Tuesday, May 08, 2018


Pianos by Judith Pedroza 

“I am a piano tuner”, a young man explains while he is waiting for his appointment with the psychiatrist. He is accompanied by his mother. Two other families with patients are waiting and Moisés' family has been the last to get a “token.”  Tokens are literally like an old game. The hospital gives 15 tokens for specialty, but psychiatry has already fixed ten patients for a Friday consultation. The hospital used to be an old school, now transformed. It is run by a group of nuns and doctors who have jobs in large hospitals where they charge more than five times what they charge here in the community hospital. They practice one day a week for half a day, giving the hospital a very good reputation. Their furniture is very old, but it serves the needs of patients. Every Friday, families who already know each other and who have children with similar illnesses, meet there. Curiously, all patients are young males. Moisés is the oldest of all. There is a 12-year-old who his mother says is uncontrollable and cannot stop talking all day. Yet, the whole time in that room, the mother is the one speaking and the boy is quietly attentive. Big, curious eyes, the child just seems bored and his mother seems stressed. Moisés is the patient of this other family, 45 years old already. He left behind a past of economic triumphs, money, and maximum creativity. He does not know how to do it again. He became ill at age 24 at the time when he opened his own business, started a family, and then his wife divorced him after one year of marriage. He closed his business, brought all their furniture there and locked himself inside for months. He would not eat, did not want to, his parents did everything even losing some of their assets to pay his debts. From there he went in and out of different hospitals and treatments that never gave continuity, his parents could not get him stabilized. Her younger sister tried everything.  Presently, she makes another attempt, because he does not want to go to the other side of town, to the best specialty hospital. So he was brought to this small hospital, a ten-minute walk from home. 
   Families there talk, looking for something, remedies, tips, dialogue. They have stories to tell, details of the disease, hobbies, droll things. The disease does not allow the mood to disappear. Emotions run from worry, crying, to laughter. “We are alive”, the piano tuner’s mother says. She explains how her son has been in therapy for a year and a half and how he decided to leave the university. He just wants to make music because he has a special ear that allows him to earn money, tuning pianos in small state orchestras, and he participates as a guest musician in popular presentations. The piano tuner is 22 and discusses science and philosophy with Moisés.
  The piano tuner has read Nietzsche’s Human, All Too HumanEcce Homo, the work of Freud and one of St. Thomas Aquinas, The Summa Contra Gentiles. The Piano Tuner makes Moisés attend to him.  There is a kind of alternate joy. It is a small waiting room for happiness. It is a therapy itself, where patients and families are recognized as a common group who share a half day on Friday waiting for an appointment.
   The piano tuner explains that in order to tune a piano, first, you have to check the central note, hence the LA 440. Then, you begin to check the octaves of each note: do, re, mi, fa, sol, la, all frequencies with the same pulse, and there are parts: fifths, fourths, sixths, sevenths. When the central note is tuned, this tune becomes the bone side of each note, which is called temperament. It is like a cube. Harmonics must have the same speed and the piano has to be very sweet with subtle colors, marrow notes. When the piano tuner talks about a sweet piano, the first image that comes to mind is Rafal Blechacz playing Szymanowski’s "Piano Sonata." It was love at first sight, the first time I heard this young polish musician playing and talking about his music with impressionist-expressionist and melodic tunes, slow comings on the piano and then using his full hands. In this room, which only seems to have a disease, there is music, melodies of talk that lead to another life.
   There is another group in the small waiting room of happiness: the pharmacists, those who sell new medicines, fresh from the laboratory, new features for the psychiatrist. Medications for those who suffer from a mental or emotional illness are the most expensive in the market. In Mexico, more than half the population does not have health insurance and even this kind of medicine is scarce in public hospitals due to high costs and the fact that mental health is not considered a disease or a priority. It is classified as an incurable disease. But there is always hope. Many patents for these drugs are nearing expiration, which means that local or national laboratories can produce them at lower costs. At the time a patent expires, the laboratories in Mexico begin to produce affordable medication and patients begin to consume since they are cheap and a better stabilizer for their condition. Finally, families and patients can access the drugs, giving them more faith to hear the promises in the corridors of pharmaceuticals, who sound like the politicians of health, offering health as a commodity controlled drug. If the patient had tremors from using the older drugs, the pharmaceutical representatives would draw from their brochures to reassure the patient, generating trust between families, patients, and pharmacists. A fiction to heal is also part of the Friday half day. Pharmacists are the hope inside the room.   
   Four weeks pass and patients are already using this medicine.  They feel better and there are some signs of improvement in their quality of life. Some of them feel dignified because they have the energy to do things, to follow the course of their lives, making plans. It's another Friday before noon, the room is filled with patients each time, the same families, the same products. Today, it is time to buy the sweets of health. The mother of the boy who never stops talking is happy. The medicine has had a positive effect on her child. The doctor gives the prescription for the next dose. The mother orders the medication from the pharmacist, who has a leather briefcase, impeccable suit and shoes bought from the San Diego outlets. She tells about her weekend trips to California. Everybody is observing her high heels while she organizes her first order.  It will be 380 pesos.  The mother reacts, “But last month the medicine was 190 pesos. If I am correct, the patent had already been released.” The pharmacist with pretty shoes and leather briefcase answers, “Yes indeed, the patent had been released, but the product offered and taxes that the government extracted from these labs this month make the drug double in price. It won’t be a fixed price.  Next month, it’s possible that the price doubles again, and so the product will rise until its cost of production and profits are not eaten by taxes and can stabilize at a fixed price. It is a fact that next month it will double.” Families are angry. Another family member breaks into the discussion, “I am sorry, but if you had this information before why did you not inform us? If the drug is tripled, it will be impossible to continue with treatment and that causes harm to the patient's health.” The pharmacist answers, “I am sorry ma'am. I'm only selling the product, the doctor is the one who suggests and makes the prescription.” Moisés says, “But you promised to improve our quality of life, gave a kind of political speech and we trusted you.” The pharmacist answers with a violent tone, “Excuse me, I'm not a politician. I am a vendor. My responsibility is to sell. I am not able to resolve your life.”
  It's like finishing and leaving someone with a new life, and a new voice, the piano tuner says.


