Sonidos de la ciudad

Posted by Bethany Pennington – MA Candidate at NYU CLACS

Roma por Alfonso Cuarón recibió mucha atención por los sonidos que empleó en la creación de la película. Según Sergio Díaz, el director de sonido de la película, los sonidos fueron grabados en las calles de México contemporáneo e interpolados en el escenario, el cual replicaba la ciudad de los ‘70.  Viviendo en esta gran ciudad, paseando por la Roma, o transitando por las venas subterráneas del metro, uno se da cuenta por qué: los sonidos de la vida diaria son únicos a la Ciudad de México. 

En mis primeras semanas aquí en México, intenté grabar los sonidos de la ciudad que uno escucha durante su rutina diaria: vendedores en el metro, los músicos que pasan mientras comes en una corrida, las grabaciones en audio que te avisan que una comida rica está cerca. Resulta que casi todos los sonidos que llenan el oído en la Ciudad de México están destinados a vender. Por todos lados los sonidos y las voces – a veces amplificados por micrófonos inalámbricos, pero más frecuentemente el resultado de mucha práctica proyectando la voz – están empleadas para ganarse la vida.  

En el metro, las ventas parecen ser cantos, ofuscados un poco por el ruido del metro y los muchos cuerpos que llenan los carros. Cómo ya hay wifi gratis en el metro y muchos llevan su celular para ver series en video o contemplar Facebook en sus viajes matutinos, las ventas son muchas veces de cables, audífonos, u otros accesorios para celulares.

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Feeding chickens, attending asambleas and surviving the cold in Chinchero

Posted by Colleen Connolly – MA candidate at CLACS/Global Journalism at NYU

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The road leading to the airport site in Chinchero.

Despite a rocky start to my trip to Peru (a lost credit card, a canceled flight, the deathly cold), I have been extremely fortunate with my research here. My first week was spent in Cusco and the next two weeks in Chinchero, a small rural town about an hour outside of Cusco. Despite its proximity to the large and vibrant city of Cusco, Chinchero could not be more different. Here, Quechua prevails over Spanish. I haven’t seen a single bar. I wake up in the morning and help my host feed the chickens, the llama and the guinea pigs. People here appear shy at first, but they are the friendliest people I’ve ever met. As a foreign reporter, I am so grateful for this.

I’m about halfway through my time in Chinchero now. Though the freezing temperatures make me want to sleep in and relax, I’m making sure to get out every day and talk to people or attend asambleas, a nearly daily occurrence here and a part of small-town life everywhere. These two weeks are my most important weeks of research and reporting. For my thesis, I’m exploring the relationship between tourism and globalization using the international airport in Chinchero as a case study. The airport is not built yet — it’s at least five years away from completion — but construction has begun, and the project is the subject of many conversations and asambleas here. I have read many articles about the airport in Chinchero, but none of them mention the local feelings of the Chincherinos, who stand to gain or lose the most. These are the people I want to populate my thesis and my story.

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The Art of (not) Finding: El Archivo Fotográfico Manuel Toussaint

Posted by Jason Ahlenius – Ph.D. student in Spanish and Portuguese at NYU

Un facsímile del Códice Azteca del Instituto de Investigaciones Estéticas

I have begun to see a pattern in my “explorations” of Mexico’s archives: I arrive at the archive, and spend several days figuring out how to gain access to the archive, or searching through the catalog, only to have someone tell me that they have digitalized most of their collection, and that I could have done this work without leaving NYC. I leave disheartened that I was denied the chance to do the “sexy” work of digging through a physical archive with my latex gloves and a mask. This was more or less my experience at my first visit to the Archivo Fotográfico Manuel Toussaint, located in the Instituto de Investigaciones Estéticas (IIE) of the UNAM in Mexico City.

I began, rather idealistically, with an idea of archival research similar to that of a treasure map: I have a more or less clear idea of what I am looking for, and I follow a series of instructions to arrive at the “X” on the map, where my archive is hidden. My actual experience is often more akin to being dropped in the middle of a forest, not knowing exactly what I will find, while I am trying to make a map of my surroundings as I am trying to arrive at a city of whose whereabouts I am oblivious.

