The current state of fragile democratic experiments, the endless migrations over borders and states, and the precariousness over life, was the first step towards organizing this year’s issue of Sin Frontera, on the proximity between globalization and the image. Although globalization as a term in political, aesthetic, and social discourse has had many transformations since the last three decades, it still seems pertinent for us to engage in a debate that, as envisioned by current events in Latin America and the Middle East, will unfold into new political horizons. Globalization, to say the least, should not be taken as a one-dimensional unity or a stagnated historical process. In hopes to comprehend the complexities and subtleties of the term of globalization, it is that this issue of Sin Frontera brings forth different voices, discourses, regimes, disciplines, and finally images, in order to incite a relevant discussion about the contemporary world. If globalization is at the center, or to put it in different terms, is the base for the critique between language, power, and life; it still begs one question: Where does the image arise from the crisis of globalization? How can we think the image or aesthetics in the context of multinational corporations, the decay of the Welfare State, and the simulations of the global media?
If in the past the image was secondary, or a kind of supplement to reality, today different imaginary spaces are able to construct, modify, and reproduce all kinds of realities and symbolic semblances. What is more, the image today can not be separated from a way of life that strives towards homogenization across nation states, genders, and particular forms of life. This is not to say that the image, like the contented term globalization, should be interpreted insofar as pure negativity. In the recent critical projects of thinkers like Sven Lütticken, Jacques Rancière, and Boris Groys, the image has been placed at the center of the political to rethink not only the conflicts between representability and referentiality, but between who is represented politically and what image are we to construct of ourselves through the political. Specifically in the works of Rancière, the image is to be understood as a regime of visibility that acts an a priori of politics, and what is more, as an antecedent that hinders every notion of the political into a community of the senses[*]. This is why when the editors of the magazine decided as a theme ‘Globalization and the Image”, they were thinking not only in terms of representation as such, but in how the question of the sensible, representability, and image-making cuts across different modes of thought and ways of communicating.
It is no coincidence that the photographic image that bears the cover of this issue of Sin Frontera is from the contemporary artist Ramon Williams. A pierced view of Miami’s wealthy Collins Avenue, that speaks to the double binding structure in every picture: the possibility and the impossibility of looking at a horizon and to distinguish a stable ground or place. This very image condenses, in our opinion, both the future as portrayed by a bridge that opens behind the mesh of politics, and the power that the image is able to construct in order to communicate the contradictions of a certain historical and political venue.
Thus, this fifth issue of the journal opens with a wide variety of academic articles that take up, in different ways, the intertwinement of globalization and the image. Andrés Aluma-Cazorla explores the representation of poverty generated by Menem’s neo-liberal policies in Argentina, while Cynthia Meléndrez analyzes the perspective of a globalized “social” reality in Iñaturri’s films, and ask pertinent questions about a possible global order and how to represent it. Marta del Pozo Ortea’s essay discusses the veiled function of publicity in Javier Moreno’s poems, taking on the problem of visual inscriptions, at the same time that María Paz Moreno studies the question of the nomadic subject in the work of the Spanish poet Luis Cernuda. The Academic section is deepened by the Conference Proceedings, exemplary selected essays presented at the 6th Annual Interdisciplinary Colloquium organized by graduate students from the Department of Spanish and Portuguese Studies at the University of Florida (February 17th – 19th, 2011). The reader will find essays on Portuguese literature by Laranjeira and Magalhães; Catalan literature by Geada, and Spanish literature by Palomar and Vidal.
The sudden death of David Viñas (1927-2011), a literary critic and novelist who has inspired generations of scholars in Latin America and United States, interrupted the editorial progression of this issue, and thus made us include here an obituary written by the Argentine writer Ricardo Piglia, who generously contributed with a short piece on the relation between Viñas’ work and the meaning of political violence.
A rather new and fresh section in this issue organized and introduced by Alicia Mercado-Harvey, is Literario which gathers the work of three award-winning writers from the South Cone: Alejandra Costamagna, Betina González, and Lina Meruane. These three voices have dealt extensively with the question of the image, and write as to imagine multiple forms of writings beyond the traditional discourses of Latin American hegemonies. It is also a pleasure to have another fiction section titled Voces, which includes fiction by Diana Menasché, poetry by Alberto Salazar and special contribution from João Miguel Henriques.
In this issue, interviews range from cinema to Catalan literature. First and foremost, we are pleased to include an extensive and generous interview conducted by Taryn Devereux to Prof. Dragan Kujundzic, who reflects in depth about the making of his upcoming documentary First Sail, on the great American literary critic J. Hillis Miller. By extension, we hereby also thank Dragan Kujundzic and David Rodriguez for sharing with Sin Frontera, a never before seen clip from First Sail. It is impossible today to discuss the question of the image without perhaps mentioning and bringing into debate the work of German filmmaker Hito Styerl. In her interview with Rosemary Heather, questions of the market, reproducibility, and critique of power are rearranged in a discussion about Steyerl’s own work as a theoretician and filmmaker. Finally, in the last interview here included, Grażyna Walczak interviews Dr. Geraldine Cleary Nichols, who discusses the works of Catalan female writers as well as her own scholarship in the field.
The last sections Arte and Archivo, edited and introduced by Gerardo Muñoz and Roberto Weiss, are dedicated to Third Cinema and Revolution in Latin America. As in previous issues at Sin Frontera, this section should be read at two levels. First, the archive includes rare magazine articles, newspapers, and manifestos extracted from archives of the sixties and seventies Third Cinema wave starting from the Cuban Revolution of 1959. At the second level, the reader will find modern contributions and revisions on cinema and revolution. First, two of the most important film scholars in the film look back at the history between cinema and revolution. Juan Antonio Garcia Borrero discusses the history of post-1968 Cuban Cinema, while Mariano Mestman writes an important periodization of militant Argentina cinema. Lastly, to bring those gazes to the present, the important philosopher and art critic Boris Groys discusses strategies of iconoclasm in film, and the potential nuances that these gestures could entail in different manifestations of the culture image today.
As the reader will see, the current issue of Sin Frontera intersects across languages (English, Spanish, and Portuguese), disciplines, critical practices, and visual arrangement; all bearing witness to the multiplicity of forms that already exist within globalization and that, as we hope, traverse the space of different imaginaries. It is with pleasure that we thank the editorial committee for their contribution, and those who facilitated their knowledge and expertise in any way for the release of this 2011 issue.
We hope you enjoy this edition in our own brand new website: immersed in the globalized world, it’s all just a click away.
* We are following here Beth Hinderliter’s recent excellent critical anthology, Communities of Sense: rethinking aesthetics and politics. Duke Univeristy Press, 2009.
Alicia Mercado Harvey
SIN FRONTERA, Editors.