Philosopher Esther Díaz and film director Albertina Carrey were invited before the pandemic to participate in an event at the Kirchner Cultural Center as part of the Whale Project. It consisted of exchanging emails on the topic of memory and then turning those texts into a kind of performance. They did not know each other, although they were aware of each other’s social activities. Covid broke out and the meetings became less frequent, the bodies were gone, the fears were triggered, but the written dialogue continued to flow between them with a frequency of fifteen days between each shipment. What started as an errand turned into a discovery and an adventure.
This exchange became the book the possessed (Black box). In each email, “our life is gone,” the authors agree. They never exceeded two or three a day. Some of them took hours to write and not exactly because of an extension request. Both of them provoked episodes from their personal lives, but they also turned to favorite artists, thinkers, books and films that evoked emotions and ideas that encouraged the corresponding partner to new feelings and reflections. Affection grew and blossomed between them while the world was in a state of emergency and people were getting sick and in many cases dying. The performance never took place, but they recorded a podcast. They were already possessed and decided to continue.
Albertina Carey, film director (I Don’t Want to Go Home, Blondes, Barbie, Daughters of Fire) is also a writer and producer. Daughter of the sociologist, essayist and founder of the National Chairs Roberto Carrí, who together with his wife Ana Maria Caruso (Albertina’s mother) were active in the Montoneros organization. When the director was 4 years old, her parents were kidnapped by the last civil-military dictatorship.
Esther Diaz is a philosopher and writer. She has published numerous books (Postmodernism, Punk Philosophy, Remembrance, Between the Technical Sciences and Desire, etc.) Her children died (she at 50 and he at 55). “Grief for children is something inexpressible, a horizon of meaning that, even if you are not aware of it all the time, attacks you at every moment. My life since my children died is like a muted symphony,” he said.
From these absences can be read, not only, part 2 of Las owneras, which begins with Opening The start of a possessioncontinue with part 1 time and memory and ends with loss or loss. These once-inhabited voids, left by those who were close in our lives by blood or emotional choice and will never be there again by someone else’s decision, irrevocably, create an atmosphere that unfolds in the body the sadness and longing that exist co-creative projects., laughter with others, the march of existence. Carrie quotes Scott Fitzgerald in a letter to her daughter: “The wise and tragic sense of life (…) . By that I mean what lies behind every great career, from Shakespeare to Abraham Lincoln and back in time. as long as there are books to read: the sense that life is basically a sham and that its conditions are those of defeat and that the things they redeem are not happiness and pleasure but the deeper satisfactions that come from effort.
Who invited them to participate in the cultural event that, although interrupted, ultimately united them?
ED: We were called on March 10, 2020 to write for ten days between three and ten emails a day on the topic of “memory.” The idea was to do a performance in front of an audience at the Central Committee on March 24. But on March 20, the quarantine was announced. Then Liliana Viola, who invited us, suggested we do a podcast. Everyone recorded from their home and it was released as “Open Correspondence”. This is the first part of the book Las possas, “Time and Memory”. Then Caja Negra offered us a second part, but every two weeks. The “losses or losses” appeared between Buenos Aires and Berlin, where the Albertina was at the time.
AC All responsibility for the start falls on Liliana Viola. And permanently, on Black Box. We were just puppets of these wills (laughs).
The director of Los Rubios writes: “Buñuel could not be more present in these times of memory without the chronology we inhabit in these texts and the prison to which this bacteriological war forces us to confess. will we live in the destroying angel? I really like Barth’s quote, especially when he says: Everything is solemn. I think our chemistry is partly due to that, to the fact that we share a certain humor, and so we were able to cross Pasolini with the Greeks and Buñuel with Barthes and tell each other memories of different kinds. And besides, how terrible is that moment in life when everything seems solemn, out of proportion! It is a moment when memory stops, and the present, this moment when we await HIS call, HIS look, has the power of a storm.
Do you know or imagine why they were chosen as an exchange duo?
ED: I don’t know, and I liked the offer so much that I didn’t even think about it and didn’t ask. I was keen on the idea. The only background I had on Albertina is some of her harrowing personal history and her unique family history, in addition to an admiration for her cinematic work.
AC: I guess because of the work everyone put into their means of expression. Because in the crossing, which was very anti-crossing, it was obvious that a monster could be formed, ready to risk everything.
