreno ( 1885-1967) , un español republicano exiliado en los Tuxtlas, quien experimentaba con sistemas de educación basados en las teorías de Celestin Freinet. Se dice que el profesor daba clases a niños  debajo de un árbol, donde  los niños de San Andrés  se juntaban  aprender de maneras más lúdicas y abiertas .  Con dulzura dice Martha, es entonces cuando entendí a mi amigo.

Evidentemente, por si sola la vida académica de Ulises demuestra tenacidad y determinación para continuar creciendo .  

En 1972,  Ulises se sitúa en Amsterdam, donde participa desde su fundación en distintos proyectos independientes. Por ejemplo, el icónico espacio The in-out center fundado por el  colombiano Michelle Cardená (1934-2015) Sigudumur Gudmundsson and Pieter Laurens.  El espacio duró tres años, de los cuales nunca se vendió una pieza, asegura Raúl Marroquín. Era un espacio  expositivo para instalación y el performance como el que no existía en Holanda y posiblemente en el mundo.  

Más tarde en Amsterdam, Ulises funda la legendaria galería –y después archivo– Other Books and So (OBASA, 1975). Uno de los primeros espacios en el mundo para la  exhibición y presentación de  libros de artistas ( Otros  Print matters en NY 1976 o  Ecart en Geneva , 1969 ) .  De acuerdo con Javier Madurero, este  fue el único  proyecto donde UC fue seminal para la cultura occidental, proponiendo OBASA como el arte-archivo.

Si bien el éxito de ambos centros culturales es relativamente corto, pues en su momento estaban fuera del mainstream de las prácticas artísticas y fueron gestionados desde la autoorganización; ambos centros culturales tuvieron un impacto histórico en la sociedad holandesa y  en la cultura occidental.

¿Cuantos holandeses fundan centros culturales en México? ¿Cuántos mexicanos proponen símbolos, desde la independencia  institucional,  fuera de su patria?  ¿Cuántas personas renuncian a su vida “prometedora “  por lo que  que está después del mar? ¿Cuantás?

Algo admiro de Ulises, dice Raúl Marroquín: fue su capacidad de dejarlo todo , abandonar una carrera de escritor. Octavio Paz le pedía que regresara México,  pues  él era escritor. Ulises Respondió en una carta que simplemente  el ya no estaba interesado en escribir, Su interés era el lenguaje.

La vida de Ulyses – en la lectura heroica o romántica que comenta Heriberto Yepez–  muestra un extraordinaria belleza:

Durante el proyecto Gossip Scandal and Good manners (1981) uno de los rumores que deja correr, era que tenía una enfermedad mortal. Ocho años después, Ulises muere de SIDA. Otro rumor era que el museo Stedelijk compraba el archivo de Carrión; lo cual eventualmente a menor medida sucedió: el museo  adquirió un par de obras de Ulises.

Seguro estos eventos fueron meras coincidencias, hechos aislados que sucedieron de manera errática. Nadie es capaz de escribir su propio destino. Nadie es capaz de controlar el encuentro de distintas líneas en otro tiempo-espacio. O, acaso, todos somos capaces de provocar escenarios que tengan repercusión en nuestra realidad, ¿incluso en otros tiempos?  Tal vez son estas coincidencias, pequeñas fracturas, revelan la gran falacia.  No lo sé. No obstante, la propia vida de Ulises muestra continuamente esta paradoja existencial, donde el arte, la ficción y la vida crean la realidad. En las propias palabras de Ulises en Tv-tonight-video, (1988) : There is not life and art, only life.

Ofrenda para Ulises Carrion | Embajada de México en Holanda 2015

¡Que viva el presente!  Ofrenda para Ulises Carrión fue un evento simbólico, que realicé con todo mi cariño y respeto – y en presencia del Embajador de México en Holanda, dediqué la ofrenda a mis tiós, quienes murieron de Sida–

Me siento muy feliz de haber tenido el honor de prender unas veladoras para nuestro muertito. Hacer presente la muerte nos recuerda que estamos aquí Todos estamos vivos.  