Thursday, February 08, 2018

Exposición “Hierática” de Radharani Torres / Autor Judith Pedroza

Exposición “Hierática” de Radharani Torres

Texto Judith Pedroza

 Cuando era niña yo creía que tenía una conexión con las moscas dice Radharani Torres, la mosca era una especie de alter ego que se conectaba con el mundo del inconsciente, la imagen de que una mosca que acompaña como aliada pero también como un súbdito en un reino de imaginación. Una mosca que dirige, apoya,  y sirve.

 Radharani Torres se coloca como objeto en el centro de su pintura, familiares y gatos la acompañan, presencias femeninas que en su contexto. En la historia de la pintura occidental la mujer en una posición de privilegio se articula como un objeto a admirar, tomemos en cuenta que esta mujer de privilegio no se pintó a sí misma, ella no es un suceso de su subconsciente, es el resultado de la mirada del hombre pintor. La mujer artista latinoamericana muy lejana al privilegio occidental, se pinta así misma con una premisa distinta –articular un nuevo poder, una nueva posición en lo que occidente afirmaría como inadecuado. La historia de la mujer en las sociedades occidentales, es un objeto de apoyo, consuelo y cuidado. La belleza o la narrativa de el sacrificio la llevaría a ser el centro en una pintura. Cuántas narrativas invisibilizadas de sacrificio lejos de ser un privilegio no han sido contadas en pinturas o imágenes en LatinoaméricaPero la artista fuera del privilegio esta contando una narrativa de dignificación nueva en compañía, de otras mujeres, tótems y deidades que empoderan y sirven de soporte del consciente-inconsciente. La mujer latinoamericana se representa a sí misma dignificada, llena de magia y presente para contar. Le ha quitado el poder a la historia de la pintura.

“Aquí hay más de cien canciones y cien consultas de psicoanálisis
esperando a suceder. Estampitas sacras para todo tipo de monstruo
mental que se quiera aparecer. Remedios para desamores y
pociones para amarrarse los huevos y salir a la calle a
pelear. Homenajes a los caídos y monumentos a los que siguen en
pie. Nuevas formas de querer y cabida al odio absoluto. Deidades
autoritarias que no temen castigar mientras escupen bolas de
pelo. Crossovers con tiempos que definitivamente no fueron
mejores, pero tenían los vestidos más “cool-ever.” Ven vamos a
vengarnos de quienes nos hicieron daño y luego a abrazarnos
hasta que amanezca.”
Radharani Torres

  Beatas sin rostro, la coronación de un gato, la veneración de la muerte de una mosca, el círculo espiritista, el tercer ojo de tu ojo ó de tu gato. Son las tantas direcciones en la pintura de Radharani Torres que más que generar una iconografía, esta leyendo una interioridad de la cual fortalecer una reflexión interna. La magia es la que empuja a crear. La magia también parte de nuestros sitios, de los significados que damos a nuestros espacios y a quiénes nos acompañan. En la ansiedad y en la idea de la búsqueda interior se crean círculos de protección, círculos de imaginación, donde un estudio puede convertirse en la mesa redonda del inconsciente, ¿A quién vamos a  invocar ahora?. “I thought I heard you cry” es la vista de una antigua iglesia en la Ciudad México, cargada de significados, en un espacio que ha sido construido para la contemplación, se comunica con un interior histórico, las mujeres en la historia de nuestra colonización, encontraban calma y consuelo en estos espacios. –“Pensé que te escuche llorar” ahí en el centro donde yo puedo leer ese enunciado que se comunica conmigo, un momento para hablarlo conmigo, hablarlo en una pintura, encontrar un sitio visual donde preguntarnos las respuestas que necesitamos. “Queen Bitch”– la coronación de la “Bicha” la compañera de pintura de Radharani Torres, porque en los procesos de la pintura de Torres no son solitarios, están dibujados de micro-compañías femeninas, de observadoras soñadoras y juguetonas, de respuestas incompresibles pero llenas de poder. Si hay que coronar, se corona quién merece convertirse en deidad, a quién emite sonidos de resguardo, alteridad, vocales de fidelidad y alegría. Se aman más las compañías que a los amantes, se aman más los lazos de comprensión entre iguales que entre las atracciones entre contrarios– “I wish that we were magic so we couldn´t be so young and tragic” –las hermanas Indriani y Radharani aparecen ahí, vestidas en bordados a modo de pintura del siglo XVI,  de cuando se necesita el crear  una alegoría personal de cuidado y solidaridad. La imagen eleva a estas dos mujeres jóvenes, a un nivel de dignificación hacia todo lo posible en su tiempo.

