“Walking is a process in ruins,
a dead history.
You inhabit the ruin and you find
a coin here and there rolling on the ground.
Men without eyes are threshing away time
in Santurce’s surviving businesses.
It makes you want to cry
or sneak into the yards and pluck the fruits
of so many inhabitable houses
with boarded-up windows and doors.
The city is full of homeless people.
The city is full of poor immigrants dreaming of the United States.
Perhaps leaving and coming back makes you a foreigner.
There’s so much you don’t know about Puerto Rico now.
You begin discovering it by walking.”
-Nicole Cecilia Delgado, From Barrio Obrero to La Quince
What do you experience when you journey through poetry? For some this can be a highly evocative experience, pulling at deep threads they scarcely recalled were buried somewhere beneath. Others may find these shorter roads a difficult way to access their literary selves, preferring to nestle into prose instead. For me, poetry ha so much to teach, so much to explain and offer and remind. This poem from Nicole Cecilia Delgado reminds me that in the simplest act, there can be great profundity.
Benoît Platéus spoke to us in early January when his show, Other Percolators, had just opened at Signs and Symbols in NYC. Working with found objects as a starting point, Platéus thought of the paintings he created for this exhibition as the percolators of ideas. Each work, he says, contains layers of meaning, all of which percolate within the work. To learn more about this show and more, listen to the complete interview.
Amy Hill sat down to chat about her recent exhibition at Fortnight Institute, titled Future Presidents. Folk art inspired the work in this show, prompting Hill to think about childhood and the changes it undergoes. Combined with this was Hill’s obsession with listening to the news and her knowledge that the toxic leaders of our time – Putin, Trump – were themselves once babies. In the work, she considered this and depicted small children with quiet consideration of who and what they may become. To hear more, listen to the complete interview.
A few words to keep in your pocket
What are some small things in your life that perhaps speak to something much greater?
Interviews are available on iTunes as podcasts, and for Android, please click here. All weekly essay pieces in a shareable format are here. The full archive of interviews is here.
Books to Read
What are you reading? Add your titles to our reading list here. Praxis user Joanne recommends The Inconvenient Indian: A Curious Account of Native People in North America by Thomas King. Meanwhile, Praxis user Mary recommends Imperial Life in the Emerald City: Inside Iraq’s Green Zone by Rajiv Chandrasekaran.
Wassaic Project offers both a winter residency for individual artists, collaborative teams and groups of two or more individual artists, as well as a family residency, which offers the opportunity for artists to live full-time in a home with their family while participating fully in residency. For information on both, click the links above. Deadlines vary but can be found on each page.
Brainard Carey is an author, artist and educator. He is the director of Praxis for Aesthetics. He has written six books for artists, most recently Making it in the Art World.