Macarena Cordiviola
artista audiovisual


Macarena Cordiviola

































Travelling with words
By Macarena Cordiviola
Published in The Argentimes
March 2007, Buenos Aires


‘Buenos Aires Tour’ was an original proposal of interactive art done by Jorge Macchi, a visual artist, to María Negroni, a writer, in 1999. They had met in the mid-90s while living in London and wanted to do a project together. Macchi had an idea: to break a glass on a Buenos Aires map and mark where the chunks landed on different corners. “It is a way of recovering Buenos Aires,” he said to María. They also called on Edgardo Rudnitzky, a musician and composer, and the three artists carried out the idea at Macchi’s studio: Santiago del Estero and México, the corner where the beat on the glass was given.

Each of them, in different moments, sometimes together sometimes alone, while living abroad or in the city, visited those places looking for inspiration: to record its sounds, to take pictures or notes, to pick objects up, just to observe. “I have spent even an hour watching and writing in my notepad anything related to the location, which will be raw material to create the piece of art later on,” María comments.

Macchi, Negroni and Rudnitzky joined their creativity around the five lines and 46 points marked by chance on the broken glass on Buenos Aires map. Sounds, words, images and object trouvé bring out the rhythm of a street, a lost corner, a city dreamt up by someone we don’t know. Nostalgia for those gone but still there, immortalised on a ticket, on the picture of the shadow of a cross in Recoleta Cemetery, graffiti asking for sex, a farewell letter, a sign or any image framed on the wall. “It is Buenos Aires deep inside us, our glance on the city. Buenos Aires full of memory and artistic projections, proving there isn’t an objective reality, reality is imaginary,” María explains.

At first, ‘Buenos Aires Tour’ might remind of a guidebook called ‘Genève’. This particular book contains texts by various people; writing by Michel Butor; photos; information about hotels, bars, streets, films; quotes and fragments from literature masters. ‘Genève’ is a guidebook objectively speaking, though.

‘Buenos Aires Tour’ is a multi-media installation exhibited in the 8th Art Biennial in Istanbul that, like a universe, moves and changes and dismantles itself to become new and independent bodies. There is a book-object published by Ediciones Turner, Madrid, 2004. It includes a bilingual version of Negroni’s texts, Macchi’s images, a cd-rom with Rudnitzky’s sounds and a facsimile reproduction of objects found in Buenos Aires, all packed in a box-art.  In 2006, María Negroni’s texts were published in Spanish byAldus in México and Paradiso will do so in Argentina this year. The re-new piececompiles 40 texts and a foreword.

María Negroni, on the prologue, names Lewis Carroll and refers to the world as an intimate space, which points out to what cannot be said. The unpronounceable universe of a body, overwhelmed by subjectivity, is as visible as silver shining among her words. “Why certain parts of the body are like countries and others like prison cells?” María Negroni wrote in ‘Islandia’, one of her poetry books. She then declares: “Writing goes faster than life, knows things we – the artists – don’t. To build and to be built.”

Her literature omits, mixes up languages, enlightens Buenos Aires’ streets and shoots a black and white movie. Female potential in action, on paper.

She also writes that a map is a group of several lines working at the same time. Lines are essential elements of events: when travelling, when creating, when living intensively one (a hard line) is touched, changed, provoked by invisible things, movements, attitudes (flexible lines). Everything looks the same but it is not. A fugue line opens for us: a multi-Buenos Aires experience.

“This Buenos Aires is tinged with my readings, my life away, specific places, things happened by chance, the way I write. The trip is always interior, so cities travel with us,” says María Negroni and gives us some excerpts from her book. Enjoy!


14.  Lessons in the School of Death
(Recoleta Cemetery)

Ezra Pound’s tomb in the island cemetery of San Michelle in Venice. The phrase engraved at Treblinka: Ici repose le poète Robert Desnos. The dead who converse with their relatives, sticking their heads out from the niches, in a Fellini film. The violated grave of Elizabeth Siddal, Dante Gabriel Rossetti’s wife. The Icelandic inscription on Borges’ tomb. The dream where they are burying me and someone says: Leave her alone. It is not her time to die yet. There are still some partitions between her and Life. Captain Nemo’s funeral procession with his men in diver’s suits in the Great Aquarium of the Irreducible. The amatory mausoleum, strewn with the chrysanthemums, where Lydia Borelli awaits her love in the film Malombra. The outer walls of Cairo. Raymond Roussel’s resuscitating machine. Orfeo’s beautiful motionless progress toward Madame Lamort, not knowing that he is travelling from himself to himself. The suspicion that we are all dead. The cemetery of human books in Fahrenheit 451. The phrase: Between the yes and the no, lies the reality.


30. Aristotle or The Art of Singing
(San José and Avenida de Mayo)

I swear I just saw an enormous sun-filled yacht go by on its way to the presidential mansion. María Callas, who, blinded by hunger, sang for the Germans, is riding in it and lulling the ears of a man who will never write her a letter, or die before a firing squad, or intone the notes of the aria E lucevan le stelle. In her night, let’s say, there is a Night in which she writes, all by herself, the score of fear and abandonment, constructs love like an addictive failure, a business headed for bankruptcy, unlike others, among those that count being a man and piling up tobacco and fleets. Just as in the imaginal (as in reality), the yacht advances against the tide. The one who will replace her in his embrace is as yet faceless, but, in the asphalt mirror that contains everything like an urban sea, there glimmers a treacherous light. The rest is fortune-telling, wracked hope, presentiment of an art nouveau window, in a city of light, where Tosca erroneously calculates the price of passion and María Callas, enraptured, listens to herself sing or die.


37. Ars poetica or Who invented the urban heart?
(México and Jujuy)

Winter, you said, is a restless shape. Frightening sometimes, like a desire about to be fulfilled. Things head toward catastrophe, the cloth that begets sickness and language. There is no more ancient season. Nothing and everything announces it: a beached memory, the little sign that says, “Now, in order to call God, you must dial an additional number,” the local teacher who offers classes in cross-stitch, the boys playing ball in a plaza cemented over by the dictatorship, the reward offered for a lost parrot, the abominable television in bars, dawn, boredom, and also that tower erected in the center of the uninhabitable, the eternal house of being, where to seat itself comes, carefully, no one. Every winter the laws of night, moods, the terrestrial script, and the marionette’s plenitude in the present rise up and something stops (must be you) and the city is and is not, and in that game, blind and solitary, an animal destroys the emotion that was his, like someone looking for a text to die in.

Texts translated by Anne Twitty


‘Buenos Aires Tour’ installation was also exhibited in MALBA and several galleries in Europe.