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EXILIO PERFORMANCE PROJECT: A Work-in-Progress featuring artists from the US, Mexico, and Canada

EXILIO: My Life as Bolaño/EXILE: Mi Vida como Bolaño

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Cafe La Habana

Cafe La Habana, frequented by Bolaño during his time in Mexico City

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First Impressions

They will not spend everyday here, but this is the magnificent place of work on day one. The collaborators are grateful to the Universidad del Claustro de Sor Juana for the gracious hosting of their first week of work in La Ciudad.

EXILIO Project/Proyecto EXILE

PART 1: Meeting in Mexico City

Ker, Zazil, Lydia, Brett, and Tannis

Five of the six collaborators meet in Mexico City for a week of initial work creating performance material in response to the writings of Chilean-born, Mexican-educated author Roberto Bolaño. This will be the first of several intercultural exchanges to take place in the US, Mexico, and Canada between artists from each of these countries, as they explore the ever-shifting boundaries of the state of exile in its many forms—coerced, circumstantial, or self-imposed—from various points of view—political, poetical, philosophical, pharmaceutical, familial… Fragments of what they find will be recorded here as their work progresses toward the completion of an original theatrical work currently entitled EXILIO: My Life as Bolaño/EXILE: Mi Vida como Bolaño.

***

Un chileno educado en México lo peude soportar todo,
pensaba, pero no era verdad.
Por las noches mi corazón lloraba. El río del ser, decían
unos labios afiebrados que luego descubrí eran los míos,
el río del ser, el río del ser, el éxtasis
que se pliega en la ribera de estas aldeas abandonadas.
Sumulistas y teólogos, adivinadores
y salteadores de caminos emergieron
como realidades acuáticas en medio de una realidad metálica.

***

A Chilean educated in Mexico can withstand everything,
I thought, but it wasn’t true.
At night, my heart cried. The river of being, chanted
some feverish lips I later discovered to be my own,
the river of being, the river of being, the ecstasy
that folds itself into the bank of these abandoned villages.
Mathematicians and theologians, diviners
and bandits emerged
like aquatic realities in the midst of a metallic reality.

***

—excerpt from Bolaño’s Sucio, Mal Vestido, or Dirty, Poorly Dressed , translated by Laura Healy (New Directions)