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The Chinese in Rio

Posted by Fan Fan – PhD Student at the Department of Spanish & Portuguese, NYU

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In the Royal Botanical Garden of Rio de Janeiro: the Palma Filia stands in place of the first royal palm (Palma Mater), planted by Dom João VI in 1809, after the latter palm was struck by lightning in 1972.

Brazilian journalist João do Rio published the crônica “Visões d’ópio” in Rio de Janeiro’s Gazeta de Notícias in 1905. The piece drew my attention not only because it is one of the few cultural texts I’ve seen from the belle époque period that provides a description of the Chinese in Brazil, but also for the unusual way that it approaches the topic. The crônica recounts the experiences of the journalist and a friend as they explore the alleyways of Rio’s Misericórdia neighborhood, where Chinese addicts languish away in provisional opium dens. True to his reputation as a writer of Rio’s margins, slums and other unsavory corners, however, the cronista focuses not on the Chinese themselves but on his fascination with opium and the drug’s associated images of the Orient and decay. Though the Chinese are the inhabitants of the Misericórdia slums, the consumers of opium, and the source of the abject, yellowed bodies on display in the crônica, the only hints João do Rio gives as to who they were and why they were in Rio are coded and sparse. He writes, “Os chineses são o resto da famosa imigração, vendem peixe na praia e vivem entre a rua da Misericórdia e a rua D. Manuel” (104) and “olham-nos com o susto covarde de coolies espancados” (106, original emphasis).

My reading of João do Rio’s crônica gave rise to several questions. Who were these Chinese, and how did they end up in Rio? What was the “famosa imigração” to which João do Rio referred? Why didn’t the journalist list other information about this immigration? Was it for stylistic reasons, or was it such common knowledge that it was assumed that his readers would readily understand his reference? Moreover, to what extent does his language reflect the trending expressions regarding Chinese laborers? Were the Chinese in the opium dens actual “coolies,” or was this word part of a popular linguistic currency?

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An escape from CDMX

Posted by Leo Schwartz – MA Candidate at CLACS / Global Journalism at NYU

Mexico City epitomizes the urban sprawl: endless avenues more traffic than pavement, Russian doll neighborhoods boomeranging between high-end condos and lower-class housing, waves of smog rolling through the dry lake bed. In other words, every clichéd piece of language one could use to describe a mega-city. Having been here for five weeks (just kidding…I’m doing this blog post on time, two weeks after I arrived), I needed an escape from the city. Luckily, a couple friends were headed for a trip to Tepoztlán, one of the towns with the coveted “pueblo mágico” designation in the bordering state of Morelos, and for the sake of my sanity and my respiratory system, I eagerly tagged along. As my thesis is still being reported out—and of course includes some top-secret bombshells that I’m keeping closely under wraps—I’m writing a travelogue (I apologize).

To avoid the crowds, we met at the southern transportation hub of Tasqueña bright and early: 7 am. Mexico City—CDMX, DF, whatever you want to call it these days—is as worthy of the distinction “the city that never sleeps” as New York, with a much more robust informal economy of street stands hawking pretty much anything you could want at any hour. We hopped on a bus and headed out of the city, steadily climbing in altitude as early-morning fog shaded the surrounding mountain ranges and volcanos (which I was assured were not active) with an ethereal glow.

Tepoztlan

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Gladyswan Andreswan

Cochabamba, Bolivia. Photo by Favio Antezana, CC 2.0 https://www.flickr.com/photos/fachoantezana/25702852731/

Kay rimaypi Chimore llaqtapi Gladyswan tata Renewan parlarichkanku. Ñawpaqtaqa tata rene pichus kasqanta riqsirichikun. Chantaqa imatachus chay UNIBOL jatun yachay wasipi yachachisqanmanta parlarin, astawampis ñawpaq yuyaykuna mana chinkananmanta. Chantataq ima pachapichus sach’a k’utunamanta parlaspa tukuchin.

