28 July 2011

Bombing of Poems

I came across this on Calypso Edition's website months ago (the lovely cooperative press I have collaborated with for several months) and decided it was time to feature it.  I have spent the past few weeks writing more about politics while neglecting the cultural and artistic aspect of CEE.  This project, however, is a lovely conception of political connotations and artistic vision.  It is a healing and beautiful way to reconceptualize past events into a modern event of exuberance.  A Chilean art collective, Casagrande, has been running the project "Bombing of Poems" (Bombardeo de poemas) since 2001, when they bombed Santiago with poems.

The bombing sites are chosen for their political and historical significance: the Santiago poetry bombing was over the government palace, which was bombed right before Pinochet took power in 1973.  The collective moved to project to new locations with significant bombings in their past: Dubrovnik, Croatia (2002); Guernica, Spain (2004), Warsaw, Poland (2009); and Berlin, Germany (2010).   The poems they drop are by contemporary poets from Chile and the country being poetry-bombed and in both respective languages.  It's a beautiful example of the healing power of poetry, the innovativeness and goodness of global outreach, and how art can affect history and our remembrance of it.  What started out as a project for their home land became a way to reach out to others in the world and share in this healing moment.  While the current controversy over Breivik's actions ravages Europe, it's important to see examples of multi-culturalism enhancing and enriching our lives while imbuing it with new meaning.  Casagrande's project shows that diminished borders are not fraught with only fear and anxiety, but carry good tidings and sentiment.  Art can often say so much more than babbling politicians.

I found an excellent post on NYU's Tactical Media blog about the project and I suggest it as a good background in what the project is trying to accomplish.  You can see videos of their bombings on their YouTube channel.  Casagrande also has two websites; on YouTube, they list this website, but this one exists as well.

I thoroughly love the idea and hope they continue to create an international dialogue while creating new memories in places that conjure up bad memories.  I am featuring the two videos for Warsaw and Berlin, since they are applicable to this blog.

Do I need to admit I get a little misty eyed when I watch these? Because I do.