I think I am here trying to discuss with myself the value of my
memory. It took me 32 years to write the book about the time on jail
about torture and my own story. But before these book I wrote and
published nine other books, fiction, short stories, two novels. In
none of those books I adressed my own life or what happened me.
I was shy and didn't know if my personal tale was of literary value.
When you rea Primo Levi's or Viktor Frankl or Dostoievskis "Memoir
from a cellarfloor" or Mandelstam's description of his time in Siberia
or Kertesz book about Auschwitz, all other tales seem to bleach and
But I travelled to Palestine for first time in the year 2001 and when
I was asked why should a Latinamerican live in Sweden, so far from the
city I was born, I answered with the explanation of the jail and the
And almost every Palestine I met had own stories about their own jail
or the time in prison or some relative in prison just now.
The common of our fate gave me the distance and the tools to write
about my own experience, not with the aim to resalt my own but with
the humble goal to make literature of those memories, to rise them
from the testimonial level to the literary level.

And that's the common denominator we share, I think, our griefs and
pains and sadness are collective and there are the ones making us part
of the same specie.


On Fri, Oct 5, 2012 at 2:38 PM, Johannes Birringer
<johannes.birrin...@brunel.ac.uk> wrote:
> dear Alan, Ana, and all
> I am very sorry if I tried, unsuccessfully, to combine a great respect for 
> the seriousness of the issues raised here,  the lived experience reported 
> here by you Ana in memory of the time of incarceration and torture, and for 
> example Alan when you talk about the dying of your mother, and when you, Ana 
> talk about your re-immigration to a less 'glamorous' southern city, 
> Montevideo, and the artwork shared with us here, like Alan's haunting homage 
> to Barber and Droste, and the poem you write to it, so if i tried to combine 
> that with a sense of weary irony, and a glance at some questions raised by 
> the work that I am trying to understand as gestural (Monika's). I found your 
> video not dis/tracting at all, Alan, but on the contrary. I thought that was 
> obvious, sorry if it wasn't.
>  in fact these historical traces now mingling with the discussion (of  the 
> thin lines you speak about, at historical moments in the last century, 
> already evoked with bitter ambivalence, perhaps, in Monika's reference to 
> Zygmunt Bauman's "garden state") are important for the interrogation of 
> contexts I propose.
> Re:  "garden state";   i found a very critical text on Bauman, and pondered 
> it.  If you like to read it:  http://shaunbest.tripod.com/id11.html
> with regards
> Johannes
> [Alan schreibt]
> On Fri, 5 Oct 2012, Johannes Birringer wrote:
>> [strangely I am trying to re-read them while watching Alan's machinima
>> on Anita Berber and Sebastian Droste, now that is a very strange
>> dis/traction to the 1920s and the queering of Berlin's underground &
>> performance, cabaret and film scene)
> Those performances were incredibly complex, and spoke to issues of
> suffering, addictions, and death, as you know; I don't see this as a
> distraction any more than any other past history is. These people - I'd
> include Valeska Gert - were walking a very thin edge, and some of them
> escaped and some didn't; some escaped themselves and some didn't. So here
> are performances that are recorded at best in film and with Berber hardly
> that - yet through text and images, they're uncanny.
> Why wouldn't empathy or affect work through video etc.? I've seen video
> from films shot at safaris for example which still haunt me, as well as
> Martha Stewart's video she made for PETA, which I assigned students (yes,
> it's _that_ Martha Stewart). My own work (which you'd probably find a
> distraction here) is very much concerned with these issues online - that
> was the basis of my Eyebeam residency.
>> Grave matters here this week. After Alan, may I also dis/tract you by
>> passing on to you a brief message just received from Argentine friend
>> asking me about the camera work in Madrid during recent public unrest
>> and protests, when drones?/surveillance helicopters?  flew over the
>> city, like angels, taking a look at the wounding?
> - Alan
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