Dos Obras

By Rohan Kamicheril

2 Obras, the monthly art and literature publication founded in Buenos Aires is now soliciting the help of interested translators in their international art and letters project. 2 Obras collaborator and translator from the Spanish, Alexis Almeida lays it out for us in this post. You can find out more about the magazine, and submit or subscribe at 2obras.blogspot.com.

I found 2 Obras while sipping on a cafe doble in my favorite coffee shop in Buenos Aires, where I was living for four months at the end of last year. I had imagined the city while writing my senior thesis on Jorge Luis Borges and his various illustrations of the Gaucho, a knife-wielding horseman who roamed the pampas in search of work, but was more adept at colliding with precarious adventure than anything else. In that sense, my conception of Buenos Aires was stuck firmly in a mythical past that seemed to waft throughout the city's tangled streets, but still remained elusive and distant. Buenos Aires is a city with an effervescent and irrepressible culture, where you'll never be at a loss to find a poetry reading or an art exhibition happening, and all at once. But the way I approached it, as a naive foreigner living there for a few months, seemed to me formless and haphazard. Just as Borges had captured my attention in college, and had become my foray into Argentine literature, I was looking for something to bring me into contact with a culture that seemed to whirl around me like the roar of the monstrous colectivos tumbling down Avenida San Juan.

2 Obras is a monthly art and literature publication that is published on a single sheet of paper, and was originally conceived by my friend the Argentine artist Veronica Romano. On one side there is a reproduction of a current piece of visual art, and on the other a piece of poetry or prose. Most of the people featured in 2 Obras are from Latin America, although we're hoping that now that it's being distributed in New York the range of submissions will expand. Veronica distributes it free of charge, both in hard copy and via email. In putting it together each month, she focuses on the tension that is created when the page is turned, in the connections that can be drawn between the two mediums of prose and visual art—which are often heedlessly segregated in the way they are viewed and discussed. A capsule biography of each person featured in 2 Obras is included in each edition, making it easy to find and follow up with the featured work.

In bringing 2 Obras to New York, Veronica and I hope to show that the world of art and language resists being sectored off by national borders and disparate cultures. It is also true, however, that when artwork travels, it is re-contextualized and exists in translation. By opening the prose section up for translation now, we hope to take the project further, anticipating that it will be translated into the more than forty languages spoken in this city.


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