Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Juxtaposition (compare and contrast)

When the program excursion to Buenos Aires (several weeks ago now) visited the Recoleta Cemetery, I was struck by the "Make a Wish" billboard framed at the end of one of the narrow paths--streets, in a sense--that crisscross the cemetery. Well off hallowed ground, but present in its visibility, a foil to the wishes expressed in the elaborate tombs: wishes for status, for immortality, for some tangible way to communicate to the dead how intensely they were missed, and loved. And life goes on, visible in cobwebs and bromeliads and the crowds of tourists with cameras.
I've been thinking about juxtapositions, including those visual juxtapositions, reflections. Thinking them in Spanish and in English. Maybe because reflejo (in a mirror) and reflexión (thoughts, considerations) are two I still have to think about too often, afraid I'll mark my thoughtful interventions as mere wavery mirror preening. Also because yuxtaposición is fun to say in Spanish, the x a little softer, the y a somehow more welcoming glide into the word. But more because being here, out of my usual context, invites reflection, comparison, the hey, what's that? reflex of the photographer. And I've been enjoying reflections in café windows and mirrored office blocks while feeling stymied by the reflections in ferry windows that prevented my recording the not-too-interesting view of acres of brown river water with no shore in sight. No great loss, right? But when you can't get the shot you want, you're sure you're missing something. 

Yuxtaposición/Juxtaposition: a winner for Scrabble in either language, but hard to pull off, being so long. Maybe I'm really thinking about repetition, the repetition intrinsic to memory and to theater, the same only different, again and again and again. 

Teatro Solís
A highlight of my trip to Montevideo was Oyster, a performance by the Inbal Pinto & Avshalom Pollack Dance Company (Israel). [Watch a tantalizing little clip here.] Why juxtaposition? Because of the unexpected combinations of music and movement, the odd wigs, the humor, the extraordinary postures, the color. Because of the new of their performance (with all its nods toward older performance traditions) against the grand old Teatro Solís, all gold paint and red velvet. Because it was just so wonderful, I want to tell everyone.

A few more I've collected recently:

Ramblas, Montevideo, Sunday morning
City beach, dune (re)generation

There's a parrot in this shrub, if you can find it.

So as not to have to read the same things twice--
Not sure I get the logic here.


  1. Wonderful. The world is full of rhymes. You just have to know how to spot them. Like that parrot.

  2. Amalia, love the pictures and am very happy to have discovered your blog via the Ficciones challenge! Didn't get to go visit the in-laws in Buenos Aires this year, so I'm a little jealous of anybody who's actually in Argentina right now (life's so "unfair" and all that). ¡Saludos!

  3. Richard, welcome, and thanks for reading! I need to update my list on the Ficciones challenge, too, as I've read a couple of wonderful books in the last month. ¡Un saludo!