What did each assume of the other? And what did they confirm or deny when they met?
DE.: In my case there was a little fear, it was prejudice, Albertina really has a very defined and strong personality, but she is sweet, intelligent and extremely responsible. As soon as we started the epistolary exchange, I felt an attachment and was delighted by his intellectual level, his passion for writing and shared passion for research. I think that’s the first thing that brought us together, as Plato would say: his love of knowledge (actually it would be truth, but we’ve discussed that a lot in the book).
AC: I thought Esther was tall and had black wings on her back that could unfold like Angelina Jolie’s in Maleficent. But when I saw her in person I was convinced that she was about my height and that her mouth was aseptic and black tissue, her eyes were also black crystals and her pitch black hair was highlighted by outlines of extremely white skin that gave the final shape of all these elements: mask. Right there I knew I was a replicant! It was not, as I believed, an amalgam of wild animal and man. She came from another planet and was sent to this earth for a fantastic mission. I had to be very careful and remained so from that point on.
Esther wrote: “Your reflections on love or we know not what in our strange relationship brought me to Plato’s idea of the ‘ascension and descent of the soul through beauty.’ What is sought in this ascent is true love, and true love is found to be the love of truth. Once you’ve screwed up with the truth, it leaves you pregnant with knowledge. This is when the descent begins to spread the love. Productive eros is a tension between desire as lack and the idea of absolute love. This lack gives rise to a longing for “possession” and subjectivity in love begins its journey. First he loves the beautiful body, but as a lover of truth, that is, of beauty, he loves rather his soul, because it is incorruptible. Although, if he really seeks love, he spreads it to all bodies and all souls.
You exchanged emails with a deep degree of intimacy. Why do you think they were so fired up to open up to each other?
ED: A miracle of creation. It was kind of an epiphany and I just enjoyed it. It was given to us – by the muses? – an intense level of communication that I plunged into without wanting to. I toyed with the idea of being a duo in the style of Deleuze and Guattari. They barely know each other when they start writing together and write five books in epistolary fashion
AC: I had seen her on the esplanade of a cinema in the town of Mar del Plata, raising her hands to the starry sky and cursing the cinematic patriarchy. I had read some of his works. I knew that every word I wrote in the sense of intimate would be an opportunity to open new worlds. Move on to other forms of interpretation. Not only to what was there, but to what is most difficult to review with a clear eye, which is the experience itself.
What happened when they met the bodies present? What did they feel? Were you nervous in the preview? Where are they found? How was that moment?
ED: During the first part of the book, there was no face-to-face meeting. We met in person when the sanitary prison began to open, in a bar in Puerto Madero, facing the water, enjoying the sunny skies and planning to continue writing this book. I felt tense. At least in my case it was more exciting to write. Only now can I relax and enjoy his company. I was still a little scared of him (laughs).
AC: It was a disappointment to find out he wasn’t a wild beast, but a relief to find out he was a replicant. Although I have also found that from the planet I come from, knowing and listening have a consistent relationship, though at the same time a necessary one. It made my vagaries of the power of the wild unfold with confidence into the new territories that opened up between the words.
Did they continue to see each other or did the relationship end with the appearance of the possessed?
ED: The face-to-face relationship begins right at the end of the biblical process. Right now, we’re like the conjoined twins that Alejandro Ross designed for the book cover. We gather for photo shoots, for reports, to travel to presentations in the interior and finally! also for the simple pleasure of being together, drinking tea or wine, eating, talking and thinking a little about a future book.
air conditioning: Yes, of course we still see each other. His mission is super ultra complex, delicate, secret and mutant. I need to stay close to ascertain their intentions regarding the species that inhabit this region.
How did this experience change them?
ED: My symbolic universe expanded. I believe in Wittgenstein’s phrase “The limits of my language are the limits of my world”. During the most intense part of the exchange, Albertina opened doors for me to different authors, films and experiences. So, comparing the philosopher, I can say “The limits of my language after The possessed are the limits of the expansion of my world”.
air conditioning: I am beginning to convert to some of the insights that Esther spread during the possession. I feel more and more free because of your concepts and your generosity. Sometimes I fear he will swallow me, but that fantasy disappears every time we get close and his moderation shelters me.