Writing Residence  
L'animal a l'esquena (Celrà)
From 05/08/2024 to 17/08/2024

Xavier BobésAlberto Conejero
( Xavier BobésAlberto Conejero )

The starting point for our second meeting as creators is the poem “Childhood and Death” by Federico García Lorca. It is one of the so-called “orphan poems” from the cycle Poet in New York because, though it was written at the same time and could have been included in the book, it was in the end discarded from the version which Lorca submitted to be published in 1936. It was decades before the poem was published, by the poet’s friend Rafael Martínez Nadal, in the 1970s. He told how Lorca gave him the manuscript with the following note: “So you can see how I am feeling.”

For us the poem was not a choice. It appeared in our lives at the moment when, without knowing, we needed it. Or in other words, it arose around a bereavement we were living through - the verb is exact - after the death of a very close relative. Some of the experiences we were going through are there, trembling, in his verses. We now know that death in some way returns all of us to our childhood; that death parts us from the noise of everyday life and returns us to the realm of the important and sacred; and in mourning we are like ghosts to the living and ghosts to the dead themselves. We now know that old age can be a frontier with our childhood rather than with nothingness. Our old body is perhaps closer to our childhood body than to nothingness. Our childhood body is perhaps closer to our old body than to nothingness. How better to return to childhood than through mourning? How can we celebrate - laugh and cry for - the child we once were? How can we make an offering to our dead if not with our childhood hands?

This poem was the starting point for our work. In the poem, a wounded Federico descends to find the child Federico. The verses of Lorca’s poem are constructed with material, relics-objects that testify to the passing of time and, at the same time, are able to collapse it, to open passages into our breasts towards the child we once were, who sleeps within us, and towards the dead person we will become. All work that speaks of birth and death can only speak about life. We believe that this will be a piece about life, its rare prodigy. We want to work with the rare warmth of grief and the vulnerable eternity of photographs. In the written poem, we are searching for a poem in performance.