Ulises está vivo, que lo sepa la gente. Él se encuentra en el esfuerzo de todo mexicano que salé a fundar, proponer y compartir otro entendimiento. Ulises está vivo cuando pones emoticons y juegas en con el lenguaje en los medios electrónicos. Ulises está vivo, cuando haces de la realidad tu imaginación  –¡Nos mintieron siempre!–  Ulises  siempre ha estado y estará vivo.  

La ofrenda consistió en 5 elementos :

  • Cronología sobre la vida de Ulises Carrión.
  • Posters, panfletos  y otros impresos.
    Dentro de los que destacan “The new art art of making books”,  “De regreso a Amsterdam”, “Interview with Ulises Carrión”. Traducida por Jhon Liggins
  • Proyección de dos video ensayos:  Gossip scandal and Good manners  y Bookworks part one.
  • Piezas de e-lit en QR codes,:
    Twitter Bot @BotCarrion por E. Ortega, I love E poetry por L. Flores  y Anacrón de G. Wolfson y A. Marquet.
  • Altar comunal, con elementos tradicionales de la ofrenda de muertos.


Notas de conclusion a manera de bitacora:

Nunca he dudado de la genialidad de Ulises Carrión. Sin embargo, después de las  entrevistas  realizadas a distintos amigos suyos y de entender el contexto en el cual realizó la mayoría de sus piezas, Amsterdam durante las décadas de los setenta y ochenta. Me doy cuenta que Ulises es sus amigos. Ulises no es un genio aislado en la zozobra de la máquina de escribir, es exactamente lo opuesto. Ulises es también un espejo de las las mentes brillantes de quien se rodeaba. Ulises es sus amigos. Ulises es Amsterdam en un contexto histórico único.

No podemos creer que Ulises es un genio tocado por un ente divino, ni la cúspide de un pensamiento encerrado. Carrión es flujo y conectividad, no memoria archivística, ni monumento al archivo. Por el contrario , es la colectividad y la participación entre individuos, su genialidad.

Sello de estampa usado durante el evento : “There is not life and art, only life” Sellado el 21 de Octubre del 2015 por accidente.


Para la realización de la ofrenda se realizaron diversas entrevistas a amigos de Ulises: Raúl Marroquín, Felipe Ehrenberg, Martha Hawley y Max Bruinsma. (2014-2015) Otras entrevistas han sido realizadas posteriormente. 

Otras fuentes:

  • Schraenen Guy “Ulises Carrión, We have won ! Haven’t we?” Amsterdam 1992
  • Hellión Martha (ed), Ulises Carrión: Mundo o estrategias culturales . Turner. México city, 2003.
  • Consulta Archivo De Appel (Septiembre, 2015)
  • Consulta Archivo Lima ( Septiembre, 2015)
  • Cayley, Jhon  “Performance Of Writing in The Age Of digital Transliteration” ,1998 
  • Katherine Hayleys  “The Time of Digital Poetry: From Object to Event” . In:  Morris A. &  Swiss T, (eds.) New Media Poetics: Contexts, Technotexts, and Theories. Cambridge: MIT Press. 2006


A Martha Hawley, Raúl Marroquín, Max Bruinsma, Felipe Ehrenberg, Nell Donkers, Elika Ortega, Leonardo Flores, Susana Santoyo, Erika Sprey, Socorro e Ismael Colmenares, Mayra Cebreros y Penélope Marquet.

Muchas gracias a De Appel quien otorgó distinto material  para  su muestra. Así mismo a LIMA y  a La Embajada de México en Holanda, especialmente el soporte de nuestro personal en la embajada, servidores públicos al servicio de su comunidad.

Gracias a Martha Hellión, Guy Schraenen y Juan Agius, por la preservación y difusión de la obra de Carrión para otras generaciones.

Este proyecto fue completamente una gestión independiente. Todos los fondos fueron propios resultado de mi trabajo como diseñador.

Aquí un link, con  fotos y  distintos materiales mostrados durante la ofrenda.


Menciones  con respecto al homenaje a  Carrión pueden leerse por la historiadora de arte Maike Aden, en  su texto “The posthumous reception of Ulises Carrión” en el catálogo sobre la  exhibición del Reina Sofía.  “Dear Reader, Don’t read” .


Ulises Carrion 1979 | Original Picture Jhon Liggins