En este diálogo Gladys y don Rene están conversando en Chimoré, un pueblo en Bolivia central. Primero, don Rene da a conocer su biografía. Luego, habla sobre lo que enseña en la Universidad Indígena Boliviana (UNIBOL), sobre todo, que no debe perderse los saberes ancestrales. Y, termina, hablando sobre la época en la que se puede cortar árboles; ya que, de acuerdo a la cosmovisión quechua para que la madera sea duradera. Los árboles se pueden cortar cuando estos estén maduros, por el mes de marzo, y no cuando estén retoñando, por el mes de agosto.

In this conversation Gladys Camacho Ríos is talking with Don Rene in Chimoré, a town in central Bolivia. First, Rene shares his personal story. Later, he talks about what he learned at the Indigenous University of Bolivia (UNIBOL), above all, that it is important not to lose ancestral knowledge. And he ends talking about when one can cut trees, according to Quechua cosmovision, so that the wood is durable.  The trees can be cut when they are mature, in March, and when they are not sprouting, by August.

NYU hosts Indocumentales screenings in November

 

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The Center for Latin American and Caribbean Studies NYU, Cinema Tropical, and the World Council of Peoplesfor the United Nations / What Moves You?, will host the latest installation of  “INDOCUMENTALES: A Film and Conversation Series Exploring Latin American Migrant Experiences in the United States,” on Thurs., Nov. 15 and Tues., Nov. 27 6-9pm, at NYU’s King Juan Carlos I of Spain Center’s auditorium (53 Washington Square South.

INDOCUMENTALES will include a Nov. 15 screening of David Riker’s critically acclaimed “La Ciudad” (1998), followed on Nov. 27 by Jim McKay’s most recent feature, “En El Séptimo Día” (2018).

Twenty years between their releases, the films nevertheless employ similar narrative structures and production models: both are filmed on location in New York, in Spanish, with primarily non-professional actors. Both films speak to the struggle of newly arrived Latin American migrants for survival, respect, and meaning in unfamiliar territories.

Both screenings are followed by panel discussions meant to bring together filmmakers, scholars, activists, policy makers, and community representatives. The discussion will be conducted in English.

“La Ciudad” (David Riker, 1998, 88 min. In Spanish, English, and Korean with English subtitles)

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Four gritty stories chronicle the Latino immigrant experience in New York City. In the first, desperate day laborers risk their lives working in unsafe conditions for low pay. Then, newcomer Francisco (Cipriano Garcia) gets a respite from loneliness when he meets a kindhearted woman. Next, homeless puppeteer Luis (Jose Rabelo) battles bureaucracy to register his daughter for school. Finally, garment worker Ana (Silvia Goiz) struggles for the paycheck that could save her sick daughter’s life.

Trailer:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0E0gXl-oGWw

“En El Septimo Dia” (Jim McKay, 2018, 92 min. In Spanish with English subtitles)

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En el Séptimo Día is a fiction feature following a group of undocumented immigrants living in Sunset Park, Brooklyn over the course of seven days. Bicycle delivery guys, construction workers, dishwashers, deli workers, and cotton candy vendors, they work long hours six days a week and then savor their day of rest on Sundays on the soccer fields of Sunset Park. José, a bicycle delivery worker, is the team’s captain – young, talented, hardworking and responsible. When José’s team makes it to the finals, he and his teammates are thrilled. But his boss throws a wrench into the celebration when he tells José he has to work on Sunday, the day of the finals. José tries to reason with his boss or replace himself, but his efforts fail. If he doesn’t work on Sunday, his job and his future will be on the line. But if he doesn’t stand up for himself and his teammates, his dignity will be crushed. Shot in the neighborhoods of Sunset Park, Park Slope, and Gowanus, En el Séptimo Día is a humane, sensitive, and humorous window into a world rarely seen. The film’s impact is made quietly, with restraint and respect for the individual experiences, everyday challenges, and small triumphs of its characters.

Trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gYg3mAJTWSE