Literary Meanderings: A Quantum Leap in Space Travel

By Marta del Pozo Ortea.

Published by The International Journal of Arts Theory and History

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Published online: January 24, 2014 $US5.00

Walter Benjamin thought of Baudelaire's literary flâneur as an object of scopic transaction in a sightplay—to see and be seen, voyeur and exhibitionist, the city as stage. Guy Debord took the practice a step further: to walk without aim was now an artistic practice to be labeled Situationism and mapped according to “psychogeographical” coordinates. If we take a further leap, we find ourselves on a bus with Robert Smithson, on a September morning in 1967, destination: El Passaic, New Jersey. After Smithson's scrutiny, that industrial landscape, converted into a great display of monuments, would never be the same again. Finally, Agustín Fernández Mallo, 2011, Spain, visually and literally recreates Smithson’s steps in his narrative El Hacedor (de Borges), Remake, where he incorporates geospatial technologies. In this paper, I trace the artistic practices that revolve around the praxis of dérive throughout these differentiated cultural paradigms. We will see how walking aimlessly, having begun as a metaphor for the journey of the political gaze, has finally transcended man’s gravitational state in order to become the panopticon eye that Google Earth has created with the magic wand of a click.

Keywords: Flaneurism, Situationism, Dérive, Psychogeography, Internet, Google Earth, Rhyzome

The International Journal of Arts Theory and History, Volume 8, Issue 1, April 2014, pp.1-7. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Published online: January 24, 2014 (Article: Electronic (PDF File; 298.978KB)).

Prof. Marta del Pozo Ortea

Spanish Adjunct, Department of Spanish and Portuguese, New York University, New York City, New York, USA

In her doctoral dissertation, “Liquid Modernity: A New Wave in Spanish Literature” (University of Massachusetts at Amherst), Marta del Pozo Ortea studies contemporary literary and visual artifacts that explore the connection between literature and science, conceptual art, the performative, and the digital worlds. She has published articles in various academic journals and has participated in national and international conferences. Her book of poems, La memoria del Pez, was awarded with an Accesit by the Academia Castellano—Leonesa de Poesía in Spain, 2008. She has translated into English the book of poems, Viento de Fuego / Fire Wind (Ugly Ducklyng Presse, NY 2011), by the Peruvian poet Yván Yauri. Currently, she is working as an adjunct for the Spanish department at New York University, where she is also conducting an M.F.A. in creative writing.