 Una vez Radharani Torres y su interlocutora en este texto, nos hacíamos una apuesta, –¡Midámonos la dignidad a ver quién la tiene más grande – Sí… a ver quién la tiene más grande!– La artista se pone en el centro, sin ninguna mirada masculina al lado, “Please let me be your third eye” nos invita al diálogo con los iguales, –déjame abrir esa otra puerta imaginativa de transformación hacia la toma de un poder propio, el velo del fantasma, la identidad que se oculta de bajo, el gesto de dar la espalda, e impedir el paso a acercarse, encontrar resguardo de mitificar la intimidad. La pintura es la búsqueda de apoderarse de un mundo posible femenino, dignificado y consciente. “They told us: Our gods would be outlive us. But they lie”–Nos contaron que nuestros dioses nos sobrevivirían, pero nos mintieron– Hora de enterrar a los dioses como a los gusanos de las deidades en desuso, tiempo de mitificar nuevos modelos de deseos, de imaginaciones, conquistar las otras imaginaciones para contemplarnos por primera vez y desde ahora a nosotros.


Thursday, December 28, 2017

Caffè sospeso

                              Caffè sospeso
                                                                Café Pendiente
                        Pending Coffe
                                                                                                                By  Judith Pedroza

I pay 2 and take one,
Then five and drink three,
Waiting, expecting you at the door,
One day you will appear,
Caffè sospeso, here I leave you,
Take one for me,
One day we will sit in the same chair
With a similar cup, the pending coffee that I leave
I hope to go back and find you,
And have the coffee that we could not have together,
The coffee that could have led me to follow you on the roundabout
of Amsterdam
And walking in circles
Sugar and milk, more milk than coffee,
Come by and ask for the pending coffee with your name.
Do you have a pending coffee?

Caffè sospeso
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A caffè sospeso (Italian: suspended coffee) or pending coffee is a cup of coffee paid for in advance as an anonymous act of charity. The tradition began in the working-class cafés of Naples, where someone who had experienced good luck would order a sospeso, paying the price of two coffees but receiving and consuming only one. A poor person enquiring later whether there was a sospeso available would then be served a coffee for free.

Thinking about the Tonino Guerra Tale.- Caffè Sospeso

                         Someone wants to escape...

 A curtain flirts through the window of a building. It is the only one. The curtain is determined to be rebellious and has decided to play with the air that comes after an open door, plays to walk abroad. The other windows of the building are kept locked because in September, in Graz, a slightly cold air begins, but this curtain does not hesitate to come and go.  Passing by, I 'm looking at the curtain and it seems to want to tell me something, "Look at me, look how I wave the colors of the flowers in my autumn pattern; I have no fear, someone in their carelessness left me here with only a moment to meet you.  Stay there. Look at me.  I don’t know how long the door will be open." Why don’t you come over here? Surely from here, you would appreciate all who walk with their bread in hand toward their homes. I have never seen someone in Graz walk with a coffee in hand. That's for people from America, who are always in a rush, but this is a city of contemplation. Right now, if you look up, you could appreciate the beauty of this, my home. Sacred time of this building has colored those dark shadows on the walls around the windows … I stop, but it's hard because I'm in a conversation with the curtain. I've always hated those who need to take a picture of every meaningful moment; there are images that only live in experience and memories. The photograph is never a good reference to the experience, but this curtain wants to stay as an image.

After 20 minutes of contemplation, I have to wait for the time frame and flirting. Here you are curtain; I know you want to reach the cables hanging in a perfect horizontal and linear way. Why did I have to encounter you? I imagine your home with old books. Surely, from the beginning of the last century with illustrations in black and white, cups of strong coffee, those that do not let you sleep for three days. I would let you escape every day with a promise to return.

Thus, you would conquer the bread walkers. I'm standing here talking to you from a distance again. The bread walkers are curious, asking why I am looking at you. Some of them stop. You have conquered them as well. Remember me next time. I will pass through here. I'll have a coffee in hand and you will know that I am a foreigner.

Canon, Issue 7
© 2014, the contributors
Department of Visual and Critical Studies
The School of Art Institute of Chicago
Chicago, IL 60603 

Togetherness Panel/Index Art Book Fair/Expo Chicago

View this post on Instagram Today @expochicago First panel of the @indexartbo...